Friday, 12 September 2014

Week 6 - Grambling at the fit 'n' fun day


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 https://www.justgiving.com/Geraldine-Smith3 .

 

If you haven’t already done so, please read the article which recently 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. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/lifestyle/heartbroken-widow-geraldine-smith-raises-3452997

 

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…

 

Last week I told you about a Family Fit ‘n’ Fun Day (How I hate having to use that ‘n’ instead of and.) that we were planning in Stewart’s memory.  It took place on September the 7th; as near to his anniversary as we could manage to get. 

What the f…What is a fit ‘n’ fun day, I hear you ask.  Erm…it’s a day (well, afternoon) where people come to…erm…get fit and…erm…have fun.

The fit part was taken care of by having an NHS stall giving blood pressure checks, a local pharmacy doing checks for diabetes etc.  Fit ‘n’ fun?  Bouncy castle, football, basketball and gymnastics for the kids.  Smoothy bike for the adults and ki… Hold it right there.  A what?  A smoothy bike.  What in the name of Noel Edmonds is a smoothy bike?  Erm…It’s a bike which has no wheels.  Okay, so it’s not, technically, a bike.  It’s a frame with pedals, a saddle and handlebars.  With me so far?  No, I thought not.  So the cog that moves by turning the pedals is connected by chain to another cog which is in turn connected to mitre gears which turn a spindle onto which is placed a blender jug.  Now, are you with me?  Still no?  Any road up, fruit and juice is placed in that jug and pedal power turns it into a smoothy.  Great fun.  No, it really is.  Honest.

Anything else.  Oh yes.  Splat the rat.  Sorry pardon excuse me?  A rat is dropped down a drainpipe and, using a baseball bat, the idea is to hit the rat as it emerges from the other end of the pipe.  Hence SPLAT!  Sadly, it isn’t a real rat, so no blood and gore.  It’s a bean bag.  Sorry to disappoint you.

So that’s certainly a fun bit.  Unfortunately, other stalls were very unfit – a tuck shop selling sweets; although, to placate the health freaks it did have some bananas and raisins available among the E additives. 

There was a cafĂ© selling less than healthy rolls and sausage and hotdogs.  Now anyone from anywhere other than Scotland will be thinking: same thing, surely.  No, not here in Scotland.  One of our delicacies is the Lorne or ‘square’ sausage.  It is neither healthy, nor do they sound particularly appetising and yet we love them.  Any expat Scot would probably single it out as the thing he/she misses most when he/she is abroad.  Many Scots abroad request visitors to bring Lorne sausage vacuum wrapped.  It comes in a block measuring approximately 18 inches long by 4 x 4.  I imagine customs officials ask a few questions when presented with such a ‘package’…

‘What the f*** is it?’ (I have chosen to portray the official as an Australian.)

‘It’s sausage.’

‘It’s a bladdy odd looking sausage’

‘It’s square sausage.’

‘No it’s not.  It’s bladdy oblong.’

‘It’s Lorne sausage.’

‘Lawn sausage?  Grass?  Now we’re getting somewhere.  If you wouldn’t mind stepping this way sir…’

Yes.  What else did the fit ‘n’ fun day have on offer?  Gambling.  Lots of it.  Tombola, raffle, bottle stall.  You name it; we had it.  Bingo?  Well, no we didn’t have bingo.  Poker?  No, nor card games.  Roulette?  All right, all right, there wasn’t that much gambling.  Anyway, the prizes were not especially healthy.  Lots of wine on offer as prizes.  Boxes of chocolates, too.  Some ‘boffins’ – that’s the ‘Sun’ (a British daily newspaper of dubious quality sometimes dubbed the Beano with tits) name for anyone who knows anything about anything - reckon that red wine can be beneficial to your health and that dark chocolate is also good for you.  They don’t mention pinot grigio, prosecco or Thornton’s milk chocolate selection, though.

One other form of gambling was the roll a ten pee stall.  You what?  You roll a ten pee (or any round coin of whatever currency you happen to use) onto a board marked off with squares.  Each square is slightly larger than the coin in question and has a winning sum – say 3 or 5 times the value of said coin – printed in it.  The idea is to get your coin to roll into a square so that it settles without touching the lines.  If it does that, you win the sum marked.  Not easy I can tell you.  In fact it’s damn near impossible.

