Saturday 18 April 2020

Week 37/38 - Return of the gramblerplan

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.

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


Who remembers the gramblerplan diet (the diet that really works)? Those of you who have stuck with the world's greatest ill-informed blog since the early days will recall its mantra... Eat less. Exercise more. Pretty radical, huh?

Why do I mention the gramblerplan diet (the diet that really works)? Well, during the lockdown because of the Covid-19 virus, we in the Yuk have been told that we may only leave the house once a day and that should be to take one hour's exercise.

What about the rest of the day? It's no good sitting on your bahooky all day long watching antiques programmes and quiz shows. You need to be doing some sort of exercise to keep weight gains at bay. This is where the gramblerplan diet (the diet that really works) comes in. How so, I hear you ask.

There are certain rules to obey to make the diet a success. The first is to be disorganised. Sorry pardon excuse me? Yes be totally disorganised. For example, perhaps you need to go upstairs for a few things. Well, instead of carrying all of them down at the one time, bring one item down at a time. Need to go to the bathroom to brush your teeth and have a tinkle? Go upstairs, have your tinkle, then come back downstairs. After doing that, go back upstairs to brush your teeth. Probably best to do those activities in that order... we don't want any little accidents.

Do you hang out washing? Here's what to do. Place the washing basket well away from the line and hang the peg bag somewhere well away from the line but also well away from the washing basket. [Nurse, I think it's time for his medication. - Ed.] No no no. Bear with me. Thus, you have formed a large triangle on your washing green. You then go to the washing basket, remove only one item, then walk to the peg bag for sufficient pegs just for that item. Then head to the line and hang up said item. Repeat this procedure for each item to be hung out to dry. So if you have, say, twenty items, you will cover your triangular route twenty times... think how far you will be walking each time you hang out a load of washing. Incidentally, it looks okay if you are doing the ‘circuit’ with a large item such as a bedsheet, but it begins to look silly when the items get somewhat smaller. Do not be tempted to take more than one item. If you have to peg one sock on the line, so be it; carry just one sock from basket to peg bag to line. If you get funny looks from the neighbours, offer to do something obscene to them with a clothes pole. [Don’t. - Ed.]

Ah, I hear you say, won't using such a method take ages. And your point is caller? You're in lockdown. You've got plenty of time to pass.

Another tip from the gramblerplan diet (the diet that really works) is to fidget. Eh? Yes, fidget. Don't sit on a chair like a sack of potatoes. Fidget. Move your legs and arms about. Okay, you'll look a right twonk to anybody who sees you... but, then, nobody will actually see you. You're self-isolating. Remember?

Dynamic tension; that's another way to keep fit. What the f... What's dynamic tension, I hear you ask. It is the method of building up muscle not by lifting weights or using weight training apparatus, but by pitting muscle against muscle. An example would be to link your hands together and then try hard to pull them apart. Keep pulling for about ten seconds and then release. Wait about a minute, then repeat. Do that a few times and you should feel better for it.

Another similar exercise is to breathe out so that your lungs are as empty as possible and pull your stomach in as far as possible and hold that position for about ten seconds before breathing in again. Do that every minute or so and you should soon feel the burn as some over zealous keep fit types would say. [Feel the bum? Oh, feel the burn. I misread that. Sorry. Just ignore me. - Ed.] I always do.

Of course, having too much time on your hands can tempt you into snacking on rubbish. Obviously you shouldn't. The gramblerplan diet (the diet that really works) tells us to do something, anything, and don't eat while you are doing it. If you are concentrating on an activity, you shouldn't feel any need to eat. Makes sense to me, anyway. If you feel hungry, have a drink of water. That actually does help to ward off hunger.

Remember to eat only at set times. This time of being forced to stay in should give you the chance to practice your cooking skills. Don't eat processed, packaged food full of additives and sugar; make your own meals using raw ingredients. Sensible, yes? Yes. Very.

So, all this time spent being disorganised, fidgeting and cooking should make lockdown a doddle.

If you are trying to lose weight using the gramblerplan diet (the diet that really works), remember to give to charity. Many organisations are struggling at the moment and could do with some funds. The gramblerplan diet (the diet that really works) suggests that you give £1 for every pound in weight that you lose. The flipside of this is that, if you slack and actually gain weight you should give £2 to charity for every pound you put on.

Thus, you are encouraged to lose weight by being forced to give more money to the charity if you don't. Everybody wins. Yay!

Go to it my little gramblerinis... Not so little, perhaps.




Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we?

