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…
I have just heard possibly the silliest conspiracy theory ever and it is this: the Titanic sank because so many time travellers from the future were on board at the time it came to grief. Have you ever heard such nonsense? Mind you, I can understand where the perpetrator of the theory is coming from...
From the diary of Lady Maude Gordon-Jinn...
10th April -
We have set sail and are bound for New York. I do so hope that I will meet some interesting people and that this voyage is eventful.
I had lunch with a charming gentleman called George Wells. He told me that he hoped that he could get back to his time machine before we went down. I was a little shocked at his suggestion as we had only just met and I couldn't understand why he was so bothered about his watch.
Dined this evening with a rather unusual group of individuals. One was very scruffy indeed and said his name was Dave. His dinner request was for curry, which I believe is an Indian dish, and something called lager. The others in the group were no less outlandish. One introduced himself as Arnold Rimmer and had a rather odd scar on his forehead which looked like a letter H. Another fellow at the table was very vain. He called himself Cat and kept making cat-like noises especially when his meal of fish arrived. The fourth member of the motley assortment was called Crichton and his clothes covered him from head to foot. He wore dark glasses and a hat. It was as if he was hiding something. What I did see of his face was very strange indeed. I can only assume he had been disfigured in some horrific accident. Nevertheless, he was the most polite of the four and was very knowledgeable. He seemed to be able to discuss any matter at length without needing to refer to a book.
They left after dinner and when we shook hands I was shocked that Mr Crichton had cold almost metallic fingers. Mr Rimmer refused to shake my hand and appeared to walk through rather than around the table.
I needed several large gin and tonics after my meal.
In the evening I spent some time in the company of two rather scruffy young American fellows called William and Theodore. They called each other dude and anything they liked they described as bogus. Strange chaps. Later, an older chap they called Rufus approached. He told the young men that they were history, which I assume was some sort of coded message to tell them it was bedtime because it was at this point they left.
I had a few more gin and tonics before heading for my cabin.
11th April -
I have just met a charming young man who goes by the name of Luke Skywalker*. He had with him an older bearded gentleman who calls himself Obi Wankin Obi. We had lunch together. I must say Mr Skywalker's table manners leave a lot to be desired. Mr Obi was having to constantly remind him to use the fork.
Later, Mr Skywalker joined me and introduced me to a rather hairy friend of his who apparently likes to chew tobacco. I couldn't understand anything he said. Mr Skywalker explained that his friend was an Ewok. I was fascinated and wondered which part of Ewokia he came from. Mr Skywalker said that Mr Chew-Tobacco came from another planet.
Perhaps I should cut down on the gin.
I was joined for dinner by a lovely young man called Martin McFly and a Doctor Brown. Mr McFly obviously wasn’t too sure about sailing and was already wearing his life-vest. Doctor Brown seemed to be impressed by the feats of the intrepid Antarctic explorer Robert Scott because he continually exclaimed ‘Great Scott’. I agreed that Captain Scott was indeed great, but his constant reference to the fact did become rather tiresome.
I excused myself and headed to the bar for a few gin and tonics.
April 12th -
I left my cabin this morning to find that there was a police telephone box outside. I certainly don't recall it being there before. Perhaps I did have a gin or two too many. Anyway, a charming man wearing a floppy hat and a long scarf emerged and offered me a jelly baby (I have no idea what he meant). I asked his name and he told me that he was the doctor. I said, doctor who and he simply smiled. A man of mystery I thought.
I went for lunch and was joined by another charming young man who wore a bow tie and a sports jacket (very racy). He said it was so nice to meet me again. I don't recall meeting him on any previous occasions. He simply smiled and told me he was the doctor.
Perhaps I should take a few less gins at lunchtime.
At dinner I was joined by a young lady who sat down and talked as if we were old friends. So refreshing that a young lady should have such confidence. I asked her name and she smiled saying she was the doctor. I told her that I had never met a lady doctor before, and she told me that she was the first. How odd that I should meet three doctors on the same day.
During the evening I was joined by the man I assumed was the ship's captain. He told me his name was James T. Kirk and he had with him a fellow crew member who he introduced as the science officer, Mr Stock, I believe it was. He had the most unusual pixie-like ears. I was quite fascinated by them. The two men both seemed to be wearing casual wear for the evening. I suggested that whoever their tailor was should have made their trousers a bit longer. Mr Stock simply raised an eyebrow and said one word - illogical.
