Saturday 14 December 2019

Week 19/20 - The Grambler goes to court

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


The law is an ass. So said Charles Dickens character Mr Bumble, the workhouse beadle in Oliver Twist. He should have added that it was also incredibly expensive and wasteful of time. Why do I mention this? Recently, yours truly was called up for jury duty. It had to happen eventually I suppose; I have been lucky to avoid the call up (or is that conscription?) until now.  Expensive? Indeed.

Here is how it works. 140 people receive a citation to appear in court at 10am on a Monday morning. From this number, 15 jurors are selected. The rest are told to go home but come back the next day. It so happened that the week I attended, the case that was being heard on the Monday collapsed without a decision. So, on Tuesday the same 140 were there again and another 15 were going to be selected.

The way the selection is carried out is quite odd. A goldfish bowl is produced with all 140 names in it and the 15 unlucky ones are fished out (Do you see what I did there?). It's a bit like a game of bingo, except you don't shout house when your number is called, you simply mutter b*gg*r under your breath.

This same process continues all week and if you are fortunate enough to avoid selection, your stint as potential juror is finished; a different 140 will continue the process the next week.

I was unlucky. My name was plucked out of the bowl on Tuesday. Wasteful of time? I told you that we had to be at court for 10am; the selection of the jury takes well over an hour. And by the time the jury is sworn in [What, like, Come in you f*ck*ng tw*ts? - Ed.] Ahem... The time is approaching midday. There seems to be time for just a couple of introductory speeches and it’s time to adjourn for lunch.

Another thing really bothered me about the selection process. Now, every potential juror has a number; they could simply have called that out. But no, your name is called out and if anyone connected with the accused was so-minded, they could find out all about you if you are involved with social media. Indeed, while your name is being called out, the accused is already sitting in the dock... making mental notes probably.

Any road up, after lunch there might be half an hour or so of evidence being given when the sheriff (judge) suggests that the jurors might want a ‘comfort break’ for ten minutes. Ten minutes?  Hah!  Three quarters of an hour later we re-enter the courtroom only for one of the barristers [You get coffee too! - Ed.] Ahem... to ask the sheriff for an adjournment due to some legal point. All the jurors have to leave the courtroom again. Half an hour later we might get called back in, just in time for court to be adjourned again because it is nearly 4 o'clock.

This sort of thing went on all week. It took four days for a fairly straightforward trial to be completed. If more than a couple of hours of each day had been given over to actual court time, it could have finished a lot earlier, I am sure.

Of course I understand that there is a lot more to any case than actual courtroom time but, to me, it all seemed there was a lot of time wasted.

One thing that I did realise from the whole experience was that tv courtroom dramas are totally inaccurate. I can't remember ever seeing a television courtroom having jurors being selected as if a raffle was being drawn. I don't recall any times when Judge John Deed asks a jury to leave the courtroom while a legal point is discussed. I don't recall any comfort breaks on Rumpole of the Bailey.

I think it proves that accuracy does not necessarily make good tv.




Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we? Were any famous or notorius individuals born on the 7th of December? Of course there were; here are some I’ve actually heard of. Columba 521 (The well-known saint.), Clarence Nash 1904 (Voice of Donald Duck.), Gerard Kuiper 1905 (Astronomer with a belt.), Louis Prima 1910 (Musician/actor. King Louie in The Jungle Book. Want a clip. No oobydoos on this one; here is Buona Sera.), Eli Wallach 1915 (Calvera in The Magnificent Seven.), Ted Knight 1923 (Actor.), Noam Chomsky 1928 (‘The father of modern linguistics’.), Ellen Burstyn 1932 (Actress who always needs to go to the loo.), Stan Boardman 1937 (Comedian, it says here.), Harry Chapin 1942 (Musician. Here’s his biggest, though most mawkish, hit.), Tom Waits 1949 (Singer, it says here. I suppose you’ll want a clip. Here’s his biggest hit - it reached number 50 in France - Bad As Me. You said it, mate.), Anna Soubry 1956 (Politician.), Tim Butler 1958 (Another Psychedelic Fur. Here’s Pretty in Pink.), Saleem Yousuf 1959 (کرکٹر.), Craig Scanlon 1960 (A bit of The Fall. Here’s How I Wrote Elastic Man.), Theo Snelders 1963 (Doelverdediger.), Hermann Maier 1972 (Skifahrer.), Nicole Appleton 1974 (An All Saint. Have a clip. Anyone fancy a coffee? ), Dominic Howard 1977 (Drummy bloke with Muse. How are you feeling? Good?), John Terry 1980 (Footy bloke.), Nicholas Hoult 1989 (Actor.) and David Goffin 1990 (Mec de tennis.).