Were any famous or notorious individuals born on the 11th of April? Of course there were and here are some I have actually heard of. Jack Philips 1887 (Wireless operator on the Titanic.), Freddie Grisewood 1888 (Radio presenter... He presented shows on the radio, he didn’t present radios. I’ll get me coat.), Paul Douglas 1907 (Actor.), Bobby Liddle 1908 (Footy bloke.), Dan Maskell 1908 (Tennisy bloke. Oh, I say.), Clive Exton 1930 (TV and film scriptwriter.), Ronald Fraser 1930 (Ectaw. ‘Badger’ Allenby-Johnson in The Misfit. Him.), Joel Gray 1932 (Actor.), Derek Martin 1933 (Actor. Charlie Slater in Eastenders. Him.), Ron Pember 1934 (Actor. Dennis Timson in Rumpole of the Bailey. Him.), Jill Gascoine 1937 (Actress. Maggie Forbes in C.A.T.S. Eyes. Her.), Shirley Stelfox 1941 (Actress. Rose in Keeping Up Appearances. Her.), Damien Thomas 1942 (Actor.), ‘Whispering’ Bob Harris 1946 (TV and radio presenter.), Nicholas Ball 1946 (Actor. Hazell. Him.), Roger Pritchard 1949 (Who? Better known as Lee Sheriden. Oh right. Who? A quarter of Brotherhood of Man. Time for a clip. All together now... Though it hurts to go away...), Jim Holton 1951 (Fitba guy.), Paul Fox 1951 (A Rut. Here he is playing geetar on Babylon's Burning.), Wayne Laryea 1952 (Actor.), Davie Armour 1953 (Fitba guy.), Neville Staple 1955 (A Special, then a bit of Fun Boy Three. A clip? Here’s Our Lips Are Sealed.), Stuart Adamson 1958 (A Big Country member... I’ll leave you to supply the punchline. Meanwhile, have a clip. Here’s their first biggie... Fields of Fire.), David Lowe 1959 (Composer. Never heard anything he’s written?  You have, you know.), Jeremy Klaxon 1960 (Uh journalist and uh TV uh presenter who uh now uh presents uh Who Wants uh to be uh Millionaire.), Mark Lawson 1962 (Broadcaster.), Kate Anthony 1964 (Actress. Pam Hobsworth in Corrie. Her.), Lynn Ferguson 1965 (Actress. Sister of Craig.), Lisa Stansfield 1966 (Rerr chanter. All together now... Bin around the world an aye aye aye...), Cerys Matthews 1969 (Singer and radio presenter isn’t it. Here’s her first chart hit with Catatonia.), Delroy Pearson 1970 (A star... Well, a member of Five Star. Have a clip. Here’s All Fall Down. Not sure of Delroy’s input there, other than to dance about for the video... See Bez, below.), Anthony Flanagan 1972 (Actor. Tony in Shameless. Him.), Zoe Lucker 1974 (Actress. Vanessa Gold in Eastenders. Her.), Christopher Coghill 1975 (Actor. Tony King in Eastenders. Him.), Will Tudor 1987 (Actor. Olyvar in Game of Thrones. Him.), Joss Stone 1987 (Chanter. Have a clip. You had me. [I did not. - Ed.]), Dele Alli 1996 (Footy bloke.) and Dean Cornelius 2001 (Fitba guy. In Motherwell’s squad.).

What about April the 18th? Clarence Darrow 1857 (Lawyer. Looked nothing like Spencer Tracy, or Kevin Spacey.), Leopold Stokowski 1882 (Conductor.), Al Lewis 1901 (Lyricist. Wrote Blueberry Hill as well as this.), Eric Spear 1908 (Composer. You’ve never heard anything he’s written?  You have, you know.), Sidney Vivian 1908 (Actor), Robert Wiseman 1916 (Milkman. From Polomint City. I used to play bowls with him.), Avril Angers 1918 (Actress/comedienne. Factoid: She appeared alongside Terry-Thomas in Britain’s first ever comedy series, How Do You View in 1949.), Nigel Kneale 1922 (Screenwriter specialising in science fiction and horror thrillers. Created the character of Professor Quatermass.), David Whitaker 1928 (Screenwriter for early Doctor Who programmes.), Peter Jeffrey 1929 (Actor. One of those faces that cropped up in all sorts of Beeb Beeb Ceeb comedies and dramas of the 70s and 80s. Usually played a baddie.), Eddie Stobart 1929 (He of haulage company fame.), Angus Lennie 1930 (Actor. Archibald Ives in The Great Escape. Him.), Clive Revill 1930 (Actor.), Harold Innocent 1933 (Actor. Another whose face seemed to be everywhere on 70s and 80s TV.), Mark Kingston 1933 (Actor. Tom, husband of Beryl, in Beryl’s Lot. Him.), David Cunliffe 1935 (TV producer. One of his shows was... Beryl’s Lot.), Kenneth Farrington 1936 (Actor. Billy Walker in Corry. Him.), Teddy Taylor 1937 (Politician. Famously appeared on Have I Got News For You under the impression that it was a serious political programme. Ended up looking a right tw*t.), Mike Vickers 1940 (Musician. A bit of Manfred Mann. Here he plays a mean flute on Without You.), Norman Giller 1940 (Sports writer.), Carolyn Jones 1941 (Actress. Sharon Metcalfe in Crossroads. Her.), Tony Reeves 1943 (Musician. Member of Colesseum and Greenslade. He also played bass on this John Martyn track, Bless the Weather.), Francis Bell 1944 (Actor. Max Ramsey in Neighbours. Him.), Hayley Mills 1946 (Actress.), James Woods 1947 (Actor.), Polly Brown 1947 (Singer with Pickettywitch and later Sweet Dreams who had a hit with an ABBA song, Honey Honey.  Ignore the nasty man at the start of the clip.), Kevin Finnegan 1948 (Boxy bloke.), Rick Moranis 1953 (Actor.), Eamonn Bannon 1958 (Fitba guy.), Les Pattinson 1958 (A Bunnyman. Have a clip. This is Killing Moon.), Victoria Wicks 1959 (Actress. Sally Smedley in Drop the Dead Donkey. Her.), Kelly Hansen 1961 (Foreign singer. Here he can't slow down), Shirlie Holliman 1962 (Half of Pepsi and Shirlie. A Clip. Here they have Heartache. Those fashions never really caught on. Wonder why.), Mark Berry aka Bez 1964 (Bloke what jumps about with the Happy Mondays and Black Grape. Here he is jumping about to Kinky Afro.), David Tennant 1971 (Actor. Doctor Who number 43.), Edgar Wright 1974 (Film director. Famous for the Cornetto Trilogy with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.), Sean Maguire 1976 (Actor and singer. Here’s Good Day.), Matthew Upson 1979 (Footy bloke.), Jamie Davis 1981 (Actor. Max Walker in Casualty. Him.), Stevie Murray 1983 (Wee fitba guy.), Łukasz Fabiański 1985 (Bramkarz.), Tom Hughes 1985 (Actor. Prince Albert in Victoria. [Sorry pardon excuse me? - Ed.] Him.), Maurice Edu 1986 (Soccer dude.), Mark Aldred 1987 (Rowy boaty bloke.), Vanessa Kirby 1988 (Actress. Princess Margaret in The Crown. Her.) and Divock Origi 1995 (Gars de football.)


