Saturday 15 June 2019

Week 42 - The Grambler solves city congestion

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


Let’s start with a joke from George, our resident comedian...

A man walks into a bar... Ouch!

Ooh, are you all right? Have you hurt yourself?

No. It’s part of the joke... The man who walked into the bar said ouch...

Oh, I see. He hurt himself. Perhaps he had walked into a solid bar or something rather than a public house type bar. An iron bar perhaps. That would be painful, especially if it got him across the shins... No meat there, you see. Just bone. Very sore if you bump that. Anyway, carry on with your joke. How does it finish?

No, you’re all right.

I don’t get it.




As regular (and irregular) readers of this august blog, you are probably aware that I am a little bit of a petrol-head. I enjoy driving and reading (and sometimes writing) about motoring matters. The current thinking of motor manufacturers is that we will all be driving electric cars before very long. So, what would a petrol-head be called then? A current-head?

Why has the motor industry adopted this approach? Well, it probably isn’t through choice; it is all to do with government decrees that air-polluting internal-combustion-engined cars will be outlawed by some date in the not-too-distant future. Don’t panic yet, though; it will only affect new cars, initially. Any gas-guzzling behemoths that are currently in use, or will be in use at the time of the demise of petrol/diesel-fuelled cars, will still be allowed to be driven. However, the cost of fuel to run them may be prohibitive. Sorry for all this doom and gloom for you motorists out there.

Blame politicians. Why have governments around the world decided that we must switch wholesale from one form of propulsion to something else? Votes. Purely and simply that. It has been pointed out by quite a few high-profile individuals that the amount of pollution in the atmosphere is getting to dangerous levels. People pay attention when David Attenborough or Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall tell them that the planet is being killed by pollution.

Politicians, quick to jump on any passing bandwagon, have also been listening [For once. - Ed.] and realise that people are now getting a little bit concerned (or should that be scared sh*tless?) about the consequences of humans polluting the atmosphere. Oh ho, they think... or maybe it’s aha... we don’t want to be seen to be ignoring this very real danger, it could cost us votes.

Hence, without really understanding the situation fully, politicians have decided that the internal combustion engine is to be consigned to the history book.

Why do I say they haven’t understood the situation? Because a blanket ban on vehicles powered by fossil fuels rather than ‘renewable energy’ is not the answer; or, at least, it isn’t the complete answer.

The pollution is most prevalent (That’s a good word; must look it up.) in cities and densely populated areas, obviously. Surely the sensible option would be to ban, or at least limit, the use of ICE vehicles in those places. Agree? Of course you do.

So, what did the politicians do? Let’s take London as an example. They didn’t put a ban on vehicles; instead, they introduced a ‘congestion charge’, currently £11.50 per day. That, they deemed, would be enough to deter people from driving their big cars into the city. That wasn’t enough, though. The problem there would seem to be that those affluent enough to work in the centre of London and affluent enough to drive there, would still take their cars into the city. The costs involved would probably mean nothing to them... ‘Just charge it to the company.’

Surely [Don’t call me Shirley. - Ed.], the answer is to actually prevent congestion altogether. How, I hear you ask. My suggestion is to ban cars from entering the centre of the city. Sorry pardon excuse me? Yes. Ban them... Up to a point. Buses and taxis would obviously be exempt. Disabled drivers would also be exempt. Delivery vehicles would need to be allowed in, as well. Every other form of private, motorised transport? Banned.

How on earth could that be implemented, you may be asking. Quite easily, I reply. There would be no parking areas at all in the city. The only places for vehicles to stop would be taxi ranks, bus stops, delivery drop-off points and bays for vehicles driven by disabled people. Other places for vehicles to be left would be vast cycle-parks, similar to those already seen in many towns and cities on the European mainland. Car parks would have to be provided away from the areas to be kept free of vehicles. These could be within cycling distance of the city. You might argue that cycle lanes would have to be added to the city road system. Would they, though? With fewer vehicles on the road, the city ought to be a safe place for cyclists.

