Friday 14 May 2021

Post 410 - A spring gramble


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 omplgood. 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


Story time...

The spring has sprung,
The grass is riz,
I wonder where the birdies is,
The bird is on the wing, they say,
But that is absurd,
The wing is on the flipping bird.

That was a favourite little rhyme that my dad used to tell us... over and over. Again and again. Year in, year out. Oh how we laughed. Or rather, we didn’t. As soon as us kids saw the first leaves on the trees, we knew what was coming... that dreadful rhyme.

Why do I mention this? Because it is indeed that time of year. And we, that is Mrs G and I, are on the flight path again. You what? Every spring it's the same. Those defacating machines known as birds are using my garden as an air route to... who knows where?

There is a four feet wide line of bird poo in my garden. It runs from one corner to the opposite diagonal corner. The same line is also strewn with moss and twigs. Obviously, the birdies are nest building and are trying to cram too much into their beaks on each pass they make. But do they come and clear up when they have dropped anything? No, they just leave it behind for me to clean up. Feathered friends? Not in my book, matey; dumping their avian poo and detritus (That's a good word. Must look it up.) everywhere.

Now, I understand that they have to either make a nest or refurbish last year's model, but where are they getting their material and where are they taking it? The reason I ask is that to the front of the house there are houses just like mine and to the back... more houses. Birds tend to make their nests in trees, do they not? Or hedges. So, where are they?

Given that sphagnum moss grows in places such as trees, why do these feathered poo droppers have to carry the stuff a great distance to make a nest? Why can't they make their nest nearer the source, such as in the tree where they flaming well found the stuff. Surely, that would be the most sensible option.

Any bird watchers out there... sorry, birders, as you apparently like to be known... may say the text which follows is totally wrong and simplistic. But, in my defence, it is written by a simpleton for the world's greatest ill-informed blog. Accuracy is not its strongest attribute.

Birds are not renowned for their brain power, are they? I mean what's with this migration lark? Birds are known to fly 6000 miles from a summer habitat (such as Britain) to another summer habitat (such as Africa). Very commendable, I'm sure, but they do this journey in a single flight. Now, I'm assuming that the birds making the flight can gauge the point at which they should move on. I'm guessing that there is a serious reduction in the temperature which prompts them to abandon their home and head south... or north, depending on which season we are discussing here.

Why the single jaunt? If the temperature drops why must they move all the way to another continent? Couldn't they just head to the south coast for a bit and, if the temperature drops further, then make another flight to, say, the South of France? I'm told it's very nice down there.

Since they don't do that, we humans shouldn't be saying that migratory birds are anything special because they make this marathon flight. Why not, I hear you ask. The answer is that they are only doing it because they are lazy. Yup. You read that correctly. Lazy.

Let me explain. In the spring, they turn up in Britain and build a nest. [And shit all over your garden. - Ed.] Indeed. Well, that must take a bit of doing... the nest building, not the pooing. No effort required for that. Any road up, presumably, when they fly south for the winter, they have to do the same nest building down there. With me so far? I'm guessing that they are thinking, sod this for a game of soldiers, twice a year is enough of this building malarkey for me. And that is the reason for the long haul flight. They can't be arsed with building more than a couple of nests a year. There you have it. Birds are lazy. [It's a different view, I'll give you that. - Ed.]

And another thing, their diagonal flight path over my garden perfectly mirrors the washing line. Blibbing ornithic intercontinental incontinents!





Birthday honours...

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

Were any famous or notorious individuals born on the 15th of May? Of course there were. Here are some that even I know.

George Jeffreys 1645 - Judge. Known as the Hanging Judge due to the severity of some of his sentencing. Most famous of the judgements he made are what became known as the Bloody Assizes where, of 1381 defendents tried for treason, around 170 were executed.

Frank Hornby 1863 - Toy inventor and businessman. He invented and made three of the 20th century’s most popular toys - Meccano, Hornby model railways and Dinky Toys.

