Friday 6 February 2015

Week 27 - Seven facts

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…


Dear Mr Crumble,

Here’s a good question for your teaser of the week.  Which football club is named not after a place, but after a building which once stood in Hyde Park?

Yours quizzically,

Chris Talp-Alliss.


I know I have mentioned social media before, but I think it is time to return to the likes of Bacefook and Twatter.  Why, you ask.  Yes, I know I have had a moan about the trivia people put online [Touche! – Ed.] – I recently saw an item where somebody actually asked for the phone number of a particular restaurant.  How lazy is that?  I can’t be bothered looking up the number, I’ll just let someone else do it for me!

But this week, I don’t intend moaning.  Instead I will consider the fun side of social media that really does bring a smile to my old face.  I am talking about ‘challenges’ or ‘nominations’ to join in with a current trend.

We all knew about the ice bucket challenge which caught the imagination last year.  Whether you are a user of Bacefook or not, you must have been aware of this fundraising phenomenon.  It was even shown on the national news.  Who can forget Alistair Darling’s meek acceptance of his fate as two assistants poured ice-cold water over him, or Alec Salmond’s Braveheart impression when he was given the same treatment?

Other, lower profile, challenges have taken place.  One involved guys being made up with mascara and lipstick and putting a picture of themselves on Bacefook.  I don’t know what the reason for that was.  Maybe, it was just them showing their feminine side.  The pictures ranged from circus clown to drag queen and were never anything less than truly scary.  Some were so grotesque they could easily have been the stuff of nightmares for many.

Thankfully, I was not nominated for that, but I have joined in with ‘top ten films’ and ‘top ten albums’.  Recently, there has been a similar list type of thing and I have been nominated to join in.  It is a list of seven things about oneself that people might not know.  Most people put in absolute trivia such as their most detested food, or a memory from their childhood.  Others take it a bit too seriously and list their achievements in life to, basically, bloody show off.  Things like gaining their BA Hons while being blindfolded throughout, as they rode a unicycle and juggled with knives.  That sort of crap.

Any road up, I have been invited to list seven things people might not know about me.  I thought, maybe my little grambling friends would appreciate reading such recollections.  After all, many of my topics on have been memories from my past.  So here goes with this week’s topic.  Seven things you didn’t know about me, that will hopefully make you smile, or at least think, ‘What a tit.’…

1.    My favourite ‘how many people can boast this’ story.  I passed my driving test first time.  Twice.  Sorry pardon excuse me?  You see, when I was 17, I bought my first car and learned to drive in it.  However, it was equipped with an automatic gearbox, so, when I passed my driving test in it, my shiny new licence stated that I was only allowed to drive vehicles fitted with auto gearbox.  With me so far?  For the next 12 years I was happy to buy automatics, but, in those days [Hovis time! – Ed.] cars so fitted tended to be large, thirsty beasts.  Any small cars fitted with automatic transmission got snapped up pretty quickly and for a price that was considerably dearer than their larger counterparts.  I could either spend a given amount on an old small car, or the same amount on a much newer large car – It was at the time when fuel rationing was being mooted so big car prices plummeted.  I did occasionally manage to get a small car (a Mini) but everything else was larger than I really wanted.  I got a bit p***** off with spending so much on insurance and fuel, not to mention spares and repairs which were also pretty steep.  I decided that I had to downsize.  I bought a Ford Fiesta fitted with a manual gearbox and learned to drive all over again.  So now you know.  Nowadays, I drive a car with an auto box anyway.

2.    Mrs G says I am a bit absent-minded; usually when I have returned from the shops without something I was meant to buy.  Twas ever so.  Even as a kid I was pretty forgetful.  Often I would take my pet dog with me when I went down to my local newsagent to buy my Beano or Dandy [More Hovis, vicar? – Ed.].  Long after I returned home and was reading through the comics to see what exploits Desperate Dan or the Bash Street Kids were getting up to, I would realise that I had left the dog tied up outside the shop.  I would then rush to rescue him.  He was such a placid beast that he was still sitting quietly where I had left him giving a half-hearted wag of the tail for everyone who emerged from the shop.  My worst ‘forgetful’ moment was when, aged about 10, I was invited to a pal’s birthday party.  I forgot all about it.  So what, you may say, lots of people forget to go to parties.  Maybe so, but I only realised my mistake when my pal arrived at my door to collect me, having left his own birthday party to do so.  And I hadn’t bought him a present, either.

3.    I had aspirations to be a comedy scriptwriter a few years back.  I wrote sketches for a show called Naked Radio and its TV counterpart Naked Video.  A good few were used, but I only ever got paid for two.  Miserable Beeb Beeb Ceeb.  When I asked for payment for my other work, the shows’ producers would tell me that other writers had had the exact same idea.  Oh aye, sure.

