Saturday 2 August 2014

Week 48 - The Grambler on bowls

Stewart was an amazing person -  A wonderful husband, a fantastic brother, a loving son and an adored uncle.  He was also a brilliant friend and colleague and will be missed by so many people. His family are determined that his death will never be in vain and are doing their part to beat bowel cancer for good.  We are fundraising for the Bobby Moore Fund which is part of Cancer Research UK and specialises in research into bowel cancer.  If you wish to donate to the fund, you can via .


If you haven’t already done so, please read the article which appeared in the Daily Record and learn from Stewart’s story that you must never be complacent.  It makes grim reading for us, his family, even though we were beside him throughout his ordeal, or battle; call it what you will.


His wish was that The Grambler should continue after his death and I have been happy to oblige.  Welcome to The Grambler, the most ill-informed blog you are ever likely to see. Read on and enjoy…


We began with a bit of Shakespeare a couple of weeks back; let's start this week's blog with a poem from Scotland's bard, Rabbie Burns...

Wee, sleekit, cowran, tim'rous beastie,
O, what a panic's in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi' bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee,
Wi' murd'ring pattle!

I'm truly sorry Man's dominion
Has broken Nature's social union,
An' justifies that ill opinion,
Which makes thee startle,
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
An' fellow-mortal!

I doubt na, whyles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen-icker in a thrave 'S a sma' request:
I'll get a blessin wi' the lave,
An' never miss't!

Thy wee-bit housie, too, in ruin!
It's silly wa's the win's are strewin!
An' naething, now, to big a new ane,
O' foggage green!
An' bleak December's winds ensuin,
Baith snell an' keen!

Thou saw the fields laid bare an' wast,
An' weary Winter comin fast,
An' cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell,
Till crash! the cruel coulter past
Out thro' thy cell.

That wee-bit heap o' leaves an' stibble,
Has cost thee monie a weary nibble!
Now thou's turn'd out, for a' thy trouble,
But house or hald.
To thole the Winter's sleety dribble,
An' cranreuch cauld!

But Mousie, thou are no thy-lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men,
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!

Still, thou art blest, compar'd wi' me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But Och! I backward cast my e'e,
On prospects drear!
An' forward, tho' I canna see,
I guess an' fear!

What the blibbing heck was that?  What language is it?  It’s susposed to be English?  Well, I’ve not heard anyone talking like that.  Not round these parts.  Rabbit burns?  I suspose it would if you set fire to it.  Oh, he’s an poet, is he?  It’s not my cup of tea.  I prefer ‘Ay wandered lonely as an cloud, what floats on high oooooer vales and …wotsits, When all at once I saw an crowd, of…what’s them yellow flowers?...Them…daftydills, Beside the thingy…beneath the whatsisname, A fluttering and dancing in the streets…No, hang on…that was that song wasn’t it?  Arthur and the damn fellas…In the trees?  Bees?  Breeze!  That’s it.  Breeze!  What an brilliant poem.  Unforgettable.  It was by that bloke William Worse off…etc. etc. ad infinitum

Are you watching the Commonwealth Games.  I am afraid [Don’t be afraid. – Ed.], like watching footy on TV, it is best done with the sound off.  The problem with such a varied number of sports is that the commentators are pretty unsure of what they are describing.  Gary Lickiner, for example, often resembles a startled rabbit when he is on air.  I don’t rate him at all.  I don’t think he is the best at presenting MOTD and that is a sport he knows.  When trying to discuss other sports, he really is struggling.  And he isn’t commentating; he is just the front man tasked with linking the various items and dealing with interviewing (badly) the sportspeople who have won.  Some of his questions are just inane.  He ums and he ahs his way through the interview; often repeats himself and sometimes when asking a question he just tails off not completing the enquiry, obviously just hoping that the interviewee will fill in the gaps.  It is amateurish and not a little embarrassing to watch.  Why?  Why does the Beeb keep giving him these plum jobs?  Has he got incriminating pictures of the director-general?  I can’t work it out.  Ex-sportspeople invariably do not make great TV people.  He should be used as a summariser on MOTD and leave the business of presentation to a professional such as John Inverdale or Richard Gordon.  Sadly, Richard prefers the medium of radio.  Shame.  There are exceptions of course.  Peter Alliss was a brilliant presenter of the golf.  Sue Barker is excellent when presenting tennis.  The thing is, they are covering their own sports (although Sue does occasionally deal with other sports and manages well).  But Lickiner?  Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

Talking of ex-sportspeople on TV, Steve Cram does a good job of the athletics.  Unfortunately, he is always assisted by Brendan Foster.  Nothing against Brendan, he seems a lovely bloke, but he does not have the best TV presenter accent.  It is hard to believe that Cram and he come from the same part of the world.  The difference is that Steve Cram has ironed out his accent enough to make it more suited to nationwide TV; Brendan hasn’t.  He knows his stuff, I realise that, and he has toned the accent down a little.  It just isn’t enough.  He slurs his words and too often forgets that there are consonants in the middle of words – remember my Reggie Yates gripe?  Same with Brendan.  He talks about tac’ics rather than tactics, eigh’een instead of eighteen.  He also has a rather dull drawl which is monotonous.  Steve Cram can vary his speech to make what he says at least sound interesting.  Talking of Brendan, he sometimes loses track of what he is supposed to be saying and is prone to the occasional ‘Colemanball’ (Named after the commentator David Coleman whose brain could never seem to keep up with his mouth.).  My favourite moment was not so much a Colemanball but Brendan quoting Robert Burns [Ah.  Now it all makes sense. – Ed.].  He was referring to the line ‘The best laid schemes o’ mice an' men gang aft agley.’  What he actually said was ‘Like Robert Burns said – Some’imes the best laid plans go right out the window.’  Yes, the meaning is the same, but Burns did not say that.

