Saturday 4 February 2023

Post 470 - Space grambling

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 The Grambler’s Kick Cancer’s Backside (

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.

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...

I despair. I really do. There was a news item on a couple of weeks back about a rocket being sent towards the planet Jupiter. I'll come back to my thoughts on that in a moment, but the first thing that caught my ire was the reporting of this news clip...

'The spacecraft will orbit Jupiter looking for primitive signs of life.' said the newsreader.

No no no! It's looking for signs of primitive life, you silly newscaster! The search itself is not primitive and the means of searching for life are anything but. How many national debts could the amount spent on that mission have cleared?

And that brings me to the real reason for my despair. Space travel. All those clever engineers and scientists are paid vast sums of money to produce what? A rocket that will take eight years to reach its destination and, once it gets there (if it gets there), it may, or may not, send back images that show that there could be, but probably isn't, any life on Jupiter. What a complete waste of skills and money. Well done you.

I could think of better ways to spend $1.1 billion. Yes, that's billion, not million. What could that buy, instead? 5000 far from average homes? A few hospitals? The odd school or dozen? 50,000 average cars? Better still, it could be spent on millions of wells. Sorry pardon excuse me what?

Why don't you smarty boots boffins work out how to get water to the driest parts of this planet we're on before wasting your time on spacecraft that can travel vast distances for f*** all reward? [Wash your mouth out! - Ed.]

Use your knowledge to work out how to dig wells for those people that have no clean water supply.

Perhaps you could develop simpler, cheaper means of water desalination so that those wastelands near the sea could be populated. Hey, that would lower sea levels, too; How's that for a way of stopping land being flooded? There you go; I've solved global warming at a stroke. [Erm... A touch simplistic, don't you think? - Ed.]

Having done that, you smarty boots scientists could put your vast brains to use trying to come up with ways of transporting that precious liquid into areas where wells are just not feasible. If only there were some way of piping a liquid, such as, ooh... let’s call it water, across thousands of miles... you know, a bit like oil and gas is transported at present, but soon won’t be, because we mustn’t waste the Earth’s resources, must we. A shame that those pipelines might soon be redundant... Hey, wait a minute.

Come on, you guys with brains the size of a planet... it's not rocket science.




Birthday honours...

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

Were any famous or not so well-known individuals born on the 28th of January? Of course there were. Here are some that even I have heard of.

Henry VII 1457 - The well-known king.

Henry Stanley 1841 - Explorer and journalist [He’s famous, I presume. - Ed.]

Charles W. Nash 1864 - Businessman who founded Nash Motors.

Auguste Piccard 1884 - Physicist and explorer known for his record-breaking hydrogen balloon flights.

Arthur Rubenstein 1887 - Ivory tickler. Fancy a wee bit cult’yer? Here he is playing George Gershwin’s Prelude No. 2. That was on Rubenstein Collection Volume 11. In all, there were 82 volumes released as albums.

Jimmy Shand 1908 - Musician. Was an unlikely chart topper in 1955 with this, The Bluebell Polka.  Try to listen to that without tapping your feet.

The Laird of Auchtermuchty

John Banner 1910 - Actor. Sergeant Schultz in Hogan’s Heroes.

Jackson Pollock 1912 - Painter, it says here.

Harry Corbett 1918 - Puppeteer.

Alfred Marks 1921 - Actor and comedian. Starred in the sitcom, Albert and Victoria. [Who did he play? - Ed.]

Ronnie Scott 1927 - Musician who founded his own jazz club. Nice.

Acker Bilk 1929 - Musician. Here’s a track you may recall, Stranger on the Shore.  He was only 32 in that piece of film; he must have had a hard paper round.

Roy Clark 1930 - Writer. One of Britain’s most successful comedy scriptwriters, he has been responsible for, among others, The Misfit, Last of the Summer Wine, Open All Hours, Oh no It’s Selwyn Froggitt and Keeping Up Appearances. Now into his nineties, he is still writing; Still Open All Hours is one of his.

David Lodge 1935 - Orfer.

Alan Alda 1936 - Actor. Hawkeye Pierce in M.A.S.H.

John Normington 1937 - Jobbing actor. Lockwood in A Private Function.

Dick Taylor 1943 - Musician. A Rolling Stone who became a Pretty Thing. [Eh? - Ed.] He was the bassist with the fledgling Rolling Stones but left to resume his studies. He was later a founding member of The Pretty Things. I’ve given you links to S. F. Sorrow in earlier editions of the blog, so here’s something alltogether different, Honey I Need.  Dick’s the cool dude in the shades.

John Tavener 1944 - Composer. Here is a short sample of his work, The Lamb.  Err ye go; a wee bit mair cult’yer fur yeez therr.  Two dods of it, this week.

Robert Harper 1944 - Who? Oh, Bobby Ball, the comedian, it says here.

Nicolas Sarkozy 1955 - Politicien. [You’ve spelt it wrong. - Ed.] No, I haven’t.

Nick Price 1957 - Golfy Bloke.

Frank Skinner 1957 - Comedian.

Lee Ingleby 1976 - Actor. Paul Hughes in The A Word.

Gianluigi Buffon 1978 - Portiere di calcio.

Jamie Carracher 1978 - My favourite fooootball pundit.

Jessica Ennis-Hill 1986 - Heptathleticky bloke.


Right then, what about the 4th of February? Anyone famous born on that date? You bet.

Nigel Bruce 1895 - Actor. Often played bumbling English aristocratic types, but is perhaps best remembered for playing Dr. Watson to Basil Rathbone’s Holmes in over a dozen Sherlock Holmes films made between 1939 and 1946.

