Saturday 9 February 2019

Week 25 - Happy grambleday to Carole King

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


Mrs G needed a new passport. Well, she needed one before the end of June and as we were considering a trip in April, the old one wouldn't do. [How long are you going away for, for goodness' sake? - Ed.] Let me explain.

As you know Mrs G and I do like to cross the Atlantic. By ship. The trip we fancy takes place in April as I have stated and, though her passport would be valid for any other trip, it is not acceptable for this one. Why not? Because we have to get off the ship in the good old U S of A and you have to have a passport with at least six months left to run to go there. Nobody has ever been able to give me a sensible reason for this practice. That is the rule. Why? It just 'is'.

Any road up, Mrs G doesn't like to leave things to the last minute, so as soon as new year was out of the way, she decided to apply for a new one. Why so soon, I hear you ask. The reason is that, if we were to go on this transatlantic voyage to the States, we would need a special form called an (and finally) Esta and you need a valid passport to get one of those... and it has to have that six months left to run.

So, we were told to apply for a passport on line rather than visit a local (Glasgow) passport office. It would be cheaper (75 quids and 50 pees as opposed to 85 quids) and easier, we were assured.   Bollocks, says I.

First off you have to get an up to date photograph of yourself. You could go to a booth and pay to have one taken, says the blurb, or you can get a friend to take one using a mobile phone camera.

Well, since we are trying to save a bit of dosh here, nine quids and 50 pees remember, it didn't make sense to pay to have a photograph taken, so I was the designated David Bailey.

The trouble is, as a photographer, I'm a bit rubbish.

Anyway, I gave it a go. There were lots of dos and don'ts on the online application form relating to the photograph...
Don't smile
Do look directly at the camera
Don't have any shadows
Don't have red eyes [So best not to have a picture taken when drunk. - Ed.]

The first attempt was made. I took the photograph, I removed the media card from the camera and inserted it in my laptop. [Ooer missus. - Ed.] Behave... I transferred the photograph and, finally, I inserted it in the correct place in the form.

After about a minute, back came the information that the photograph was unsuitable as there was too much shadow.

Okay, let's put the media card back into the phone and try again.

Same procedure; same result. Hmm.

I tried once more and this time the result was different. [Yay! - Ed.] No, not yay. The difference was that the outline of Mrs G's hair couldn't be seen. Excuse me? I thought it was the face and its features that mattered, not whether your hair is neat and tidy. What about someone who has frizzy hair? How do they cope?

I wasn't quite at screaming point. I have a very good quality camera, so I thought I would give it a try.

After a couple of rejections, a photograph was finally deemed to be acceptable. Yay!

We completed the rest of the form without any hassle and paid our money expecting to receive the new passport within a few days.

In the meantime, we had to return the old passport to the passport office. Ordinary post was acceptable, said the blurb. Sod that, thinks I. What if it gets lost along the way? When I say lost, I really mean nicked by somebody who should not have it. And it could happen. The envelope is quite obviously passport sized and clearly states where this package is going. Any old hobbledehoy could intercept it and use the information in it to get a dodgy passport.

So, ordinary postage would not do. We had to pay £6.50 to have this package tracked. £6.50! That's ten times the cost of standard postage. The words rip and off come to mind.

We received word that the office had got the old passport and that the new one would be duly processed. Yay!

No, not yay. A couple of days later, we received another message that the photograph we had sent was not acceptable. Something about her face having shiny features. Arrgh! Give me strength!

We were invited to try again. With my David Bailey hat on, I found the room in the house where there was no possibility of shadows spoiling a picture. I used a monopod [What? You used a platypus? Oh, hang on. That’s a monotreme, isn’t it. Just ignore me. - Ed.]... ahem... to keep the camera steady so that I could take pictures without using a flash, thus avoiding the possibility of shiny features. I fashioned a backdrop using a pain white bed sheet. Surely, we couldn't get it wrong this time.

Actually, we could. Once again, several photographs were rejected before one proved acceptable to this very fussy computer.

Eventually, one of this expanding album of junk photos was deemed to be acceptable.

After sending the picture electronically as before, we kept our fingers crossed that the photo would be suitable. Luckily, it was and the new passport arrived in the post this morning. Hallelujah!

Okay, we saved some money by applying online; though not as much as we originally thought. £6.50 to post the old one! Thus, only three quids saved.  However, the whole experience caused us a heck of a lot of grief.

