Thursday 14 September 2017

Week 7 - Grambleday wishes to the Gruffalo?

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 .

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. Read on and enjoy


Often I have a rant about poor grammar. Well, I’m sorry, but I’m going to do it again. Now, I realise that this is not the best written blog in the world; I split infinitives and use single inverted commas for speech when I should be making them doubles [Don’t mind if I do. Hic. It’s been a tough week. - Ed.]. And I start sentences with the word ‘and’. All lamentable, but I draw the line at blatant errors. Whatever do you mean, I hear you ask.

I received a piece of junk mail from a shop which had wheedled my address out of me when I bought an item there. They sent a beautifully printed catalogue of all the products on sale in the shop. It is now a beautifully printed, but unread, addition to my paper recycling bin. It came with a letter which was also well printed and was obviously a piece of mail that accompanied every catalogue posted out by the company. Perhaps thousands were sent out in this particular mail drop. I did begin to read this letter, but gave up after the first sentence which read...

‘As one of our loyal customers we thought you might enjoy this exclusive opportunity to see all of the new kit we’ve got in store and online this season.’

No. No. No. No. I am the loyal customer not whoever composed this letter (badly). It should begin... As one of our loyal customers, you might enjoy... Do you see? And they forgot the comma after the word customers.

Does nobody ever think to get such a document checked for mistakes before they print and mail thousands of them? Does nobody employ poofreaders any more?

I also noticed some notices (Do you see what I did there?) which contain howlers. The first was in the waiting room at the dealership where I took my car for its annual service. I had decided to wait there while the work was being carried out. Unfortunately, the room was bereft of any newspapers or magazines to read (Not even a year-old Readers Digest!) so I whiled away the time by reading some of the artwork on the walls. There were lots of bright and breezy signs dotted about the place telling us waiting drivers about things like pollen filter change and ‘Optiburn’ fuel treatment. [How interesting. Yawn. - Ed.] However, the one that caught my eye (and ire) had the heading ‘Breath of fresh air’. The text underneath read... ‘Aircon service so you can breathe easy.’ No. No. No. No. So that you can breathe easily, for pity’s sake! How do these things happen? Did nobody think to have it checked before all the accompanying artwork was added? Did nobody read it before it went to the printer? Did nobody at the printing company check it? Did nobody notice the mistake before the poster was plastered on the walls of car dealerships up and down the land annoying the hell out of pedants like me?

I’m not too happy about aircon for air conditioning, either.

Another poster I have seen recently also bugs me no end. It is displayed in a school, of all places. The poster is issued by the local council, presumably to all the schools in the region and is all about saving energy. It gives suggestions such as switching off lights, not leaving taps running, etc.. Yes, we know it purports to be about saving the planet, but it is more about saving the council money. Being green equates to being a skinflint. Any road up, one of the statements reads thus... ‘Use less black bags.’ No. No. No. No. No! Use fewer black bags! Less black? What? Grey? Why would anyone care if a bin bag was black? Or any other colour, for that matter. Once again, nobody noticed the mistake during the production of these posters. Worse; nobody in the school where this is displayed has spotted the error and corrected it. It is displayed in a place of learning, for crying out loud! It doesn’t give you much confidence in the education system, does it?

A third poster has annoyed me for a different reason. I am not peeved at it being grammatically wrong. It is not. I am riled that a totally meaningless statement is used. Sorry pardon excuse me? This particular sign is on the back of many of our local buses. It extols the wonderful benefits you get by using this particular bus company. Free Wifi. Good; people can read while travelling. Leather seats. Good? Not sure about that one. Would seats being made of inferior material persuade you to let other buses pass until one with leather seats drew up to the bus stop? Of course not. Anyway, back to the plot; one statement on this sign reads simply ‘Runs till late.’ Just that. What does that mean? If you are someone who likes to be in bed early, 9 o’clock might be your idea of late. If, however, you are something of a night owl, anything before 3am might be considered early. Does this bus still run at three in the morning? Doubt it. By using the word late, the bus company is saying nothing. I’m guessing that their idea of late is anything but.

Vague times like that are used all the time. How often have you phoned a company and been put on hold having been told ‘one of our agents will be with you in a moment?’ In my experience a moment usually equates to anything from three verses of Simply the Best to the complete Four Seasons suite by Vivaldi. And while I’m on my high horse, what is tea time all about? It’s a time that weather forecasters like a lot, as in ‘The rain will clear by tea time.’ Utterly meaningless. That could mean any time between 4pm and 8pm. Mind you, when you see how inaccurate their forecasting is, you can’t blame them for keeping it vague.