The users of those vehicles that have to enter the city centre could be offered incentives to adapt to cleaner-fuelled cars, rather than forcing all users of petrol/diesel vehicles to change to new technology. And it is new... And not without glitches... Jaguar and Audi are already having to recall electric vehicles which have only been on sale for a matter of months. Tesla, the early adopter of electrically-powered cars, has a history of recalls due to technical problems.

To me, electric vehicle technology is still too new to be foisted on everyone in this way. Governments should not interfere so much. Instead, follow The Grambler’s sensible advice. Come on, councils of Britain, it would only take one to implement the ban on non-essential vehicles and the rest would follow suit. 

Of course, the bean counters wouldn't contemplate such a sensible solution to the problem.  Last year the income from congestion charges raised £122 million.  You read that correctly; one hundred and twenty two million quid!  The council won't want to lose that sort of money, which is why they are just paying lip service to the campaigners for a greener environment... Sure, make every car electric and when the income drops off, we'll just start charging a fortune to bring them into the city, the same as happens with petrol and diesel engined cars right now.

Cynical?  Me? 

I've just thought of another benefit with my plan.  There would be an increase in employment. Beg pardon? You see, not everyone would want to cycle from the out-of-town car parks. More buses would be required and, it follows, more drivers for those buses.  This idea just gets better and better.

Hang on a minute, one occupation might find its numbers depleted, somewhat. I wonder if any traffic wardens would like to become bus drivers?  Or bicycle park attendants.




Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we? Were any famous or notorious individuals born on the 15th of June? Of course there were. Here are some I’ve even heard of. Edvard Grieg 1843 (Composer and inventor of the steak bake. A clip?  You'll recognise this.), Harry Langdon 1884 (Early film star. Made over 90 films in his career.), James Robertson Justice 1907 (Bad-tempered ectaw.), David Rose 1910 (Composer. Wrote this.  Ba ra ba ba, ba ra ba ba...), Wilbert Awdry 1911 (Co-creator of Thomas the Tank Engine. If he is aware of the current TTTT output, he must be spinning in his grave.), Yuri Andropov 1914 (политик.), Errol Garner 1921 (Pianist and composer. Have a clip. Watch what happens. [Yes, what? - Ed.] No. That’s what it’s called.), Richard Baker 1925 (Newsreader.), Brian Sewell 1931 (Art critic. Always came over as posh and proper... but we know different, don’t we? Read Week 8 - Brian Sewell - the haughty culturalist), Waylon Jennings 1937 (Singer. This is Wrong. [Well, don’t play it. - Ed.] No. That’s what it’s called.  Factoid: Waylon Jennings was supposed to be on the ill-fated plane that carried Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and J.P. Richardson, but gave up his seat to one of the others.), Harry Nilsson 1941 (Singer. Had a huge hit with Without You. It won him the best vocal performance award in 1973. It was a song penned by Pete Ham and Tom Evans of Badfinger.  Surely, there can only be one choice for our link.), Johnny Hallyday 1943 (Chanteur. Voici un lien pour le suivi... Que Je T'Aime.), Muff [Excuse me? - Ed.] Winwood 1943 (Record producer who began his musical career as a bass player with the Spencer Davis Group, so I reckon a link is valid.), Neville ‘Noddy’ Holder 1946 (Slade front man during their glory years. Yow wanna cleep?  Gow on then.), Demis Roussos 1946 (Megáli tragoudístria. Edó eínai énas sýndesmos gia tin parakoloúthisi. Here's Forever and Ever.), Henry McLeish 1948 (Footy bloke and politician.), Simon Callow 1949 (eccctawww, dear leddie.), Russell Hitchcock 1949 (Half of Air Supply.  Here's a bonzer clip.), John Redwood 1951 (Politician who doesn’t know the Welsh national anthem. You will squirm with embarrassment.), Jim Belushi 1954 (Actor.), Julie Hagerty 1955 (Actress. She was in Airplane.), Alan Brazil 1959 (Footy bloke.), Chris Morris 1962 (Comedian, writer, director, actor, voice actor and producer... in fact, a right old smarty boots.), Courtney Cox [Ooh... nasty. - Ed.] 1964 (Actress. Here’s an early role.), Michael Laudrup 1964 (Fodboldklump.), O’Shea Jackson aka Ice Cube 1969 (Rapper. You want a clip? No chance. This is a family blog. Well, as long as the family members are adults.), Oliver Kahn 1969 (Der Torhüter.), Cédric Pioline 1969 (Mec de tennis.), Justin Fletcher 1970 (Children’s entertainer. Mr Tumble. That’s him.), Justin Leonard 1972 (Golfy bloke.), Tore Andre Flo 1973 (Fotballkamp.), Neil Patrick Harris 1973 (Actor. Doogie Howser, M.D. That was him.), Katie Chapman 1982 (Footy bloke.) and Mohamed Salah 1992 (Mo Salah, Mo Salah, Running down the wing...).
I can't live, if living is without
the lime in the coconut



