Thursday 17 September 2015

Week 7 - The Grambler's phone bill

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.

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


Last week I had a moan about milk prices being too low; this week I am going to moan [You? Never! - Ed.] about some other prices. I have a question for you. What company do you use for your phone/TV/broadband supply? I’m not being nosey. I just wondered if they had a sensible, structured pricing policy. The company which I use seems to have a very ‘unusual’ pricing setup. Basically, it is: How much can we make you pay before you threaten to leave making us cave in and reduce the price to keep your custom? It is, you have to admit, a strange way to fix tariffs and charges.

The company in question - I won’t say its name - which is owned by a beardy bloke with massive teeth in an equally huge gob, has provided my telephone, TV and broadband services for nigh on 16 years. Now, when I first began this contract, I was paying exactly 60 quid per month; a huge amount, you may think, but after paying TB (Do you see what I did there?) prices for years, it was actually a saving. Any road up, after some years paying this amount, a friend happened to mention that they paid only 30 quid for the same package. How so? They threatened to leave beardy bloke’s company and were offered a special rate to stay. Not fair, thinks I, so I tried the same trick...

‘I want to cancel my contract.’

‘Why, sir?’

‘Because my mate gets the same deal as me for half the price.’

‘All right. If we give you the same deal, will you stay?’

That was how easy it was.

Over the next few years the price increased with improvements to services and faster broadband, etc.

When the price was pushing 50 quid I happened to be accosted in my local shopping centre by a salesman from a rival company. Let’s call it Chat-Chat...

‘Who is your phone provider?’

‘Go away (or words to that effect),’ I said, without stopping. I know. Dead rude. As I walked on, he shouted after me something about being able to provide TV, phone and broadband for £30.

Naturally, I stopped in my tracks. 30 quid. I’m paying nearly 50. I retraced my steps and asked him for details. I returned home and, with the information before me, I telephoned beardy’s company...

‘I want to cancel my contract.’

‘Why, sir?’

‘Another company has offered me a better deal.’

‘Which company, sir?’


‘And how much is the deal they are offering?’



Oh dear, I thought, they aren’t falling for it. The truth is, I didn’t really want the hassle of changing provider; I was really only chancing it...

‘I’m afraid we can’t match that.’

Bugger! ‘Oh, that’s a pity.’

‘How does £34 sound.’

A lot better than 50. Ya beauty! ‘I suppose I could be persuaded to stay.’

That happened two years ago and, true to form, there have been price rises along the way. Then, two months ago, I discovered that I was being charged over 50 quid again. Something wrong there, I reckoned...

‘Hello. Is that Vir... beardy bloke’s company? Look here, my good man, my bill has shot up to over £50. How do you explain that?’

‘Loyalty rate sir.’

‘Sorry? What? What loyalty rate?’

‘The deal you signed up to two years ago included a loyalty discount of £9 per month and that no longer applies’

‘Hold it right there. What loyalty discount? This is the first time anyone has ever mentioned such a discount. You can’t retrospectively (That’s a good word. I must look it up.) decide that I had a discount which I am no longer entitled to!!!’

‘How does £43 and a new super duper clever record stuff type box sound?’

‘Yeah, okay.’

So, having read all that, can you explain their pricing policy as being any different to my interpretation of it? No, didn’t think you could.

What it all means is that I am still paying a lot less for my TV/phone/broadband than I was 16 years ago. And I didn’t have a super duper record stuff type box then, either.

Just don’t get me started on their mobile phone tariffs!!!






Any birthdays to celebrate this Saturday, the 19th of September? Why, yes. Hunners. Ferry Porsche 1909 (Amphibious car.), William Golding 1911 (I am by nature an optimist and by intellectual conviction a pessimist.), Dana and Emil Zatopek 1922 (Hey, we were born the same day! Let’s get married!), Adam West 1928 (All together now... Dinner, dinner, dinner, dinner, dinner, dinner, dinner, dinner - Batman!), Benjamin Franklin Peay 1931 (Who the f... who’s that? Oh. Brook Benton. Who the f... who’s he, I hear you ask. You know him. You do. Rainy Night in Georgia. That was one of his.), David McCallum 1933 (Ooh, yeah. The man from U.N.C.L.E. Yeah, he was out to beat T.H.R.U.S.H. I’m sorry?  No. Not like yogurt.), Brian Epstein 1934 (Manager of some pop group. The...? No, the name escapes me.), Bill Medley 1940 (A Righteous brother), Paul Williams 1940 (He’s a composer...and a songwriter...a singer too...ectaw... Okay, we get the picture - a right old clever clogs), ‘Mama’ Cass Elliot 1941 (Winkin’, Blinkin’ and Nod. An obscure reference there, folks.), Freda Payne 1942 (She was in Nutty Professor II - The Klumps, you know.), John Coghlan 1946 (Ex-drummer with the existing state of affairs.), Lol Creme 1947 (Ointment which makes you laugh.), Jeremy Irons 1948 (Sarabiiiii!), Nile Rodgers 1952 (Trivia: he calls his guitar ‘the hitmaker’.), Lita Ford 1958 (Car with engine of 1000cc.), Jarvis Cocker 1963 (Sounds painful. Aye, watch you don't jarv his cocker. Ooh, nasty.) and David Seaman 1963 (No jokes about Beckham lobbing him from 50 yards, please.)