And now... the 14th of December. George VI 1895 (The well-known king.), Spike Jones 1911 (Singer and bandleader. Have a clip. This is from the 1944 film Ladies Man.), Dan Dailey 1915 (Song and dance man. Howzabout a clip? All together now... Pardon me boys...), Raj Kapoor 1924 (Film maker.), Charlie Rich 1932 (Curntry and wyastern sanger. Here’s his biggest hit. All together now... Hey, did you happen to see...), Lee Remick 1935 (Actress.), Jane Birkin 1946 (Actress and singer, it says here. Have a clip. Banned by the Beeb Beeb Ceeb, I think we know why.), Peter Lorimer 1946 (Fitballer.), Stan Smith 1946 (Tennisy bloke.), Vijay Amritraj 1953 (Tenis khilaadee.), Linda Fabiani 1956 (Politician; represents Polomint City.), Mike Scott 1958 (A Waterboy. Have a clip. All together now... I pictured a rainbow... I love that toon.), Chris Waddle 1960 (Foo’y blurk, like. Made a couple of records with Glenn Hoddle. Here is the prophetic [Did you say pathetic? - Ed.] It’s Goodbye), Arthur Numan 1969 (Voetbal kerel.), Beth Orton 1970 (Musician. Here she is crying your name.), Miranda Hart 1972 (Comedian, it says here.), Tomasz Radzinski 1973 (Piłkarz.) and Michael Owen 1979 (Footy bloke.).





I’ve received a letter...


Dear Mr. Ambla,

We are fans of The Waterboys and really pleased that you gave us a link to their biggest hit. I wonder if you could see your way clear to giving us another clip; maybe a love song even.

Yours hopefully,



Let’s move on to grambling matters. How did our little bet go last time? It won. Yay! Yes, we actually made a real profit. Honest. Nae kidding. £3.28 back from our £2.20 stake. Yay indeed. What happened? Read on.


Macclesfield vs Bradford - Prediction Away win

Result - Macclesfield 1 Bradford 1

Ooh! ’It the bar!

James Vaughan was Bradford's hero as his header rescued a point at Macclesfield, who finished with 10 men.

The striker put a shocking first-half miss behind him to score with little more than 15 minutes to play.

Macclesfield took a first-half lead through Jak McCourt's penalty and looked like seeing out victory before Vaughan finally showed his class with a fine finish.

The opening goal came just after the half-hour mark.

Corey O'Keeffe charged into the Bradford box and was sent tumbling by Ben Richards-Everton. After referee Scott Oldham had pointed to the spot, McCourt sent keeper Richard O'Donnell the wrong way with the penalty.

Bradford should have been a goal up before that but the unmarked Vaughan somehow put his finish wide in a real howler from six yards.

In the second half it was the hosts who went closer to notching another with set-pieces seeing Fraser Horsfall and Fiacre Kelleher go close with headers.

But after Macclesfield failed to see off the visitors, Vaughan struck, glancing in Harry Pritchard's wicked free-kick.

And though Bradford smelled blood late on with Connor Kirby dismissed for a second yellow card, they could not find a second goal and had to settle for a point.


Alloa vs Inverness - Prediction Away win

Result - Alloa 0 Inverness 2


Inverness Caledonian Thistle beat a spirited 10-man Alloa Athletic in this encounter.

A mix-up in the home defence culminated in Scott Taggart diverting beyond his own goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald.

Aaron Doran thumped home Jordan White's cross to make it 2-0 at half-time.

Alloa's Liam Dick was sent off for a heavy tackle on James Keatings


Morton vs Dundee Utd. - Prediction Away win

Result - Morton 1 Dundee Utd. 2


Louis Appere and Lawrence Shankland both finished smartly from 10 yards in the first half - the latter after ex-Motherwell man John Sutton's scrambled leveller.

It was the first United had conceded to an opposition player since mid-October.

But Morton could not fashion a second, despite repeatedly troubling United from-set plays.


Montrose vs Raith - Prediction Away win

Result - Montrose 0 Raith Rovers 1


No Match report. Boo.

Brechin vs Stenhousemuir - Prediction Away win

Result - Brechin 1 Stenhousemuir 2


No match report. Boo.


What has the great and powerful Grambler predicted for us this week?

Game - Result - Odds

AFC Wimbledon vs Doncaster - Prediction Away win - 19/20

MK Dons vs Oxford Utd. - Prediction Away win - 19/20

Arbroath vs Dundee Utd. - Prediction Away win - 8/13

Stranraer vs East Fife - Prediction Away win - 5/6

Brechin vs Cowdenbeath - Prediction Away win - 10/11


Uh oh, The Grambler’s picked all away wins... Again. It worked last time; don’t think it’ll happen twice.

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 Predictions (Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!), the Bobby Moore Fund stands to receive a whopping....


£ 1 1 . 1 4

How very unwhopping.



Teaser time. Yay! Last time I asked you who was the first reigning monarch to attend an F.A. Cup Final. The answer is, that well-known king, George V in 1914. Burnley beat Liverpool 1 - 0 watched by a crowd of over 72,000.

One for this week? Which ex-Premier League player scored with his very first touch of his senior career? Nice one to discuss int pub.




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



Please, also take the time to click on this link, an informative little video from Mersh (a great friend of Stewart’s).





And finally Cyril? And finally, Esther, I am indebted to a Mr. C. Nash who is heard but not seen in this week’s finishing clip. This short animated film, which Disney termed a ‘Silly Symphony’ (which led to rival animation studios coming up with ‘Merry Melodies’ and ‘Loony Tunes’), was the first time the public got to see and hear Donald Duck. So, sit back and enjoy a rather different-looking duck to the one we know so well... obviously, even ducks change a bit in 85 years. Here’s The Wise Little Hen.

Donald Duck before the nose job

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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