I’ve received a letter. Hang on a mo; I think this has come to me by mistake.

Plot 17,
St. Mary the Virgin,

Dear Mr so-called Director of the BBC,

I am writing to you from six feet underground to complain in the strongest possible terms about one of the so-called birthday celebrants in the so-called world’s greatest ill-informed blog.

As you know, while I was alive, I made it my life’s work to mind other people’s business and I don’t see why that should stop just because I am dead.

This very morning, I watched a so-called children’s television programme called Something Special on the See Beardies channel and it was the dirtiest, filthiest programme I have ever watched in my death.

The person I take exception to is so-called Jessica Fletcher, the so-called children’s entertainer who calls himself Mr Fumble or Mumble or something like that. Tumble! That’s it.

I’m a reasonable person and I certainly don’t have a dirty mind that sees something rude in even the most innocent of activities, but I think even his so-called name is filthy. Mr Tumble. Absolute filth! Where exactly is he going to tumble? Straight into bed, I don’t doubt. I think we can all guess what the so-called something special is. Ess Ee Ecks, that’s what.

He is supposed to be addressing children who are deaf and is using so-called sign language. A likely story! Who knows what he is signifying with those hands. I’m a reasonable person, but every movement of his hands looks, in my opinion (and I don’t have a dirty mind), to be suggesting something absolutely filthy. Who knows what subversive messages he’s putting across to these vulnerable children?

However, the most shocking thing about this so-called entertainer is that he is obsessed with his own medical condition which is obviously something he has contracted by indulging in ess ee ecks. Yes, I am talking genital warts, Mr so-called Norman Stanley Fletcher. Indeed.

Why else would he be inviting all and sundry to look at his spotty bag?

Yours disgustedly,

(the late) Mary Whitehouse.





Let’s move onto grambling matters. What happened with last week’s bet? We won... a bit. A tiny bit. We only got 74 pees back from our outlay of £2.40. Oh dear.

What has The Grambler come up with this week? What randomly selected predictions are we going to get? Let’s see, shall we...


Meeting - Time - Horse - Odds

Sandown - 2.35 - Fantasy Keeper - 7/4

Bath - 2.55 - Khafooq - 8/13

Bath - 4.10 - Handytalk - 7/4

York - 3.00 - Mekong - Evens

Downpatrick - 5.55 - Santana Plessis - 8/11

The bets have been placed (10 x 20 pee doubles plus 1 x 20 pee accumulator plus 20 pee each way cop out bet) and if they all go according to The Grambler’s Prediction, the Bobby Moore Fund stands to receive a whopping...




Blibbing flip!  That's a bit too whopping.




Teaser time. Yay! Last week I asked you which football club had the nickname ‘The Biscuitmen’ until the 1980s due to the town’s association with Huntley and Palmers. The answer is Reading F.C. Huntley and Palmers made biscuits in the town until 1976. Since the 1980s the club has been known as The Royals because Reading is in Royal Berkshire. Hmm... I preferred the old name.

One for this week? I’ve given you anagrams to work out before; this week’s teaser lists famous footballers names in anagram form together with the team they played for. See how you get on.

