Friday, 25 August 2017

Week 4 - The Grambler with a Prince Albert


Welcome to The Grambler, the most ill-informed blog you are ever likely to see.

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. Read on and enjoy

 

Are you a gadget person? I am. I love new gadgety things. Mrs G asked if I would like a Tassimo. I wasn't sure if I had heard her right and answered that I wasn't keen on fat Japanese blokes wrestling. She explained (more slowly this time) that it was a gadget for making coffee. Well, I was hooked. Two of my favourite words in one sentence... gadget and coffee. Contrary to what you may have gleaned from last week's article, coffee is my favourite drink.
A new gadget for making coffee? Great! Hang on a mo, I've had coffee-making gizmos in the past. After a while they tend to end up in a cupboard under the sink beside the bread maker, the deep fat fryer and many other 'labour saving' devices.

The coffee makers were often so awkward to use that it seemed quicker and easier to make instant coffee instead.

I've had them all... a glass pot that you put on the stove and then put a second pot on top that held a paper filter with coffee in it. That one was so slow and unwieldy to use, I was quite relieved when the glass just got smashed... at least it saved it from ending up in that cupboard.

Another product that I just had to have was an electric coffee making machine. This time you filled up a reservoir with cold water using the jug provided, then put some coffee granules in a paper filter and waited until the water heated and trickled through into the jug which was placed under the spout... And waited... And waited. Like the previous example it was soon in that cupboard under the sink next to the George Formby* grill prior to being transferred to the nearest charity shop.

I've even had a percolator. No filters involved this time, but just as slow as any other gadget. It's a funny word, isn't it? Percolator. It's a word that only ever seems to be used in relation to coffee. Unless you come from Hull. There, it has a completely different meaning which is quite obscene. In case that is totally lost on you, it is to do with with the accent. People from Hull don't phone home, they fern herm. Now do you get it?

Another gadget I have (and do occasionally use) is the Bialetti pressurised pot that you place on the hob to make espresso coffee. The water is in the lower portion with the coffee granules in the upper part. Because the lower part is sealed, the only way for the boiling water to expand is upwards through the coffee granules into the upper section. A dashed clever idea. Unlike the others, it is not cumbersome and can fit in any cupboard (and not just the one under the sink). Unfortunately, like the others, it is incredibly slow and it has the added annoyance of being an absolute pain to clean properly.

Until now, my favourite means of making coffee is by using a cafetiere. Quick and easy to use, reasonably easy to clean and compact enough to fit not under the sink. The biggest downside to it is that it is made of glass and tends to get smashed rather easily. [A bit like you when you drink whisky. - Ed.]

So would the Tassimo type of coffee maker be able to replace the cafetiere? I know people who have them and think they are terrific. Would I agree, or would it end up next to the waffle maker?

A wee while back, I had my chance to test one out before making a purchase. I was staying in a rather posh hotel and instead of the usual kettle and instant, there was a posh Tassimo coffee maker. Thank goodness I didn't buy one; it would have been under that sink next to the smoothie maker pretty damn quick.

The first problem, it seemed to me, was its bulk. It only produces one cup at a time, but takes up a lot of space. My next grievance was to do with the means of getting the coffee into the machine. The coffee comes in pods. One is placed in a special holder and the boiling water passes through it into a cup. Basically, it works on the same principle as any electric coffee maker, except for these pods. The advantage of the pod is that it is clean and you don't even have to clean the machine after its use. The disadvantage is that the pods are made of disposable plastic. And? I'm thinking green here. How many pods get disposed of each day? Yes they can be recycled, but many people just chuck them in the nearest bin. I envisage a few landfill sites getting fuller, a bit more quickly than they used to.

Another disadvantage is the expense of making coffee. When I use a cafetiere, it takes one scoop of coffee per cup. Cost? Probably less than two pence. If you turn it into a latte, add another couple of pence for the milk you use. Cost of coffee pods? Well, the cheapest I've seen them on line by buying in bulk works out at 25 pees per pod. Hmm. What if you want to make a latte? Another 25 pees please. Fifty pence for each cup? I don't think so.

My main grievance? Time. It is every bit as slow as any other machine I've tried. First you place the coffee pod in the machine and then you have to wait for the water in the reservoir to reach a suitable temperature. Next, you have to wait while the water trickles through into the cup placed under the spout and, if you want a latte, you have to place the second pod in the machine and go through the whole rigmarole again. What a faff! It takes about ten minutes to make a single cup of coffee. If you want a second cup, you have to do it all over again. Thus, to make two cups of coffee takes over a quarter of an hour and the person who is unlucky enough to get the first cup will either have to drink it while the second person waits for theirs or (if they are being polite) wait and end up with a lukewarm cuppa.