Do you know the worst part? The new passport is valid for ten years exactly. Thus, Mrs G has 'lost' six months that she still had left on her old passport.  Let's make a quick calculation here.  If a passport costs £75.50 for ten years, then that 'lost' six months is worth one twentieth of that.  Correct?  Correct.  So, that six months cost Mrs G exactly... erm... my maths is a bit ropey... three quids 77 and a half pees.  Thus, her total saving on this new passport was... minus 77 and a half pees.  Hang on a mo... that can't be right...

I thought it would be a good idea to finish with a joke. Hmm... There aren’t many passport jokes around. The only ones I know are feeble ones about you being unwell if you actually resemble your passport photo or the German entering France being asked ‘Occupation?’ and he replies... yeah, yeah, we know. Oh how we laughed.

Instead, I will give you a quote from Michael Moore, an American writer who doesn’t think much of his own race...

“Should such an ignorant people lead the world? How did it come to this in the first place? 82 percent of us don't even have a passport! Just a handful can speak a language other than English.”





Were any famous or notorious people born on the 9th of February? Of course, here are some I’ve even heard of. Thomas Paine 1737 (Glazier.), Hyrum Smith 1800 (Door to door salesman.), Wilhelm Maybach 1846 (Car manufacturer.), Mrs Patrick Campbell 1865 (Ectress.), Ronald Colman 1891 (Ectaw.), Brian Donlevy 1901 (Another ectaw.), Carmen Miranda 1909 (Human fruitbowl. Clip time? Here’s her signature toon.  All together now... I, yi, yi ,yi,yi...), Kathryn Grayson 1922 (Actress and chanter. Here’s another clip, Waltz Serenade.), Jim Laker 1922 (Crickety bloke.), Brendan Behan 1923 (Poet and playwright who liked the occasional sherry.), Clive Swift 1936 (Ectaw. Richard Bucket, that was him.), Barry Mann 1939 (Songwriter. He has written - and co-written - dozens of top songs for acts from Eydie Gorme to Hanson and any number in between. Cass Elliot had a few hits with songs written by him, so let’s have a link to one of her most famous singles, Make Your Own Kind of Music.  I'm surprised that fag hasn't been 'airbrushed' out of Sammy Davis's hand.  And another thing... What's the 'Now scene'?), Janet Suzman 1939 (Ectress.), Brian Bennett 1940 (Drummy bloke with the Shads. Time for a clip. Here’s The Rise and Fall of Flingel Bunt.), J. M. Coetzee 1940 (Orfer.), Carole King 1942 (Musician. Here she is singing one of her own songs, Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow.), Joe Pesci 1943 (Ectaw. He played Harry Lyme... no, not that one.), Mia Farrow 1945 (Ectaw.), Bernard Gallacher 1949 (Golfy bloke.), Ciarán Hinds 1953 (Ectaw.), Jimmy Pursey 1955 (Singer. Time for another clip. Who fancies a pint?), Gordon Strachan 1957 (Footy bloke.), Sandy Lyle 1958 (Golfy bloke.), Holly Johnson 1960 (Singer. Another clip? Why not.  Who fancies a coffee?), Johan Mjällby 1971 (fotbollsspelare.), Darren Ferguson 1972 (Footy bloke.), Tom Hiddleston 1981 (Ectaw.) and Michael B. Jordan 1987 (Ectaw. Erik Killmonger. That’s him.).



I’ve received a letter...

Dear Mr Griocatore,

Why aye, man. How many songs were written by that Barry Mann man, man? Hundreds, man. He even wrote that one that was a hit for Aaron Neville and Linda Ronstadt, man. I can’t remember its name though but. Can you help us out, man?

Yours as ever,

Don O’Mutch.




Let’s move onto grambling matters. What happened last week? Back to the usual sh... ameful performance. 84 pees back from our £2.20 stake money. What happened? Read on...


Coventry vs Gillingham - Prediction Home win

Result - Coventry 1 Gillingham 1

Ooh! ’It the bar!

Bright Enobakhare (Definitely a contender for Cracking Name of the Week.) put Coventry ahead after 68 minutes, but Tom Eaves' spot-kick ensured the visitors returned to Kent with a valuable point.

Gillingham squandered a great opportunity after 27 minutes when Josh Rees found Eaves free at the back post.

The striker's header was excellently saved by Lee Burge and Elliot List was unable to convert the rebound.

Enobakhare gave the hosts the lead when he broke from his own half and surged towards the Gillingham penalty area before playing in Amadou Bakayoko. His effort was saved but Enobakhare rifled in the loose ball.

Bakayoko missed a glorious opportunity to wrap up the points for Coventry in the 84th minute as he fired wide when through on goal.

