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…
This week I have mostly been... painting the summerhouse. [Really? How interesting. Yawn. - Ed.] I say summerhouse... Some might prefer to call it a gazebo. Other, less charitable, types would call it a garden shed with ideas above its station. Whatever. I have been busy painting the damn thing.
It isn’t the easiest structure to paint. This is largely down to its location. The garden or, as I like to call it, back yard originally had quite a slope from the house down. Indeed, the houses which are directly beyond the garden, though identical, sit several metres lower than it. Over the many years Mrs G and I have lived here, the garden has been altered considerably and the slope has been levelled thanks to several tons of rubble providing foundations for a reasonably flat slabbed area. There is a drainage ditch at the bottom of the garden which is a couple or three feet lower than the slabbed part. with me so far? No? Never mind. The only reason I mention the fact is that the glorified shed (remember that?) is at the bottom of the garden, where the slabs come to an end. Beyond it is only that ditch.
That is all very interesting, you may say, but what has that got to do with the price of fish. Well, the only access for painting this hut is the ditch. Thus, when I try to paint the back of the summer house, the top of it is a good ten feet above ground level. And? And that means I have to stand on a stepladder to reach the high bits. And? Ladders and me just don’t see eye to eye. We really don’t get on at all. Whenever I use a ladder, trouble is sure to follow. I’ll give you some examples...
I was painting the boundary fence some years ago. Remember that realigned slope? Well, there is a public lane alongside the garden which, obviously, is aligned to the original slope. Thus, the fence at the lower end of the garden is about ten feet high. No problem. I can stand on a stepladder to paint it, I reasoned. Uh oh. How do I reach my five litre tub of red chestnut fence paint? It’s a bit heavy to hold and there was no platform on the stepladder to rest it. I couldn’t go up and down my ladder every time I wanted to reload my brush with paint. What I needed was a butcher’s hook... That’s not rhyming slang; I really did need a butcher’s hook. You know? An S shaped hook that could hold the tub by its handle and then be hung on the fence. Ideal. Did I have one? Did I fu... No I didn’t. Could I get hold of one? Nope. Not many butchers around these days. Hmm...
The solution came to me in a flash. No it didn’t. I spent ages trying to come up with something to hold this rather heavy tub of shed paint. In the end I found an ideal alternative. We had a bracket that fitted over a door and could hold several clothes hangers. Perfect.
So, bracket in place with paint tub suspended, I began to paint the high parts. I say paint. It was more a case of slapping the paint on. Slap slap slap! Snap! I guess that a tub of paint is heavier than those clothes.
Unfortunately, the tub being rather full, the lane was now a rather fetching shade of red chestnut.
For the rest of that day I was busy swilling buckets and buckets of water over the affected area in a futile attempt to eradicate (That’s a good word; must look it up.) all traces of this unusual colour scheme. I say futile, because I was really only diluting the paint and the initial small area affected became the entire lane. Eventually, I gave up trying, allowing our wonderful rainy weather to deal with it.
To this day, there are traces of red chestnut paint down that lane.
Another time I was redecorating a bedroom. To allow me to get to the higher levels, my good old stepladder was used. Where could I put my almost full, 10 litre tub of magnolia emulsion? Obviously, I had learned my lesson regarding hooks. No, a good solid platform was what was required. I had a smaller set of steps which had a top step which was at a perfect height for me to place the tub allowing me to dip my brush into it while I was two steps up my stepladder.
All went well for... ooh, must have been at least five minutes. I was busy painting away. Not slap slapping, actually paint painting.
Then came the moment to move on from that bit of wall. I would have to get down off my stepladder and move it a little. I stepped off it. Did I tell you I was two steps up the ladder? You remembered that, did you? I wish I had. I misjudged it totally, thinking I was on the lowest step. Naturally, I reached out to grab something to stop me falling. An almost full, 10 litre tub of magnolia emulsion is not the best option.
I didn’t intend changing the bedroom carpet as part of the redecorating process...
Such escapades have made me extremely wary of going up any stepladders; I’m wobbly enough at ground level.
So, back to painting the summerhouse [Haven’t you finished it yet? - Ed.] Mrs G came up with the ingenious idea of using a paint roller. Yes, I know. Why the fu... Why on earth hadn’t I tried that already? I happen to prefer paint brushes, that’s all.