I don’t think those seats are leather, you know.




Were any famous or notorious people born on the 16th of September? Of course. Here are some I’ve even heard of. Bonar Law 1858 (Prime minister of UK and nothing to do with a law relating to... yes, well, we won’t go into that.), James Penney 1875 (Founder of J.C. Penney store. The C stands for Cash. Seriously.), Walter Owen Bentley 1888 (Builder of the world’s fastest lorry... according to rival car maker Ettore Bugatti.), Karl Donitz 1891 (Hitler’s successor with the title of President of Germany.), Alexander Korda 1893 (Hungarian-born film director, writer and producer. Made films in Britain that were credible rivals to Hollywood fayre. Prior to making the 1933 film ‘The Private Life of HenryVIII’ he knew nothing of the monarch. He only became interested in the king when he heard a taxi driver singing the comic song ‘I’m Henry the Eighth I am’ and wondered who was the inspiration for this silly song. Here is our first clip of the week; Harry Champion singing that very song.  And did you notice something Peter Noone of Herman’s Hermits? The second verse is not the same as the first. In your version you didn’t even sing the verse; you sang the chorus. Twice. Doesn’t count.), Lauren Bacall 1924 (Actress. According to Victoria Wood, Bacall picked her Bogie. Clip two?  Her most famous line.  Ooer, missus!), Charles Haughey 1925 (Irish politician.), Riley King aka B.B. King 1925 (Musician. Here is a clip from 1989... The Thrill is Gone.), Peter Falk 1927 (Actor... ‘Just one more thing...’), George Chakiris 1934 (Dancer. In West Side Story, he was. Leader of the Sharks. You remember that ludicrous ‘fight’ scene where the rival gangs dance at each other? Scary stuff.), Dick Heckstall-Smith 1934 (Who? He was a jazz/blues saxophonist. Played in Blues Incorporated, The Graham Bond Organisation, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers and Colosseum. Here’s another clip... Here he is showing that he can blow two saxes at once.  Ooer, missus!), Julia Donaldson 1948 (Didn’t you know? It was she who wrote The Gruffalo.), Ed Begley Jr. 1949 (Actor. Sandy Lane. A little reference for your consideration there.), Loyd Grossman 1950 (Hyoo lurves in a hayoos loik thurs?), Andy Irvine 1951 (Rugby bloke.), Philip ‘Mickey’ Rourke 1952 (Ex-boxer.), Jerry Pate 1953 (Golfy bloke.), David Kotkin 1956 (Who? He’s better known as magician (it says here) David Copperfield. His greatest trick? Keeping his hair unfeasably black.), Neville Southall 1958 (Footy bloke, isn’t it.), Richard Marx 1963 (Musician. After the blog from a couple of weeks back, I can see another ‘... of the week’ category starting up and here is the first edition... Ladeez and Genullum I give you ‘Funeral song of the week’! Here is Right Here Waiting.), Katie Melua 1984 (Chanter. Here’s a nice toon, but surely the number of bicycles can’t be correct.  9 million?  Exactly 9 million? Doubt it. Must have been rounded up. Or down. Understandable, I suppose. I mean, if there were actually 9,265,407 bicycles in Beijing, and Katie was aiming for accuracy, the song would be a right old bugger to sing.) and Kyle Lafferty 1987 (Footy bloke. Plays for Hearts. Motherwell beat Hearts a couple of weeks back. Just thought I would mention it.).

I'm Henry the eighth, I am.


I’ve received a letter...

Dear Grambler Gascoigne,

We are three Katie Melua fans. We know you used to introduce that University quiz type programme before Germoline Paxo took over, so thought you might know the answer to our question. Katie Melua’s first two albums went to number one in the British charts, can you name them both?

Yours sincerely,

Carl Orff, Dee Surch and P. Spypiece.



Well, time to get on with some grambling. How did The Grambler’s predictions for last week fare? We won. Yay! Honest. We did win. I know, I can’t believe it either. I say won. Four out of five predictions came good and we profited by £1.79. What happened? Read on...



Fulham vs Cardiff - Prediction Home win

Result - Fulham 1 Cardiff 1

Ooh! ’It the bar!