Jimmy Wilde 1892 - Boxer. Now, I hate the ‘sport’ of boxing; to me, it is barbaric, but I have to admit that this guy’s statistics are impressive. He fought 149 times in a career lasting around 13 years, he won 137 of which 99 were by a knockout. He lost only three times and two of those were his last two bouts. Standing only 5 feet 2 inches, it is no wonder he was known as The Mighty Atom.

Eric Winter 1905 - Artist. You may not recognise his name, but I would wager that you have seen examples of his artwork. Did you ever read Ladybird books when you were young... That’s books published by Ladybird... not books about ladybirds. Ahem, anyway, the chances are that he was the man responsible for the pictures. In fact, here is an example...

Blasted birds sh*tt*ng on my washing again!

James Mason 1909 - Actor. He was in loads of films and TV series; 155 according to IMDb. He played Erwin Rommel in The Desert Fox, a role he reprised two years later in The Desert Rats. There was to be a third in the series but, sadly, The Desert Hamsters never saw the light of day.

Michael Barry 1910 - Television producer in the early days of the Beeb Beeb Ceeb. Famously oversaw the 1954 production of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four which caused outrage due to its supposedly horrific scenes. Barry appeared on Panorama the night after the live screening to defend the production.

Norrie Paramor 1914 - Record producer, composer, arranger, pianist, bandleader and orchestral conductor. In fact, a right old smarty boots. He produced records for... deep breath... Cliff Richard, The Shadows, Ruby Murray, Eddie Calvert, Michael Holliday, Frank Ifield, The Mudlarks, The Avons and Ricky Valance. I think a clip is in order. Here’s a tune called Soul Coaxing.

Jack Watson 1915 - Actor. Andie in 1978’s Kidnapped and James Stewart in 1971’s Kidnapped... Hang on a mo. Factoid: He started his theatrical career as half of a double act with his father whose stage name was Nosmo King... Oh how we laughed.

Richard Tompkins 1918 - Print, advertising and retail entrepreneur. Who, I hear you ask. Well, I’ll tell you. He came up with the idea of Green Shield stamps. You what? Supermarkets would give out these trading stamps to customers. It was like a loyalty bonus; the more goods you bought, the more stamps you received. When you had licked enough stamps and filled enough books, you took them to the Green Shield Stamp shop to exchange them for goods. Britain loved such things in the sixties. I suppose it was better than those vouchers given with cigarettes; at least you didn’t have to give yourself lung disease to get hold of that carriage clock. Any road up, old Richard wasn’t so daft; he realised that supermarket bosses preferred their own loyalty schemes and were turning their backs on stamps. What did he do? He changed his shops that accepted stamps into shops that accepted dosh and renamed them Argos. The rest, as they say, is history.

Barbara Lott 1920 - Jobbing actress. Played Ronnie Corbett’s mum in Sorry! She was less than ten years older than him.

Anthony Shaffer 1926 - Playwright, screenwriter, novelist, barrister and advertising executive. In fact, another right old smarty boots. He wrote the long-running play Sleuth, which has had three film adaptations made of it. He was also the twin brother of...

Peter Shaffer 1926 - Playwright, screenwriter and novelist. His most famous works were probably Equus and Amadeus.

John Glen 1932 - Film director and editor. Directed the Roger Moore era Bond films.

Joseph Beltrami 1932 - Lawyer. Famous for being the defence lawyer in several high-profile cases in Glasgow.

George Roper 1934 - A non-pc comedian.

Ted Dexter 1935 - Crickety bloke. Known as Lord Ted.

Ralph Steadman 1936 - Illustrator? Cartoonist? Caricaturist? Erm... yes.

Lena Martell 1940 - Singer. She had a number one record, you know.  Here it is, One Day at a Time.  She’s still got one powerful voice.

Paul Shelley 1942 - Actor. Fred Simcock in Paradise Postponed. Him.