Any road up, we were in a large hardware store, let’s call it C & R, looking for nothing in particular and I spied the very dab... a paint roller attached to an extendable pole. Five minutes later, and 8 quids lighter, I was heading home to paint our sit-ootery in what I thought would be double quick time.
First impressions were good; I did a dry ‘roll’ of the highest section. Great. It reaches. And no stepladders required. Second impressions were not so good. I loaded the roller with paint... dark oak this time... and made the first sweep across the wood. What happened? The roller fell off the extendable pole. The roller was just the standard type and the pole tapered at the end to fit into the handle. Nothing too sophisticated. I assumed that I hadn’t pushed the roller handle onto the tapered end properly, so I reconnected it and made sure it was really secure. Second sweep? It fell off again.
Right. I’ll fix this, I thought. A cable tie should do the trick. Hang on. Nowhere to feed it through the tapered connector. No holes. Nor was there a hole on the roller handle. The new purchase got huffily thrown to the ground and I went into my shed (a real one, this time) and rooted about for something I could use.
I found an old bit of clothes pole which had a hole through it at one end and I found an old short handle roller which could fit on the end of it. This roller had holes which married up perfectly with that in the pole. A couple of cable ties later and I was up and running.
I thought I might have spotted a problem, though. The paint roller itself was just a short foam object of about an inch in diameter. This would take ages, I reckoned. How wrong could I be? Once dipped in the paint this little dark oaky brown sponge was just the right size for painting the strips of tongue and groove timber and the small diameter made it perfect for getting into the awkward areas. It’s appearance was deceiving; I mean, it looked just like a... yes... anyway, the pole was also perfect and long enough to allow me to reach the highest points.
I’ll tell you this... I won’t ever try painting a shed with a brush again... From now on, it’s a turd on a stick!
Before the birthday honours I would just like to add my congratulations to the many already expressed to The Grambler’s favourite footballer, Andy Robertson, who has been given the captain’s armband for the Scotland team. It is an honour for anyone to achieve such recognition and I am certain, given Andy’s track record, he will make a great job of it.
There has been much in the news about Andy being released by Celtic when he was a teenager; the excuse at the time was that he was too small. Many have speculated what if... Would he have achieved so much if he had stayed with the boyos, or whatever they call themselves? I think not. I believe, had he remained at Celtic, he might have spent a few seasons on the subs bench before being made number one choice as left back.
As it was, on his release, he moved to Queen’s Park, the only amateur team in the senior leagues, and immediately made his mark. He played week in, week out and he got noticed. After only one season, he was already on the move. Dundee United swooped in for his services and he spent a season with them, again playing every game, before being transferred again.
Incidentally, I watched him play for the first time when Dundee United beat Motherwell. Guess who scored... That should have put me off him, but I realised he was an extremely gifted player.
Any road up, this time his move took him to sunny Hull where he spent a couple of years, again playing as number one choice.
When Liverpool bought him for £8 million, it was obvious to many that they had got the bargain of the year.
He has made the left back spot his own and has proved his worth so many times with his brilliant crosses into the box.
Returning to the Celtic release; for many young players, that could have been the make or break moment. Many would simply have given up on their aspirations to be a footballer. Not Andy. Apart from his enormous talent, Andy has another important quality: self belief.
So, well done Andy. Although, after last night's showing against Belgium, it could turn out to be a bit of a poisoned chalice.
Were any famous or notorious people born on the 8th of September? Of course, here are some I’ve even heard of. Richard I 1157 (The well-known king who had the first known animal to human heart transplant.), Antonín Dvořák 1841 (Composer. A clip? Why not. Uh oh, Hovis time... No, it really is Hovis time.), Siegfried Sassoon 1886 (Poet who famously and bravely criticised the continuation of the war in 1917...
I am making this statement as an act of wilful defiance of military authority because I believe that the war is being deliberately prolonged by those who have the power to end it. I am a soldier, convinced that I am acting on behalf of soldiers. I believe that the war upon which I entered as a war of defence and liberation has now become a war of aggression and conquest. I believe that the purposes for which I and my fellow soldiers entered upon this war should have been so clearly stated as to have made it impossible to change them and that had this been done the objects which actuated us would now be attainable by negotiation. I have seen and endured the sufferings of the troops and I can no longer be a party to prolonging these sufferings for ends which I believe to be evil and unjust. I am not protesting against the conduct of the war, but against the political errors and insincerities for which the fighting men are being sacrificed. On behalf of those who are suffering now, I make this protest against the deception which is being practised upon them; also I believe it may help to destroy the callous complacency with which the majority of those at home regard the continuance of agonies which they do not share and which they have not enough imagination to realise.
