Saturday 19 March 2016

Week 33 - The Grambler escalating out of control

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


I hate escalators. I do. I never feel safe on them. It doesn’t help when people put scary films on Farcebook. You know the sort of thing; a child on the escalator traps his welly-clad foot in the gap between the moving steps and the side panel. Luckily, his mum manages to yank the child free by sacrificing the welly boot. I say luckily, because the footage ends with the mum showing the shredded welly to the camera. Of course, this is all staged to highlight such dangers, although, I am sure there are many times the situation actually occurs.

Another film is currently being posted and it is a very scary incident, indeed. This time, it is not being staged; this is real cctv footage. Two small boys (brothers, perhaps?) head for the escalator to take them to a lower level in a shopping mall. The older boy (5ish) jumps on and begins to descend. The younger boy (2 maybe) decides to climb onto the moving handrail which drags him. We see him fall. The film now cuts to the lower level and we see the boy hit the ground and his older brother (and several adults) run to his aid. The film stops at this point, so we don’t see whether the child survives. Given that he had just fallen over 20 feet and landed like a sack of potatoes, you would think it unlikely.

Amazingly enough, the child did survive - I searched to find out the origin of this post. There was more footage showing the ‘action’ from various cameras about the mall. The one thing not shown was an adult looking after these kids. Why on earth was a two year old allowed to run about in a shopping mall?

My own experiences with escalators are not so brutal, but one in particular could have turned out so very differently. It happened at the end of a holiday. Us holidaymakers had been bussed from our holiday hotels to the airport. This particular airport had all its departure gates one floor above ground level and this floor was reached by escalator. With me so far? Good. So fifty would-be passengers pulling their cases behind them all began to go up this escalator. So far, so good. Unfortunately, some dopey old sod, having reached the top of the escalator stood stock still on the top plate while he looked about him to work out which direction he should be going. Meanwhile, anyone who was on the escalator was having to move downwards to avoid a crush. Except, it wasn’t avoiding a crush, as the escalator was pretty full. For what seemed like minutes (but was probably no more than fifteen seconds) all hell was breaking out on the escalator. Those near the bottom were shouting to people not to get on. Those at the top were imploring the old codger at the top to move. Now you know me; I never swear. Well, almost never. I did on this occasion. I was one of the sods near the top trying to back-peddle. My advice to the dithering old fool who was causing this snarl-up on the moving stairs was a succinct (That’s a good word; I must look it up.) ‘F***ing move!!!’

He did move, but the look on his face suggested that he knew nothing about the mayhem behind him. Totally blank. Indeed, he looked at the scene of chaos on the escalator with a look that said - what are they all screaming at? Fn eejit!

It could have been a real disaster. If just one person had fallen, there could have been a very full hospital at that holiday resort (and a busy mortuary too, no doubt). All because some daft old geezer didn’t think to walk away from the escalator before considering his next move.

Ah, you say, why didn’t somebody hit the emergency stop button. The answer is simple; nobody could reach it because of that dopey old tw*t standing in the way!

Apart from the scarier aspects, there are other things I don’t like about escalators. I don’t like that sensation you get when you first step on and your brain and feet are not quite synchronised. It really is a disconcerting moment. My advice is to never step on to a moving stair without gripping at least one of the moving handrails. I also don’t like the step-off moment. Once you are on the move, the brain and limbs are now talking to each other and are operating as a unit, again. Sadly, it is only shortlived, because the end is getting near and meaningful relations between head and feet begin to deteriorate. You start that little preparation dance in readiness for getting off. Your object is clear; you don’t want to trip or otherwise make an a*** of leaving the thing. It never works, though. Admit it. You can never leave an escalator without either breaking into a slight run or tripping over your toes. Either way, your hoped-for ‘cool’ exit doesn’t quite come off.

Another thing that bugs me is this - Why does the handrail move at a different speed to the actual steps? I can get on an escalator and place my hand on the handrail in a comfortable position beside me, but, by the time I reach the top, my hand (still attached to the same spot) is so far ahead of me, I look like Superman in flight. That isn’t so bad going up, but going down it can look really odd.

Perhaps you are thinking that it only happens to clumsy old me. Oh no it doesn’t. I shouldn’t admit to this, but I really enjoy ‘people-watching’ where there is an escalator in view. You should try it. Great fun.





Any birthdays to celebrate this Saturday, the 19th of March? As Take That once said, sure. David Livingstone 1813 (I won’t mention the fact he was found by Stanley. Instead I will mention how Lake Malawi was originally named by Livingstone Lake Nyasa - Nyasaland being the former name of Malawi. Apparently, he pointed to the lake and asked a local its name. He was told it was Nyasa, so Livingstone called the vast body of water Lake Nyasa. No doubt, when the locals began to get an understanding of English, they would have wondered why Livingstone named the water Lake Lake, because Nyasa is the local word for lake.), Richard Burton 1821 (Not the Welsh actor, although he quite often disguised himself as others such as Mirza Abdullah the Bushri and Haji Abdullah.), Wyatt Earp 1848 (Policeman, county sheriff, deputy US marshall, teamster, buffalo hunter, bouncer, saloon keeper, gambler, brothel owner, pimp, miner and boxing referee. Interesting CV Mr Earp.), Sergei Diaghilev 1872 (Bally good chap.), Albert Speer 1905 and Adolf Eichmann 1906 (Not bally good chaps.), Louis Hayward 1909 (The man in the iron mask.), Tommy Cooper 1921 (Just like that.), Patrick McGoohan 1928 (Be seeing you.), Philip Roth 1933 (He had a complaint with his portnoy.), Ursula Andress 1936 (Dr. No. Bikini. Say no more.), Ruth Pointer 1946 (A sister.), Glenn Close 1947 (Bunny boiler.), Derek Longmuir 1952 (Bay City Roller.), Bruce Willis 1955 (... I won't spoil the ending for you, but he’s a ghost as well.), Terry Hall 1959 (A Special.) and Gary Jules 1969 (Trivia: His cover of Mad World was the only number one for a Tears for Fears song.).




