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 told you that this year’s Tea for Stewart raised the fantastic sum of 1456 quids. Brilliant, or what?
On Monday of this week Mrs G and I went down to the local bank to put this money in. Until that point Mrs G had been carrying this large sum of dosh about in her handbag. She was absolutely petrified that somebody might mug her while she was carting this about. Actually, she looked rather shifty the way she was clutching her bag every time anyone got remotely close. It was a wonder she wasn’t challenged by a policeman suspecting her of being in possession of drugs.
Any road up, she felt relieved when she finally reached the bank. She began handing over the bags containing notes and coins. Tell me something... When you give to charity, do you give a fixed amount? Say, £20? Or do you just empty your pockets of all the loose change you might have? Some of you will answer yes to the former; some will answer yes to the second. Correct? Yes? Why do I ask? Well, a bag containing 26 quid of the amount I quoted consisted of a mixture of coins - pennies, 2 pees, 5 pees, 10 pees, 20 etc. Obviously, this was money that people had simply emptied out of their pockets. Mrs G handed this bag full of change to the cashier and was told, rather abruptly, that she couldn’t accept it.
‘Sorry pardon excuse me?’ I couldn’t resist asking, ‘This is a bank is it not? Banks are places where customers come in to deposit money. This is a bag of money. I am a customer. I wish to deposit this money. Why can you not accept it?’
‘It is a mixture of coins.’
‘It is indeed, as you say, a mixture of coins.’
‘I can’t accept a mixture of coins.’
‘Okay. I will unmix them. The bank is empty. I won’t be holding anyone up.’
‘No, I can only take the amounts stipulated on the bags.’
‘I am not going to put them in bags. I am going to count the amount of each coin. I will then hand the coins, counted, to you.’
‘I can’t accept them.’
‘Why the fu.. Why not?’
‘Because they are not in bags.’
‘I fu... I know they’re not in bags. I’ve taken them out of the bag so that you don’t have to count them.’
‘I can’t accept them.’
‘(Here we go again) Why not?’
‘It’s against company policy.’
‘For fu... What’s against company policy?’
‘Taking cash amounts which isn’t bagged.’
‘What? Why is that a company policy?’
‘I don’t know.’
‘If you don’t know, it can’t be a particularly sensible policy, can it?’
‘It’s company policy.’
‘Are you telling me that if a small child was encouraged by his parents to start a bank account and came to this company with his, or her, handful of small change, you would tell them to go away because it wasn’t company policy to accept small amounts?’
‘We might make an exception for that.’
‘Well, make an exception for us.’
‘It’s not company policy.’
At this point in the proceedings you made have heard my anguished cry of ARRRGH! from the other end of the shopping mall. I felt the ghost of Victoria Wood was at large and I was in the middle of one of her sketches.
Have you ever heard of anything so daft? A bank that doesn’t want your money? What is going on? We relented and gave her the money we had that was bagged correctly and put the £26 mix of coins back into a bag to deposit at a later time when it was converted into acceptable coinage. Guess what she did with the bags of coins we did give her. She put the bags onto a special set of scales to weigh them. Now, the way [Weigh? - Ed.] she did this was to set the scales by selecting the correct coin and the readout told her whether the amount was that specified on the bag or was too much or too little. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? I am thinking, if it is that blibbing easy to count the money, why the hell did this jobsworth of a bank cashier waste ten minutes telling us we couldn’t put odd quantities of coins in. All she had to do was take each denomination of coin and weigh it. She didn’t even have to count it. The answer was there on a readout.
As I said earlier... ARRRGH!
Please visit The Grambler’s Kick Cancer’s Backside Fund JustGiving page (https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Geraldine-Smith3) and you will be able to see that, since we began the fund, over £32,000 has been donated to the Bobby Moore Fund.
We will continue to raise money for this wonderful cause in the hope that one day a cure can be found for the horrible, horrible disease of bowel cancer.
Any birthdays of note to celebrate? Did any famous or notorious folk come into this world on the 23rd of July? Of course they did. Albert Eichelbaum 1883 (Changed his name to Albert Warner and with brothers Harry, Sam and Jack formed the Marx Brothers... Hang on a mo.), Raymond Chandler 1888 (Began writing detective novels at the age of 44 after losing his job as an oil company executive in the Depression.), Haile Selassie 1892 (Brother of Fairly and Not-at-all.*), Michael Wilding 1912 (Married Elizabeth Taylor in 1952; she was 20. Half his age! What were her parents thinking!), Coral Browne 1913 (‘I could never understand what Godfrey Tearle saw in Jill Bennett, until I saw her at the Caprice eating corn-on-the-cob.’ I have no idea what she meant.), Michael Foot 1913 (Brilliant politician who was just a bit... well, scruffy to become prime minister.), Richard Rogers 1933 (Wacky architect.), Madeline Bell 1942 (Half of Blue Mink.), Andy McKay 1946 (One sixth of Roxy Music.), David Essex 1947 (Has five children; the youngest is 42 years younger than the oldest! Rock on.), Clive Rice 1949 (Crickety bloke.), Alan Turner 1950 (Another crickety bloke.), Graham Gooch 1953 (Yet another crickety bloke.), Martin Gore 1961 (Probably more to do with the birthday link, Depeche Mode’s Martin Gore did a cover of David Essex’ Stardust. What do you reckon? Mmm. That’s what I thought.), Woody Harrelson 1961 (Cowboy in Toy Story.), Philip Seymour Hoffman 1967 (Graduate of New York University’s prestigious and uber-expensive Tisch School of Performing Arts. Did I mention his mother was a judge?), Alison Krauss 1971 (A rerr chanter.), Fran Healey 1973 (Apparently, he lied when he was 17.), Monica Lewinsky 1973 (Yes. You know. Bill Clinton. Dress. Cigar. Aye. Her.), Stuart Elliott 1978 (Footy Bloke. Used to play for Motherwell. Scored 22 goals for them.) and Daniel Radcliffe 1989 (Actor who probably needn’t work ever again; he can just go to Harry Potter conventions.),
*That joke was first used on The Frost Report back in 1966.