... He expected to be court-martialed and executed. Instead he was admitted to a military psychiatric hospital.), Jimmie Rodgers aka The Singing Brakeman aka The Blue Yodeler aka The Father of Country Music 1897 (Singer. Here’s some rare footage of him in a cheesy little film called - would you Adam and Eve it - The Singing Brakeman.), Harry Secombe 1921 (Comedian, actor and Singer. Here he is as Pickwick. Mr Sullivan, for your information, Secombe was Welsh, not English.), Sid Caesar 1922 (Comedian, it says here.), Peter Sellers 1925 (Actor. Have a joke... My name is Warrington Minge.), Patsy Cline 1932 (Singer/songwriter. Here is Patsy going for a late night walk.), Michael Frayn 1933 (Orfer.), Peter Maxwell Davies 1934 (Composer and conductor. Here is Farewell to Stromness.), Judith Hann 1942 (TV presenter.), Tim Gullikson and Tom Gullikson 1951 (Tennisy twins.), Aimee Mann 1960 (Musician. Another clip, vicar? She shoud've known.), David Steele 1960 (Bassist in The Beat and later Fine Young Cannibals. Let's have a bit of ska.), Ray Wilson 1968 (Vocalist with Stiltskin and later Genesis. What shall we have for our clip... Let's go inside.), Gary Speed 1969 (Footy bloke.), David Arquette 1971 (Actor.), Martin Freeman 1971 (Ectaw.), Alecia Moore 1979 (Who? Oh... Pink. Have a clip, not a pill.) and João Moutinho 1986 (jogador de futebol.).
I’ve received a letter...
Dear Mr Grimbore,
It was interesting that you played a song by Stiltskin to represent Ray Wilson’s work. When I was at university, I used to enjoy the album he made when he was vocalist with Genesis. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the name of it. Can you help?
Yours with lots of love,
Colin Hall-Staish (Hons.).
Let’s move onto grambling matters. How did last week’s bet fare? Not too badly. A £4.08 return from our £2.20 stake. Yay! A profit at last. What happened? Read on...
Brentford vs Nottingham F. - Prediction Home win
Result - Brentford 2 Nottingham Forest 1
The hosts went closest to opening the scoring in a dominant opening period when Josh McEachran's low free-kick found Yoann Barbet, who shot just wide from inside the area.
In reply Forest striker Gil Dias tested Bees keeper Daniel Bentley, but he held the shot comfortably.
Brentford wanted a penalty when Lewis Macleod went down next but referee Peter Bankes showed him a yellow card for diving. Forest debutant Michael Hefele and Barbet were also booked in the melee that followed the decision.
The Bees continued to probe as Sergi Canos burst into the area but Costel Pantilimon saved the Spaniard's shot with his legs.
Seconds later, midfielder Romaine Sawyers found space on the edge of the box but drilled his shot wide of the target before McLeod broke the deadlock in added time.
Brentford almost doubled their lead in the opening seconds of the second half as Hefele misdirected a clearance towards his own goal, but Pantilimon was alert to palm it behind.
Forest boss Aitor Karanka's double change at the interval paid off as Matty Cash, on for Joe Lolley, squeezed his effort past Bentley from long range.
The visitors came into the contest as another substitute, Ben Osborn, also shot narrowly wide from 25 yards.
But the resilient Bees hit back through Ollie Watkins to secure the points.
Fleetwood vs Bradford - Prediction Home win
Result - Fleetwood 2 Bradford 1
Referee Andy Haines had a busy first half, chalking off a Ched Evans effort for handball after just two minutes.
Evans soon got himself on the scoresheet, bundling home an Ashley Hunter cross from close range in the 12th minute.
Haines found himself in the thick of the action again as George Miller was ruled to have been fouled by Jason Holt.
That set the stage for Eoin Doyle to net, sliding the ball past Alex Cairns from the penalty spot in the 23rd minute.
Fleetwood had been in control up until that point and still looked the side most likely to go on and grab the three points but there was a potential momentum-swinging moment in the 43rd minute as Wes Burns was sent off for a strong tackle on Adam Chicksen.