Let’s move on to grambling matters. How good was last week’s bet? Not very. What happened? We won 73 pees. Not much, eh? All is revealed below, fair reader...



Bradford vs Doncaster - Prediction Home win

Result - Bradford 2 Doncaster 1


Jamie Proctor headed in Billy Clarke's cross from six yards out to open the scoring.

It was 2-0 when left-back James Meredith got on the overlap and delivered for Proctor to glance in his second header from the near post.


Colchester vs Wigan - Prediction Away win

Result - Colchester 3 Wigan 3

Ooh! ‘It the bar!

Yanic Wildschut put the Latics in front but the U's levelled shortly after through Alex Gilbey's 25-yard strike.

Wigan swiftly restored their lead with Ryan Colclough's calm finish, but Colchester negated the winger's effort with Elliot Lee's curling shot.

George Moncur converted a penalty after he was fouled to make it 3-2, but Will Grigg's injury-time goal earned a draw.


Bristol Rovers vs Mansfield - Prediction Home win

Result - Bristol Rovers 1 Mansfield 0


Matt Taylor shot home at the far post from Cristian Montano's cross just after the hour mark.

But, it took an outstanding Steve Mildenhall save from a late Lee Collins shot to ensure a win.


Luton vs Crawley - Prediction Home win

Result - Luton 0 Crawley 1


Matt Harrold grabbed the match-winner on 12 minutes with an instinctive finish into the bottom corner.

The hosts could have broken the deadlock early on but midfielder Jonathan Smith's 20-yard effort struck the outside of the post.

Luton missed further chances as Stephen O'Donnell had efforts blocked and saved, while Paul Benson hit the bar.


Alloa vs Raith Rovers - Prediction Away win

Result - Alloa 1 Raith Rovers 1

Ooh! ‘It the bar!

Steven Hetherington made the visitors pay by drilling one past Gallacher into the bottom left corner.

But Kyle Benedictus levelled at the death.


Oh well, not a great week for The Grambler. Can he/she/it improve this week? [Doubt it. - Ed.]. There are exactly 50 games in the senior leagues kicking off at 3pm this Saturday, the 19th of March, so what five has The Grambler randomly chosen?


Game - Result - Odds

Barnet vs Oxford Utd - Prediction Away win - 3/4

Dag & Redbridge vs Accrington - Prediction Away win - 4/5

Stevenage vs Northampton - Prediction Away win - Evens

Forfar vs Ayr Utd - Prediction Away win - 17/20

Stranraer vs Stenhousemuir - Prediction Home win - 4/6


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…


Hmm... 20 pees less than we didn’t win last week. Is there anything interesting about the number 1045? Well, yes, there is. Did you know that the number 1045 is composed of three prime numbers multiplied together? [Really? How interesting. Yawn. - Ed.] If you multiply 5 x 11 x 19 you get 1045. Isn’t that interesting? [Nope. - Ed.]



Teaser time. Yay! Last week I asked you how many times have Crystal Palace been promoted to the Premiershit since its inception in 1992. The answer is four times. They have actually been in the Premiershit five times having been in the division in its inaugural year. And they still haven’t won a game in 2016.

How about one for this week? We look at a particular club’s nickname for this one. Why are Sheffield Wednesday called the Owls? Try that one 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. P. McGoohan for pointing us in the direction of this week’s link to finish. Bear with me here; it’s a bit tenuous [A tenuous link! Ha! - Ed.] Patrick McGoohan, who is on our birthday list, starred in the early sixties in a spy type show called Danger Man. [Is this relevant? - Ed.] He then went on to create a follow-up show featuring (possibly) the same character. This was the cult classic (I said cult.) The Prisoner. It was all a bit weird and surreal...

A high-ranking agent in the British government (McGoohan) resigns from his job and tries to leave for a holiday. While packing he is gassed and is taken to a beautiful ‘prison’ known only as ‘the village’ where people are taken, given a number (McGoohan is Number 6) and are kept there for the rest of their lives if they don't tell Number 2 (the deputy head of the village) the information they have been captured to give.

Each week McGoohan tries to escape and fails. Escape is nearly impossible and there are some rather odd weapons used if anybody does try to escape. Ten foot diameter balloons? Erm, okay. Told you it was a bit weird. The series tells of his attempts to resist the methods used by each Number 2 (I say each, because every week Number 2 is replaced with another if an attempt on No. 6 fails) to get information from him. Each Number 2 tries and fails to crack Number 6 by attempting to get the answer to why he resigned from his job. As time goes on, Number 6, as well as trying to escape, tries to find who is the real leader of this idyllic prison; the myterious Number 1.

It was all filmed in the beautiful ‘village’ of Portmeirion in Wales. It was probably chosen as the location for The Prisoner because, like the village in the series, Portmeirion is not an actual village. Instead it was an expensive ‘folly’ built in the style of an Italian fishing village by designer Sir Clough Williams-Ellis between the years 1925 and 1975. It was never intended as a place to live, but is more a sprawling hotel which just happens to a rather attractive place for tourists to visit.

Now, the band XTC must have been huge fans of the programme, because they recorded many promotional videos for their songs at Portmeirion. Often they dressed in the same kind of outfit worn by McGoohan. So it is with great pleasure I give you this week’s link to one of my own particular XTC favourites - The Meeting Place. Click here and enjoy.

Be seeing you.


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