4.    My favourite prezzie, when I was a kid, was a second-hand bike I got for my ninth birthday.  I say bike.  There were no handlebars.  Or saddle.  Or pedals.  Or wheels, come to that.  Okay, it was a bike frame, but it was the starting point for my own customised bike.  My dad, who to my young eyes, could make or repair anything, bought this old frame from a neighbour for about ten bob (50p) and said he would build me a bike to my own specification.  So, for the weeks leading up to my birthday, Dad (with a bit of help/hindrance from me) worked away cleaning, painting and building my perfect bike.  The frame was painted a bright red; new white mudguards and a red and white saddle completed the most personalised present I have ever been given.  On my birthday, a pal and I set off to put my new bike through its paces.  Unfortunately, while road-testing its manoeuvrability in a tight turn, I fell off, grazed my knees and the chain came off.  Happy fn birthday.

5.    I ‘invented’ the dying fly dance long before punks adopted it.  Yep, back in 1974, at least two years before punk came along, I was doing the dying fly.  To explain, I was at a party and a bit drunk.  I must have been drunk because I was dancing.  Me.  Dancing.  Can you believe that?  As I said, a bit drunk and a bit unsteady on my feet.  I fell down.  I fell straight to the floor.  Nothing spectacular (© Chic Murray).  I was so happily drunk that from my supine position I just continued waving my arms and legs about as if I was still dancing.  Voila!  The dying fly.  My invention.  Okay punks?

6.    I rode an untaxed, un-MOTd motorbike on public roads, uninsured, without a crash helmet and without even having a drivers’ licence (motorcyclist’s licence?).  It gets worse.  I was 11 years old.  Okay a month shy of my 12th birthday.  I say motorbike, it was actually a moped.  That is a small motorised bike which has pedals to start the engine up.  It was a 49cc contraption known as a Raleigh Runabout.  Top speed was a heady 30 miles per hour.  Woo!  How did all this happen?  My family visited some old friends down in Derby.  My 16 year-old brother was a bit bored during our stay, until he discovered the said moped in the friends’ garage.  It hadn’t been run for years.  Big bro rolled his sleeves up and with a couple of gaskets and a new spark plug, had the old bike fired up and ready for use.  Road test time.  Luckily, the friends lived on the edge of farmland so, after leaving the street, we could test the bike on little-used country roads.  And guess what.  I didn’t fall off.

7.    Finally, another booze-related story.  At the age of about 20 I gave up the demon drink and remained tee-total for about two years.  Why?  Ah, a sad tale, I’m afraid.  I was once walking…no, staggering…home from the pub with an equally drunk mate.  We were challenged by a gang of lads about our own age.  One of them didn’t like my face.  ‘I don’t like your face,’ he said.  He then set about rearranging it.  Initially he used his fists, but when I fell over, he took to using his leather-boot protected feet.  My mate, who stood about 5 feet 3 tall and weighed something like 6 stone, didn’t get thumped, nor did he fight, but by golly he could run quickly.  The booted individual was finally hauled away by his friends and they dispersed.  After a while, I managed to get up.  My mate returned sheepishly at this point.  At least he helped me get back home.  So, after that, I thought that the drink was to blame and simply gave it up.  Two years later, I tasted my first malt whisky and the rest, as they say, is history.

To be fair, my mate still feels guilty about running away.

There you have it chums; seven facts about me that are not generally known.  Let’s get on with this week’s birthdays.  Anyone famous born on the 7th of February.  Bound to be…

Sir Thomas More 1478 (second James Bond), John Deere 1804 (me? I’m just a lawnmower, you can tell me by the way I walk), Charles Dickens 1812 (inventor of stupidly named literary characters), Buster Crabbe 1910 (Tarzan that swung sideways), Dick Emery 1917 (specific sandpaper), Hattie Jacques 1922 (Ooo, matron!), Dora Bryan 1924 (joiner), Gareth Hunt 1943 (rhyming slang), Pete Postlethwaite 1945 (tongue twister), Emo Phillips 1956 (fashion icon), James Spader 1960 (navvy), Eddie Izzard 1962 (don’t mess with him) and Michael Stich 1968 (pontoon player).  Nobody in there that can provide us with a toon to gramblerise.  However, as happened a couple of weeks back, it is a death which provides us with our song.

