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…
There are some professions which most of us, well, anyone not associated with that particular line of work, just love to hate. Estate agents. There’s one. Why do they exist? Face it, they don’t serve any useful purpose other than provide an extra layer of payment when a house sale is made...
HOUSE BUYER TO ESTATE AGENT: ‘I would like to buy this house.’
ESTATE AGENT TO LAWYER: ‘This man would like to buy this house.’
LAWYER TO ESTATE AGENT: ‘Tell him okay.’
ESTATE AGENT TO HOUSE BUYER: ‘Okay.’
That, to me, is how the system works.
Actually, lawyers also come into the category of professions we love to hate. Basically, they make the rules by which we live. If somebody doesn’t adhere to those rules, the legal eagles swoop into action (Do you see what I did there?). They operate a bit like a taxi; as soon as you begin using their services, the meter is running. But lawyers really do have the system stitched up to suit them. If you break the law, you need the services of a lawyer. If you are on the receiving end of lawbreaking activity and want reparations (That’s a good word. Must look it up.), you need the services of a lawyer. It’s a double whammy!
Yes, estate agents and lawyers are very good at inflicting pain of the financial kind. Another profession which is very good at that is dentistry... with the added bonus that dentists do actually inflict pain.
The reason for this week’s (g)ramble is that I recently paid a visit to a new (to me) dentist and had to have a filling, for which I paid rather a lot of money. A week or so after the filling went in, it was out again. I could understand that happening if I had been chewing a toffee, but I wasn’t. It just fell out. One minute in; next minute out. I could see the old cheque book having to come out again because, if I had the filling replaced, it was likely that the dentist would charge me. I was sure of it. Why? Pull up a chair; I’ll tell ee...
Some years ago, I went to my dentist for a six-monthly check-up. There was one tooth that had some decay. Well, a lot of decay. So, Mr Dentist advised that I should have a filling. He drilled and filled... and filled.... and filled. It was a large filling. When he had finished, I was charged a lot of money. For the next few days, I had pain from the tooth. At first, I assumed that it was the fact that it had been such a big filling that was causing the problem but, after a few days of agony, I had to return to see Mr Dentist. ‘Root treatment,’ he declared. So he drilled and drilled and jabbed and stabbed and, finally, filled the tooth. After he had finished, I was charged a lot of money; more than the first time because root treatment doesn’t come cheap. So I went away thinking that all would be well. It wasn’t. All was anything but well. Not only was the tooth causing me more pain than ever, my neck was swelling up with the abcess caused by it. I looked like I had the mumps. Unfortunately, this problem occurred over the weekend period when the dentist was not available, so I had to suffer. Eventually, I got to see him. ‘Hmm... I’ll give you a prescription for antibiotics, then come back to see me,’ he said. So, I got the antibiotics (for which I had to pay) and, after taking them for a few days, went back to see him. Do you know what he did? He only fn well extracted the offending tooth. And do you know what else he did? He fn well charged me for doing it! Thus, a tooth that hadn’t been causing me any pain prior to my visits to the dentist had caused me plenty of pain, both actual and financial, by the time he had finished with it.
Since that debacle (I’m full of good words today) I have moved to another dental practice. This has a bright, airy waiting area and the surgery itself is full of new-looking equipment. It all looks rather plush and expensive.
You can imagine my thoughts as I headed to this dentist earlier this week to have the repair carried out. Would I have any money left at the finish of the treatment? Would I still have a tooth at the end of the treatment? The dentist came up with all sorts of reasons why the filling hadn’t held firm. For reasons, read excuses. Any road up, he set to and after ten minutes or so, a new filling was in place. He led me out to the reception area and told the lady behind the desk that it was a repair job. He then shook me by the hand and bid me farewell and looked forward to seeing me in six months. He is certainly polite, I’ll say that. However, I was thinking, I’ll bet you’ll look forward to seeing me if you get double payment for every job. Anyway, I made an appointment with the receptionist and was waiting with my wallet in my hand. She simply repeated what the dentist had said. ‘Nothing to pay?’ I asked. ‘Not for a repair job. See you in six months. Bye.’
I left the practice in a state of shock. Did that really happen? I have an ethical dentist? I feel I ought to be giving his practice a bit of free advertising, but that is against The Grambler’s (unwritten) rules. Let’s just say that I left the dentist with a ‘Smile’ on my face.
Footy news? Alexis Sanchez's pent-up frustrations at Arsenal boiled over in the most public of manners this week. After a blow to their Premier League title hopes at Bournemouth when the teams drew, the energetic and ambitious [For ambitious, read greedy? - Ed.] forward threw his gloves to the ground and headed for the tunnel in a huff. Once back in the dressing room Sanchez quietly fumed, barely speaking to team-mates.
You know what I’m going to add don’t you? Gloves? What a wimp!
Another footy story revolves around Madeira’s favourite son, Cristiano Ronaldo. He has this to say about his son, Cristiano Jnr, being teased about his not-quite-so-brilliant father... ‘People tell my son 'there is another player who is better than your dad' - I tell him to be polite... There are jealous people out there.’ The boy is six for fu... goodness’ sake! Any child of that age assumes that his father is the best in the world at absolutely everything. I doubt if anyone has ever said that to the boy. It’s probably Mr Ronaldo senior that still doesn’t like being labelled as just the second best player in the world.