Fleetwood refused to roll over and it was the 10 men who restored their lead just three minutes into the second half as Hunter pounced on an Evans centre.
Portsmouth vs Plymouth - Prediction Home win
Result - Portsmouth 3 Plymouth 0
The hosts were electric from the first whistle and with only two minutes on the clock Jamal Lowe dragged his shot wide of the post.
Ronan Curtis then found the breakthrough in the 22nd minute when he was played in by Lowe before slotting his effort past goalkeeper Matt Macey.
Plymouth fought their way back into the match and almost equalised through Jamie Ness when his audacious strike was tipped over the bar.
But Lowe doubled Pompey's lead early on in the second half after getting on the end of exquisite cross from Curtis to nod the ball home in the 63rd minute.
And Curtis finished the rout six minutes later by shrugging off Gary Sawyer before beating Macey with a lethal strike from a narrowing angle.
Bury vs Morecambe - Prediction Home win
Result - Bury 3 Morecambe 2
Bury went in front after 29 minutes when Adam Thompson tapped home a rebound after Chris Stokes' looping header had bounced down off the crossbar.
Morecambe replied nine minutes later with only their second goal of the season.
Rhys Oates tapped home from two yards after Bury goalkeeper Joe Murphy could only parry Andrew Fleming's shot into his path.
A minute before the break Bury regained the lead when Danny Mayor crossed in for Dominic Telford, who coolly side-footed home.
Chris Dagnall almost made it 3-1 to Bury on the hour mark when he fired into the side-netting.
Telford did grab Bury's third four minutes from the end, tapping home a measured low cross from Neil Danns.
Morecambe then grabbed a late second as Liam Mandeville curled home from 25 yards.
Aberdeen vs Kilmarnock - Prediction Home win
Result - Aberdeen 0 Kilmarnock 2
Michael Devlin was sent off after just five minutes for pulling back Eamonn Brophy 30 yards from goal.
It was a decision which infuriated Aberdeen, with referee Craig Thomson deeming Devlin to be the last man. Thank you very much Mr Thomson; you ruined The Grambler’s chance of a clean sweep. Cheers.
Kilmarnock took full advantage with Brophy giving them the lead with a free-kick, before Greg Stewart ensured the three points when he chipped a second.
Blibbing referees spoiling good football games! Anyway, what has The Grambler come up with this week? Can he/she/it improve of that pretty good showing? Let’s see the predictions.
Game - Result - Odds
Blackpool vs Bradford - Prediction Home win - 19/20
Sunderland vs Fleetwood - Prediction Home win - 5/6
Bury vs Grimsby - Prediction Home win - 4/5
Forest Green vs Port Vale - Prediction Home win - 19/20
Northampton vs Cheltenham - Prediction Home win - 8/11
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...
Hmm... Ten pees less whopping than last week.
Teaser time. Yay! Last week I asked you how many of the current Premier League clubs have birds on their crests. There are six...
Brighton & Hove Albion - Seagull
Burnley - Stork
Cardiff City - Bluebird
Crystal Palace - Eagle
Liverpool - Liver bird
Tottenham Hotspur - Cockerel.
How about one for this week? Here’s a question relating to a famous manager. Who managed Carlisle United, Grimsby Town, Workington and Huddersfield Town before moving to the club which would define his career? Too easy?
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 http://www.bowelcanceruk.org.uk/campaigns-policy/latest-campaigns/never-too-young-campaign
And finally, Cyril? And finally, Esther, I am indebted to two gentlemen who feature in this week’s birthday honours, Messrs H. Secombe and P. Sellers who, with comedy partner Spike Milligna, the well-known typing error, provide us with our finishing link. But first... a little story. The clip you will click, or the click you will clip, is probably the most famous Goons ‘song’ and was a top ten hit twice, reaching number 3 in 1956 and number 9 when it was re-released in 1973. You may notice that, although Sellers and Milligan sing throughout the song, Secombe only talks his words. Does this make him the original rapper? The reason for this seeming anomaly (Secombe having a fine tenor voice) was that he was contracted as a singer to Phillips Records; the Goons’ material was published by Decca and Phillips objected to him singing for another company. They did not, however, object to him talking. There you go. Educational this is. So, ladeez and genullum, let’s end with The Ying Tong Song.
Blimey, Posh and Becks have let themselves go.
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