We were later joined by another two crew members who captain Kirk called Scotty and Bones. I think Scotty may have thought he could fool me into thinking he was Scottish, but having spent many a summer on Highland shooting trips with my Scottish cousin when I was a gel, I knew for a fact he wasn't; he didn't roll his r's the way my cousin did when we were banging away in the heather.
Mr Bones, it transpired, was another doctor. Fancy! Four doctors in one day.
April 13th -
I woke with a very sore head this morning. Too many gins maybe. Perhaps the doctor could give me a potion to relieve the throbbing. I knocked on the door of the police box which was answered by somebody I hadn't seen before. He spoke with a northern accent. I asked him if the doctor was in and he told me that he was the doctor. I really must have overdone the gin and tonics yesterday. The ship seems to be full of doctors.
At lunch I sat at a table with a chap called Arthur Dent who seemed to think it acceptable to wear his dressing gown and pyjamas. Standards are definitely not being upheld these days. It wouldn't have happened in the days of the dear old queen. Mr Dent had with him a chap called Ford Prefect, a lady who he called Trillion and a very odd looking individual called something like Zadok Needlebox. He wore a very loose garment to disguise a huge hump he had on one shoulder. Poor fellow. Perhaps it was the rocking motion of the ship, but I was sure I saw that hump moving around. At one point I swear I saw a third arm take some food and feed it to a second head hidden by the baggy outfit.
I really should cut down on the gin.
I was joined at dinner by Mr Skywalker with another friend, a small fellow wearing what appeared to be a dressing gown (So many untidy dressers) and he must have been suffering from sea sickness; he was a shocking hue of green. I couldn't help noticing his ears. They were even more pointed than Mr Stock's. Then the strangest thing happened; his ears actually wiggled.
Cut down on the gin, I should.
April 14th -
The weather is decidedly cold today. There seems to be a bit of a fog. I hope Captain Kirk can see where he's pointing the ship. I thought I would knock on the police box door to see who would open it. An old gentleman with long white hair peeping out below an Astrakhan hat, answered the door.
Just as he opened it, we heard a message from the captain on the bridge (a nautical term I believe) that an iceberg had been sighted and that if any of the passengers wanted to see it they should head for the starboard side of the ship. Well, with that, such a commotion occurred from within this tiny police box and suddenly another thirteen people emerged; including four of the doctors I had met previously. All seemed to be heading as quickly as they could for the starboard side. I looked all around the police box to ascertain where they had come from. What I had witnessed was nothing short of prestidigitation! They couldn't all have come out of this tiny little box. There was a lot of activity aboard as everybody rushed to see the iceberg. There seemed to be many more people on board than had embarked when the ship left Southampton. I have no idea where they had all come from.
I headed in a different direction towards the now deserted bar and ordered a very, very large gin and tonic. Maybe it was the drink, or perhaps it was the sheer number of people heading to the side of the ship, but I was convinced that the ship was beginning to list to one side.
*Yes, I know Star Wars doesn’t do time travel. Yet. Give it time. Just you wait until the plots dry up, they’ll be jumping back and forward in time like I don’t know what... And it did give me the excuse for a couple of feeble gags. This is the way.
Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we? Were any famous or notorious individuals born on the 22nd of February? Of course there were; here are some I’ve actually heard of. George Washington 1732 (The well-known president.), Robert Baden-Powell 1857 (The well-known founder of the scouts. Married to Olave), Eric Gill 1882 (The well-known inventor of this typeface), Olave Baden-Powell 1889 (The well-known founder of the Girl Guide Movement [What’s so special about the way they move? - Ed.] Married to Robert.), Luis Buñuel 1900 (The well-known loony film director.), Robert Young 1907 (The well-known actor. Marcus Welby, that was him.), John Mills 1908 (Another well-known ectaw, dear leddie. Played Robert Falcon Scott in Scott of the Antarctic.), Bill Boddy 1913 (The not-so-well-known motoring journalist. He edited Motor Sport magazine from 1936 until 1991.), Norman ‘Hurricane’ Smith 1923 (Record producer and sometime singer. Here’s the bigger of his two hits.), William Wolfe 1924 (Politician. One time leader of the SNP.), Kenneth Williams 1926 (Ooooh! Matron!), Billy Dainty 1927 (Comedian with waggly legs), Guy Mitchell 1927 (Singer. Have a clip. All together now... I worked in a London bank. Respectable position...), Bruce Forsyth 1928 (Entertainer, it says here.), Marni Nixon 1930 (Rarely seen but often heard on film. Provided the singing voice for Deborah Kerr (The King and I), Natalie Wood (West Side Story) and Audrey Hepburn (My Fair Lady). I think a clip is in order. Here’s an interesting piece.), Edward Kennedy 1932 (Politician from a rather well-known family), Katherine, Duchess of Kent 1933 (The well-known... erm... duchess.), Sheila Hancock 1933 (Ectress.), Jonathan Cecil 1939 (Actor who specialised in ‘silly ass’ roles.), Judy Cornwell 1940 (Actress), Christine Keeler 1942 (‘Showgirl’ who very nearly caused the collapse of the UK government of the day... But you’re not interested in that; you just want to see the picture.),
Happy now, lads?
