Friday 31 August 2018

Week 5 - The Grambler on Alex Salmond

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


You may have seen the news that former First Minister, Alex Salmond, has quit the Scottish National Party after being accused of wrongdoing - sexual harassment, no less. Quite what that entails I don't know. The word harassment could cover any multitude of wrongdoings from molestation to being a bit of an annoying nuisance.

Whatever it is, I'm sure old Alex will talk his way out of it.

So what is this week's (g)ramble? Is it going to be a grambler type rant about men's attitudes towards women? No, not this time. Instead I am annoyed by one word and one word only: harassment. Why so, I hear you ask. Is it because I dislike the use of the word, or, indeed, dislike the word itself? It is neither of these. Instead, my gripe is with the pronunciation of the word. Sorry pardon excuse me?

Let me explain. Way back in the mists of time - the seventies to be precise - there was popular sitcom called Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em. It starred Michael Crawford as the character of Frank Spencer. Although a lot of people found his escapades, where basically everything he was involved in went horribly wrong, hilarious, I, in typical grambleresque fashion, thought the situations this bumbling simpleton found himself in to be cringe-inducingly sad. I really felt sorry for the character; so rather than laugh along I wanted to see an end to the poor guy's endless ineptitude and suffering. It didn't help that I felt the script to be particularly badly written, but I was probably in a minority of one; it was one of the most popular programmes of the time.

It was so popular, in fact, that you just had to say 'Ooh Betty' in the same silly whiny way that Crawford did and everyone recognised that you were doing a rather ropey impression of the Frank Spencer character. It was an expression he constantly came out with and was a kind of catchphrase, if you like. To me, it was also a lazy script writing device to incite a laugh, but, minority of one remember.

Where is all this fol-de-rol and tarradiddle leading to, I hear you ask. Well, another expression that was constantly spoken by the character was, 'I get a lot of harassment.'

Written down, it doesn't look particularly funny... actually, it didn't seem very funny when he said it; not to me, anyway. Minority of one, again. The rest of the viewing population would no doubt be rolling about the floor because he had said something so utterly witty. Of course, the joke...joke, ha!... was that Frank Spencer always said the word harassment wrongly, putting the emphasis in the wrong place. Thus he said harassment instead of the correct pronunciation harassment. How pants wettingly funny is that!

Except most people didn't get it. Let's face it, who uses the word harassment in everyday conversation? I'll wager that many of the viewers had never even heard the word before so probably weren't even aware of the wrong pronunciation part of the joke.

Now, let us return to Mr Salmond. [I wondered when that might happen. - Ed.] The news of his alleged misbehaviour was the big news story of the day, so it got covered by at least three reporters. Sadly, two of those didn't realise the correct way to pronounce harassment either. Then, because it was a big story featuring a senior Scottish politician, it was the big story on the Scottish news programme which immediately follows the UK-wide news programme. So, naturally, lots of people were involved in reporting the item. Not one of those discussing the matter could pronounce the word harassment correctly. How sad is that?

Thank goodness for Brian 'Weebles wobble but won't fall down' Taylor, Beeb Beeb Ceeb Scotland's heavyweight (in every sense of the word) political correspondent. On he came and he seemed to take great delight in pronouncing the word correctly, as if to say, that will teach you to base your English education on the ramblings of a character in a poorly written seventies sitcom. I hope they were all suitably embarrassed.

So there you have it, that's how to pronounce the word harassment. After me... harassment. Hope that didn't cause too much controversy... Now is that controversy or controversy?
Ooh Nicola! I get a
lot of harassment.




