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 https://www.justgiving.com/Geraldine-Smith3 .
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. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/lifestyle/heartbroken-widow-geraldine-smith-raises-3452997
Similarly, if you haven’t heard it, please listen to Geraldine’s moving radio interview which was on Radio Scotland recently.
Stewart 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…
I’ve been attacked. I have and all. Not physically, you understand. Well, not even me, really. It was my computer that got attacked. My email account, actually.
Apparently, I have a cousin in Turkey. I never knew this. This cousin also needs a kidney transplant. Again, I never knew this. How did I find this out? A phone call on Monday morning, another one shortly after and several other phone calls throughout the rest of Monday and into Tuesday. I had better explain.
I didn’t realise that my email account had been hacked into until I got that first phone call; it was from somebody on my emailing list who had received, what he discribed as, ‘a dodgy email’ from me asking for 1200 quids to pay for a kidney transplant for my cousin in Turkey (which I don’t have, incidentally). As I said, several more phone calls came over the next day or so to let me know that someone was using my account to send begging emails.
As scams go, it wasn’t the most successful. Luckily, I regularly send emails to everyone on my address list, so they all spotted the complete deviation from my usual style of writing. Besides, who is going to be daft enough to simply send all that money to the perpetrator of the scam without first checking with me?
Of course, scams are nothing new. People will always try to get money from people by foul means rather than fair. How many times have you seen the one about someone about to inherit a huge amount of money and needs your financial help to get hold of it, in return for which you will be handsomely rewarded. For some reason, a Nigerian prince was supposedly the instigator…
Oh look an email from a Nigerian prince who’s about to get oodles of dosh which he wants to share with little old me. Isn’t that nice? I’ll just send him my bank details so that he can transfer the cash. And just try reporting that to the police…
‘You paid how much over to this so-called African prince? You tw*t!’
Trying to con people out of their money has always gone on, obviously. The difference now is that attempts to separate you from your dosh can come from anywhere in the world. Just look in your ‘junk’ mailbox and you can see some of the daftest scams going. Sure, some young lady from Asia, or Africa, or wherever has singled me out and wants to meet me with a view to marriage. It happens to me all the time. Must be my animal magnetism. Hang on a mo, Miss Nbimbo, let me check if it’s okay with Mrs G first.
I have never been duped by any of them. However, there have been plenty of occasions when I have been conned. Mrs G loves to remind me that I was once stupid enough to fall for a promise of roof renovation by a special weatherproof bonding process which prolonged the useful ‘life’ of the roof… or painting, as it turned out. It looked lovely. Unfortunately, the claimed ten year guarantee was worthless, once you read the small print on the contract, which might as well have read, ‘…does not actually do anything.’ I found this out when we got dampness in the loft; dampness which had never manifested itself prior to this ‘weatherproofing.’ I had to get a roofer to come and repair the section of roof where someone had ‘disturbed’ the tiles. Now, I wonder who could have done that.
I also find that when I go abroad, locals see me as easy prey; as, indeed, they do all tourists. How often have you been to a restaurant and asked for a menu and the waiter points to his head and says ‘menu in here?’ Oh. Just me then. I often get that, especially if the restaurant is the only one for miles around.
I recall a trip that Mrs G and I made to Barcelona. I couldn’t believe that I allowed myself to be duped three times. It doesn’t seem like much, but we were only there for two nights! Once was by someone who was definitely not local (I sound like Tubbs and Edward); he was from Liverpool. We were in an underground station and he spotted this pair dithering about which tube to take (us) and, like a knight in shining armour, he came over to help us. How nice of him. It turned out that he had lived in Spain for a number of years. He showed us which train to catch and we set off only to be stopped with those fateful words, ‘You couldn’t see yer way clear to lettin’ us ‘ave a coupla yooooooro, could you?’ Okay, he had done us a bit of a favour, so I thought it was fair enough.
The second ‘duping’ was when Mrs G and I were looking for somewhere to eat. ‘Looking for somewhere to eat?’ said a waiter who seemed to have materialised from nowhere.
We thought to ourselves, are we that bloody obvious, but answered him, ‘Yes.’
‘Then come to this lovely restaurant; we have excellent paella.’
‘Er… We don’t really like seafood.’
‘No problemo. We have excellent chicken paella.’