Scotland has been doing rather well in the commonwealth games.  Won a fair number of medals.  One area that we were expected to do well was the bowls.  Scotland has produced a fair number of world champions over the years.
It may interest you to know that I play the odd game of bowls.  If you have seen me play, you would agree that it is very odd indeed.
I have actually played a game of bowls while the world champion himself practised on the rink next to mine; at my local club.  What a claim to fame, eh?  David Gourlay can actually tell his mates that he played bowls next to The Grambler!  Let's just put that in perspective.  A similar situation might be if you were a tennis player having a wee knockabout at your local club and Andy Murray turned up to practise on the court next to you.  I like to think that anyway.
Bowls is one weird game... a bunch of people rolling big balls up to a little ball and... That's it.  No dafter than 22 people kicking a ball from one end of a piece of flat ground to the other, I suppose.
It also has a language all of its own.  If you play your bowl too tight or narrow, you are instructed to 'take grass'.  If it meant I could play bowls better, I would do!  Sometimes you end up playing for a skip - see, I know all the terminology - who just has to pass comment on every bowl played.  There is also a special bowls term for such a player; he is called a pain in the arse.  I was playing in a mixed game (ladies and gents in case you didn't know) and the opposition's skip just couldn't help himself...'Long, Willie', he would shout.  Willie was the name of the bowler, in case you were chortling at the possibly rude meaning there.  It just so happened there was a bowler called Dick and his bowls were played short so the pain in the arse skip shouted... Stop sniggering at the back...Nothing, because Dick was playing in my team.  Anyway, it was one of those games where the teams are picked just prior to the game, so it is often the case that you may not know the people in your team.  So, it comes the time for one of the ladies in PITA's team to play her bowl.  As she delivers it, it is obvious she hasn't given it enough grass.  PITA pipes up, 'Tight.... What's her name, again?'  Now, call me cruel, but I just couldn't help myself and I told him her name was Fanny.... You're well ahead of me here aren't you?  Need I continue with the story?

Who is this week’s birthday person?

The loveliness of Paris seems somehow sadly gay,
The glory that was Rome is just another day,
I've been terribly alone and forgotten in Manhattan,
I'm grambling home to my city by the bay…

I left my heart…

Wild applause as people who obviously hadn’t got a clue what song was being sung, but then suddenly, after hearing those four words, as one, all realise that they know it after all.

… in San Francisco, high on a hill it grambles to me
To be where little cable cars gramble halfway to the stars.
The morning fog may chill the air, I don't care.

Yes our birthday boy this week is none other than Anthony Dominick Benedetto…no, he isn’t the Pope…he is better known as Tony Bennett…or Wiggy as I like to call him.  He was born on August the third, 1926, making him…hang on, need to work this out…88.  Blimey!  Still working as well.  Crikey, he’s even older than Bruce  Forsyth!


Tony Bennett complete with syrup

Any road up, let’s get on with grambling matters shall we?  How did we do last week?  We won.  Yay!  But only 75 pees.  Boo!  Only a couple of our gee gees managed to run faster than the other horses running in their particular races.  I feel quite aggrieved about one of our selections.  It wasn’t even favourite for the actual race.  What happened?  Did it take ill prior to the race?  No idea.  What I do know is that it came 7th and the horse that started as favourite won the race.  Damn!

So what has The Grambler come up with this week?

Meeting – Time – Horse – Odds

Galway                14.35         Marchese Marconi                                   4/9

Newmarket        16.40         Golden Town                                           4/11

Galway               16.55         Silwana                                                     4/9

Lingfield Park   18.00         Nufooth                                                     5/6

Lingfield Park   19.30         Burnt Sugar                                             1/10

Oh dear.  Look at those odds.  Even if the results go our way, the Bobby Moore Fund will only benefit by a piddling…


I think you will agree that that is piddling.

Hey there’s footy on today!  Yay!  Only the first round of the Scottish League Cup, but it’s a start.  I won’t trouble The Grambler to come up with a bet this week, but next week league football starts proper.  I will have to consider how to split our bet between gee gees and footy.

Right, what about an answer to last week’s teaser?  I asked which three England captains had played for Scunthorpe United.  I told you it could be deemed to be a pub quiz type question and, in a way, that was a clue.  The answer was Kevin Keegan, Ray Clemence and Ian Botham.  Trick question?  Not really.  I didn’t say in which sport they each captained England.

One for this week.  Which team, currently in the English senior leagues, went belly up in the 1960s and was reformed 6 years later?

Easy one that for any footy buffs.

And finally, Cyril?  And finally Esther, as we mentioned David Coleman earlier, let’s end with a selection of his ‘foot in mouth’ statements…

"He is one of the great unknown champions because very little is known about him."

"If that had gone in, it would have been a goal."

"We estimate, and this isn't an estimation, that Greta Waltz is 80 seconds behind."

"He is accelerating all the time. The last lap was run in 64 seconds and the one before in 62."

"And the line-up for the final of the women's 400 metres hurdles includes three Russians, two East Germans, a Pole, a Swede and a Frenchman."

"The front wheel crosses the finish line, closely followed by the back wheel."

"The Republic of China: back in the Olympic Games for the first time."

"That's the fastest time ever run, but it's not as fast as the world record."

"Forest have now lost six matches without winning."

"There is a fine line between serendipity and stalking."

"This evening is a very different evening from the morning we had this morning."

"He's seven seconds ahead and that's a good question."

"I think there is no doubt, she'll probably qualify for the final."

And I have the cheek to complain about the current crop!

Happy grambling.

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