Were any famous or notorious people born on the 1st of September? Of course, here are some I’ve even heard of. Johann Pachelbel 1653 (Composer. A clip? Of course. Here is, perhaps, his most famous composition.), Engelbert Humperdinck 1854 (playwright and composer. Another clip? You may recognise this, the Hansel and Gretel, Overture.), James J. Corbett 1866 (Boxy bloke. Known as Gentleman Jim Corbett.), Edgar Rice Burroughs 1875 (Orfer. Wrote the Tarzan stories. Him.), Violet Carson 1898 (Ectress. Was over 60 when she began playing her most remembered role: Ena Sharples.), Yvonne De Carlo 1922 (Ectress. Lily Munster, that was her.), Rocky Marciano 1923 (Boxy bloke.), Art Pepper 1925 (Saxophonist. Here’s another clip. Let’s have some jehhhzzz. Here's Autumn Leaves.), Cecil Parkinson 1931 (Politician who got on a little too well with his secretary.), Lecil Martin aka Boxcar Willie 1931 (Unfortunate injury... He was actually a train-obsessed curntry n wyasturn sanger. Here’s the Wabash Cannonball... Woo woo!), Conway Twitty 1933 (Singer/songwriter. Here’s his biggest hit, It's Only Make Believe.), Lily Tomlin 1939 (Ectress and comedian, it says here.), Archie Bell 1944 (Singer famous for his Drells. A clip? Why soitenly. This should appeal to anyone who remembers the days of the Wigan Casino.), Leonard Slatkin 1944 (Conductor and composer. Here he is conducting Copland’s wonderful Appalachian Spring. It’s worth watching just for the mobile eyebrows.), Barry Gibb 1946 (Singer/songwriter. Last of the Bee Gees. Here’s another clip. All together now... Well, you can tell by the way I use my walk...), David Bairstow 1951 (Crickety and footy bloke.), Manuel PiƱero 1952 (Golfy bloke.), Bruce Foxton 1955 (Musician. A third of the Jam... that’s about 5 ounces, assuming that the jam in question came in a 1lb jar. Of course, some jars, these days, are barely 12 ounces, which is a rip off if you ask me. You can bet they still cost as much though... Erm... where was I? Oh yes, the Jam. Let’s have a clip. Here is Bruce et al with their first number one where they seem to think they are wombles.), Gloria Estefan 1957 (Singer. A clip? Here is her first big ‘solo’ hit Don't Wanna Lose You.  Why did I put solo in apostrophes? Well, up until that point in her career she already had several hits under her belt as part of Miami Sound Machine, then as Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine; this was the first time her name only had been on a disc. And? And her backing band was, and still is, Miami Sound Machine. No, I don’t understand it either.), Tony Cascarino 1962 (Footy bloke.), Ruud Gullit 1962 (Een andere voetballer.), Craig McLachlan 1964 (Actor and singer. Kylie’s big brother. Want another cleep? Here’s hees beeg heet, Mona.. A complete rip off of Not Fade Away, if you ask me. [No one has. - Ed.]), Steve Pemberton 1967 (Actor, writer and comedian. Hokey cokey pig in a pokey.), Henning Berg 1969 (Fotballspiller.) and Daniel Sturridge 1989 (Footy bloke.).


I’ve received a letter...

Dear Mr Grambleu,

So nice to hear a song from the dear old Bee Gees, isn’t it. What a wonderful vocal ensemble they were, bach. They had number one records in three consecutive decades, you know. Absolutely marvellous they were, boyo. I have a little teaser for you and wonder if you might know the answer. It is this - What was the Bee Gees final number one record?

Yours with oodles of love,

Hugh Wynn-Agenn.




Let’s move onto grambling matters. How did last week’s bet fare? Almost made a profit. Almost. 12 pees short. That’s all. What happened? Read on...



Swansea vs Bristol City - Prediction Home win

Result - Swansea 0 Bristol 1


Andreas Weimann put the away side ahead after just 31 seconds, and they would have led by more were it not for Swans keeper Erwin Mulder.

He remained busy after the break as his lacklustre side searched in vain for an equaliser.

Swansea's Mike van der Hoorn had a late header cleared off the line, but the visitors were worthy winners.


Luton vs Shrewsbury - Prediction Home win

Result - Luton 3 Shrewsbury 2


The visitors were in front after 23 minutes when Shaun Whalley was brought down in the area by Jack Stacey, getting up to convert the penalty.

Luton drew level six minutes into the second half, Jorge Grant curling home a wonderful 20-yard free kick into the top corner.

Elliot Lee sliced over the bar, but the visitors restored their lead with a highly-controversial goal after 66 minutes.

Home keeper James Shea, clearly thinking Lee Angol had been adjudged offside, put the ball down for a non-existent free-kick and the Shrews striker tapped into the empty net.

However, Town fought back impressively, Stacey arrowing in a close-range shot on 73 minutes, with Luton ahead for the first time four minutes later, Lee's 22-yard free kick deflecting off the wall and past Joel Coleman.

Luton could have had breathing space but James Collins' penalty was well saved by Coleman as Shea redeemed himself late on, instinctively denying Angol.


Carlisle vs Crewe - Prediction Home win

Result - Carlisle 1 Crewe 0


Carlisle posed an early threat through Hallam Hope who, following a slick passing move, fired just over from 20 yards.

However Crewe looked resolute at the back after their mid-week hiding and Callum Ainley's 22nd minute corner, from the left, presented Perry Ng with a free header 10 yards from goal. However the full-back skewed his effort wide of the right hand post.