Coventry paid for their profligacy (That’s a good word. I must look it up) when Burge brought down Brandon Hanlan in the box and Eaves made no mistake from 12 yards as he comfortably dispatched his penalty.


Peterborough vs Plymouth - Prediction Home win

Result - Peterborough 0 Plymouth 1


An 88th-minute Ruben Lameiras goal earned Plymouth an away win. The forward curled in a superb shot from 20 yards.

Peterborough played the second half with 10 men following a red card for Lee Tomlin. Tomlin's two yellow cards both came in first-half stoppage time - the first for a late challenge on Graham Carey, before four minutes later he made contact with Plymouth's Ryan Edwards, who fell to the ground.

Tomlin had earlier played in Siriki Dembele, but the striker shot wide from a narrow angle after rounding goalkeeper Kyle Letheren.

Argyle were the better side in the second half but did not come close to scoring until Lameiras' late winner.


Shrewsbury vs Luton - Prediction Away win

Result - Shrewsbury 0 Luton 3


Shrewsbury started brightly with Greg Docherty's early 20-yard drive saved by visiting goalkeeper James Shea.

Docherty then fired just over after Shea was unable to hold on to a Fejiri Okenabirhie (Hold on. That’s another contender for Cracking Name of the Week.) effort.

Luton took the lead on the half-hour when James Collins fired in from six yards after Luke Berry headed back Alan McCormack's cross from the left.

The visitors doubled their advantage eight minutes into the second half when Matty Pearson's cross from the right found its way into the top corner.

Collins added a third in the 69th minute when he scored from close range after the hosts were unable to clear Kazenga Lua Lua's cross from the left.


Notts County vs Lincoln - Prediction Away win

Result - Notts County 1 Lincoln 1

Ooh! ’It the bar!

John Akinde missed a late penalty for Lincoln City as they were forced to settle for a draw at Notts County.

The Magpies made a dream start after just two minutes winning a penalty with their first meaningful attack when Mitch Rose's cross teased Harry Toffolo into a challenge on Jon Stead.

Referee Antony Coggins immediately pointed to the spot and Stead made no mistake from 12 yards.

Enzio Boldewijn then forced Grant Smith into a save from 20 yards but gradually Lincoln began to make their presence felt.

Jason Shackell ghosted in to head straight at Notts goalkeeper Ryan Schofield but it was Bruno Andrade who hauled the visitors level with a 20-yard strike that Schofield could not keep out.

Notts pushed forward for a vital winner with Stead seeing a header clip the bar.

But there was late drama when Akinde was fouled in the box by debutant defender Sam Stubbs, only for the forward to roll his spot-kick past the post.


Alloa vs Ayr - Prediction Away win

Result - Alloa 1 Ayr 3


Striker Michael Moffat scored twice as Ayr United beat Alloa Athletic.

Moffat scored a powerful opener, only for Alan Trouten to level.

Lawrence Shankland's penalty restored the lead for Ayr, and Moffat completed the scoring from close range.


Oh well. What has The Grambler come up with this week? [I can’t wait. Yawn. - Ed.]

Game - Result - Odds

Derby vs Hull - Prediction Home win - 23/20

Sheffield Wed vs Reading - Prediction Home win - 21/20

Swansea vs Millwall - Prediction Home win - 11/10

Lincoln vs Northampton - Prediction Home win - 10/11

Tranmere vs Stevenage - Prediction Home win - 5/6


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...




Uh oh. That is a bit too whopping for my liking. Will our luck change this week? [Will it fu... I doubt it. - Ed.]




Teaser time. Yay! Last week I asked you which premiershit goalkeeper was named footballer of the year for six consecutive years in his homeland. The answer is (perhaps obviously) Petr Čech. Factoid: in 2004-5 season he went 1025 minutes without conceding a goal, a Premier League record.

One for this week? Brazilian forward Ricarlison joined Everton from which club? Nice and 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





And finally Cyril? And finally, Esther, I am indebted to a Mr G. Strachan who celebrates his birthday this weekend. Fans of the world’s greatest ill-informed blog will recall that Mr Strachan got a mention back in October 2016 when I commented on his unusual way of dealing with questions from the press (See Week 11 - The Grambler congratulates Rod Stewart.). Well, I only gave four examples of his idea of witty replies in that edition. Let’s finish this week with a few more...

On losing: "I tried to get the disappointment out of my system by going for a walk. I ended up 17 miles from home and I had to phone my wife Lesley to come and pick me up."

Reporter: "Gordon, do you think James Beattie deserves to be in the England squad?"
Strachan: "I don't care, I'm Scottish."