Aide index - Tranmere Rovers, Everton, Notts County

Amethyst set lawn - Stoke City, Blackpool

Jeer comer - Everton, Arsenal

My lawn motto - Burnley, Everton, Chelsea, Notts County, Brentford, Arsenal

Final minnow - Middlesbrough, Hull City

Ornament nests - Blackpool, Hull City, Southport

Not so hateful - Bolton Wanderers

Nifty omen - Preston North End


The only clue I will add is that they are all players from not just way back, but way way back. Have fun.




As usual (at the risk of repeating myself), 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 A. Brazil, one of this week’s birthday celebrants. Alan Brazil made over 150 appearances for Ipswich Town (scoring 70 goals) before big moves to Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United. He also played 13 times at international level for Scotland. Sadly, his career was ended early by a recurring back injury. However, nowadays he is remembered less for his football career than for his unique style of radio presenting. He is prone to the occasional gaffe... You’ve heard Colemanballs? Well, his mistakes are called Brazil nuts. So, this week, we finish with a few examples of his foot-in-mouth moments.

It’s 6.45… coming up to a quarter to seven.

John Cross is feeling very boyish about Arsenal's chances.

On Alex Ferguson - The man is United. Cut him and he bleeds red.

I saw Real Madrid the other week, against Gaddafi.

In the papers this morning: Police closing in on Ian Holloway... Sorry… it's Palace closing in on Ian Holloway.

I wouldn't touch Chimbonda with a barn door.

Sly Stallone will be at Everton promoting his new film, Rocky Bilbao.

Paolo Di Canio is one picnic short of a hamper.

Levante have gone fourth in Serie A. If anyone can tell me what part of Italy Levante is in, please call. I've no idea.

Tony Adams is braised for rejection by Arsenal.

The tackles are coming in thick and thin.

With the greatest possible respect, Luis Garcia is a tart.

Let's hope it's not a case of sore grapes.

Liverpool have won seven of their last 11 Premiership derbies with Everton. But that form goes out of the window when it comes to a derby.

Sam Allardyce has backed the FA’s decision to overturn the referee.

There's a good-feel factor about Sheffield Wednesday.

Clint Dempsey scored a last-minute winner to earn Tottenham a 1-1 draw against United.

Some players need a boot up their backside. Other players need the arm.

Alan Brazil: I remember, more than the cup final, the semi-final v West Brom at Highbury. That was one hell of a game.

Co-host: 3-1 wasn’t it?

Alan Brazil: I can’t remember.

Chelsea have to play Sunday night - the FA won't bulge.

Van Persie will play against Milan... no youngster wants to miss out on playing in the Nou Camp.

Our talking point this morning is George Best, his liver transplant and the booze culture in football. Don’t forget, the best caller wins a crate of John Smith’s.

Belgium’s not a hotpot of international football.

Reading have got amazing teamship.

To be honest, the game was a bit of a damp squid.

They gave the Serbian FA a poultry fine.

In their last four Blackburn have lost 3-0, 3-1, 5-3 and 3-2. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to work out that's 12 goals conceded.

I wonder how Villa would fare with such injuries. It would be like them missing young Barry Milner… er sorry, misread that, I mean Young, Barry and Milner.

I’m not going to single individuals out but Yakubu has missed loads of great chances.

I have seen players sent off for far worse offences than that.

Alan Brazil: I was sad to hear yesterday about the death of Inspector Morse, TV’s John Shaw.

Mike Parry: John Thaw, Alan.

Alan Brazil: Do you know, I’ve been doing that all morning. John, if you’re listening, sorry mate.

Jose Mourinho is starting to annoy me - I'm getting a bit fobbed off with him.

Some of the Scotland players need to look themselves in the face.

Brendan Rodgers has been singing the praises of Suarez and Sturridge – the SS.

He’s put the cat among the bags there.

Brazil interviewed Gary Bushell about comedy and in particular Bob Monkouse.

Brazil: How is Bob's health these days?

Bushell: Er...he died, Alan.

Brazil: Will Hansie be doing any commentaries for us during the World Cup?

Cricket man: Well not unless he's going to be doing them from the grave, Alan.

He held his head in his hands as it flashed past the post.

Roy Keane, his face punches the air...

...the Derby fans walking home absolutely silent in their cars.

One moment I'm playing football and the next - whack - I wake up in hospital unconscious.



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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