When Jordan Bowery got free on the left, Carlisle goalkeeper Joe Fryer stuck out a leg to prevent the Alex forward from scoring and it was Crewe who finished the first period looking the more likely to break the deadlock.

A sickening collision early in the second halt resulted in a lengthy hold up before Fryer and Crewe skipper Paul Green were both stretchered off with leg injuries.

Substitute goalkeeper Adam Collin was straight in the action making a fine double save from Ryan Wintle's shot and Bowery's follow up header.

Carlisle grabbed a 69th minute lead when Ashley Nadesan seized on a Richie Bennett header to hold off Michael Raynes's challenge and slip the ball past Ben Garratt.

Raynes just missed with a header and Carlisle held out under late pressure after eight minutes of added time.


Colchester vs Northampton - Prediction Home win

Result - Colchester 1 Northampton 2


The Cobblers almost scored after 26 seconds through Kevin Van Veen, who blasted over from Junior Morais's pass.

Jack Bridge fired straight at Colchester goalkeeper Dillon Barnes while Matt Crooks, Sam Hoskins and Sam Foley also went close as the Cobblers pressed.

Northampton went ahead less than three minutes after half-time through Crooks, who advanced towards goal before firing home a low 25-yard shot.

Barnes then denied Crooks, but Colchester midfielder Harry Pell's header was saved by keeper David Cornell and substitute Luke Norris's header hit the bar.

Tom Eastman cleared Van Veen's effort off the line before Billy Waters doubled Northampton's lead in the first minute of stoppage-time when he flicked home from close range, after fellow substitute Andy Williams had helped on Sam Hoskins' pass.

Colchester pulled a goal back in the fifth minute of stoppage time through Aaron Pierre's own goal after Cornell had denied Sammie Szmodics, but Northampton claimed victory.


Lincoln vs Notts County - Prediction Home win

Result - Lincoln 3 Notts County 1


Lee Frecklington struck for the Imps on seven minutes with a stunning first-time volley from 20 yards.

Out of the blue, the Magpies conjured up an equaliser - Enzio Boldewijn earned a free-kick just outside the box and, from a position more suited to a cross, Andy Kellett's set-piece crept into the far corner of the net.

The Imps regained the lead before the break with another impressive strike as goalkeeper Ross Fitzsimons flapped at the ball under pressure from John Akinde and Bruno Andrade volleyed home.

Lincoln added a third 10 minutes into the second half - Michael O'Connor was fouled in the build-up but still managed to shift the ball wide to Andrade, whose cross was turned home by Harry Anderson.

Reports supplied by Press Association.


So what has the wise and wonderful Grambler randomly predicted for us this week. All games take place on Saturday the 1st of September and kick off at 3pm.

Game - Result - Odds

Brentford vs Nottingham F. - Prediction Home win - 10/11

Fleetwood vs Bradford - Prediction Home win - 10/11

Portsmouth vs Plymouth - Prediction Home win - 4/5

Bury vs Morecambe - Prediction Home win - 3/4

Aberdeen vs Kilmarnock - Prediction Home win - 10/11

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...




Not bad. Moderately whopping, I would say.





Teaser time. Yay! Last week I asked you which club has won the Football League title but has never played in the Premier League. The answer was, of course, Preston North End who last won the league title in 1889-90. As they were last in the top flight of English football way back in 1960-61, they have definitely never been in the Premiershit.

One for this week? Sticking with the Premiershit, how many of the current Premier League clubs have birds on their crests? There’s one to start a pub discussion with.




As usual, I remind you 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, it is a sad week here in Grambler Towers as we mark the fifth anniversary of the founder of this wonderful blog. Stewart David Smith’s suffering ended on the 29th of August 2013 after a horrendous two years of fighting the effects of bowel cancer and along the way defeating septicemia and having to deal with multi-organ failure, antibiotic-induced hearing loss, kidney failure and countless other complications. This he did with a bravery none of us will ever see again. He hated being called brave, though. In his mind, he had no option but to accept all that was thrown at him and he did so without complaint or criticism.

Please, this week of all weeks, take the time to click on some of the serious links that you maybe skip through, normally. Consider what Stewart went through and be aware of how to detect bowel cancer early.

I know I have suggested that you read a particular edition of this blog before, but I am going to do it again. To me it is perhaps the most poignant piece of writing I have ever seen. It was written by Stewart just a day after he was told that he was going to die. So, ladies and gentlemen, please read  Week 22: C'est le Grambler finalment!

Let’s finish with a song that Stewart loved - Eels and Last Stop: This Town .

You're dead but the world keeps spinning
Take a spin through the world you left
It's getting dark a little too early
Are you missing the dearly bereft?


 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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