Saturday 20 June 2015

Week 46 - The Grambler on mispronounced words

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…


Hello all you lovely people out there in Grambleland, are you well?  Good. Pleased to hear it. 
What is this week's topic?  I was sitting in a cafe recently, drinking an expresso coffee, and recalling quite pacifically a recent talk about Prostrate cancer.
Okay, okay. Hands up.  I wasn't sitting in any such place thinking of any such conversation, I just began this week's Grambler by making reference to a particular gripe of mine. Incorrect use of words; or rather, use of incorrect words.  I have used three of the most common instances in that one sentence at the end of the last paragraph.
So many people fall into the trap.  It isn't expresso, it is espresso. It isn't pacifically, it is specifically.  It isn't prostrate cancer, it is prostate cancer. 

I find myself having to bite my tongue, sometimes.  I recently heard somebody saying they were pursuing a book?  Yes, I have honestly heard that one.  Of course the person meant perusing a book.  Do you tell them?  Of course not; that would be rude.
I recall a manager of mine at work used the word pacifically all the time instead of specifically.  It left us underlings with something of a dilemma.  Was he saying it deliberately to test us?  Perhaps he wanted someone to pick up on his mistake.  Maybe that person would then be earmarked for the next big promotion.  Or was he saying it to see who would question his use of the word thereby testing to see if anybody was a smartarse?  Was he saying, yes I know I am using the incorrect word, which of you lot is brave enough to question me?  There is a third possibility... He was a bit thick.  Whatever.  Nobody ever questioned his use of the word, so we never knew whether he said it deliberately or not.  I eventually worked out that the third option was more likely to be the correct one when he was announcing upcoming redundancies and was using the analogy of chess when addressing his staff... 'The situation is outwith our control; we are just prawns in a game of chess.' Prawns, indeed. Strupid pick!
Before you write in and complain about my use of the word outwith, I would just like to point out that it is a word used in
Scotland to mean outside of or beyond.
It seems a useful word to me. Don't know why other English speakers around the world haven't adopted it. 
As I write this, I am reminded of some unusual word uses when it comes to the bible and religion.  I am sure you are all aware of the misheard lyric to the song lord of the dance.  You do know it... Dance, dance wherever you may be.  I am the lord of the dance settee.  Richard Herring liked it and uses it as the title of his current live show.  Similarly, The Flint Street Nativity made a gag of the hymn line 'round yon virgin' with one of the characters convinced it was about someone called round John Virgin. Oh how we laughed.
The joke of that brilliant Christmas show was that the lines were being spoken by 6 year olds, even though the actors were all adults.  It is a part of my Christmas ritual to watch it and it always makes me laugh.
Any road up, when I was very young and made to sing hymns and recite the lord's prayer I misunderstood expressions in the same way.  Getting back to the word outwith [Thank goodness for that. You're rambling. - Ed.] I was always confused by the Easter hymn with the lines 'there is a green hill far away without a city wall.' I always wondered why a hill far away would ever have a wall around it in the first place.  Nothing special about a green hill without a wall.  Of course I eventually worked out that what was meant was that this particular hill was outside the walled city.  Ah... Now I understand.  Why not use the word outwith?  Much simpler.
My biggest misunderstanding was with the Lord's Prayer which we recited at the start of every school day from the age of 5 onwards.  'Our father' - God, obviously - 'who art in heaven' - he lives in heaven, yes, got that - 'hallowed be thy name' - all right, odd name but no problem with that.  Eventually we come to the bit that says, 'thy will be done' - erm... Now I'm lost. I can cope with you being called Harold and living in heaven, but thy will be done?
'Okay God, you'd better watch it or I'll give thy a doing. Oh yes. Thy will definitely be done.'
Don't be ridiculous, you are probably thinking, but when I was six years of age it made sense to me; I'd watched enough episodes of Z Cars with villains threatening a person with a doing.
Anyway, I digress. Back to the plot...
Espresso.  Getting the name of a small dose of exceedingly strong coffee wrong is another common one that catches folk out.  Expresso doesn't sound incorrect, does it?  It is a small measure of coffee which one can drink quickly... or expressly of you like.  So I think folk who use the wrong word can be forgiven... As long as they don't do it too often.
But prostrate cancer? Again it's a simple enough mistake; only one letter is different.  However, surely anyone who has prostate cancer knows that the problem has nothing to do with lying face down. Although, when one considers the initial test for it, it perhaps isn't so odd that the wrong word is used. One might well be lying face down when the doc dons his marigolds and... Let's leave it there, shall we?
Another one that annoys me is when sports commentators talk about a player being pressurised.  No. The word you are looking for here is pressured or pressed, not pressurised.  You pressurise fluids or gases, not people. If you pressurise a human being, I hate to think of the resulting mess. Union reps like that one too. Remember the redundancy thing I mentioned earlier?  Well the company went into receivership.  Our union rep announced that he would not be pressurised into accepting the company's offer and that management were wrong to threaten that the company would be liquidised.  It sounds made up, but that honestly happened.  He also called people who made allegations 'alligators'.