As we had been wandering around the city all day, we were mightily hungry, so we followed him. He took us up a stairway in the nearest building to a restaurant which looked pleasant enough, but was pretty much deserted. Never a good sign. We ordered wine which was quite expensive, but thought, what the hell, we’re on holiday. It came, not in a bottle but, in a carafe. Now, you know how some carafes resemble a hospital bed bottle? This one did and if it hadn’t been for the fact that the amber fluid inside it was chilled, I would have sworn that it had come from the nearest infirmary. Let us just say, it wasn’t very nice. Surely the food would be fine; it was dear enough. We were presented with a paella dish which was quite a size and we thought that we had chosen well. That was, until we started to eat it. The rice was fine and there was plenty of it. Unfortunately, the only chicken in there was skin, bone or gristle [Wasn’t that a seventies funk band? I said funk. – Ed.]. After heaving our way through this mound of awful (offal?) chicken remains, we decided to pay up and get out. No doubt the restaurant staff would be high-fiving with each other because they had managed to shift a chicken carcass to some gullible tourists.
That sounds bad enough, but we should have realised we were in for trouble as soon as we arrived. It was an evening flight so it was dark when we arrived, however, we felt confident enough to take a bus from the airport to the centre of the city. We knew that the hotel we had booked was not far from the central square, the Placa de Catalunya, so that was where we got off. Now then, where was the hotel? This was in the days before you went on t’internet and could pinpoint your destination to a nano-millimetre. We knew the hotel name and its address, but, other than that, we didn’t have a clue (I know: Brits abroad. What are we like?). Ask someone. This is a big city, somebody would be able to help us. Let’s ask this friendly looking taxi driver. Giving him our hotel booking confirmation, I asked if he knew the place…
‘Ah yes. Get in. I take you.’
Like idiots, we simply jumped in and off he drove. For several miles. Then he stopped. I have to admit, I felt my heart pump a wee bitty faster at this point. I’d heard tales of innocent tourists ending up in a bin bag somewhere. Suddenly he seemed to have no English at all (and we, being Brits, had no Spanish. We’ve always got on perfectly well by talking slowly and loudly and adding ‘oh’ to the end of each word, as in, ‘You-oh, give-oh to me-oh, two-oh beer-ohs.’). He motioned for our booking confirmation again. He squinted at it, scratched his head, gave it back to me, turned the car round and set off. Then he stopped again and we repeated this crazy scene. Yep, he went another direction again. Eventually, after about 20 minutes in the cab, seemingly going in circles, we got to our destination, somewhat shaken. We were just so happy to have finally reached our hotel, rather than ended up as two corpses in the boot of a taxi, that we handed over the money showing on the meter. I think it was pushing midnight as we checked in, so no sightseeing then. The next morning, we decided to explore. We asked at reception the best way to get to the Placa de Catalunya. ‘Walk,’ said the receptionist. I think you can guess what’s coming. And she was right – fifty fn yards and we were there!
How did The Grambler’s predicting skills fare last week? We won. I say won. £2.14, that’s all. Like last week, we only lost pennies; six of them, to be precise. Can The Grambler improve on that this week? Let’s see what this week’s random choices are…
Meeting – Time – Horse – Odds
Ascot 2.05 Besharah 11/8
Wexford 2.25 Georgia On My Mind 1/2
Ascot 3.50 Golden Horn 4/5
Lingfield 6.00 Callac 4/5
Salisbury 6.45 Jayjinski 10/11
…and if the bets (10 x 20 pee doubles plus 1 x 20 pee accumulator) all go as predicted by The Grambler, the Bobby Moore Fund will benefit to the tune of… fanfare please…
999? Which service do you require?
It’s Teaser time. Yay! Last week I asked you who was the first goalkeeper to score in the English Premiershit. The answer was, of course, Rudolf the red-nosed goalie aka Peter Schmeichel. Known to be one of the more ‘off the wall’ goalkeepers, he scored 13 goals in his long career. However, if you are looking for real off the wall goalkeeping, this man off the walls them all – rene higuita (aka El Loco)– and the hair’s a bit crazy too.
What about a teaser for this week? A cheeky one. For whom did Pele and Bobby Moore play in the same team? Another one to ask 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 http://www.bowelcanceruk.org.uk/campaigns-policy/latest-campaigns/never-too-young-campaign .
And finally, Cyril? And finally Esther, I am indebted to a Mr Heino who provides us with this week’s unusual record sleeve. I say unusual; I think downright menacing would be more apt. Would you accept flowers from this guy?