Were any famous or notorious people born on the 7th of January? Of course. Here are some I’ve even heard of. Al Bowlly 1899 (The original pop star. Want a clip? Why not? Here he is in 1934 with The Very Thought of You. ), Francis Poulenc 1899 (A composer. Let’s have a sample of his work. Ladeez and gennulum, I give you you Melancholie. ), Charles Addams 1912 (Cartoonist. You will know his most famous creation. You will. Go on. Have a guess.*), Gerald Durrell 1925 (Naturalist, zookeeper, conservationist, author and television presenter... In fact, a right old clever clogs.), Hunter Davies 1936 (Author. Wrote the first authorised biography of the Beatles.), Ian La Frenais 1936 (Scriptwriter. With Dick Clement gave us The Likely Lads - and sequel, Porridge - and sequel, Lovejoy and Auf Weidersehen, Pet.), Danny Williams 1942 (Singer, sometimes called ‘Britain’s Johnny Mathis’. Want another clip? All together now... Mooooon River. ), Kenny Loggins 1948 (Inventor of the way to switch on a computer.), Malcolm Macdonald 1950 (Whorr! It’s Malcolm... One for Jasper Carrott fans there.), David Caruso 1956 (Murcan Ector.), Nicolas Kim Coppola 1964 (Who? Oh, Nicolas Cage. Francis Ford Coppola’s nephew.), Nick Clegg 1967 (I was deputy prime minister once, you know.), Andy Burnham 1970 (Another politician.), Lewis Hamilton 1985 (Racey car bloke.) and Eden Hazard 1991 (Footy bloke.).
Let’s move on to grambling matters. How did we do last week? Badly. Very badly. Let’s see how the games went. Read on...
Huddersfield vs Blackburn - Prediction Home win
Result - Huddersfield 1 Blackburn 1
Ooh! ’It the bar!
In a game dominated by the hosts, Graham nodded in Liam Feeney's cross to put Rovers ahead on 81 minutes
But, after several near misses, Nahki Wells equalised for Huddersfield in the 94th minute.
Wolves vs QPR - Prediction Home win
Result - Wolves 1 QPR 2
Idrissa Sylla shot the Hoops ahead from Pawel Wszolek's 53rd-minute cross.
Wolves midfielder Edwards levelled when he turned home a cross from Helder Costa on 61 minutes.
But Wszolek then poked home a left-footed shot into the bottom corner.
Oxford Utd vs Walsall - Prediction Home win
Result - Oxford 0 Walsall 0
Ooh! ’It the Bar!
Oxford United's first meeting with Walsall for 16 years ended in anti-climax with an uninspiring goalless draw at the Kassam Stadium.
The Saddlers arguably had the better of what few chances there were in a match in which defences were very much on top.
Peterborough vs Coventry - Prediction Home win
Result - Peterborough 1 Coventry 1
Ooh! ’It the bar!
The struggling Sky Blues were on course for victory after skipper Jordan Willis converted a Chris McCann cross in the 19th minute.
While the captain’s effort did prove enough to snap a run of seven successive League One defeats, Michael Bostwick's dramatic equaliser in added time denied Coventry that victory.
Plymouth vs Crawley Town - Prediction Home win
Result - Plymouth 2 Crawley 0
A belated Yay!
Second-half goals from Oscar Threlkeld and substitute Craig Tanner were enough for Plymouth to beat Crawley and move back to the top of League Two.
Oh well, let’s see if The Grambler can improve a bit this week [He/she/it couldn’t do any worse. - Ed.].
Game - Result - Odds
Bradford vs Chesterfield - Prediction Home win - 1/2
Bristol Rovers vs Northampton - Prediction Home win - 10/11
Scunthorpe vs Bury - Prediction Home win - 9/20
Southend vs Sheffield Utd - Prediction Away win - 17/20
Swindon vs Shrewsbury - Prediction Home win - 11/10
Hmm... Five games in English Division One take place this Saturday the 7th of January at 3pm and guess what... The Grambler has picked them all. I foresee trouble. Any road up, the bets have been placed (10 x 20 pee doubles plus 1 x 20 pee accumulator) and if they all go according to The Grambler’s Prediction, the Bobby Moore Fund stands to receive a whopping...
That’s not particularly whopping, is it?
Teaser time. Yay! Last week I asked you which was the only British club to face Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United without ever being beaten. The answer was Southend. Yep. The teams met only once; Southend knocking Man U. out of the Carling Cup back in November 2006. It wasn’t as if Ferguson had done that cocky-Premiershit-manager thing of fielding a sub-standard team against a (supposedly) lesser team. The Man U line-up included O’Shea, Silvestre, Richardson, Fletcher, Rooney and (the world’s second best player) Ronaldo.
One for this week? Having just mentioned Madeira’s most famous son (again), I thought a question relating to his national side would be quite apt. So, cast your minds back a few months to Euro 2016 which Portugal won. This week’s question is, how many games did Portugal win in 90 minutes? That should start a discussion or two down the pub.
As usual, 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 Messrs I. La Frenais and R. Clement for our final link. It is a clip from the 70s sitcom Porridge. Is that all I have to say? Normally, a bit of spiel goes with these clips, to explain why I think it is worth showing. What can I say? It is the only sitcom that I have on DVD(every series and the Christmas Specials). I also have a book which contains every script. The best sitcom ever, in my view. Nothing else comes close. Enjoy.
*The Addams Family. Obvious, really.