I told you that it had taken that year of meticulous planning to get it to happen.  Every couple of weeks we had a committee meeting (Yes, we actually had a committee) to discuss how things were progressing – Would we get enough sponsorship? Should we have square sausage or burgers?  Should we really be drinking so much wine at a committee meeting?  As the day of the event drew nearer I feared that it was going to be a complete and utter shambles.

Luckily, my fears were unfounded.  Yes, we got local businesses to sponsor the day.  Yes, we plumped for sausage.  And no, we shouldn’t have drunk so much wine at the committee meetings.  The day itself was a great success and it raised £3292.05 for The Grambler’s Kick Bowel Cancer’s Backside Fund.  Over 3 thousand quids!  What a fantastic result.  Why don’t you do it every year, somebody asked me.  Sorry, it was a one off.  You know those adverts which proclaim ‘Unrepeatable offer’?  Well the fit ‘n’ fun day was just that – unrepeatable.  It was a great day, with a great deal of money heading towards cancer research, but we couldn’t go through it again.  All those committee meetings?  I’d end up an alcofrolic!

Any famous birthdays today (13th September).  Yes loads of famous people were born today.  Well, it stands to reason dunnit?  365 days in a year; one three hundredth and sixty fifth of all the famous people ever were probably born on a given day.  So today was the birth date of…deep breath…Daniel Defoe 1660, Clara Schumann 1819, Milton S Hershey 1857, J.B. Priestly 1894, Claudette Colbert 1903, Roald Dahl 1916, Dick Haymes 1916, Mel Torme 1925, Jacqueline Bisset 1944 and Zak Starkey 1965 to name but ten.  Problem is, not one of them ever had a hit record worth gramblerising.  Mel Torme might have done a few songs but was more of an interpreter of songs and as such didn’t have his own ‘stand out’ song (see http://www.thegrambler.com/2014/08/week-48-grambling-home-to-my-city-by-bay.html for example).  Composer Clara Schumann?  Do me a favour.  Hang on, I’ve missed one out.  Mr Peter Cetera one time vocalist with Chicago was also born on this day in 1944, making him 70.  Oh yes, there is one song we just have to gramblerise…

If you gramble me now, you'll take away the biggest part of me
Ooo, ooo, ooo, ooo, no, baby please don't gramble
And if you gramble me now, you'll take away the very heart of me
Ooo, ooo, ooo, ooo, no, baby please don't gramble
A love like ours is love that's hard to find
How could we let it gramble away?

That ooo ooo ooo bit was sung in a pitch even Frankie Valli would have struggled with.  Here, would you like a factoid?  A real one.  Do you know why the band changed its name from Chicago Transit Authority to Chicago?  Apart from the obvious reason that it was simpler.  Apparently the actual Chicago Transit Authority complained about its name being used.  Miserable killjoys.

Well here in Scotland we are voting for our independence in this coming week.  I am not going to influence anybody in this article by saying which way I am going to vote; this is not a political platform so I will remain neutral.  I have been watching the British Broadcorping Casteration’s various news items relating to the big day.  BBC Scotland has a political correspondent who has been given a lot of airtime lately.  His name is Brian Taylor and something has been bothering me…You know how you see somebody and say – he’s a dead ringer for such and such.  Well, every time I see Brian Taylor, instead of listening to his one-sided view of the election, his arse-licking toadying to the No campaign and total disdain for the Yes campaign [Stop it now. – Ed.], I am trying to recall who he reminds me of.  Then it came to me…


 

What do you think?  The one on the right is a Weeble, the one on the left Brian Taylor [Are you sure?  No, no, I think you’re right.  Don’t mind me – Ed.].  You remember Weebles?  I even remember the advert – ‘Brian Taylor wobbles but won’t fall down.’

Shall we get on with the important matter of grambling?  Yes, let’s.

Not a great week’s predicting.  We won.  Yay!  No, not yay.  We only won a miserable 67 pees.  Have you ever seen a pile of 67 pees?  It’s miserable, believe me.  Ah, you say, at least we won, surely that’s something.  Maybe, but it took the season’s winnings from a positive £1.08 to a negative 45 pees.  So, definitely not ‘yay’.

How did this negative equity arise?  Read on…

Bristol City vs Scunthorpe – Prediction Home win

Result – Bristol City 2 Scunthorpe 0

YAYYY!  Good start!

Second-half goals from Aden Flint and Greg Cunningham earned Bristol City victory over Scunthorpe United and took them to second place in the League One table.