Tony Fernadez 1946 - Drummer. Once a Strawb, but usually associated with Rick Wakeman, having played for The English Rock Ensemble since 1975. A clip? Why not. Here’s a bit of Rick-type prog, Merlin the Magician

Rod Coombes 1946 - Drummer. Once a Strawb... Hang on a mo! Can you only get a job with the Strawbs if you were born on a particular day? Anyway, let’s have another clip. Here's Lemon Pie.  Not the most subtle of euphemisms.

Lucy Fleming 1947 - Sorry, a year too late to be a drummer with the Strawbs; you’ll just have to be an actress. Biggest role seems to have been Jenny Richards in the 1975-77 drama called Survivors. It told the story of those that survived a pandemic which wiped out 99% of the world’s population. Obviously, it was purely fictional...

Andy Latimer 1947 - Musician. The mainstay of Camel, one of my favourite bands from way back. Now, what about a clip... Here are some live excerpts from The Snow Goose album with Andy doing what he does best. Come on Andy, play that geetar.

Brian Peter George St John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno 1948 - Musician. One time Roxy Music keyboard wizard, now better known for his ambient style and producing other artists records. I think a clip is in order. Here’s The Big Ship. Not sure if it's sailing on the eely ally oh, though.

Mike Oldfield 1953 - Musician. Famously, wrote and recorded Tubular Bells playing all the instruments. It has sold over 15 million copies. Not bad for a teenager. A clip? Here’s a film of some of that album being played live with a few other musicians.  See if you can spot Steve Hillage. [Who? - Ed.] He’s the one with the tea cosy on his head.

Andrew Eldritch 1959 - A Sister of Mercy. He is the singer with that band which he has fronted since its formation in 1980. A clip? Why not. Here's Temple of Love

Julian Jarrold 1960 - TV and film director. Kinky Boots, that was one of his.

Greg Wise 1966 - Actor. John Willoughby in Sense and Sensibility. He met his future missus, Emma Thompson, while making that.

Sophie Raworth 1968 - Newsreader.

Martin Rossiter 1970 - Musician. He fronted the (not) Britpop band Gene from 1993 to their demise in 2004. Have a clip. Here's Haunted By You

Saira Khan 1970 - TV presenter.

Justin Moorhouse 1970 - Comedian. One of those faces that seems to be on TV a lot. He was Young Kenny in Phoenix Nights.

Nicola Walker 1970 - One of the UK’s most popular actresses. Anyone watching her first on-screen performances, as a dreadful folk singer in the film Fours Weddings and a Funeral, didn’t see that coming.

Danny Alexander 1972 - Politician.

Andy Day 1975 - Kids’ TV presenter.

Colin Hoult 1979 - Jobbing (comedy) actor. Played various celebs in Murder in Successville.

Andy Murray 1987 - Tennisy guy.







I’ve received a letter, possibly addressed to somebody whose birthday would have been today... had he not died over 40 years ago...

Dear Norrie Gramblemor,

I noticed among the acts produced by your good self, The Mudlarks. I believe they had a couple of hit records back in the 1950s. One was a cover of Lollipop; the next was also a cover version of an American song, but I can’t remember which one. Can you help?

Yours with sincerity,

Booker Love.




Gramble time...

How did The Grambler’s predictions go last week? Not quite as well as the previous week. Three out of five correct predictions. How much did we win? £1.92. Not even enough to recoup the stake money. What happened? Read on...


Carlisle vs Walsall - Home win

Result - Carlisle 0 Walsall 0

Ooh! ’It the bar!

Keeper Jack ‘Collumzan’ Rose stood between Carlisle and a first-half lead.

He kept out a close-range Jack ‘Knightin’ Armer header and rescued Sam ‘Katy’ Perry after a defensive blunder by saving Gime ‘Five’ Toure's shot from 12 yards.

Caolan ‘Wouldnitbe’ Lavery tested Paul Farman with a 20-yard shot after 23 minutes while Josh ‘Flash’ Gordon fired wide in a see-saw contest.

