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 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.
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 song...
Do you remember Adam Faith? Yes you at the back? That’s right... Him from off of Budgie, as you say. He was also a singer back in the nineteen fifties; a British answer to Buddy Holly. I’m not sure that we actually needed one, but the money men in the music industry thought otherwise. So, here is Mr. Faith singing his most famous hit...
‘What do you want if you don’t want money? What do you want if you don’t want gold? Say what it is and I’ll give it you, darling...’
‘The house, the car and custody of the children.’
Have you got travel insurance? I would wager that most of you would answer no to that. What is the point of holiday insurance if you can't travel anywhere?
Come with me now on my current journey relating to travel insurance.
Last year, 11 months ago to be more precise, my travel insurance was due for renewal. The insurance company sent me a letter telling me that if I renewed with them I could get 15 months cover for the cost of 12 months or I could have 12 months cover but defer the starting date for up to a year. With me so far? Now, at that time I didn't know when I might want to travel abroad again so I phoned the insurance company to ask their advice. The outcome was that they managed to sweet talk me into taking out the twelve month deferred policy.
I figured that the ban on travelling abroad wouldn't last too long. Hah! A year... sorry, 11 months... on, travelling abroad is still not an option.
With this in mind, I phoned the insurance company again to see if my travel insurance could be deferred again and this is where things get complicated. For complicated, read 'loaded in the insurance company's favour'.
Me: My travel insurance is coming to the end of its deferral period, can I extend it, please?
Agent: So your insurance is up to October. That means...
Me: Pardon? I took the deferred 12 month deal, not the 15 months.
Agent: So sorry. My mistake.
Agent: So what you can do is defer it again for up to twelve months...
Me: Sounds good.
Agent: ... or you can get your money back.
Me: Sounds even better.
Agent: So you paid £75 on your debit card, plus the voucher for £125 which can go towards your next insurance policy with us...
Me: I'm sorry? Voucher? What voucher?
Agent: The voucher you put towards your insurance.
Me: I know nothing of vouchers, I paid it all on my card. I should be getting the full amount.
Agent: So I am not able to return that money to you. It must be used in conjunction with another insurance policy. If you had read your insurance documents, it is made very clear. (By clear, I’m thinking that it is anything but.) I can only let you have the £75.
Me: (Sigh) Okay... I'll defer it again.
Agent: So I'll have to cancel this policy and put you through to a sales agent to complete a renewal.
Me: Hang on a mo...
Cue Vivaldi's Four Seasons. And another thing, why do so many people start any utterance with the word 'so'?
Oh, the music has stopped...
Agent 2: So you want to start a new policy, is that correct?
Me: (She does it as well) Yes please.
Agent 2: So you want to defer it as per your previous policy, is that correct?
Me: (Arrrghh!) Yes.
Agent 2: So, you realise that the cost of policies has increased over the past year? So your new insurance could be more expensive.
Me: (Fancy that) I see. But it will be deferred for a year?
Agent 2: So, yes. From today's date.
Me: But, there's still a month to go of the previous deferment. I should be able to defer it for 13 months...
Agent 2: So, it doesn't work that way.
Me: I'll tell you what, I'll phone you in a month's time. Bye.
So (I'm doing it now.) those were my options. Cancel, and only get some of my money back or take out a new policy which will, very likely, cost more than my old one.
Have you ever felt that you just can't win?
Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we?
Were any famous or notorious individuals born on the 16th of June? Of course there were. Here are some that even I know.
Branwell Brontë 1817 - Artist.
John Bailey 1912 - Actor. Aubrey Greene in The Forsyte Saga, where he probably met...
Fanny Rowe 1913 - Actress. Emily Forsyte in The Forsyte Saga.
Laurie Lee 1914 - Orfer. Liked a cider.
Willie Hamilton 1917 - Politician who disliked royalty intensely.
Freddie Mills 1919 - Boxy bloke.
Syd Lawrence 1923 - Bandleader. Syd noticed a gap in the music market, over 20 years after James Stewart... sorry... Glenn Miller died in a plane crash, his music was still popular with folk who were around at that time. Syd cashed in by providing authentic-sounding Glenn Miller music. Live. Basically, he was what is now known as a tribute act. Anyway, here is Syd’s version of String of Pearls.
Colin Wilson 1931 - Orfer.
Michael Kenyon 1931 - Orfer. Inspector Peckover, aka The Bard of The Yard, was one of his more successful characters.
Jimmy Mack 1934 - Broadcaster.
Bob Maclennan 1936 - Politician. Last leader of the Social Democrat Party before it linked up with the Liberal Party.
Bob Baker 1939 - Television and film writer. Co-wrote most of the ‘Wallace and Gromit’ films.
Georgie Fame 1943 - Musician. A clip? Why not. Here’s his first big hit, Yeh Yeh.
Clive Francis 1946 - Actor. He has been a regular on our screens since 1965 when he played Romeo in a TV production of Romeo and Juliet. Son of Raymond Francis who played DCS Tom Lockhart in No Hiding Place.
Mike Morris 1946 - TV presenter.
Adrian Gurvitz 1949 - Musician. Here’s a band he was in way way back, The Gun, with a rather badly mimed Race With The Devil. Ade is the one with the frizzy hair.
Gordon McQueen 1952 - Fitba guy.
Mervyn Day 1955 - Footy bloke.
