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
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…
Mrs G have been globetrotting again. We have and all. Two nights in sunny Ayr (pronounced Err). In these days of pandemic, 30 miles down the A77 is quite enough globe for us to trot, thank you.
We did stay in a rather nice hotel and in a very nice room. I would like to say it had a pleasant outlook, but it didn’t. Indeed, it had no outlook at all, as the windows were of frosted glass in order to obscure the view of the fans on the roof of the hotel kitchen. Not that it mattered. The room had the usual hotel bedroom requirements of bed, wardrobe, bedside tables and the like, but it was so large that it also featured a three-piece suite and a large coffee table. The sofa faced a wall on which was mounted the largest television screen I have seen outside of Currys. I reckon it was in the region of 65 inches (165 cm).
The bathroom had the usual quota of toilets (one) and baths (one), but had two sinks and a double shower. so, while Mrs G was soaking in the bath, I could have had both showers operating at different temperatures and alternated between hot and cold as I desired. I didn’t, of course, but I could have done. All, very poash.
There was something that spoiled this huge bathroom and it was nothing to do with the fittings per se [Who’s Percy? - Ed.]. At first, I couldn’t work out quite what it was. There was something about this vast room that just wasn’t right. It was the colour of the various pipes and supports. Somebody, in their wisdom, decided that it might be classier to use, not chromed pipes and fittings but, copper-coloured materials. Sadly, unlike chrome, the colour ‘copper’ is far from uniform. Thus, the colours of the metalwork ranged from almost silver, but not quite gold, through to a very dark, almost black, bronze. In between, there were hues such as almost yellow for the taps and a bright orange for the pipes leading into the radiators. Unlike the greys in that quality tome, by E.L. (of a lot of dosh from a trashy novel) James, it wasn’t fifty shades, but it wasn’t far off it.
Was there any actual copper pipework? Oh yes. It was green.
While we were staying in this very pleasant establishment, we enjoyed some very nice grub. After our first evening’s meal, we adjourned to the lounge and ordered a glass of wine each. After a while, we were joined by another couple who asked if they could sit with us. Not a problem. We were soon swapping tales of family, exchanging opinions on the hotel and discussing other places we had visited. While we were happy to drink our glasses of wine, they were ordering glasses of Drambuie to see them through the evening.
After a pleasant couple of hours, they decided it was time to head for bed and left us to finish our drinks. That done, we also decided to head to our room to sample our private cinema.
Before we left the lounge area, we asked the bar staff if we could sign for our drinks to be added to our room bill. No problem. The barman went through the ‘tab’ to check...
‘So, that’s two glasses of wine and five Drambuies...’
‘(Splutter, cough) What?’
‘Yes. Your drinks and those of the couple sitting with you.’
‘But... They weren’t with us. I don’t even know their name... She referred to him as Davie. That’s all I know.’
‘Leave it with me, sir.’
Luckily, we weren’t going to be charged for those liqueurs, but we thought the worst. Were we being duped by this couple? Surely not. They seemed quite genuine. Although, we didn’t see where they went after they left the lounge. Did they head to their room? Did they even have a room? We hadn’t spotted where they had come from when they joined us. Maybe, they had walked in off the street and, on leaving us in the lounge, simply took a right turn at reception and headed back out into the street, happy that they had pulled off a scam which got them an evening of free drinks. Perhaps this was how they spent their nights, seeking out gullible individuals like us to pay for their booze.
Of course, our fears were unfounded. They were in the dining room the next morning having breakfast. Thank goodness for that... Mind you, if we hadn’t asked to sign for our drinks, would they have got away without paying for theirs? Hmm...
All this talk of Drambuie, reminds of an old, quite rude, gag. A group of American ladies were discussing their husbands and exchanging fairly intimate details of their activities. They got on to the subject of nicknames...
‘...And what pet name do you have for your man?’
‘I call him Drambuie.’