On Wayne Rooney: "It's an incredible rise to stardom. At 17 you're more likely to get a call from Michael Jackson than Sven Goran Eriksson."

Reporter: "Bang, there goes your unbeaten run. Can you take it?"
Strachan: "No, I'm just going to crumble like a wreck. I'll go home, become an alcoholic and maybe jump off a bridge. Umm, I think I can take it, yeah."

On illness: "Pahars has also caught every virus going except a computer virus and he is probably working on that even now."

Reporter: "There's no negative vibes or negative feelings here?"
Strachan: "Apart from yourself, we're all quite positive round here. I'm going to whack you over the head with a big stick. Down negative man, down!"

On Agustin Delgado: "I've got more important things to think about. I've got a yogurt to finish by today, the expiry date is today. That can be my priority rather than Agustin Delgado."

Reporter: "Gordon, you must be delighted with that result?"
Strachan: "You're spot on. You can read me like a book!"

On being attacked by a Celtic fan while an Aberdeen player: "It's always great fun getting attacked. One of the highlights of my career. The fella who beat me up got fined £100 for that but they had a whip-round in the pub and he got £200!"

On Sir Alex Ferguson: "He used to play tapes of Bill Shankly talking. I remember that and a singer he liked. I don't know who it was but it was crap. He played it on the team bus too, and all the boys hated it. Until one night it got chucked away. If he's still wondering who threw that tape off the bus, it was me. So maybe he was right and I'm not to be trusted."

Reporter: "Is that your best start to a season?"
Strachan: "Well I've still got a job so it's far better than the Coventry one, that's for sure."

On the Pope: "He’s not a bad lad, to be fair. If it was ‘God bless Myra Hindley’, I might have a problem."

On the press: "People think I've got a problem with the press. Actually I have no problem with the press, but just like in football there are a handful who cause problems because they're disrespectful, they're lazy, and above all - and this is what really gets to me - they haven't worked hard to get there."

Reporter: "Welcome to Southampton Football Club. Do you think you are the right man to turn things around?"
Strachan: "No. I was asked if I thought I was the right man for the job and I said: 'No, I think they should have got George Graham because I'm useless.

On Alex McLeish: "We even competed for the acne cream when we were younger. Obviously, I won that one."

On society: "I’m afraid that this is me getting on my high horse now but we have yob television, yob newspapers, and funny enough whereas it was my mum and dad, school, police, church who used to set the standards, now it's tabloids and yob television who set the standards by which people live."

Reporter: "This might sound like a daft question, but you'll be happy to get your first win under your belt, won't you?"
Strachan: "You're right. It is a daft question. I'm not even going to bother answering that one. It is a daft question, you're spot on there."

On how to deal with pressure: "I have discovered that when you go to Anfield or Old Trafford, it pays not to wear a coloured shirt because everyone can see the stains as the pressure mounts. I always wear a white shirt so nobody sees you sweat."

On being top of the table: "I'm going home now to get myself a Coca-Cola and a packet of crisps and I'll sit in front of the television and look at the table on Teletext all night."

Reporter: "So, Gordon, any plans for Europe this year?"
Strachan: "Aye, me and the wife quite fancy Spain in August."

On Claus Lundekvam: "When he was carried off at Leicester someone asked me if he was unconscious, but I didn't have a clue. He's always like that."

On politics: "I get the feeling a lot of politicians are there to help themselves financially, first and foremost."

Gary Lineker: "So Gordon, if you were English, what formation would you play?"
Strachan: "If I was English I'd top myself."

On his powers of recovery: "Sometimes to go forward you've got to go to the depths of your own personal despair and claw yourself back. From that point, no matter what happens, you know you can do it."

On his managerial record: "I think what I've actually achieved as a manager does sometimes get a bit overlooked, because all people think about is the media side of things. They tend to forget I've not done so bad."

On Eric Cantona: "If a Frenchman goes on about seagulls, trawlers and sardines, he’s called a philosopher. I’d just be called a short Scottish bum talking crap."

Reporter: "So, Gordon, in what areas do you think Middlesbrough were better than you today?"
Strachan: "What areas? Mainly that big green one out there

On cooking: "It's embarrassing, I'm not proud of it. I can't even make myself anything to eat. I had to phone her and she said, 'I've left something to put in the microwave'. An hour later and I'm asking, "Where's the microwave?"

I’m sorry for the repetition, but (once again) let’s finish with this cracker...

Reporter: "Gordon, can we have a quick word please?"
Strachan: "Velocity."
It's Chesney Brown from Corrie
[Some mistake, surely. - Ed.]


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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