Saturday, 31 October 2015

Week 13 - The Grambler visits Edinburgh


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

 

Last week, I mentioned a wee jaunt Mrs G and I made to Edinburgh. It was us using a Christmas present we were given last year. The gift was a voucher for a not inconsiderable amount of money to be spent at a rather expensive hotel in Edinburgh. Indeed, the place is so expensive that we opted to stay at its cheaper sister hotel which meant we could stay four nights instead of one. I should point out that, while the sister hotel is cheaper, it is by no means cheap; it was still a pretty classy place to stay. The posher hotel’s name is Hotel du Vin which, I think, translates as hotel of wine. Odd name. The less posh hotel we stayed at has an even odder name - Hotel Malmaison. Now my French is un peu rusty, but doesn’t that translate as hotel bad house? That is surely going to put French-speaking tourists off, isn’t it? Daft names aside, I have to admit that (almost) everything about the hotels is most acceptable. How can I speak for the Hotel du Vin? Because Mrs G and I treated ourselves to a meal there. It was when seated at our table perusing the single A4 sheet that was the menu (By the way, I should point out that this meal was not selected from the a la carte menu; we had managed to get a special deal. Isn’t Groupon wonderful?) that we were asked if we would like to see the wine list. Indeed we did. We were then presented with, not so much a list of wines but, a catalogue of wines. This tome, which was about three quarters of an inch thick, contained the details of over 350 wines from which we were meant to select one. The name of the hotel made sense to me at last. Cheapest wine on the menu was 20 quids; the dearest, over 200. We opted for one around the high twenties but, being the frugal types we are, couldn’t help working out how much a bottle would cost in Adli. Probably four quid. One we spotted on the list we know to cost about six quid (To us, that’s a posh wine. Our way of deciding whether a wine is good or not is to look at the alcohol percentage. Less than 12% isn’t worth considering in our system.). How much did hotel of wine charge? 38 quid! 32 quid mark up! And I bet they don’t have to pay six quid for it, because there would be a special rate for buying in bulk. Any road up, you are probably expecting me to say we were robbed. Well, I’m not going to. We were in the capital city of Scotland and like any big city, anywhere in the world, we were paying big city prices. The meal was great, as was the wine and the surroundings were lovely.

At the end of our first day in the city, which was spent doing all the touristy things like seeing the sights, we headed back to our own hotel, the Malmaison, tired and looking forward to a good night’s rest. Earlier, I mentioned that almost everything was acceptable. Almost everything. I did not have a good night’s sleep. The bed was possibly the most uncomfortable place I have ever had to sleep. I include my one and only night of camping and having to sleep on the ground when I make that assertion. I also include the time Mrs G and I went to Blackpool to find all the hotels full and ending up having to sleep in a Mini. That’s the original 10 feet long Mini without luxuries like reclining seats, incidentally. The bed in this hotel was just awful. I know there are some firm beds, but a piece of 8 feet by 4 feet by half inch thick plywood has more flexibility than the mattress on this one. When I awoke on the day we were due to leave, I couldn’t move without getting shooting pains down my legs. Yep, good old sciatica. Thank goodness it was the last day; I’d have looked a right prat crawling about Edinburgh on my hands and knees. On second thoughts, I probably wouldn’t. People would think I was some sort of street performer. It is Edinburgh, after all.

I think the hotel names are wrong. Remember them? Malmaison and Hotel du Vin? I think the hotel we were in should be renamed as a cross between the two - Hotel Mal-divan. Boom and, indeed, tish.

The sciatica cured itself after a night or two back in my own bed, in case you were worrying. Oh. You weren’t.

 

 

.....oooOooo.....