Now, take my cafetiere. Two cups? Okay, this is how it's done. Put water in kettle. Switch on kettle. While water is boiling, put two scoops of coffee into the cafetiere and half fill two cups with milk. Place cups in microwave. By this time (about a minute) the water is heated. Pour boiling water into the cafetiere. Stir. Place plunger on cafetiere. Wait for microwave to go ping (about two minutes). Remove cups from microwave. Remove skin from top of hot milk (yeuch!). Push plunger down on cafetiere. Pour coffee into cups of hot milk. Stir. Done. Total time? Probably about four minutes.

As I mentioned, the downside of using a cafetiere is that they have a propensity (That's a good word. I must look it up.) to break, being made of glass. If only someone could come up with a non-breakable cafetiere...

I told Mrs G not to bother with a tassimo, so she bought me something else... a stainless steel cafetiere. Sorted!

*Yes, I know that should read George Foreman. It’s supposed to be a joke. With the George Formby grill everything turns out nice again. Boom and indeed tish.

[I would like to apologise to any readers who clicked on this blog expecting to read a serious review of Tassimo coffee makers. I should also like to point out that the views of The Grambler are to be taken with a pinch of salt. Or, perhaps in this instance, a spoonful of sugar. Heh. Heh. I should also like to assure any manufacturers of machines using the Tassimo system that I (in my capacity as editor of this august blog) would be more than willing to provide a proper and serious appraisal of one of your machines, should you wish to supply me with one together with a limitless supply of coffee pods. Just a thought. - Ed.]

 

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So it’s farewell to Brucie and Jerry. Yes, the entertainers (it says here) Bruce Forsyth and Jerry Lewis both popped their clogs this week. You already know my views on Brucie (See http://www.thegrambler.com/2016/10/week-12-grambler-on-retirement-of-bruce.html ), what can I say about Jerry Lewis? I enjoyed his work when I was young. By the time I reached the age of about six, I had gone off him entirely, preferring a more mature, cerebral style of comedy such as Captain Pugwash, Crackerjack and Mr Pastry.

 

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Were any famous or notorious people born on the 26th of August? Of course. Here are some I’ve even heard of. Robert Walpole 1676 (Longest serving Prime Minister in British history - 20 years.), Joseph-Michel Montgolfier 1740 (With his brother invented the hot air balloon. In 1783 the first hot air balloon carrying animals was launched. A sheep, a duck and a rooster made the first ascent and survived. Less than a month later a man took to the skies. Oddly enough, Joseph sent little brother Etienne up in that first ascent. Typical big brother.), Prince Albert 1819 (Vicky’s man. Famous for lending his name to a... What? Ooh, nasty.  See picture below.), Christopher Isherwood 1904 (Orfer. When his work I Am a Camera was made into a film in 1954, critic Walter Kerr wrote a succinct three-word review... ‘Me no Leica’.), Jim Davis 1909 (Jock Ewing in Dallas.), Anjeze Gonxhe Bojaxhiu 1910 (Better known as Mother (now Saint) Teresa of Calcutta.), Brian John Duffy aka Jet Black 1938 (Drummer with The Stranglers. How about a clip? All together now... Whatever happened to... all the heroes?), Nik Turner 1940 (Flautist with Orkwind. How about a clip? All together now... I, I just took a ride... Yes, that is Lemmy on vocals.), Chris Curtis 1941 (Drummer with The Searchers. How about a clip? All together now... I saw her today. I saw her face... ), Jane Merrow 1941 (Ectress. Trivia: Almost got The Avengers’ gig after Diana Rigg left.), Alan Parker 1944 (Musician. As well as composing many themes for TV programmes including Angels, Minder, News at Ten and Coast, he was a well-known session guitarist for - among others - Blue Mink, CCS and Serge Gainsbourg. How about a clip? He also played guitar on this rather nice toon. All together now...  Softly, whispering I love you...  Sorry about those awful cartoons at the beginning.), Alison Steadman 1946 (Ectress.), Howard Clark 1954 (Golfy bloke.), Shirley Manson 1966 (Garbage singer. [That’s a rather unkind thing to say. - Ed.] How about a clip? All together now... You pretend you're high... ), Rene Higuita 1966 (Columbian footy bloke... the world’s craziest goalie. He has been featured before in thegrambler.com with a film of some wacky moments, but I think this rather special save deserves to be seen again.  Brilliant or what?  What makes it even better is that he performed it against England.), Michael Gove 1967 (Politician.), Chris Boardman 1967 (Bike racey bloke.), Liam Botham 1977 (Rugby bloke. Ian’s lad.), Macaulay Culkin 1980 (Ex child actor.) and Chris Pine 1980 (James T Kirk.).
 
 
Vicky almost faints as Albert shows her a picture
of the piercing he is planning to get.
 
 

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I’ve received a letter...

