Thursday 7 May 2015

Week 40 - The Grambler watches children's TV

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 is 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.


He began writing The Grambler when he was between procedures and hoping for some form of recovery.  He loved all aspects of football and was a lifelong Motherwell supporter.  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…


As Private Eye’s headline put it when a child going by the name of George was born 20 months ago – ‘Woman has baby’.  Well, she’s had another one.  This one is called Charlotte.  Another benefits scrounger who won’t ever do a day’s work!  And no doubt the commemorative tat producers will have a field day…


Thanks to for this very stylish commemorative mug.




Quite an apt start there, because this week’s topic is very much kiddie-orientated and concerns my own grandkids or, rather, the TV they watch.  It is lovely having grandkids.  It is, really.  The joke goes that you can always hand them back when you have had enough of them.  I am discovering all sorts of televisual delights thanks to children’s TV programmes.  I have already told you about the utterly baffling programme called In the Night Garden (See  There are others – The Adventures of Abney and Teal (also slightly bonkers), Tree Fu Tom (even more bonkers) and the completely mad Grandpa in my Pocket.  I would love to have been at the meeting when this idea was put to Beeb Beeb Ceeb bigwigs…

‘Right, the main characters are a little boy and his grandpa.’

‘Yes, go on…’

‘Well, grandpa has a magic cap’

‘A magic…what?’

‘Cap.  As in flat cap.’

‘Cap.  I see.  Go on…’

‘Whenever he puts his cap on, he shrinks to 3 inches in height.’

‘I’m sorry?’

‘He shrinks to 3 inches in height.’

‘What in heaven’s name for?’

‘Well, it means his grandson can put him in his pocket.’

‘Why on earth would he want to do that?’

‘Well, he can then help his grandson should the boy need him to.’

‘A 3 inch high pensioner?’


‘Can help his grandson?’


‘I don’t think in all my years as a commissioning editor I have ever heard such a ridiculous concept for a TV programme…other than Deal or No Deal, of course.’

‘So you’re not interested?’

‘Absolutely not.’

‘What if I told you James Bolam wanted to play the Grandpa?’

The James Bolam?  Star of classics such as The Likely Lads and When the Boat Comes In?’


‘Marvellous idea.  Well done.’

Sometimes, when you are looking for children’s programmes on line, your search can throw up some gems.  One such is a brilliant cgi animation from Russia called Masha and the Bear.  It is another weird premise for a programme – A retired circus bear, who lives in a house in the woods, is friends with a little girl (Masha) who is aged about three.  The little girl’s character is just brilliant; she is basically hyperactive and causes mayhem wherever she goes.  Such is her reputation that every creature she meets tries to run for cover.  I watched it with my grandchildren and although we couldn’t understand a word of it (it was in Russian obviously), we all thought it absolutely terrific.  Everything about the programme is typical Russian, though; the bear makes tea in a traditional Russian urn or, occasionally, Masha will dress in traditional costume.

Obviously, such a clever animation draws the attention of the rest of the world.  Sadly, some US company has got hold of it and has dubbed it into English.  Why do I say ‘sadly’?  Because our hyperactive heroine has been turned from the cheeky but lovable scamp into something totally different.  Now, she is a bit of a smartass who uses expressions like ‘cool’ (pronounced coowull).  Far from being lovable, translated Masha is just annoying.  Why couldn’t the makers have translated the programmes into English but kept the ‘Russian-ness’ of the characters.  You know, like the voices given to the Compare the market meerkats.  Frankly, Masha in English doesn’t work and I find the translated version unwatchable.

While looking for nursery rhymes for my youngest grand daughter, I found a cgi version of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.  She loves it.  She is only one.  I cringe when I hear it.  Why?  Firstly, I am annoyed that the small child singing the song seems to have sinus trouble so instead of ‘twinkle’ sings ‘dwinkle’.  So why is she the one chosen to sing for this animation?  You would think someone who could sing the words with clarity would have got the gig.  Secondly, I want to scream every time she pronounces a certain word of the song…

Dwinkle, dwinkle, liddle (no, not that) star,

How I wonder whut (not that either) you are,

Up above the world so high,

Like a diamind (that’s it!) in the sky.

Diamind!!! Jeezo.  Diamond.  It’s diamond!  O not I!

Let’s move on.  Not too far though.  Often these animations have an advertisement in a band across the foot of the screen.  You would think that these would be chosen to suit the film in which they feature.  Yes?  Makes sense.  Doesn’t seem to matter though.  There have been cars, banks and films advertised which mean nothing to the children watching.  Presumably, the ads are focusing on the parents watching with a child.

Let’s return to that Twinkle Twinkle film; a film aimed at one to two year olds.  There is an advertisement along the foot of the screen while it plays.  Apt?  You decide.  It reads as follows…

‘Are you considering divorce or separation?’




Any birthdays of note this week?  Yes indeedy.  John Brown 1800 (He of the mouldering body), Adam Opel 1837 (Inventor of chewy fruit sweets), Barbara Woodhouse 1910 (Walkies!!!), Arthur English 1919 (Arfur Anfony… You have to be quite old to understand that.), Richard Adams 1920 (Bunny fan), Pancho Gonzales 1928 (Tennisy bloke), Joan Sims 1930 (Lady Ruff-Diamond… That is lost on anyone who hasn’t seen Carry On Up The Khyber), Geraldine McEwan 1932 (The crème de la crème), Alan Bennett 1934 (Owl in Meg and Mog), Albert Finney 1936 (Bad-tempered old git), Glenda Jackson 1936 (Margaret Thatcher’s greatest fan.  Enjoy this tirade), Terry Downes 1936 (Boxy bloke), Ion Tiriac 1939 (Tennisy bloke), Candice Bergen 1946 (Charlie McCarthy’s sister), Billy Joel 1949 (Once married a clothes horse), Matthew Kelly 1950 (Tonight, Matthew, I’m going to be…), Dave Gahan 1962 (Fast fashion bloke) and Paul Heaton 1962 (A housemartin).

