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 am going to apologise in advance. There will be complaints about this week's (g)ramble, I am sure.
Have you ever heard the expression bucket list? Apparently it's a rather morbid compilation of things that you might want to do before you die. Things like swimming with dolphins. I wonder if dolphins have a similar list of things they want to do and want to swim with humans before they peg it. Doubt it. Nobody seems to consider consulting with the dolphins on this. There was even a rather depressing film called The Bucket List. It told the story of two poor old sods who were dying of cancer. How depressing is that? I recall it starred jack Nicholson playing a miserable git (all right, playing jack Nicholson) who got friendly with a philosophical Morgan Freeman. Both of them were dying of cancer. Between them they endeavour to carry out their bucket lists before they kick theirs. If I recall rightly the whole film can be summed up thus..
There was a bit of a grumpy meeting, then they become friends, they do some of the things that they have on their respective bucket lists which, strangely, seemed to overlap as they carried out many of their listed ambitions together then one of them dies but tells the other to mend bridges with his family before he snuffs it. Really cheery stuff. I know I found it hilarious, but then I am one cynical guy.
What is my (g)ramble this week? It is to do with those people who have physical problems, who insist on undertaking some bucket listy type thing, even though they are really beyond attempting such things. Call me cruel if you like, but I don't think that anyone who is confined to a wheelchair should be allowed to do things like waterskiing, climbing mountains or hang gliding. Yes it's exhilarating, but if you are stuck in a wheelchair, you are not really doing these things, you are simply relying on someone else to carry you with them while they do them. And causing them a whole lot of grief at the same time. They are doing something which requires 100% concentration and commitment. Difficult enough for the experts to achieve on their own without having to carry some git in a wheelchair along for the ride.
Instead, if these people want to experience, say, water skiing they should sit in front of a wind machine while someone sprays them with a garden hose. Same experience and a lot safer.
Heartless you say? Well the message came home to me the last time I was on holiday. If you have read these articles regularly over the past couple of years, you will know that I am not the most mobile of individuals. I am, let's face it, a bit wobbly on the old pins. Anyway, during this particular holiday, Mrs G and I went on a catamaran trip. This trip involved much getting in and out of boats during the day. Everybody managed just fine with all the jumping from small boat to large and back again. Not so, yours truly. I had to rely on at least two big crew members to help me move from one boat to the other. While I was glad that they were willing to help me, I realised that I really shouldn't have been there attempting to do something I was no longer agile enough to achieve.
And it was this that made me think about those selfish wheelchairbound individuals. Yes, selfish. They want to do something that only incredibly fit people should ever attempt, but because they are in a wheelchair, they believe that they should do it. No! Tell them to sod off! You have spent years getting to a level of fitness that means you can tackle climbing the highest of peaks; however, you did not train all this time in order to cart some selfish git in a wheelchair up the mountain with you.
You know what, Mr selfish git in a wheelchair? You are putting lives at risk. Not just yours, but the mountaineers who have to carry you up a mountain.
If you compile a bucket list, at least make it something a bit more achievable. Sight-seeing, for example. Nothing wrong with a bit of sight-seeing, if you can do it through the window of a bus. If the words special clothing, ropes or hanging-upside-down-with-an-elastic-band-tied-round-your-ankles are used, forget it.
Any birthdays to celebrate this Saturday, the 13th of February? Yes. Whether they are famous enough for inclusion in The Grambler’s birthday honours list, judge for yourselves. John Hunter 1728 (Who, you ask. He was an incredibly famous surgeon who just happens to have been born in my home town... before it be came known as Polomint City.), Randolph Churchill 1849 (Winnie’s dad.), Georges Simenon 1903 (Wrote the Maigret novels. Trivia: although he was born on the 13th, his family registered his birth as the 12th because they were superstitious.), William Shockley 1910 (Who, you ask again. A nobel prize-winning scientist who blemished his reputation by promoting eugenics.), Ernest Jennings Ford 1919 (Who, you ask yet again. Known as Tennessee Ernie Ford. Who, you ask. Singer. 1950s. Famous. Sixteen Tons. That was his big hit.), Charles Elwood Yeager 1923 (Who? Known as Chuck. First pilot to exceed the speed of sound... and live to tell the tale.), Kim Novak 1933 (Trivia: a Hungarian rock band is named after her.), George Segal 1934 (Trivia: he is an accomplished banjo player.), Oliver Reed 1938 (Known as a ‘hellraiser’. In other words, trouble.), Peter Tork 1942 (A Monkee.), Jerry Springer 1944 (Factoid: He was elected mayor of Cincinnati in 1977.), Stockard Channing 1944 (Greasy actress.), Rainer Werner Fassbinder 1946 (‘I let the audience feel and think.’), Peter Gabriel 1950 (‘I’m an artist who works incredibly slowly.’ Too right. Nine studio albums in 39 years isn’t exactly legging it.), Peter Hook 1956 (Bass player with Joy Division and New Order. Odd choice of names for bands. Both had Nazi roots. Singer Bernard Sumner was also known as Bernard Albrecht. Odd. Or should that be sinister?), Pierluigi Collina 1960 (Baldy referee), Henry Rollins 1961 (Musician, writer, journalist, publisher, actor, motivational speaker, television and radio host, spoken word artist, comedian and activist. In fact, a right old smarty boots.), Robbie Williams 1974 (Singer who struts about a lot) and Jamie Murray 1986 (Andy’s big bro.).