Tom Okker 1944 (Tennis speler.), John Radford 1947 (Footie bloke.), Deborah Grant 1947 (Actress.), Niki Lauda 1949 (Autorennfahrer.), John Duncan 1949 (Fitba block.), Miou Miou 1950 (Catlike actress.), Genesis P-Orridge 1950 (The well-known weirdo.), Julie Walters 1950 (Ectress, luvvie.), Nigel Planer 1953 (Actor. Had a hit record once and here it is.), Geoffrey Perkins 1953 (Radio and TV producer, writer and performer.), Gordon Kennedy 1958 (Actor.), Kyle MacLachlan 1959 (Actor), Steve Irwin 1962 (Daredevil who dared once too often.), Devon Malcolm 1963 (Crickety bloke.), Vijay Singh 1963, John Leslie 1966, Paul Cook 1967, Shaka Hislop 1969, Jamie Dolan 1969 (Golph khilaadee.), Brian Laudrup 1969 (Fodboldspiller.), Michael Chang 1972 (Tennis bloke.), James Blunt 1974 (Musician and rhyming slang. Bonfire Heart. I should try Gaviscon, mate.), Chris Moyles 1974 (DJ.), Drew Barrymore 1975 (Actress.), Sergio Romero 1987 (Futbolista.), Kamran Khan 1990 (Squashy bloke.), Jack McMullen 1991 (Actor.), Ryan Christie 1995 (Fitba block.) and Adam Livingstone 1998 (Ex Motherwell fitba block.).
I’ve received a letter...
Dear Mr Rumpler,
I am the great fan of James Blunt the famous singer who has had the many hit records. I do not buy the single song discs but the album disc. The only disc I do not have is the last he make. Do you know the name of it?
Thank you very much,
Let’s move on to grambling matters. How did our little bet go last Week? We got some money back. Yay! Not quite yay, we only got £2.08, so a loss of 12 pees. What happened? Read on.
Birmingham vs Brentford - Prediction Away win
Result - Birmingham 1 Brentford 1
Boo! ’It the bar!
Lukas Jutkiewicz tapped Birmingham in front from Gary Gardner's cross before Ethan Pinnock headed in the Brentford goal from a corner.
Teenager Jude Bellingham had almost given the Blues the lead inside the opening few minutes but saw his 20-yard strike bounce off the post.
A drab second half in appalling conditions saw home goalkeeper Lee Camp deny Emiliano Marcondes late on, while Birmingham thought they should have had a penalty when the ball appeared to hit Pinnock's arm in the area.
Sheffield Wed vs Reading - Prediction Home win
Result - Sheffield Wednesday 0 Reading 3
Ovie Ejaria teed up Yakou Meite [These are people’s names? - Ed.] to open the scoring for the visitors in the first half before Wednesday's teenage defender Osaze Urhoghide was sent off shortly after the break for a second bookable offence.
George Puscas tapped in from an Andy Yiadom cross-shot and Sam Baldock wrapped up the win with a penalty in the last minute.
Ipswich vs Burton Albion - Prediction Home win
Result - Ipswich Town 4 Burton Albion 1
Kayden Jackson and Alan Judge both scored twice as Ipswich came from behind to beat Burton 4-1.
Albion's goal came after a sixth-minute strike from Jamie Murphy.
Will Keane spurned a gilt-edged chance to put the home side into the lead when he had just Burton goalkeeper Kieran O'Hara to beat.
And Ipswich paid the price when Murphy soon struck for Albion.
Town goalkeeper Tomas Holy palmed over a shot from Joe Powell and Judge crashed a shot off the underside of the bar.
Judge did equalise in the 29th minute when he converted inside the six-yard box and Jackson put Town into the lead just before the break when he lobbed the ball over O'Hara, who was injured in the challenge and replaced by Ben Garratt.
Jackson stooped low to head home a cross from Judge to put Town further in front in the 52nd minute and Judge made it 4-1 in the 63rd minute when his low effort squirmed under Garratt and just crossed the line.
