Friday 14 November 2014

Week 15 - The Grambler on the heating allowance

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…


Another letter has been received in the postbag…

Dear Grambler,

Years ago I used to watch Morecambe and Wise, who I thought were very amusing.  Eric used to shout out the name of a football team every time Ernie coughed, but I can’t for the life of me remember which one.  Can you help?

Yours sincerely,

R. Snell.

Well it’s that time of year again; when the weather gets cold and pensioners start moaning about the cost of heating their homes, even though they get a bloody heating allowance from the government.  No doubt the Beano with Tits journalists will be trawling the web for a heartbreaking tale of some pensioner who has snuffed it because he or she couldn’t heat their home as the heating allowance isn’t adequate.  The Maily Dail will no doubt be equally scathing about the heating allowance and say that it should be increased for these old codgers who paid taxes all their lives instead of giving money to single mothers, single fathers, single fish, asylum seekers, new seekers, people with tattoos and/or body piercings, long haired yobbos, short haired yobbos, long haired lovers from Liverpool, men who wear suede shoes, men who wear sandals, men who wear trainers, drug addicts, glue sniffers, shoe sniffers, chavs, Slavs, liberal do-gooders, liberal do-badders, social workers, unsocial workers, people from the east, people from the west (join the love train), hippies, fat people, thin people, tall people, small people, village people, we are the people, smokers, non-smokers, heavy drinkers, heavy thinkers, heavy lorry drivers and any other group it cares to blame for the ills of this country.

I don’t understand why the media rolls out the same story every year; most pensioners I know who get the allowance use it to take a holiday rather than heat their home anyway.  Good for them, I say.  But there are others out there who complain about not having the wherewithal to heat their homes.

I remember a few years back the boss of a big energy provider, Centrica, got hauled over the coals [That’s quite apt. – Ed.] for suggesting that if you couldn’t afford heating then wear two jumpers.  Why was he criticised for stating something so patently sensible?  If it is cold you wear more clothes.  How much more simple can it be?  But no, this guy was slagged off by anyone with an opinion, well taxi drivers, mainly.  Now correct me if I am wrong, but I don’t think Eskimos demand to sit about their igloos wearing just a pair of underpants.  No, they add layer upon layer to prevent body heat from escaping.  Very wise people.  When I was a nipper I recall visiting older people who wore a hat indoors and either a very heavy cardigan or a jacket.  No central heating back then, it tended to be a coal fire in the main living room or nothing.  During the day it often would be nothing, the fire only being lit in the evening.  Did they moan about not being able to keep the house warm?  Of course not.  Central heating was only for the very rich; everyone else made do with heating just the one room.

Me?  I would go further than telling people to wear more clothes.  I would be telling them to be a bit more sensible about conserving heat.  Why, for instance, do people leave windows wide open ‘to air the place’ when it is minus 10 outside?  Your house is all nice and cosy and then you turn it into an icebox again.  Are you mad?  Why do people go in for laminate flooring instead of carpet?  When I were a lad [Here we go, Hovis time. – Ed.] my bedroom had linoleum on the floor with just a small bedside rug because carpet was a luxury reserved for the living room.  I’ll tell you, getting up on a cold winter’s morning was hell if you missed that rug when you got out of bed.  Thick carpet is what’s wanted right through the house not freezing cold laminate.  And talking of beds, we had extra blankets in the winter.  You know, to keep warm.  We also didn’t have double-glazing, but you got round that on cold nights by having thick curtains drawn across the windows.  Do you see that?  Drawn across the windows.  Not left wide open with only a flimsy blind drawn.  Thick curtains reduce heat loss.  And another thing, doors were kept closed to conserve heat.  The first word I learned to spell was dee double oh ar, because that was shouted any time I left the living room – the room with some heat – door open.  Follow the old-fashioned way of doing things and you might not have reason to moan.  Mind you, some oldies love nothing better than a good moan [You’re quite old aren’t you? – Ed.].

Crikey, we knew about this stuff in the past, why is anybody complaining now?  We live in a country that is cold during the winter; make some allowances (other than the extra money for heating type of allowance) for the fact!