‘Drambuie? Ain’t that some kind of fancy liquor?’
You don’t need a punchline, do you? You’re way ahead of me.
Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we?
Were any famous or not so well-known individuals born on the 2nd of April? Of course there were. Here are some that even I know.
Jack Buchanan 1891 - Actor, singer, producer and director. Here he is in a clip from the 1953 film, Bandwagon with Fred Astaire and Nanette Fabray, singing Triplets.
Alec Guinness 1914 - Ector, dear leddie. 7th Duke of Chalfont, Ethelred the 8th Earl of Chalfont, Rev. Lord Henry, General Lord Rufus, Lord Ascoyne, Lady Agetha D’Ascoyne, Young Ascoyne and Young Henry in Kind Hearts and Coronets.
Maxwell Reed 1919 - Actor. Captain David Grief in... Captain David Grief. Now more famous for being the first Mr Joan Collins.
George MacDonald Fraser 1925 - Orfer. Famously took the bully Flashman from Tom Brown’s Schooldays and wrote 12 novels about the character when he became an adult and a British army ‘hero’ of sorts.
Kenneth Tynan 1927 - F****** theatre critic.
Roddy Maude-Roxby 1930 - Actor. He used to be in Rowan & Martin’s Laugh In. Must have seemed like a groovy English guy.
Brian Glover aka Leon Uris 1934 - Actor (as Glover) and wrestler (as Uris). Heslop in Porridge.
Denis Tuohy 1937 - Journalist.
Penelope Keith 1940 - Actress. Margo Leadbetter in The Good Life.
Mike Hailwood 1940 - Motorcycling World Champ. From 1961 to 1967 he won nine world titles.
Roshan Seth 1942 - Actor. Pandit Nehru in Ghandi.
Sue Townsend 1946 - Orfer
Paul Gambaccini 1949 - DJ
Allan Corduner 1950 - Actor. Monty Berman in Fearless.
Linford Christie 1960 - Runny bloke.
Keren Woodward 1961 - A bit of Bananarama. A clip? Yes, of course. Here’s their very first charting single (Number 92) Aie a Mwana.
Teddy Sheringham 1966 - Footy bloke and singing tree. Unless you watch The Masked Singer, you won't understand that reference so, here he is...
♫ No more I love yews ♫
John Thomson 1969 - Comedian. Niiice.
Yousseph ‘Chico’ Slimani 1971 - Singer. Time for a clip? I should say so. What time is it? It’s Chico Time.
Simon Farnaby 1972 - Actor, comedian and writer.
Andrew Whyment 1981 - Actor. Kirk Sutherland in Coronation Street.
Jenny Ryan 1982 - Clever lady. Known as The Vixen on The Chase.
Now then, what about April 9th? Anyone famous born on that date?
Isambard Kingdom Brunel 1806 - Engineer.
Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson 1817 - Architect.
Sebastian Ziani de Ferranti 1864 - Electrician. Not really. He was an electrical engineer and inventor. He co-founded the business that bore his name. Factoid: Livingston F.C. was originally called Ferranti Thistle, a works team founded in 1943. In 1974 it became Meadowbank Thistle before relocating to Livingston in 1995. There you are, educational this is.
Victor Golancz 1893 - Publisher
Marjorie Rhodes 1897 - Actress. Lucy Fitton in The Family Way.
Hugh Gaitskell 1906 - Politician.
Philip Stainton 1908 - Actor. Seemed to have a friendly copper type of face. Played policemen in 20 per cent of his IMDb credits.
Michael Ward 1909 - Jobbing actor. He provided many unnamed characters in various comedy shows of the 60s and 70s. Who can forget Labour Candidate in Rising Damp? Or Vicar in Sykes? I know I can.
Elizabeth Allan 1910 - Actress. Mrs Copperfield in... deep breath... The Personal History, Adventures, Experience & Observation of David Copperfield the Younger.