 

Any birthdays to celebrate this Saturday, the 31st of October? Why, yes. At least, quite a number. Jan Vermeer 1632 (Inventor of Ronseal... Hang on, that’s veneer, isn’t it? Oh, he’s a painter. The girl with the thing... that was one of his... Earring. I think her name was Pearl.), John Keats 1795 (Does he, now?), Chiang Kai-shek 1887 (Isn’t that one of the pandas at Edinburgh zoo?), Dale Evans 1912 (Trigger’s mum.), Helmut Newton 1920 (Purveyor of mucky pictures.), J*mmy S*v*ll* 1926 (Bloke who died before the shit hit the fan.), Eddie Charlton 1929 (Aussie snookery bloke.), Michael Collins 1930 (The one left behind when Neil and Buzz were leaping about on the moon.), Norman Beaton 1934 (Lennie Henry’s dad.), Michael Landon 1936 (Trivia: He was the only one of the four Bonanza stars who didn’t wear a syrup.), Tom Paxton 1937 (Designer of the Crystal Palace.), Tom O’Connor 1939 (Sinead’s dad.), Derek Bell 1941 (Car racey bloke.), David Ogden Stiers 1942 (Trivia: As well as appearing in M.A.S.H. and voicing many Disney characters, he is an accomplished musician and is the resident conductor of the Newport Synphony Orchestra.), Stephen Rea 1946 (Mmm, aye, well. An obscure reference to one of his earlier acting roles, there.), Norman Lovett 1946 (They’re all dead, Dave.), Russ Ballard 1947 (Inventor of the traffic direction post.), John Candy 1950 (Trivia: He was a big Doctor Who fan.), Larry Mullen 1961 (U2 Drummer. Famously fancied by Boy George who supposedly said to Bono, ‘If you still haven’t found what you’re looking for, look behind the drum kit.’), Peter Jackson 1961 (Trivia: He is a big Doctor Who fan.), Johnny Marr 1963 (Trivia: Voted the 4th best guitarist of the past 30 years.), Rob Schneider 1963 (Smell my cheese!), Annabella Lwin 1966 (Woof woof.), Robert Van Winkle 1967 (Who? Vanilla Ice? Who?), Muzzy Izzet 1974 (Footie bloke.), Gabriela and Monica Irimia 1982 (Who? The Cheeky Girls? Who?).

Before I leave birthdays, can I just mention one Jamie Asher who was born on the 31st of October 1972?  Now I don’t know who he is or what he is famous for, but on the site where I check my birthday info, his description is: ‘NFL tight end (Washington Redskins).’ I still don’t have a clue what he does, but if my name were Finbarr Saunders (he of the double entendres) I would be going ‘Fnarr, fnarr’ right now.

Hmm. Anyone in there to give us a toon to gramblerise? I think Mr J Marr should be given that honour with an early Smiths toon called Panic. In fact, it’s quite apt this week considering The Grambler’s pitiful skills at predicting last week...

On the Leeds side-streets that you slip down
Provincial towns you jog 'round
Hang The Grambler, Hang The Grambler, Hang The Grambler
Hang The Grambler, Hang The Grambler, Hang The Grambler
HANG THE GRAMBLER, HANG THE GRAMBLER, HANG THE GRAMBLER
HANG THE GRAMBLER, HANG THE GRAMBLER
HANG THE GRAMBLER, HANG THE GRAMBLER
Hang The Grambler, Hang The Grambler, Hang The Grambler
HANG THE GRAMBLER, HANG THE GRAMBLER
HANG THE GRAMBLER, HANG THE GRAMBLER
Hang The Grambler, Hang The Grambler, Hang The Grambler
HANG THE GRAMBLER, HANG THE GRAMBLER
HANG THE GRAMBLER, HANG THE GRAMBLER
Hang The Grambler, Hang The Grambler, Hang The Grambler
HANG THE GRAMBLER

 

.....oooOooo.....

 

Let’s move on to grambling matters. How did our bet go last week? Not very well at all. How much did we win? Nought. Nothing. Zilch. Rugger ball. What happened? All is revealed below, fair reader...

Norwich vs West Bromwich Albion - Prediction Home win

Result - Norwich 0 West Brom 1

Boo!

Salomon Rondon's header secured victory for West Bromwich Albion at Carrow Road. Canaries forward Nathan Redmond forced a fine save from keeper Boaz Myhill before firing wastefully over. Craig Dawson spurned a great chance for West Brom when he headed over unmarked before Rondon's winner.