Cardiff City came from behind to salvage a draw against Fulham at Craven Cottage to remain top of the Championship.

The Cottagers took the lead with 15 minutes remaining through young star Ryan Sessegnon, a man who loves scoring against the Welsh club.

However, Cardiff again showed character and new man Liam Feeney set up his fellow substitute Danny Ward to grab an equaliser.


Norwich vs Birmingham - Prediction Home win

Result - Norwich 1 Birmingham 0


Nelson Oliveira's fourth-minute goal was enough to give Norwich a slender victory over Birmingham at Carrow Road.

Defender Timm Klose supplied a pass to the back post and Oliveira poked home.


QPR vs Ipswich - Prediction Home win

Result - QPR 2 Ipswich 1


Jamie Mackie gave QPR the lead just before half-time when he slid in to meet Pawel Wszolek's cross.

Luke Freeman beat Bartosz Bialkowski from outside the box with a low shot to make it 2-0 shortly after the break.

Bersant Celina pulled a goal back late on with a fine strike from distance, but Tom Adeyemi fired a great chance over the crossbar as QPR held on.


Wolverhampton vs Millwall - Prediction Home win

Result - Wolverhampton 1 Millwall 0


Diogo Jota scored the only goal of the match when he fired past keeper Jordan Archer from the edge of the box after a one-two with Leo Bonatini.

Millwall were reduced to 10 men when Aiden O'Brien was given a second yellow card for pulling back Matt Doherty.

And Wolves went close to doubling their lead late on when Archer denied Romain Saiss from close range.


Sheffield Wed vs Nottingham Forest - Prediction Home win

Result - Sheffield 3 Nottingham 1


A bright Owls start was rewarded when Gary Hooper tucked in after Jordan Smith's poor clearance, but Ben Osborn's near-post finish made it 1-1.

The hosts' Tom Lees had to head Jason Cummings' shot off the line, before an unmarked Steven Fletcher guided home from Lees' corner at the other end.

Kieran Lee added a close-range third as the Reds failed to clear a low cross.


Can The Grambler do it again this week? Yes, I know it doesn’t usually happen, but I can live in hope, can’t I? So what has he/she/it randomly selected for us this week?

Game - Result - Odds

Burton Albion vs Fulham - Prediction Away win - 5/6

Cardiff vs Sheffield Wednesday - Prediction Home win - Evens

Hull vs Sunderland - Prediction Home win - 10/11

Ipswich vs Bolton - Prediction Home win - 19/20

Millwall vs Leeds - Prediction Away win - 6/4

He/she/it’s done it again! All Championship matches! What’s going on here?

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...



You know what? Far too whopping.





Teaser time. Yay! Last week I asked you who was the only man to win caps for Scotland while playing for Barcelona. The answer was Steve Archibald. Easy one that, wasn’t it?

Is this week’s teaser a little more difficult? Can you provide the next name in the following sequence? Plumstead Common, Sportsman Ground, Manor Ground, Invicta Ground, Manor Ground, Highbury. I think you might get that one. Try it 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




And finally, Cyril? And finally Esther, I am indebted to Mr H. Blofeld [What? The Bond villain? - Ed.] a cricket commentator of the old school who, at the age of 77, has decided to retire from the Test Match Special team to concentrate on his live stage career. Like so many TMS commentators before him, ‘Blowers’ had a wonderful way with words. Let us finish with some of his observations.

He made the occasional gaffe...

‘It's a catch he would have caught 99 times times out of 1,000.’

‘If the tension here was a block of Cheddar cheese, you could cut it with a knife.’

‘Flintoff starts in, his shadow beside him. Where else would it be?’

‘Monty Python comes up and bowls.’ (He meant Monty Panesar.)

‘Harper there, the massive umpire from Australia, arms folded behind his backs.’

Sometimes he could be quite poetic in his descriptions...

‘Ashley Giles trundles in to bowl rather like a wheelie bin.’

‘It ballooned into the air and Bell dived forward like a porpoise after a fish and came up with the winner.’

‘They stoop like subservient wine waiters.’

Often, his attention was elsewhere...

‘Oh look - I've just seen a crane at Lord's actually moving, doing some work. I've seen cranes all around this ground for years and they've always been still. That big white one there is moving. A moving crane, a yellow helicopter - what more has the day got to offer?’

‘I can see a butterfly walking across the pitch and, what’s more, it appears to have a limp.’

Farewell Blowers.


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


Happy grambling.


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