Alan Melville 1910 - Broadcaster, writer, actor, raconteur, producer, playwright and wit... In fact, a right old smarty boots.
Alex Moulton 1920 - Engineer and inventor... well, more innovator than inventor. Came up with the small-wheeled bicycle that bore his name and the clever suspension systems used on Minis and other BMC cars.
Arthur Tolcher 1922 - Musician. Became famous when he tried to play his harmonica at the end of The Morecambe and Wise Show only to be told, ‘Not now, Arthur.’
Gerry Fitt 1926 - Politician, so he was.
Aubrey Woods 1928 - Jobbing actor. Like Michael Ward, many of his roles didn’t have character names; here are just a few: Reporter, A Disciple, Doctor, Photographer, Shop Assistant, Water Board Inspector, Immigration Officer, Inspector, Postman, Foreman, Undertaker and, my favourite, Vegetable Stall Holder. Each and every one totally forgettable.
Monty Sunshine 1928 - Clarinettist. He featured on this million seller for Chris Barber’s Jazz Band, Petite Fleur.
Jack Smethurst 1932 - Actor. Eddie Booth in Love Thy Neighbour, a comedy, it says here, about neighbours, one black, one white, who call each other names. Erm... That's it. Don’t expect it on Dave any time soon.
Valerie Singleton 1937 - TV presenter.
Hannah Gordon 1941 - Actress. Belinda Braithwaite in Joint Account.
Alan ‘Wally’ Waller 1944 - Musician. A Pretty Thing. Here he is on Grass. That is the song title; he isn’t smoking anything or, indeed, sitting on any greenery.
Alan Knott 1946 - Crickety bloke.
Les Gray 1946 - Mud slinger... I’m sorry, I’ll type that again... Mud singer. A clip? Why not. Here’s L' L' Lucy. [That's not very woke, making fun of a stutter. - Ed.] Not to be confused with It’s My PPParty.
David Webb 1946 - Footy bloke.
Iain Duncan Smith 1954 - Politician.
Nigel Slater 1958 - Cook.
Perry Benson 1961 - Another jobbing actor who doesn’t always get given a name for his roles (115 IMDb credits and counting). As a kid he was ‘Boy on Stairs’ in Grange Hill. Later, he was Pigeon Vendor in Blackadder. And who can forget his Trading Standards Officer in Alien Autopsy?
Sarah Hardcastle 1969 - Swimmy bloke.
Tricia Penrose 1970 - Actress. Gina Bellamy in 338 episodes of Heartbeat.
Neve McIntosh 1972 - Actress. Kate Kilmuir in Shetland.
Robbie Fowler 1975 - Footy bloke, la.
Rachel Stevens 1978 - Singer. A bit of Sclub 7... I’m sorry, that should read S Club 7. A clip? Indeed. Here is the group’s first number 1, Bring It All Back. [My last meal, I’m guessing. That really is vomit-inducing. - Ed.]
Douglas Ross 1983 - Linesman.
Will Merrick 1993 - Actor. Alo Creevey in Skins.
I’ve received a letter...
Dear Alan ‘Grambly’ Grambler,
It was wonderful to hear a track by your band, The Pretty Things. I always felt that history has been unkind to them. Pete Townsend of The Who and Ray Davies of The Kinks are often cited as being the originators of ‘the concept album’ with Tommy (1969) and The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society (1968), but The Pretty Things were there first with S.F. Sorrow in 1967. Tell me, was there ever a song from this groundbreaking album released as a single?
How did The Grambler’s predictions fare last time? Do you remember that our last bet gave us a two pee profit? Yes? Well, this time, we made a two pee loss. What happened? Read on.
Accrington Stanley vs Gillingham - Home win
Result - Accrington 1 Gillingham 2
Goalmouth action was in short supply in the first half with the best chance in the first minute when Stanley’s Colby Bishop fired straight at goalkeeper Aaron Chapman.
The game burst into life after the interval.