Gary McSheffrey went close for the struggling visitors early on with a thumping strike that hit the far post.

But the Robins took the lead when Flint nodded Luke Freeman's corner back across goal and into the net.

The points were wrapped up when Cunningham ran on to Korey Smith's pass and drilled the ball in from the left.

Scunthorpe, who have now lost four of their six league games, drop to third from bottom.

And now, read what Bristol City manager Steve Cotterill told BBC Bristol…

"I thought that they were going to be a tough nut to crack, they came here with a few injuries and ended up having two full-backs to try stop Mark Little.

"They ended up with a back six - the back four defended within the 18 yard box, plus the two wide men.

"It wasn't about going around them, we actually needed to go through the middle of them which we did for the corner that got the goal.

"We are pleased that in the second half our performance was upped a lot, but in the first half we needed to think about that situation because we may get that a few more times."

Did you understand that?  No, nor did I.  Bollocks, wasn’t it?

Oldham vs Fleetwood – Prediction Away win

Result – Oldham 1 Fleetwood 0

BOOOO!

Fleetwood's unbeaten start to life in League One came to an end after defeat to north-west rivals Oldham Athletic.

The hosts dominated the first half but efforts from Danny Philliskirk and Jonathan Forte both missed the target.

They deservedly took the lead after Steven Schumacher brought down Philliskirk [Who is this Phillis Kirk? – Ed.] in the box and Forte stepped up to slot away the penalty.

The visitors improved after the break but Gareth Evans' curler from the edge of the box was their best attempt.

I feared this would happen.  Often promoted sides begin well, until they get ‘found out’.  In other words, the scouts and coaching staff of other clubs have watched how they play and have spotted the flaws.

Peterborough vs Port Vale – Prediction Home win

Result – Peterborough 3 Port Vale 1

YAYYY!  That’s more like it!

Recent signing Marcus Maddison scored a classy first-half goal to set league leaders Peterborough United on their way to a convincing win over Port Vale.

Maddison lofted the ball over goalkeeper Chris Neal from 18 yards to give the Posh a deserved lead at the break.

Substitute Kyle Vassell headed in Jon Taylor's free-kick to double the score and Jack Payne's fine shot made it 3-0.

Jordan Slew scored with a thumping late strike but a fifth Posh win in six League One games was never in doubt.

Slew's goal was some reward for an improved second-half display by the visitors.

But Peterborough were good value for their win and their steady, clinical performance could easily have led to a greater margin of victory.

The visitors threatened more after the interval after playing two up front.

But they struggled to create clear chances and only had Slew's late goal to show for their efforts after Vassell and Payne had made the points safe.

Southend vs Oxford United – Prediction Home win

Result – Southend 1 Oxford United 1

Arrghh!  Hit the bar!

Danny Hylton's second-half penalty earned winless Oxford United an away point against Southend United.

Hylton sent goalkeeper Daniel Bentley the wrong way after Luke Prosser was adjudged to have felled the striker.

Teenager Jack Payne scored his first league goal to give the hosts a deserved first-half lead, drilling a low shot into the corner.

Hylton was denied by a double save from Bentley as Southend struggled to create anything clear cut after the equaliser.

Midfielder Payne, who had only ever appeared as a substitute for the Blues in the league, was given a place in the starting line-up by Phil Brown after he impressed with two goals in the midweek defeat to AFC Wimbledon in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy.

But his fine effort proved to be in vain as Hylton kept his composure to roll his penalty into the bottom left corner for his fourth league goal of the season, despite protests from the Southend players that he had gone down softly to win the spot kick.

The draw means Oxford have now failed to win any of their six games this season and sit second-bottom of the League Two table, while Southend remain mid-table.

Wycombe vs Bury – Prediction Away win

Result – Wycombe 0 Bury 0

Arrghh!  Hit the bar again!

Wycombe and Bury played out a stalemate at Adams Park despite the hosts hitting the crossbar twice in stoppage time.

In a game of few chances which leaves both teams in League Two's top six, the visitors were first to strike the woodwork when Andrew Tutte hit the bar.

Wycombe midfielder Peter Murphy then scuffed his shot when well placed.

But, with 14 minutes of injury time signalled by the officials, first Matt McClure and then Murphy headed against the bar in a goalmouth scramble.

The longer than usual time added-on followed a potentially serious neck injury to Wycombe striker Steven Craig, who was carried off after falling awkwardly midway through the second half.