Mick Jones 1955 - Musician. First found fame as guitarist with The Clash and later fronted his own band Big Audio Dynamite (B.A.D. for short). Here’s a track from them, The Bottom Line... The horses are on the track.
Al Ashton 1957 - Actor. Pit Bull in London’s Burning. Him.
Colin Greenwood 1969 - Bassist. A bit of Radiohead. A clip? Yes indeed. Here’s Paranoid Android.
Ranj Singh 1979 - TV doctor.
Gregory Finnegan 1980 - Actor. James Nightingale in Hollyoaks. Him.
Andre Gray 1991 - Footy bloke.
Zander Clark 1992 - Fitba guy.
Ricki Lamie 1993 - Fitba guy.
Euan Henderson 2000 - Fitba guy.
I’ve received a letter...
Dear Colin Gramblewood,
I have been a big fan of Radiohead since your very first creepy hit. I have most of your work but, for some strange reason, I never did buy your last official album. What was it called, again? No, I can’t remember. Can you help?
Yours with sincerest kind thoughts,
Amun Shape de Poole.
How did The Grambler’s predictions fare last week? Not too badly; four out of five correct. Again. So, instead of £10.70 we won a somewhat less whopping £3.74. What happened?
Portugal vs Germany - Sat/5pm - Germany to win - Corrigir/Richtig
Italy vs Wales - Sun/5pm - Italy to win - Corretto/Laun
Switzerland vs Turkey - Sun/5pm - Switzerland to win - Richtig/Doğru
Ukraine vs Austria - Mon/5pm - Draw - хіт бару/schlagen Sie die Latte
Russia vs Denmark - Mon/8pm - Denmark to win - Правильно/Rigtig
Let’s have a go with this weekend’s games, shall we? Eight to choose from; which five has The Grambler randomly selected?
Game - Day/time - Result - Odds
Italy vs Austria - Sat/8pm - Italy to win - 9/20
Belgium vs Portugal - Sun/8pm - Belgium to win - 7/5
France vs Switzerland - Mon/8pm - France to win - 8/15
England vs Germany - Tues/5pm - Germany to win - 19/10
Sweden vs Ukraine - Tues/8pm - Sweden to win - 5/4
Ooh... some controversial ones there. Portugal, reigning champions, out? Germany to beat England at Wembley? Any road up, the bets have been placed - 1 x 20 pees accumulator plus 10 x 20 pees doubles. If they all go as predicted by The Grambler, the Bobby Moore Fund stands to win the not insignificant sum of...
That’s a worryingly large amount... No chance!
Yay! How did you get on with last time’s five questions? Here are the answers.
1. Who am I?
I was born in 1991 in Drongen, Belgium. My senior career began at Genk, making 97 appearances in four years. In 2012 I moved to Chelsea, but was loaned out to Werder Bremen (33 appearances). I left Chelsea in 2014, having played only three times for the club, and moved to Wolfsburg. In 2015 I joined Manchester City for a club record fee of £55 million.
Answer - Kevin De Bruyne
2. In the 15 competitions since 1960, winning teams have, generally, been coached by someone of the same nationality. Only once was this not the case; what was the winning team and what was the coach’s nationality?
Answer - Greece in 2004 were coached by Otto Rehhagel who is German.
3. A new award was given at the 2016 competition: Young Player of the Tournament. Who was the inaugural winner?
Answer - Renato Sanches (Portugal)
4. Between 1960 and 1992 a ‘Team of the Tournament’ was compiled featuring the best performing players in each position. Only two players featured in more than one such team; one from Germany and the other from Netherlands. Can you name them? [No. Do I win? - Ed.]
Answer - Franz Beckenbauer and Ruud Gullit
5. Which is the only team to feature in the final without ever winning the tournament?
Answer - Yugoslavia (1960 and 1968)
How did you do? Too easy? Well, let’s have some more Euros-based questions for this week. As always...
1. Who am I
I was born in Bayonne in 1968. I was a defensive midfielder and played the bulk of my senior career at Nantes, Marseilles and Juventus, making over 100 appearances for each club. I was capped more than 100 times for my country. I captained them for both a World Cup and a Euros title. I am currently manager of a team which is in Euros 2020.
2. Which country has featured in the top eight placed teams the most times without ever being champions?
3. Which country has appeared in the finals the most times without ever progressing beyond the group stage?
4. How old was Norway’s Martin Ødegaard when he played in a qualifying match against Bulgaria in 2016?
5. How many stadia [Show-off! - Ed.] have been used as venues for this years tournament?
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 http://www.bowelcanceruk.org.uk/campaigns-policy/latest-campaigns/never-too-young-campaign
Please, take a few minutes to watch an informative little video from Mersh (a great friend of Stewart’s).
Click on this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26HWQXMalX4
[Please tell me you’re not going to finish with one of those awful Patrick and Michael stories that end up with a play on a footballer’s name. - Ed.]
Okay. I won’t.
[Good. - Ed.]
Could you answer a question for me?
[If I can... - Ed.]
What is the name of the mobile-eared Portuguese marsupial that scored an own-goal for Germany?
[What? I have absolutely no idea. - Ed.]
Roo bend ears. Do you get it? Ruben Dias... Roo bend ears.
[Go to your room! - Ed.]
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 where you can also catch up on any previous editions you may have missed.