You would think there would be some good toons to gramblerise from Billy Joel, Dave Gahan and Paul Heaton wouldn’t you?  Indeed there are and it’s Billy who wins this week’s coveted gramblerised toon contest with Tell Her About it…

Gramble about it
Gramble how you feel right now
Gramble about it
The girl don't want to wait too long
You got to gramble about it
Gramble now and you won't go wrong
You got to gramble about it
Before it gets too late
You got to gramble about it
You know the girl don't want
To wait--you got to
Gramble about it



Let’s move onto grambling matters, shall we?  How did we get on last week?  We won, but not enough to get our stake money back.  Never mind.  So what happened?

Aston Villa vs Everton – Prediction Away win

Result – Aston Villa 3 Everton 2


Christian Benteke headed in from Fabian Delph's cross before scoring a second following Jack Grealish's corner.

Romelu Lukaku pulled a goal back for Everton but Tom Cleverley rifled in Villa's third after Leandro Bacuna's fine pass.

Phil Jagielka set up a tense finish when he headed in from close range.

Liverpool vs QPR – Prediction Home win

Result – Liverpool 2 QPR 1


Philippe Coutinho put the Reds ahead with a great strike before Leroy Fer volleyed in the equaliser.

Steven Gerrard headed past Rob Green in the 87th minute having missed a penalty with the score at 1-1.

Sunderland vs Southampton – Prediction Away win

Result – Sunderland 2 Southampton 1


Jordi Gomez put the Black Cats ahead with his first spot-kick after Jose Fonte caught Billy Jones with a high boot.

Sadio Mane levelled just 73 seconds later, slotting home when Sunderland keeper Costel Pantilimon collided with two defenders and dropped a cross.

But Gomez secured a vital victory, firing home after James Ward-Prowse was sent off for fouling Jermain Defoe.

Morton vs Peterhead – Prediction Home win

Result – Morton 3 Peterhead 1


Greenock Morton won Scottish League One and promotion to the Championship after defeating Peterhead.

Morton started the day top, level on points with Forfar Athletic but with a superior goal difference.

However, the Greenock side fell behind to Gary McDonald's effort before Peterhead's Scott Ross was sent off.

Michael Miller, Mark Russell and Declan McManus netted for Morton and they took the title by two points after Ayr beat Forfar and Stranraer finished second.

Arbroath vs Berwick – Prediction Home win

Result – Arbroath 5 Berwick 0


All the goals came in the second half - Robert Linn stroked home the opening goal and then set up Simon Murray for the second before the hour mark.

Murray poked home again, substitute Thomas Grant's free-kick made it four, then Richard Little completed the rout.

Ho hum.  Shall we try again this week?  Why not.  We are now approaching the end of the season with only a few games being played in the English and Scottish senior leagues.  How many?  Nine.  Only nine games are taking place at 3pm this Saturday the 9th of May.  Oh well, which five has The Grambler selected for us?

Game – Result – Odds

Hull vs Burnley - Prediction Home win – 10/11

Newcastle vs West Brom – Prediction Home win – 6/4

Hamilton vs Partick Thistle – Prediction Away win – 7/5

Ross County vs St Millen – Prediction Home win – 4/7

St Johnstone vs Dundee Utd – Prediction Home win – 11/8

Well, the votes are in… Sorry getting mixed up there… General election here in UK.  Start again.  The bets are placed (10 x 20 pee doubles plus 1 x 20 pee accumulator) and if The Grambler has got those predictions spot on, the Bobby Moore Fund will benefit by…


It is basically our last week of  footie predictions for this season; next week we can look forward to having a gramble on… what’s it called?  That racing thing.  Them animals.  Little blokes sitting on their backs.  Horse racing!  That.  Yes.  Next week we will have to resort to that.  Sorry.




Okay.  Teaser time.  Last week I gave you a Celtic vs Rangers question.  I asked you which of them has finished outside the top five in the Scottish top division the fewest times?  The answer, even with the last couple of seasons’ hiatus, is Rangers.  Prior to the crazy situation when the club went belly up, Rangers had only been outside of the top five once, whereas Celtic have missed out on a top five place nine times.

For this week’s teaser, let’s head to the English Premiershit.  Since its inception, which player has scored the most hat-tricks?  A few down the pub might know the answer to that one.  Answer next week.




For the last few weeks I have finished with a mention of the main reason for continuing to publish this blog – to raise awareness about bowel cancer.  I’m going to do it yet again, If you have any bowel problems, don’t be fobbed off with the line that you are too young for bowel cancer to be a consideration.  Just point your doctor in the direction of .




And finally, Cyril?  And finally Esther, I am indebted to the ladies known as Fascinating Aida who give us a little song relating to discount airfares.  It has absolutely nothing to do with this week’s topic, but I happen to find it amusing.  Take it away ladies .


Happy grambling.


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