Hylda Baker 1905 - Comedienne. She made the occasional record, including this embarrassing parody with Arthur Mullard, You're The One That I Want.  Ye gods and little fishes! Who on Earth thought that was a good idea?

Robert Coote 1909 - Actor. Bunny Warren (No, not the character from Porridge.) in League of Gentlemen (The 1960 film, not the TV series.).

Richard Seaman 1913 - Racey car bloke.

Norman Wisdom 1915 - Comedian, actor and singer/songwriter. Here’s a record from the 1950s’ novelty song boom, Norman, with Joyce Grenfell, singing(?) Narcissus (The Laughing Song).  No comment.

Peter Butterworth 1919 - Actor. Appeared in 16 of the Carry On series of films, plus several TV spin-offs.

Gerald Sim 1925 - Jobbing actor. The Rector in To The Manor Born.

John Steel 1941 - An Animal. Drummer for the Animals. Here’s a track called It's My Life.  Ignore the first 49 seconds of that.

Tony Haygarth 1945 - Actor. P. C. Wilmot in Rosie (Another Roy Clarke creation.).

Linda Bassett 1950 - Actress. Phyllis Crane in Call the Midwife.

‘Tiger’ Tim Stevens 1952 - D. J.

Tim Booth 1960 - Actor and singer/songwriter. Frontman with James. Have a clip, here’s Laid.

John Gordon Sinclair 1962 - Actor. Gregory in Gregory’s Girl. He has also made a record and here it is, We Have a Dream.

Kevin Campbell 1970 - Footy bloke.

Natalie Imbruglia 1975 - Singer and actor. Here’s one of her hits, Big Mistake.  The only mistake is that video.  What's that meant to be about?

Peter Ash 1985 - Actor. Paul Foreman in Coronation Street.







I’ve received a letter.

Dear Gram Blooth,

I was always a big fan of your band, James... The band is called James, I’m not calling you James... That would be silly... Your name isn’t James... Ahem... Where was I? Oh yes. James. Me. Big fan. Tell me something please: what was your highest charting single?

Yours questioningly,

Syd Down.




Gramble time...

Let’s see what happened to our bet last time out. We won. In a way. We won £3.76 from our £2.20 stake. That looks good, doesn’t it? Only two of our selected matches took place, though. What happened? Read on...

Stoke vs Reading - Home win

Result - Stoke 4 Reading 0


Will Smallbone's shot picked out the bottom corner after sloppy play from the Royals defence to give City an early lead.

Below-par Reading fell further behind after the break when Lewis Baker drove forward and teed up Tyrese Campbell whose deflected effort found the net.

Jacob Brown chested in Josh Tymon's cross, and moments later, Josh Laurent's strike deflected into the net off Dwight Gayle to complete the Potters' win.

Derby vs Bolton - Home win

Result - Derby 2 Bolton 1


Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and Conor Hourihane scored for Derby.

Defender Will Aimson was initially credited with turning Tom Barkhuizen's right wing cross into his own net, but Mendez-Laing's goal was later confirmed.

More than 30,000 watched the third tier's match of the day, and the home crowd celebrated a second goal 18 minutes from time.

Mendez-Laing and then Barkhuizen combined for Hourihane to power in his sixth of the campaign.

Bolton substitute Kieran Sadlier scored a stoppage-time consolation.

Peterborough vs Charlton - Home win

Result - Postponed

Crewe vs Stockport - Away win

Result - Postponed

Newport vs AFC Wimbledon - Home win

Result - Postponed


Oh well. At least we didn’t lose, but I cannot fathom how we won the amount we did. Any road up, what has The Grambler come up with this week?

Game - Result - Odds

Swansea vs Birmingham - Home win - 17/20

Forest Green vs Peterborough - Away win - 10/11

Doncaster vs Hartlepool - Home win - 4/5

Gillingham vs Crawley - Home win - 4/5

Leyton Orient vs AFC Wimbledon - Home win - 5/6


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


Hmm... only moderately whopping.




Teaser time...

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 1951 in Glasgow. A goalkeeper, I began my senior career at Partick Thistle in 1969, playing 631 games before transferring to Hibernian in 1982. I was capped for Scotland 53 times and appeared in two FIFA World Cup tournaments.

Answer - Alan Rough (who can be seen singing in the ‘We Have a Dream’ clip).

2. Back to the Premier League: which club drew the most games in 2022?

Answer - Crystal Palace (11)

3. Which club has won the EFL Cup the most times?

Answer - Should be clubs because Liverpool and Manchester City have each won it eight times.

4. Which Brazilian player has made the most Premier League appearances?

Answer - Willian (267 and counting)

5. Which club plays at Galabank having the nickname the Galabankies?

Answer - Annan Athletic

Shall we have five for this week? Yes indeedy...

1. Who am I?

I was born in Ashington, Northumberland in 1924. A centre forward, I played 353 games for Newcastle United and scored 177 goals. At that time, I was the Magpies highest scorer a record which stood until 2006 when Alan Shearer overtook it. There are statues in my honour outside St. James’ Park and another in Ashington. There is also a steam locomotive named in my honour.

2. Which Spaniard has made the most Premier League appearances?

3. Which club is managed by Steve Cooper?

4. What nationality is Everton centre-back Yerri Mina?

5. Which English club has the nickname The Sulphurites?

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 (the already mentioned) Never Too Young | Bowel Cancer UK





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

Click on this link: The amount raised is a little out of date; it is now sitting at...





And Finally...

And finally, Cyril? And finally, Esther, I am indebted to a Mr. C. Collins who provides us with a cautionary tale to finish this week’s edition. C (for Christopher) Collins? Who the fu... Who’s that, I hear you ask. You know him better as Brummy (though he’s actually from West Bromwich) comedian Frank Skinner whose birthday was last week. Hope you enjoy this equine story.


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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