Before moving onto grambling matters I felt I just had to share this story with you. How could I resist a headline like this...
Man pulls six-year ‘sickie’ and nobody notices
A Spanish civil servant who failed to turn up for work for "at least" six years has been caught after becoming eligible for a long service award.
Joaquin Garcia, 69, was fined €27,000 (£21,000; $30,000) after the award brought his long absence to light.
Mr Garcia, whose job was to supervise the building of a waste water treatment plant, has since retired.
He denies the allegations and his lawyer says he has gone into hiding after suffering a media "lynching".
Mr Garcia said he had been a victim of political bullying in the job and moved to a post where there was no work to do.
He was paid €37,000 a year before tax by a water company run by local authorities in the south-western city of Cadiz. A court found in the authority's favour and ordered him to pay the fine ,which is equivalent to one year's salary after tax and was the most that the company could legally reclaim.
He has written to the mayor asking not to have to pay the fine, and will ask for a review of the judgement.
Six years and no-one noticed he was missing? I take it he was never known as Mr Personality. How can anyone be so insignificant that nobody noticed that they weren’t there for six years? I do hope the Beeb Beeb Ceeb didn’t mind me using that in this week’s blog; it was just too good a story to ignore.
Let’s move on to grambling matters. How good was last week’s bet? Not too good. Only two games went as predicted by The Grambler. So, only 58 pees back for our £2.20 stake. How did The Grambler get it so wrong? All is revealed below, fair reader...
Middlesbrough vs Blackburn - Prediction Home win
Result - Middlesbrough 1 Blackburn 1
Ooh! ‘It the bar!
Jordi Gomez had put Rovers in front on his debut with 18 minutes to go with a sublime 20-yard strike.
David Nugent levelled matters by nodding in Emilio Nsue's cross.
Hope Akpan had a clear chance to win the game for Rovers but he fired wide.
Gillingham vs Swindon - Prediction Home win
Result - Gillingham 0 Swindon 0
Ooh! ‘It the bar again!
Rory Donnelly and Josh Wright were denied by Robins keeper Lawrence Vigouroux, while Bradley Dack hit the side netting for the hosts.
Jonathan Obika had an effort blocked at the other end before Donnelly then headed straight at Vigouroux.
John Egan also went close for the Gills when he fired wide.
Cambridge vs Dagenham & Redbridge - Prediction Home win
Result - Cambridge 1 Dagenham & Redbridge 0
Luke Berry's late penalty sealed a win for Cambridge over Dagenham.
With eight minutes left, the U's captain finally beat visiting keeper Mark Cousins after Joe Worrall brought down Robbie Simpson.
The visitors were unlucky not to be ahead early on, as Ashley Hemmings' cross was pushed out and Josh Coulson's follow-up was blocked on the line.
Ryan Ledson and Jimmy Spencer both went close for Cambridge before Berry’s penalty.
Northampton vs York - Prediction Home win
Result - Northampton 2 York 0
York's Russell Penn had an effort cleared off the line by Lee Martin, before Martin's corner set up John-Joe O'Toole to head the hosts in front.
Marc Richards doubled the lead after the break when he collected Ricky Holmes' pass to fire into the net.
Montrose vs East Fife - Prediction Away win
Result - Montrose 2 East Fife 2
Ooh! ‘It the bar yet again!
Kyle Wilkie scored with curling a drive past Montrose goalkeeper Alex Tokarczyk early on.
A shot from Montrose's Graham Webster struck the top of the bar, but Jason Kerr's header extended the lead.
Gary Fraser pulled one back 12 minutes later, before Terry Masson's screamer in the dying stages ensured the points were shared.
Oh dear. Three near misses for The Grambler there. Can he/she/it improve things this week? Let us see what he/she/it have randomly selected for us. As always, the games were picked from those matches taking place at 3pm on this Saturday (the 13th of February) in the four senior English leagues and the four senior Scottish leagues...
Game - Result - Odds
Brighton vs Bolton Wanderers - Prediction Home win - 4/7
Derby County vs MK Dons - Prediction Home win - 8/15
Crewe vs Walsall - Prediction Away win - 8/11
Wigan vs Oldham Athletic - Home win - 3/5
Morecambe vs Oxford United - Prediction Away win - 5/6
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…
Not a lot, is it?
Teaser time. Yay! Last week I asked you which was the first non-league club to win the FA Cup? The answer is Tottenham Hotspur. Who shouted foul? When they won the cup in 1901 Spurs were still a non-league side; they didn’t join the football league until 1908.
One for this week? Which current Premiershit side was relegated in the 1991-2 season and thus spent the first season of the new format league in a lower division? Try and do that one without resorting to Googlie.
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 O. Reed who appears in and is talked about in this little snippet from one of those top 50 TV moments type of shows. Click here to enjoy a few examples of why Ollie was one of Britain’s top ‘loose cannons’; always unpredictable - either because he was drunk or because he enjoyed extracting the urine - but always entertaining.