Rod ‘Jane’ McDonald, brought into the starting line-up after a pre-match injury to Aaron ‘Stirling’ Hayden, cleared Emmanuel Osadebe's shot from under his own bar as the game petered out into a tame draw.


Crawley vs Bolton - Away win

Result - Crawley 1 Bolton 4


Antoni ‘Sarky’ Sarcevic smashed in the opening goal after cutting in from the right and beating two defenders and the outstanding Oladapo Afolayan's (contender for cracking name of the week) close-range finish made it 2-0.

Crawley were already being outclassed but their hopes of a dramatic fightback all but ended when George ‘John’ Francomb was sent off for receiving a second yellow card for hauling down Afolayan.

More great work by Afolayan and Sarcevic enabled Eoin ‘Popeye’ Doyle to make it 3-0 with a stylish first-time strike after the break.

Lloyd ‘Sbank’ Isgrove pounced on a defensive lapse to stride through and make it 4-0 to the win for the Trotters.

Crawley were rewarded for a spirited second-half display when Davide Rodari stroked home his side's only goal in the 89th minute.


Oldham vs Forest Green - Away win

Result - Oldham 0 Forest Green 3


Rovers cut loose in the second half as Aaron ‘Joan’ Collins scored twice either side of an Odin ‘Old’ Bailey effort.

Oldham threatened twice when Dylan ‘The Rabbit’ Fage's 30-yard strike fizzed inches wide immediately after Alfie ‘Boe’ McCalmont's drive was bravely blocked by Jordan ‘Rogers’ Moore-Taylor.

Rovers looked edgy in the opening half-hour, but they almost struck when Bailey's angled effort just cleared the crossbar.

Shortly before the break, Callum ‘Kennedy’ Whelan sent Fage through one-on-one against Rovers’ goalkeeper Luke ‘Debbie’ McGee, but the Oldham wide man dragged his shot off-target.

Rovers finally struck in the 63rd minute when Collins slotted home a penalty after Kyle ‘John’ Jameson had tripped substitute Jayden ‘Miranda’ Richardson.

Two minutes later the lead was doubled, as Collins turned provider for Bailey to side-foot home from eight yards.

Carl ‘Orff’ Piergianni almost halved the hosts’ deficit in the 76th minute, but his header was superbly palmed around the post by McGee.

Collins’ solo effort completed the scoring 10 minutes from time as he ran from his own half before eventually slotting past keeper Laurie Walker.


Scunthorpe vs Stevenage - Away win

Result - Scunthorpe 0 Stevenage 1


Elliott ‘Brahms n’ List was the most likely source of a goal for the visitors, and having been inches away from getting on the end of a low centre by Tom ‘Cuddly’ Pett midway through the first half, he later headed over from Joe ‘Dean’ Martin's hanging cross.

Scunthorpe struggled to create much despite some bright play in the middle of the park, with John McAtee's effort that flew straight at keeper Jamie ‘Heavy Breathing’ Cumming in first-half stoppage time proving their only effort on target.

Arthur ‘Bukta’ Read stung the palms of home keeper Mark ‘Frankie’ Howard with a 25-yard strike not long after the break, before the visitors snatched the all-important goal.

Remeao ‘Betty’ Hutton floated in a cross following a quickly-taken corner in the 59th minute and List headed home.

Though the Iron tried to find a way back into the game, a shot from substitute Harry 'Snapper' Jessop that was blasted over the bar and into an empty stand was the closest they came.


Southend vs Newport - Away win

Result - Southend 1 Newport 1

Ooh! ’It the bar!

Shaun ‘Valerie’ Hobson put the hosts ahead but Mickey ‘Mouse’ Demetriou headed home to level.

Tom ‘Fur’ King then saved Matt ‘Bobbick’ Rush's penalty to deny Southend all three points.

The Shrimpers had threatened early on through veteran Greg ‘Rob’ Halford before Newport failed to deal with a corner and defender Hobson stabbed in just his second goal of the season.