Footballers also use the pressurised one as in, ‘De lads was being pressurized early doors.’  Early doors?  When did that expression worm its way into the language?  We know what it means, but the two words together are just nonsensical, if you think about it.  Any road up, I digress.  Footballers are always a good source of misused words.  One I heard recently was, ‘De gaffer has installed a great work ethic in de lads.’  Instilled, you fool!  Instilled!
Medical matters often throw up some interesting misuses of words.  I recall my old father in law explaining that he had to have a taffeta (fancy dress material) fitted.  Of course he meant 'catheter' which most definitely isn't fancy dress material.
I don't want to sound judgemental here, but as I read through what I have written it certainly looks that way.  I say words incorrectly too.  Everyone does. The advantage I have here is that I can read through and correct as I go.  You don't have that advantage when you are addressing someone face to face.
Some examples of using the wrong word can be quite amusing though....
I recall a lady getting off an aeroplane and saying, 'It's nice to be back on terracotta.'
My favourite?
A lady was daydreaming and was given a surprise as someone spoke to her.  'Didn't you see me?' asked the other.  'No,' said the woman, 'I'm not flamboyant, you know.'




Any birthdays to mention this week?  Indeed there are.  Jacques Offenbach 1819 (Composer who sometimes believed he was a dog), Errol Flynn 1909 (Ectaw with a huge reputation), Johnny Morris 1916 (Zookeeper who talked to the animals), Ronald Hines 1919 (Married to Wendy Craig, you know), Chet Atkins 1924 (Guitar-playing dietician), Audie Murphy 1925 (Him and John Wayne won the war, you know), Martin Landau 1928 (Ectaw with a fold-down hood), Wendy Craig 1934 (Married to Ronald Hines, you know), Lionel Richie 1949 (Hello), John Goodman 1952 (Married to Wilma Flintstone, you know), Alan Longmuir 1953 (The sacked Bay City Roller), Elen Limb 1954 (Sarth Ifrikeen Creekuttuh), Peter Reid 1956 (Oh what can it mean?), John Taylor 1960 (Barbarella baddie), Nicole Kidman 1967 (Wasn’t she married to that little bloke?  Robbie Williams), Frank Lampard 1978 (Footie bloke) and Leah Stoddart 2002 (Happy birthday from The Grambler).

Now then, who, amongst that lot, can give us a toon to gramblerise?  I think the chorus to one of Mr Richie’s hits would be the ideal candidate…

Oh, what a feeling
When we're grambling on the ceiling
Oh, what a feeling
When we're grambling on the ceiling
Oh, what a feeling
When we're grambling on the ceiling
Oh, what a feeling
When we're grambling on the ceiling

… Then again, perhaps not.




Right then, let’s have a bit of grambling.  I do apologise to those of you who like to gramble along every week.  The Grambler has been AWOL these past couple of weeks, but now he/she/it is back and raring to go.  So which five gee gees has The Grambler predicted will win today (Saturday 20th June)?


Meeting – Time – Horse – Odds

Newmarket        2.45            Paris Snow                  10/11

Redcar                4.30            Frontier Fighter         Evens

Down Royal       4.45            Selskar Abbey             Evens

Haydock             6.15            Love on the Rocks     6/4

Lingfield             7.00            Mister Brightside        1/9


There you have it my little gramblerinis.  The Grambler has randomly chosen and, should all those predictions be correct, the Bobby Moore Fund will be increased by a magnificent…


Hmm… It might have been a more substantial figure had The Grambler not picked that last donkey at Lingfield.  Nine to one on?  Pathetic.




Okay everybody… It’s teaser time.  Yay!  Three weeks ago I asked you which club was the first to be relegated from the English top division.  The answer is Stoke who stayed in the top flight for only two seasons before the were relegated.  They were bottom in the first season as well, but probably weren’t relegated because there was not a second tier at the time. 

Incidentally, Sunderland were the team to replace Stoke in the top flight.  That was for season 3 (1890-91).  They finished seventh out of  twelve that year, but won the league outright in seasons 4, 5 and 7 and they were second to Aston Villa in season 6.  Not a bad start to the Black Cats’ time in the top league.

What about a wee teaser for this week, then?  How about this one?  Which is the only current Football Conference League club to have played in the top flight of English football?  That’s one to ask them down the pub.




Once again, let’s finish with a mention of the main reason for continuing to publish this blog – to raise awareness about bowel cancer.  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 a Mr R. Waring who penned the 1960s sitcom Not in Front of the Children  Difficult to work out what was tickling the audience’s funny bones in this two minute clip of what passed for comedy in the late 1960s.  Ye gods and little fishes!  This was a top-rated show watched by over 10 million viewers.  I can only imagine that folk were more easily amused in those days.  Is that Ian Lavendar (who later played Private Pike in Dad’s Army) in that removals van?  The mum and dad in the programme were the ectaws who shared the same birthday - Mr Hines and Ms Craig.


Happy grambling.


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