Now, who amongst that lot could provide us with a toon to gramblerise? There are plenty of contenders, certainly. Righteous brother, Bill Medley? You’ve lost that grambling feeling? Mama Cass and her Papas [I say. - Ed.] (and other Mama, of course)? California grambling? John Coghlan from off of Status Quo? Gramblin’ all over the world? Nile Rodgers from off of Chic? My feet keep grambling? No I think Lol Creme from 10cc should have the honour. By the bypass, do you know what the name 10cc is meant to signify? Well, apparently... [Don’t you dare! - Ed.]. All right then, here’s Rubber Bullets.

I went to a party at the local county jail
All the cons were grambling and the band began to wail
But the guys were indiscreet
They were grambling in the street
At the local dance at the local county jail



Let’s move on to grambling matters. How did our bet go last week? We won. Yay! No, not yay. We only ‘won’ £1.53, so we really lost 67 pees. What happened? Read on...


Crystal Palace vs Manchester City - Prediction Away win

Result - Crystal Palace 0 Manchester City 1


Premier League leaders Manchester City continued their 100% start to the season with an injury-time winner over Crystal Palace. I say injury time; it was actually 19 seconds short of the 90 minutes. It doesn’t sound anywhere near as exciting though, does it?

Nigerian teenager Kelechi Iheanacho (That’s a cracking name, that.), who had come on as a substitute just a minute before, stabbed home his first senior goal after Samir Nasri's shot was saved.


Middlesbrough vs MK Dons - Prediction Home win

Result - Middlesbrough 2 MK Dons 0


Stewart Downing superbly curled a shot from the right into the corner midway through the second half.

David Nugent then got his first Boro goal to wrap up the win when he finished a one-on-one chance.


Chesterfield vs Colchester - Prediction Home win

Result - Chesterfield 3 Colchester 3

Ooh! ’It the bar!

The hosts' Drew Talbot was red-carded early on for a foul on Marvin Sordell, before Dan Jones' free-kick put them ahead.

Gavin Massey levelled from 12 yards, but, despite being a man light, Kim's lad, Lee Novak's close-range finish and Sam Morsy's volley put the hosts 3-1 up.

George Moncur replied from 15 yards two minutes later, before Charlie Raglan turned a stoppage-time cross into his own net. Pillock!


Gillingham vs Blackpool - Prediction Home win

Result - Gillingham 2 Blackpool 1


Skipper Doug Loft poked the Gills ahead on 17 minutes when keeper Colin Doyle failed to hold Luke Norris's free-kick.

Norris hit the bar at the end of the first half, but shortly after the restart the visitors levelled.

Ryan Jackson turned Brad Potts' cross into his own net but, towards the end of the game, good work from replacement Rory Donnelly set up top scorer Bradley Dack to win it.


Dunfermline vs Ayr - Prediction Home win

Result - Dunfermline 0 Ayr 2


The visitors went ahead midway through the first half when Alan Forrest fired low into the net.

And Jordan Preston doubled their advantage just before the hour mark, pouncing on some poor defending to strike home.


Well, at least The Grambler got us some return on our stake last week. Can he/she/it improve on that and actually get us a profit for this week? Let’s have a look at this week’s predictions...

Game - Result - odds

Bournemouth vs Sunderland - Prediction Home win - 8/13

Hull vs QPR - Prediction Home win - 10/11

Shrewsbury vs Crewe - Prediction Home win - 8/13

Livingston vs Hibs - Prediction Away win - 8/15

Stenhousemuir vs Dunfermline - Prediction Away win - 4/6


…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…


Let us hope that we improve on recent weeks and actually win as opposed to getting just some of our money back.




Teaser time! Yay! Last week I asked you who was the only player to have scored in the Glasgow, Merseyside and Manchester derbies? The answer is Andrei Kanchelskis who played for Rangers, Everton and Manchester United. An easy one for folk from Glasgow, Merseyside and Manchester, obviously, but did the rest of you get it?

This week’s teaser? Of the top goalscorers in the English Premier League, who is the highest placed Scot (in position 53) having scored 68 premiershit goals?




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 van driver (from the telecommunications company owned by a beardy bloke with massive teeth) for parking his van directly in front of my house. It enabled me to take this picture of the wording on its side...

I recognise that gag.


Happy Grambling.






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