Newport were fortunate not to concede a second when Halford inexplicably fired over from point-bank range.

Wales international midfielder Josh ‘Ed’ Sheehan's free-kick was well saved by Southend's Mark ‘Cock’ Oxley before Demetriou rose highest to nod in his third goal in as many games from Aaron ‘Jerry’ Lewis’ long throw.

Southend were then awarded a contentious penalty, possibly for handball by Liam ‘Alan’ Shephard, but King guessed right to deny Rush.


Okay. The Grambler, once again, so nearly predicted five out of five... We’ll say that, anyway. This being the last weekend of any senior league games, it is not possible to follow the usual rules about all games must be played at 3pm on Saturday. So, rather than resort to betting on the nags, The Grambler will select games that are on at all different times over the weekend. Okay with that? No? Tough. What has he/she/it come up with this week?

Game - Result - Odds - Day/time

Southampton vs Fulham - Home win - 19/20 - Sat/3pm

Hibs vs Celtic - Away win - 4/6 - Sat/12.30pm

St. Johnstone vs Livingstone - Home win - 21/20 - Sat/12.30pm

Hamilton vs Kilmarnock - Away win - Evens - Sat/12.30pm

Motherwell vs Ross County - Home win - 5/4 - Sat/12.30pm


Oh dear. Not at all happy with my team being in there. To win, as well. Definitely not happy.

Any road up, the bets have been placed (10 x 20 pee doubles and 1 x 20 pee accumulator) and if The Grambler’s predictions are spot on, the Bobby Moore Fund stands (or sits) to win a whopping...



Definitely whopping, that is.




Teaser time...

Yay! How did you get on with last week’s five questions? Here are the answers.

1. Who am I?

I was born in Munich in 1945. Most of my senior career was spent at Bayern Munich; I made 427 appearances. I was capped for West Germany 103 times. I won the World Cup twice; once as a player and once as manager. During my playing days, I was known as Der Kaiser.

Answer - Franz Beckenbauer

2. Which club has won the FA Youth (U-18) Cup on the most occasions?

Answer - Manchester United (10 wins)

3. Which Premier League club trains at Staplewood?

Answer - Southampton

4. Which Premier League club features two water spirits (kelpies) on its crest?

Answer - Newcastle United

5. Which English club plays at Sixfields Stadium?

Answer - Northampton Town


Some for this week? Of course. Here goes.

1. Who am I?

This one was chosen by Mrs G...

I was born in 1951 in Cleland, Lanarkshire. My senior career began at Morton in 1968, but was signed by Leeds in 1970 where I earned a reputation as a ‘hard man’. In 170 appearances, I scored 35 goals. In 1978 I moved to Manchester United and played 109 games and scored 37 goals. In 1981 I was signed to Milan. In 1983 I was briefly at Hellas Verona before moving back to Britain to play for Southampton before finishing my playing career at Bristol City. I was capped 52 times for Scotland and have the distinction of being the only Scot to have scored in three World Cups.

2. By what name were Manchester United known until 1902?

3. Which player from Netherlands has scored the most Premier League goals?

4. This year’s Champions League final is between Manchester City and Chelsea; which player has scored the most goals (6) in the competition so far?

5. Another silly question to finish. How many teams in the current English and Scottish senior leagues have the letters ‘ing’ (in that order) in their name?


There you have it; five teasers to test you. Can you answer them without resorting to Googlie or Bung (or any other search engine, for that matter)?




Remember the serious message...

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, take a few minutes to watch an informative little video from Mersh (a great friend of Stewart’s).

Click on this link:




And finally, Cyril...

And finally, Cyril? And finally Esther, I am indebted to a Mr Groper... I’m sorry, I’ll write that again... I am indebted to a Mr G. Roper who ends this week’s edition of the world’s greatest ill-informed blog with a selection of jokes that made people laugh half a century ago. Here is George Roper on The Comedians.





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 have missed.


Happy grambling.



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