Dear Mr Dangler,

You may recognise me as being a former prime minister. Even us ex-prime ministers enjoy music, so I was pleased that you played a track by one of my favourite bands, The Stranglers. Here’s a question for you - What was their most successful single ever?

Yours sincerely,

Gordon Brown.**

**Not really.

 

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Well, time to get on with some grambling. How did The Grambler’s predictions for last week fare? Absolute shi... Not very well. 75 pees back from a £2.20 bet is not particularly successful, I think you will agree. What happened. Read on...

 

 

Bournemouth vs Watford - Prediction Home win

Result - Bournemouth 0 Watford 2

Boo!

Richarlison (That’s all he is known by. What is it with these Brazilian footballers?) opened the scoring when he prodded the ball into the net from close range following a cross from Andre Gray.

Substitute Etienne Capoue doubled Watford’s lead with a fine 25-yard strike late on.

Bournemouth had chances as Benik Afobe had a shot saved by Heurelho Gomes and Joshua King headed over.

Bristol City vs Millwall - Prediction Home win

Result - Bristol City 0 Millwall 0

Ooh! ’It the bar!

The Lions created the better of the chances, with Jed Wallace forcing Robins goalkeeper Frank Fielding into a fine safe after half-time.

Left-back Joe Bryan went closest for the hosts, hitting the crossbar after exchanging passes with Bobby Reid.

Fleetwood vs AFC Wimbledon - Prediction Home win

Result - Fleetwood 2 AFC Wimbledon 0

Yay!

Kyle Dempsey orchestrated the opening goal when he found a pocket of space on the right and slid the ball over to Jordy Hiwula, who teed up Devante Cole to curl the ball home from the corner of the box in the 19th minute.

Cole struck again in the 57th minute, a perfectly-weighted Dempsey pass down the channel released him on the left with the striker cutting inside and curling the ball into the top-right corner.

It was not all one-way traffic though as Wimbledon enjoyed a spell of pressure after the goal.

Southend vs Plymouth - Prediction Home win

Result - Southend 1 Plymouth 1

Ooh! ’It the bar!

An early own goal from Pilgrims defender Sonny Bradley put the Shrimpers in front at Roots Hall.

But Ryan Edwards' 62nd-minute equaliser ensured the game ended all square.

Forest Green vs Yeovil - Prediction Home win

Result - Forest Green 4 Yeovil 3

Yay!

The visitors took the lead after nine minutes when Olufela Olomola tapped home from close range before Otis Khan doubled their advantage from the penalty spot after the midfielder was tripped in the area.

Rovers responded in the 23rd minute after Dale Bennett got to the byeline and found the head of Christian Doidge, but the Glovers restored their two-goal lead when a defensive header by Emmanuel Monthe fell kindly to striker Francois Zoko to tap in.

Reece Brown hit back for the hosts to make it 2-3 with a well-struck free-kick from the edge of the box on the stroke of half-time.

Charlie Cooper restored parity after 49 minutes with an effort from range which flew through the hands of goalkeeper Artur Krysiak.

Substitute Omar Bugiel then completed the remarkable turnaround, latching onto a deflection and out-jumped the advancing goalkeeper to head into an empty net with 11 minutes remaining.

 

Oh well, ne’er mind, eh. What has the Great and Glorious Grambler randomly selected for us this week? Five matches have been selected and all kick off at 3pm on Saturday, August the 26th.

Game - Result - Odds

Watford (again) vs Brighton - Prediction Home win - 10/11

Cardiff vs QPR - Prediction Home win - 4/5

Middlesbrough vs Preston - Prediction Home win - 4/5

Cambridge vs Morecambe - Prediction Home win - 5/6

Swindon vs Crawley - Prediction Home win - 17/20

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...

£10.94
 

Not especially whopping.

 


.....oooOooo.....

 

Teaser time. Yay! Last week I asked you which was the last club to win the FA Cup with 11 English players in its starting lineup. You have to go back all of 42 years for the answer. West Ham was the team. Incidentally, their substitute and manager were also English.

One for this week? Let us stick with the FA Cup. Chelsea have won the FA cup seven times in all with seven different managers. Who was the only English manager to be in charge when they won it?

 

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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

 

…..oooOooo…..
 

And finally, Cyril? And finally Esther, I am indebted to a Ms A Steadman, one of Britain’s most accomplished ectresses. She’s been in loads of things... TV programmes such as Nuts in May, Abigail’s Party, The Singing Detective, Fat Friends and Boomers among others. She has played in many films. Won awards, she has. But who can recall her wonderful radio work? Mrs Naughtie in Hamish and Dougal? What about this? Ladeez and genullum, I give you The Show with Ten Legs.  Ahh... Good old-fashioned humour from 1980. Enjoy.

 

That’s all for this week folks, but remember you can read the musings of The Grambler every week by going to the blog at www.thegrambler.com

 

Happy grambling.

 

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