Oh well.  Onward and upward.  Let’s see what this week brings…

After last week’s limited total of games to choose from, this week we have a full card with 59 games in the English and Scottish senior leagues taking place at 3pm on Saturday the 13th of September.  So let’s have a butcher’s at what The Grambler has randomly selected.  Hmm.  Four English games and only one from the Scottish leagues…

Game - Result – Odds

Southampton vs Newcastle – Prediction Home win – 4/5

For our first game we head to St. Mary’s Stadium where the Saints play host to the Magpies.  The Grambler has predicted that Southampton will take all the points here.  Hmm.  Not sure about this at all.  Last season Southampton finished in 8th position and Newcastle were in 10th spot, so there isn’t much between the two.  They have only met four times in recent years with Southampton winning 2, losing 1 and drawing the other.  Crucially, Southampton took their maximum points in home games.  Can they do it again?  Hmm…

Blackpool vs Wolverhampton – Prediction Away win – 10/11

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside. Oh I do like to be beside the sea.  Oh yes.  For game two we head up the wild and windy west coast to Bloomfield Road where the Seasiders (or Pool, or Tangerines; take your pick) play host to Wolves.  The Grambler has gone for an away win on this game and, given that Blackpool have yet to earn a point, he/she/it could well be right. 

Bournemouth vs Rotherham – Prediction Home win – 4/5

Take 2 - Oh I do like to be beside the seaside…Yes, for our third game we once again don knotted hankies for hats as we head for the south coast to Dean Court where the Cherries play host to the Millers.  The Grambler has gone for a home win this time.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – hmm.  Rotherham haven’t done too badly so far in their first season in the Championship; won 2 and lost 3.  Okay, not great, but at least they are winning some.  Bournemouth are only one point ahead of them having won 2, drawn 1 and lost 2.  Surely a draw is a possibility for this one.

Chesterfield vs Scunthorpe – Prediction Home win – 17/20

Game number three takes us inland to the Proact Stadium where the Spireites play host to the Iron.  The Grambler has predicted that 6th placed Chesterfield will beat 22nd placed Scunthorpe.  I have nothing to add.

Dumbarton vs Hearts – Prediction Away win – 4/7

And finally, Cyril?  And finally Esther, we head to the Bet Butler Stadium (known by the fans as ‘The Rock’, because it is situated at the foot of Dumbarton Rock) where the Sons (of the rock) play host to the Jambos.  The Grambler has predicted that Hearts will continue their scorching start by making it five played, five won by taking all the points against Dumbarton.  Hard to argue with that given that Dumbarton have won only once so far this season.  Hold on though, they lost the first 3 and won the last game; perhaps they are now getting into their stride.  Perhaps they are about to break Hearts’ hearts (Do you see what I did there?) and take a point or three from them.

Now you are probably wondering why I made so much of the fact that the town of Dumbarton is dominated by a rock.  Is it because am in awe of this amazing monolith which dominates the Clyde estuary?  No, it’s because I want to relate my favourite Chic Murray gag.  Are you ready?

This woman told me that if I stood here I would be able to see Dumbarton Rock.  Well, I’ve been here for half an hour and it hasn’t moved once.

[Laugh?  I thought I’d never start. – Ed.]

Righty ho, the predictions have been made and the bets are on (10 x 20 pee doubles plus 1 x 20 pee accumulator).  How much will be winging its way to the Kick Bowel Cancer’s Backside Fund if all results go as The Grambler has predicted?  A stupendous…

£9.96

That is not in the least bit stupendous is it?  On a stupendicity scale of 1 to 10, it would struggle to even make 1.


Hey, we haven’t had the answer to last week’s teaser.  I asked you which player on his only appearance for Scotland, scored before he had even kicked the ball.  The answer is Joe Craig who won his only Scotland cap against Sweden at Hampden Park on 27th April 1977.  He replaced Kenny Burns in the 76th minute and scored with a header a couple of minutes later before even kicking the ball.  Quite a good one, I thought.

How about one for this week?  Right, apparently, Wean Rooney is now the 4th top scorer for England (41 goals).  Who occupy positions 1, 2 and 3?


I mentioned the Scottish comedian Chic Murray earlier and would like to finish with an item by him.  Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of footage of his work available, but I am able to give you a link to, what I believe is, the best moment in the film Gregory's Girl in which Chic played the school head.


Happy grambling

 

 

 

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