I’ve received a letter...


Dear Mr Dongler,

I am a great fan of Echo and the Bunnymen and wondered which of their songs reached the highest chart position. Can you help?

Yours with knobs on,





Nothing for The Grambler to predict this week, so let’s move straight on to....


Teaser time. Yay! How did you get on with your five questions?

1. Who am I? [You’re the writer of this drivel. - Ed.] Ahem... I’ll give you some clues and you name the footballer in question.

My first name is Andrew and I was born on the 10th of June 1964 in Leeds. I began my senior career at Bradford City and later played for Everton, Rangers and Sheffield United. Because my father was Scottish I was eligible to play for Scotland.

Answer: (Andrew) Stuart McCall

2. Which club’s stadium is currently called the Tony Macaroni Arena?

Answer: Livingston F.C. (Although I imagine most fans still call it Almondvale.)

3. Who is currently the Premier League’s longest-serving manager?

Answer: Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe holds that distinction, beginning the job on the 12th of October 2012, beating Burnley’s Sean Dyche by just 18 days.

4. By what name was Edson Arantes do Nascimento known?

Answer: Perhaps the greatest player ever... Pele.

5. Who is the shortest player in the Premier League?

Answer: Ryan Fraser of Bournemouth is 5 feet 4 inches (1.62m) in his stocking soles.

Would you like a few for this week? Aye, go on then...

1. Who am I?

I was born on the 11th January 1987 in Sheffield and began my playing career at Sheffield Wednesday. I have been with my current club for eight years. Before turning professional I was a technician making medical splints. It has been reported that I do not use the gym and that I drink Red Bull energy drink. In 2015, it was possible to buy crisps with a flavour named in my honour.

2. Which Scottish club was formed in 2002 and entered the Second Division that year when its owners bought the assets of Clydebank F.C.

3. Old Trafford has the highest capacity of any club’s stadium in Britain; which club stadium has the second-highest capacity?

4. Who is this famous footballer?


5. Sergio Aguero has scored more Premier League goals than any other player from the Americas; who is the next highest scorer?

There you are, have fun and remember, no googling.




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, it is another sad week for the world of entertainment as we have lost another famous name to the Covid-19 virus. Tim Brooke-Taylor has been a constant in my life since I first heard him on I’m Sorry, I’ll Read That Again in the late sixties (Yes, I am that old.). I watched him on At Last, The 1948 Show (1967) on ITV which gave us these four characters. I’ll wager a few of you out there always thought that that was a Monty Python original. Any road up, the 1948 show was swiftly followed by Marty on the Beeb on which he appeared and also worked as a scriptwriter. The Goodies, with fellow ISIRTA regulars Graham Garden and Bill Oddie, was (were?) required viewing in the 1970s. He was a constant on radio too. Actually, it was always Radio 4, although Hello Cheeky with Barry Cryer and John Junkin might have been on Radio 2. The Radio 4 panel game, I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue has been on the go since 1972 and Brooke-Taylor was there at the start and was a regular panelist right up until the last series, a matter of weeks ago.

There have been countless other TV appearances including On the Braden Beat, Broaden Your Mind, You Must Be the Husband and Me and My Girl.

He was even an inadvertant pop star briefly in the 1970s when The Goodies had a novelty hit with our finishing link, Funky Gibbon. Hmm... not his finest moment.

We have lost a talented writer and performer... and Derby County has lost an ardent supporter.

Is this pose funky enough for you dahling?


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 where you can also catch up on any previous editions you may missed.


Happy grambling.


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