Let’s move on to grambling matters. What happened last week? Nothing. We didn’t have a bet. All right, what happened the week before last? We won. Only kidding. We lost. Well, a bit of both. We won 82 pees which means we actually lost £1.38. Not too good, eh?
Hey, guess what. There are footie games this week. In Scotland there is a competition with the snazzy title the BetFred Cup being run at the moment. I think it might be a replacement for the old League Cup, but the way it is run is a good bit different. Instead of the usual knockout tournament, the first stages of the BetFred are conducted a la World Cup, Euro and Champions League, with several groups of five teams playing each other home and away. Actually, that is over-simplifying it Each team plays only two of the others in their group and I quote...
‘Each Club will play one game at home and the other away against the two clubs drawn immediately below it in the group. Club 1 plays Club 2 at home and Club 3 away; Club 2 plays Club 3 at home and Club 4 away and so on. This criteria is circular so that the Clubs “immediately below” Club 5 are Club 1 and Club 2 in that order. This mechanism will ensure that each Club will play four games in the Group (two at home and two away).
The group stage uses the traditional three points for a win and one point for a draw model but drawn matches will go straight to a penalty shoot-out. The winner of the shoot-out will be awarded a bonus point. The eight group winners and four best runners-up progress to the second round, where they are joined by the four UEFA qualifying clubs, and the competition reverts to a knock-out format.’
There you are. How simple is that? [My brain hurts. - Ed.] Who on earth dreamed that up? It is pointed out that this system is based on a model used for the UEFA Cup. What isn’t stated is whether it was ever used a second time.
So this week The Grambler is randomly selecting five results from the BetFred Cup? However, that gave yours truly a bit of a problem. You see, the competition is called the BetFred Cup, BetFred being the firm of bookmakers who sponsor the cup. And? And I have an account with Bet365, another firm of bookmakers. And? And, for fairly obvious reasons, it is not possible to bet on a competition sponsored by a rival bookie; at least not on-line, the way I place The Grambler’s bets. So, today, I paid a visit to a BetFred shop to place this week’s bets. Do you know what? The lowest amount they allow you to bet is 25 pees. Outrageous, I call it. 25 pees! Bet365 let me bet as little as 10 pees if I want. As regular followers of this esteemed blog know, the weekly bet is 11 x 20 pee bets. £2.20. Unfortunately, this week I have been forced to fork out and extra 55 pees. Shocking! 25 per cent more! It’s... it’s the thin end of the wedge! It’s inflation gone spiralling out of control! It’s... it’s the last time I bet with Fred! [Calm down. What about the bet? - Ed.] The bet? Oh yes...
Game - Result - Odds
Ayr United vs Edinburgh City - Prediction Home win - 3/10
Cowdenbeath vs Dunfermline - Prediction Away win - 1/2
Kilmarnock vs Morton - Prediction Home win - 8/11
Partick vs Queen of the South - Prediction Home win - 8/11
Ross County vs Raith Rovers - Prediction Home win - 4/5
The bets have been placed (10 x 25 pee doubles plus 1 x 25 pee accumulator) and if they all go according to The Grambler’s Prediction, the Bobby Moore Fund stands to receive a whopping...
Considering the amount of money I had to fork out, that is not very whopping at all.
Teaser time. Yay! Two weeks ago I asked you which player at the Euro 2016 Finals had accrued the same number of caps as Plastic Man aka Ronaldo? The answer was Republic of Ireland’s Shay Given. Did you get that one? Yes, perhaps a bit too easy.
What about one for this week? In a 1990 World Cup game between England and Ireland, what did Gary Lineker do that was very unusual? Try that one down the pub. Answer next week.
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 the fine ladies and gentlemen of the Independent newspaper. As you may be aware, our esteemed Prime Minister Mrs Theresa May (or may not) has seen fit to appoint a certain Mr B. Johnson to the post of Foreign Secretary. Now, to me and many others, this is perhaps not the wisest of decisions given old Boris’s penchant for upsetting a few people. When it comes to offending other nations, Boris is up there with the top man, Phil the Greek or Chookie Embra as we know him round these parts. So here, ladeez and genellum, is an up-to-date map showing those countries Boris has (so far) offended. Be aware that there may be more red on the map once he has made a few visits abroad in his new role.