Southend vs Coventry - Prediction Away win
Result - Southend United 0 Coventry City 2
The Sky Blues were denied by the woodwork on three occasions at a blustery Roots Hall but made sure of the win with goals from substitutes Callum O'Hare and Maxime Biamou.
Coventry came close to opening the scoring in the 28th minute when Jordan Shipley struck the outside of the left post.
Liam Walsh then curled a 25-yard free-kick against the crossbar before City broke the deadlock on the hour mark when O'Hare ran from deep before sending a low effort into the bottom right-hand corner of the net.
With City remaining on top, Sam McCallum curled a free-kick against the top of the crossbar before the visitors doubled their lead in the 79th minute with Biamou on target.
The Frenchman shrugged off the attentions of Shrimpers defender Miles Mitchell-Nelson before sending a 12-yard shot into the bottom corner to seal the win for City.
Macclesfield vs Exeter - Prediction Away win
Result - Macclesfield Town 2 Exeter City 3
Exeter City let slip a two-goal lead before ex-Motherwell man Ryan Bowman scored a late winner to snatch victory at Macclesfield.
The visitors had been firmly in control once Nicky Ajose and Pierce Sweeney had established a 2-0 lead by the 16th minute.
The unmarked Ajose was given the simplest of tap-ins when Randell Williams' ball across the face of goal came to him a yard out.
And soon after, Sweeney produced a smart first-time finish from Brennan Dickenson's cross.
The visitors should have been further ahead before a fluke goal after 40 minutes gave struggling Macclesfield a lifeline.
Ben Tollitt delivered a cross into the area and the Grecians' Archie Collins fired his clearance against Connor Kirby, the rebound looping over goalkeeper Lewis Ward and into the net.
Despite playing into gale-force winds and torrential rain in the second half, Macc were the far better side and levelled through captain Fiacre Kelleher, who thundered home a header from Tollitt's corner after 63 minutes.
But, five minutes from time, an Exeter attack against the run of play ended with Williams' cross being turned in by Bowman.
I wonder what The Grambler has conjured up for us this week...
Game - Result - Odds
Crystal Palace vs Newcastle - Prediction Home win - 10/11
Sheffield Utd. vs Brighton - Prediction Home win - 19/20
Bristol C vs West Brom - Prediction Away win - 17/20
Stoke vs Cardiff - Prediction Home win - evens
Swansea vs Huddersfield - Prediction Home win - evens
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, the Bobby Moore Fund stands to receive a whopping...
Well, that’s a bit unwhopping, I reckon.
Teaser time. Yay! Last time I asked you which Frenchman has made the most Premier League appearances. The answer was Silvain Distin with 469 appearances. Second was Nicolas Anelka with 364. Third, pop pickers, was Steed Malbranque with 336. Not arf!
One for this week? What was the original name of Burnley F.C.? Easy peasy.
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 http://www.bowelcanceruk.org.uk/campaigns-policy/latest-campaigns/never-too-young-campaign
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 have just heard on the Beeb news that June Brown, who has played the character of Dot Cotton on Eastenders for the past 35 years, has decided to call it a day. Well, at 93 and with failing eyesight, she is perhaps entitled to think about taking it easy.
Why should I, someone who has never sat through a whole episode of the soap, even mention this fact? It is all to do with a little story that might bring a wee smile to your collective face.
Over seven years ago Stewart, the founder of the world's greatest ill-informed blog, was going through all sorts of hell thanks to the effects of bowel cancer and the various attempts to eradicate it. Most of his time was being spent in hospital with very little time at home.
As his second wedding anniversary approached, he thought about what might be an unusual gift for Geraldine. He didn't have much opportunity to go shopping but wanted to get something special; something different.
Now then, are you aware of the various materials associated with particular wedding anniversaries? We all know silver for 25 years, ruby for 40 and gold for 50, but there are many others.
A first wedding anniversary is, for example, paper. I'm not sure what paper gift is suitable for a wedding anniversary present... other than paper money. Always welcome.
Ten years is tin. Can't think of many things made of tin that would be welcomed as a gift. [Tin of beans? - Ed.]
Ahem... So what is the material associated with a second wedding anniversary? Yes? You at the back? It is indeed cotton. Well done.
So what did Stewart, in his not very mobile condition, do? He sent a letter to June Brown and asked her for a signed photograph of her as Dot Cotton. And do you know what? She obliged, wishing him and Geraldine a happy anniversary.
Isn't that a nice way to end this week's (g)ramble? June Brown; what a lovely lady.
That’s all for this week folks, but remember you can read the musings of The Grambler every week (well, most weeks) by going to the blog at www.thegrambler.com