Right, any birthdays for the 15th of November?  William Pitt the Elder 1708 (the first coal miner), Richmal Crompton 1890 (type of apple), Erwin Rommel 1891 (inventor of the piece of gymnastics equipment known as the rommel horse), Aneurin Bevan 1897 (inventor of fairness), Edward Asner 1929 (first female MP), JG Ballard 1930 (inventor of keep left sign), Clyde McPhatter 1932 (type of boat on a Scottish river), Petula Clark 1932 (inventor of shoes), Daniel Barenboim 1942 (inventor of the space hopper), Anni-Frid Lyngsdtadt 1945 (Scrabble champion), Alexander O’Neal 1953 (Ryan’s daughter), Gustavo Poyet 1967 (eeza footabolla manachhher), Jonny Lee Miller 1972 (singer of Chuck E’s in Love) and Peter Mark Andrew Phillips 1977 (ruhlly ruhlly posh bloke okay yahh).

Right there are a few singers in there. There’s Anni-Frid from off of ABBA, but we had an ABBA gramble when it was Agnetha’s birthday, so we won’t be doing The Grambler takes it all.  Alexander O’Neal?  Can you name one of his songs?  Exactly.  What about Clyde McPuffer from off of the Drifters?  Save the Last Gramble for me, perhaps?  No, I think we will give Pet Clark a shot.  I think this’ll do nicely…

Don't gramble in the subway, darlin'
Don't gramble in the pouring rain
Don't gramble in the subway, darlin'
The night is long
Forget your gramblish pride
Nothing's wrong
Now you're beside me again

Yeah?  No?

Let’s get down to grambling matters, shall we?  What happened last week?  We lost.  Each and every prediction was utterly wrong.  Do I even need to tell you about it?  Course I don’t.  Let’s not dwell on it.  Let’s get this week’s predictions.  Right?  Right.  Not arf.

Well, first off, we have a truncated (That’s a good word, I must look it up) fixtures list thanks to there being a number of internationals taking place this weekend.  Thus, since there are no Premiershit, Championship or SPL games taking place, The Grambler has just 30 games to choose from…and the five randomly selected games are…

Game – Result – Odds

Oldham vs Crawley – Prediction Home win – 8/15

Luton vs Tranmere – Prediction Home win – 11/10

Ayr vs Peterhead – Prediction Home win – 6/4

Albion vs Arbroath – Prediction Away win – 11/8

Elgin vs Queens Park – Prediction Away win – 13/10

Hang on a mo.  You know the rules Grambler – All matches are supposed to take place on Saturday 15th of November at 3pm.  That’s 3 o’clock in the afternoon.  15.00.  Got that?  So why is Oldham vs Crawley in there?  1 o’clock that one is on.  I don’t know, you trust he/she/it to stick to the rules and what does he/she/it do?  Whatever he/she/it wants, that’s what.  Tyuh!  Oh well, it’s done now.  Can’t be changed.  So, if all these selections go as The Grambler has predicted, the Bobby Moore Fund will receive a stupendous….


Hmm.  Stupendous indeed.  Will it happen?  Will it f… Probably not.

What about the answer to last week’s teaser, then, I hear you ask, which is weird because I am sitting writing this with no one else in the building.  Any road up last week I asked you which teams made up the original Scottish Football League.  There were ten in all.  Are you ready?  Here goes…

Abercorn (voted out in 1915), Cambuslang (voted out in 1892), Celtic, Cowlairs (voted out in 1895), Dumbarton, Heart of Midlothian, Rangers, St Mirren, Third Lanark (voted out in 1967), Vale of Leven (voted out in 1924).

This week’s teaser?  A simple question.  What is Bournemouth’s James Hayter’s double claim to fame?  Does anyone out there in Gramblerland know the answer without resorting to Googlie?  Hey, you can even send a message if you think you have the answer.  Go on, go on, go on, go on…

And finally, Cyril?  And finally Esther those lovely people at Viz have come up with an excellent way for those freezing old folk to cut their heating bills…


Happy Grambling.

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