Chapman produced three superb saves to keep out a Bishop overhead kick, deny Korede Adedoyin when he was clean through and spectacularly palm away a Harry Pell header.
Gillingham took the lead after 64 minutes when Vadaine Oliver's effort was tipped away by keeper Liam Isherwood but came to Charlie Kelman at the far post and he headed home.
It was two in the 73rd minute when a corner was only half-cleared and it was put back in by Dan Phillips with Oliver jumping with Isherwood and heading home his 10th of the season.
The Reds were awarded a penalty in the first minute of stoppage time for a foul on Harvey Rodgers and Bishop stroked the ball home, but the Gills held out for an important win.
AFC Wimbledon vs Cambridge Utd - Home win
Result - Wimbledon 0 Cambridge 1
After a poor opening 35 minutes, the home side almost found the breakthrough as Anthony Hartigan's dinked cross found the head of Derick Osei Yaw but his effort was just wide.
Dons defender Paul Osew nearly caught out his own goalkeeper Nik Tzanev with a risky chest back shortly afterwards.
Within a minute of the restart, Adam May collected the ball outside the box and bent a glorious curling strike past Tzanev.
AFC Wimbledon's best chance fell to Sam Cosgrove on the hour but his turn and shot was deflected over.
Cambridge nearly doubled their advantage through Sam Smith, but he was denied by a brilliant improvised clearance from Ben Heneghan.
Despite a late Wimbledon push, Cambridge held on.
Doncaster vs Charlton - Away win
Result - Doncaster 0 Charlton 1
Charlton recovered from Conor Washington's penalty miss to record a third successive victory with a 1-0 win over relegation-threatened Doncaster.
Conor Washington saw his first-half penalty saved by Rovers goalkeeper Jonathan Mitchell, only for Jayden Stockley to net the only goal of the game to secure the points for the Addicks.
They dominated the afternoon in attacking terms and were gifted an opportunity to go ahead in the 14th minute when Kyle Knoyle mistimed a challenge on Corey Blackett-Taylor inside the box, only for Mitchell to keep out Washington's penalty.
Chances kept coming for the visitors, with Mitchell denying Washington and Stockley in quick succession.
Rovers on the other hand found opportunities at a premium, with a blocked volley from Ben Jackson and a Matt Smith strike their only efforts of note.
Charlton took the lead after 67 minutes when Blackett-Taylor cut the ball back from the byline and Stockley found the far bottom corner.
Washington saw a one-on-one effort saved by Mitchell while Stockley rattled the crossbar with his follow-up as Charlton looked the more likely to add to the score.
Ipswich vs Plymouth - Home win
Result - Ipswich 1 Plymouth 0
Sam Morsy's goal from inside the six-yard box was enough to earn Ipswich a 1-0 win over Plymouth.
A snapshot by Sone Aluko fizzed into the side-netting and Wes Burns' driven cross nearly fell at the feet of an Ipswich forward while a pass into the Argyle penalty area by Aluko almost found Morsy.
Another whipped cross from the right by Janoi Donacien just evaded a Town player and Burns' header was straight at Argyle goalkeeper Michael Cooper.
At the other end Town keeper Christian Walton displayed his dribbling skills to outsmart Argyle striker Ryan Hardie but his pass almost fell to a Plymouth player.
Town pressure eventually told in the 37th minute when Morsy netted, following a pinpoint cross from James Norwood.
In the closing minutes Burns should have sewn the game up for Ipswich but his fierce shot went just wide.
Shrewsbury vs Lincoln - Home win
Result - Shrewsbury 1 Lincoln 0
Prolific Daniel Udoh scored a dramatic 84th-minute winner against Lincoln.
The Shrews attacker reacted quickly to a loose ball on the edge of the box and rifled a shot home to decide this League One contest.
Earlier in the match, Udoh had been involved in a collision with Lincoln defender Adam Jackson, who was forced off on a stretcher after just 24 minutes.