Brighton vs Preston North End - Prediction Home win

Result - Brighton 0 Preston North End 0

Ooh! ‘It the bar!

Clear chances were at a premium throughout, with Sam Baldock and Tomer Hemed failing to convert for the home side, who had just one shot on target.

Preston striker Joe ‘Jim Rockford’ Garner had a header cleared off the line in a dogged and uninspiring second period.

Oxford Utd vs Barnet - Prediction Home win

Result - Oxford United 2 Barnet 3

Boo!

The U's took the lead through Liam ‘Harry’ Sercombe after Barnet failed to clear a corner but the equaliser came when Curtis Weston scored with a low shot.

The Bees went ahead through John ‘Legs’ Akinde's close-range finish and Josh Clarke added a third just after the half hour with another low strike.

Sercombe pulled one back before Kemar ‘Catnahot-tin’ Roofe spurned a chance to equalise.

 

Morton vs Alloa - Prediction Home win

Result - Morton 1 Alloa 0

Yay! About time.

Denny Johnstone's first-half header was cleared off the line by Wasps' frontman Michael Chopra.

When Michael Doyle fouled Michael Tidser, however, Ross Forbes eyed up his chance and curled in a fabulous free-kick from 25 yards.

Goalkeeper Derek Gaston made a vital save from an Isaac Layne header to keep the points safe.

Stranraer vs Cowdenbeath - Prediction Home win

Result - Stranraer 0 Cowdenbeath 3

Boo!

The visitors went ahead when Brad Donaldson got past his marker and met Liam Callaghan's corner to head in.

Kyle Miller doubled their advantage just before the hour mark.

Substitute Robbie Buchanan sealed the victory.

In the words of the great Scotland team manager Ally McLeod... ‘Ach wellll...’ Let’s not really hang The Grambler; let’s see what he/she/it comes up with this week. There are 53 senior league games taking place this weekend on Saturday the 31st of October at 3 pm. From these, The Grambler has chosen...

Game - Result - Odds

Swansea vs Arsenal - Prediction Away win - 3/4

Crewe Alexandria vs Sheffield United - Prediction Away win - 8/15

Stevenage vs Oxford United - Prediction Away win - 10/11

Alloa vs Queen of the South - Prediction Away win - 3/5

Cowdenbeath vs Dunfermline - Prediction Away win - 1/4

Five aways! Oh my gord! 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…

£7.19

That’s not much, is it? Still, if it comes up, it will be our best result of the season so far. Could this be the one? And I mean that most sincerely. [Yeah, yeah, yeah. Heard it all before. - Ed.]

 

.....oooOooo.....

Hooray, it’s teaser time. Last week I asked which Netherlands players, other than Georginio Wijnaldum, had scored hat-tricks in the English Premiershit. The answer was Robin van Persie and Dirk Kuyt.

Here’s one for this week. Who was the last player to score more than 300 goals in top flight English football? That means Premiershit or Division one prior to that. Yes, I realise how obvious that is to most of you, but I thought I would clarify it anyway.

 

…..oooOooo…..

 

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 .

 

…..oooOooo…..

And finally, Cyril? And finally Esther, I have to tell you of a slightly spooky moment from the 26th of August 2012. Sorry pardon excuse me? That was the day after Neil Armstrong - him from off of the moon - died. And? Okay, I had better explain. That day, I got into my car having heard on the news the night before that he had died. So far, so boring. I thought I would listen to some music, so I switched on my mp3 player to play through the car system; it was set to shuffle and after a few seconds delay the first song began to play. Now, as I have told you in previous articles, I happen to like Jethro Tull, so it is not surprising that there are a few JT tracks on my mp3 player. It isn’t really so surprising, then, that it was a Tull track that began to play.   However, what was surprising - and a little bit creepy given that I had just heard of Neil Armstrong’s death - was that the first track to play was the only song Ian Anderson ever wrote in connection with that moon landing. Indeed, I can't recall any other song written in connection with the Neil and Buzz show.  So, Ladeez and genullum, in honour of the birthday boy himself, I give you For Michael Collins, Jeffrey and Me

 

Happy Grambling.

 

 

 

 



 

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