Thirty years ago, on the 7th of February 1985, Terry Parsons died.  Who?  You know, Terry Parsons ‘the man with the golden voice’.  Okay, he was better known as Matt Monro.  Or Fred Flange.  Apparently, he provided a satirical ditty in the style of Frank Sinatra for a Peter Sellers album called Songs for Swinging Sellers.  He was credited on the album sleeve as Fred Flange.  Any road up, Matt/Terry/Fred had a number of hits in the 1960s – From Russia with Love, Born Free, Yesterday among them – but let’s have an early hit for this week’s toon…

She walks like a grambler walks
She talks like a grambler talks
And her hair has a kind of curl
To my mind she's my kind of girl.
Shes wise like a grambler's wise
With eyes like a grambler's eyes
And her smile's like a kind of pearl
To my mind she's my kind of girl

Let’s move onto grambling matters shall we?  How did we do last week?  He was really good Matt Monro, wasn’t he?  He had a lovely voice.  What?  Last week’s bet?  Erm… He was a bus driver before he became famous, you know.  Are you sure you want to know what happened?  Oh.  You do.  Okay.  Here we go… Portrait of My Love.  That was a big hit for him… All right, all right.  We lost.  Happy?  What happened?  Read on…

Ipswich vs Wigan – Prediction Home win

Result – Ipswich 0 Wigan 0

Ooh! ‘It the bar!

Jay Tabb had Ipswich Town's best chance of the first half, lashing over when put through by Tyrone Mings.

Wigan's James Perch headed wide from a Don Cowie corner after the break and at the other end David McGoldrick nodded straight at Ali Al Habsi.

Freddie Sears had a late chance for Town, but neither side deserved to win.

Nottingham Forest vs Millwall – Prediction Home win

Result – Nottingham Forest 0 Millwall 1


Ricardo Fuller's late goal gave Millwall their first win in nine games as Nottingham Forest's poor form continued.

Fuller pounced on a weak header from Stephen McLaughlin to prod home seven minutes from time at the City Ground.

Henri Lansbury had a shot deflected over for the home team but rarely threatened in an uneventful first half.

Robert Tesche and Britt Assombalonga (Cracking name of the week contender) both hit the bar for Forest who have won just once in 11 games.

Crawley vs Preston North End – Prediction Away win

Result – Crawley 2 Preston 1


Anthony Wordsworth put the hosts ahead on his home debut when he bundled in Lewis Young's cross from close range.

Paul Huntington brought Preston level after the interval when he headed Paul Gallagher's corner in at the near post.

But Lee Fowler gave Crawley their first win in 16 games in all competitions when he volleyed home from long range late on.

Crewe vs MK Dons – Prediction Away win

Result – Crewe 0 MK Dons 5


MK Dons moved to the top of League One after they cruised to victory at Crewe.

Devante Cole opened the scoring with his first goal since joining on loan from Manchester City, before Dean Bowditch chipped home a second.

Cole stroked home his second after Daniel Powell's cut back, with Carl Baker and then Powell adding second-half efforts.

The Railwaymen struggled all afternoon with Jamie Ness and Anthony Stewart having their best efforts.

Wycombe vs Portsmouth – Prediction Home win

Result – Wycombe 0 Portsmouth 0

Ooh! ‘It the bar!

Pompey had the best early chances, but Matt Tubbs was thwarted by keeper Matt Ingram and then defender Joe Jacobson.

The Chairboys almost went in front just before the break only for Jacobson to thunder a powerful shot against the crossbar from Peter Murphy's pull back.

Fred Onyedinma (Definitely cracking name of the week!) turned Jacobson's cross just wide but Wycombe could find no way through as the second half fizzled out.


Oh well.  Normal service is resumed.  Shall we try again this week?  Yeah, why not.

This week we have a full programme of games in England, but only nine Scottish games taking place.  It’s the fifth round of the William Hill Scottish Cup this weekend.  So from all the games taking place this Saturday, the 7th of February at 3pm, The Grambler has randomly selected…

Game – Result – Odds

Aston Villa vs Chelsea – Prediction Away win – 3/10

Derby vs Bolton – Prediction Home win – 1/2

Middlesbrough vs Charlton – Prediction Home win – 1/3

Cheltenham vs Burton – Prediction Away win – 6/5

Portsmouth vs Hartlepool – Prediction Home win – 10/11

If all bets (10 x 20 pee doubles and 1 x 20 pee accumulator) go our way [If if if.  Same old, same old. – Ed.] the Bobby Moore Fund will be receiving the not very grand total of…



Hmm.  This week?  Maybe?  Maybe not.

And now… It’s teaser time.  Last week I asked you which two men faced each other in FA Cup finals both as players and as managers.  The answer is Don Revie and Bob Stokoe.  Told you it was an oldie.  They faced each other in the 1955 FA Cup final when Stokoe was part of the Newcastle side that beat Revie’s side Manchester City 3-1.  In 1973 and Stokoe was again triumphant as manager of Sunderland.  Second-division Sunderland caused one of the biggest FA Cup final shocks of all time by beating Revie's all-conquering Leeds United 1-0 at Wembley.

What about one for this week?  A simple one for you this week.  What does the term ‘perfect hat trick’ mean?

And finally, Cyril?  And finally Esther, a picture of a funky moped…

No-one was injured in the testing of this moped


…followed by a link to a little hit from the one, the only Jasper Carrott .


Happy grambling.

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