Jordan Wright made the first save of the afternoon six minutes before half-time, tipping Josh Vela's powerful strike from the edge of the box over the bar.
The Imps went close in first-half stoppage time as Ted Bishop's curling 25-yard drive sailed narrowly wide.
On the hour mark, Wright kept Lincoln in the match with a good stop to deny Matthew Pennington but the hosts found their way through in the end.
Ho hum. Let’s see if The Grambler can improve on matters this week. What has he/she/it predicted?
Game - Result - Odds
Blackburn vs Blackpool - Home win - 4/6
Bristol City vs Peterborough - Home win - 4/5
Millwall vs Barnsley - Home win - 4/6
Nottingham Forest vs Birmingham - Home win - 4/6
West Brom vs Stoke - Home win - 10/11
The bets have been placed - Ten 20 pee doubles plus a single 20 pee accumulator. If the results go as predicted by The Grambler, the Bobby Moore Fund will be richer to the tune of a whopping
That’s more our style. Totally unwhopping.
Yay! How did you get on with the five teasers set last time? Here are the answers.
1. Who am I?
I was born in Sauchie, Clackmannanshire in 1955. I began my senior career as a defender at Partick Thistle in 1973. In 1977 I moved to Liverpool making 434 appearances before my retirement in 1991. I had two spells as club captain. I was capped 26 times for Scotland. After retiring from the game, I became famous as a football pundit for the BBC.
Answer - Alan Hansen
2. Which player has made the most Premier League appearances for Everton?
Answer - Neville Southall (751)
3. Which Scot has won the most Premier League winners medals?
Answer - Darren Fletcher (5)
4. Which club plays at Recreation Park?
Answer - Alloa Athletic
5. How about a daft one? How many teams in the English and Scottish senior leagues have Albion in their name?
Answer - Five (Brighton and Hove Albion, West Bromwich Albion, Burton Albion, Stirling Albion and Albion Rovers)
How about five for this week? Here goes...
1. Who am I?
I was born in Stoke Newington in 1958 but moved to Ireland at te age of four. A defender, I began my senior career at Arsenal in 1975 and remained with the club for 18 years making 722 appearances, a club record. I ended my playing days at Leeds United who I later managed. I was capped 68 times for Republic of Ireland.
2. Who is the only Swiss player have won more than one Champions League Medal?
3. Which Scottish team has the nickname ‘The Maroon Machine’?
4. Which club plays at Gander Green Lane?
5. How many clubs with ‘port’ in their name have played in the English and Scottish Leagues?
There you have it; five teasers to test you. As always, try and answer them before shouting out Hey Googly, Syria or Alexis. Please feel free to pass on the link to your pals so that they can enjoy The Grambler’s footy teasers too.
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. The amount raised is a little out of date, though. Check the Justgiving page link given at the beginning of this blog to see the current figure.
And finally, Cyril? And finally, Esther, I am indebted to a Mr S. Farnaby. Who? Simon Farnaby who celebrated his birthday last week, but is in the birthday honours because this week’s edition... [I’m sure they can work it out. - Ed.] So, yes, Simon Farnaby. He is a comedian, writer and actor. He appeared in The Mighty Boosh, you may recall. Since then, he has been part of what has become known as the Horrible Histories troupe. Horrible Histories books were written by Terry Deary, Peter Hepplewhite and Neil Tonge in the 1990s as a way to make children enjoy history by concentrating on the odder (and usually ruder) aspects of our ancestors. In 2009, the concept was made into a sketch show for kids featuring a group of young actors, the ‘troupe’. The group went on to make Yonderland which was less child-focused. Recently, they have been involved in making the Beeb comedy Ghosts. I thought a small sample of his output would make a nice ending this week and selected a short compilation of items featuring Farnaby as The (not so) Grim Reaper in a regular feature of the Horrible Histories shows, Stupid Deaths. [Is that meant to be for children? - Ed.] Yes. [It’s too damn good for them. - 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.