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 (cancerresearchuk.org).
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…
Your queries answered...
In answer to Mr H. Carbunkle of Crannockbodkin, I would suggest that it might help if you warm it gently before insertion. That usually cures a problem such as yours.
What has caught my ire, this week? Noise, that’s what. I can put up with so much, but this week, Mrs G and I spent a couple of nights at a hotel and were subjected to noise throughout the day (bad enough) and throughout the night (totally unacceptable).
Now, we have been in and about noisy situations in the past such as having a hotel room in Benidorm right beside a disco which was run until four in the morning. Surely that couldn’t have been too bad, I hear you counter. Wasn’t the disco inside? Indeed it was. Unfortunately this disco had loudspeakers outside the building... on the roof. I could never quite understand that one.
We have been in hotel rooms in New York, that noisiest of cities, where ear plugs were supplied ‘with the compliments of the hotel’. That was enough to warn us of the racket that would interrupt our sleep.
On a third hotel adventure, our room overlooked a lane and in this lane there was, you’ve guessed it, a disco. And we were virtually opposite the main door of said disco. There were no speakers on the roof on that occasion. However, our room had rattly, single-glazed windows and, as we were only on the second floor, we could hear every loud, drink-fuelled conversation as people exited the building opposite to clamber noisily into equally noisy taxis or maybe they had simply wandered out to stand in the lane smoking cigarettes and talking (read shouting) to their friends.
Those occasions were bad enough, but they, at least, finished at some point through the night and we were afforded a short period of quietness to sleep. This time, there was to be no respite.
What was this aural abomination, you may be wondering. The hotel we were staying in was right next to a church. Sorry pardon excuse me? What’s that got to do with the price of fish? A church is a building. Buildings don’t make a noise. They do if they are equipped with (I’m guessing a recording of) bells that ring out every 15 minutes. That’s right, every 15 minutes, throughout the day, there would be a (recorded) peal of bells. On the hour that peal would have tagged onto it a very loud ‘BONG’ for each of the hours. You know the sort of thing, one bong for one o’clock, two for two o’clock and so on until 12 o bloody clock! Twelve bongs! At midnight! Why?
What happened after midnight? Oh, we got some respite... a peal of bells every half hour without any bongs after it. Excuse me? You are still f****** waking me up, bong or no bong!
At six o’clock each morning, the bongs would start again.
The two days we spent in the hotel were meant to be relaxing. Ha! With that racket going on? I don’t think so.
Any other church I’ve spent time near, uses its bells sparingly. They are rung on a Sunday morning to let the congregation know that a service is about to take place. They may be rung in celebration when a wedding has taken place. I imagine that there will be much bell-ringing celebration when King Charles’ coronation takes place next month. Nothing wrong with any of that.
So why did somebody at this particular church deem it necessary to ring the bells every quarter of an hour of every single day? We asked the hotel staff what the reasoning was and the only odd thing of note that they could tell us was that the church no longer had its own minister. Instead, a minister from another parish takes services at the noisy church.
Here’s a thought: perhaps the minister of said noisy church had been forced out of his job and had been made redundant. Perhaps he held a grudge and decided he was going to do his darnedest to make his ex-congregation rue the day they kicked him out.
I reckon he set the bell-ring switch to ‘play every fifteen minutes’ before hiding the remote controller.
Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we?
Were any famous or not so well-known individuals born on the 8th of April? Of course there were. Here are some that even I have heard of.
John Christie 1899 - Serial killer.
Ian Smith 1919 - Prime Minister of Rhodesia.
Eric Porter 1928 - Actor. Soames Forsyte in The Forsyte Saga.
Dorothy Tutin 1930 - Actress. Anne Boleyn in The Six Wives of Henry VIII.
Paddie Bell 1931 - Singer. Here she is with The Corrie Folk Trio singing Coorie Doon.
Tony Barton 1937 - Footy bloke.
Claire Nielson 1937 - Actress. Nancy Lincoln in The Brothers.
Vivienne Westwood 1941 - Punk fashion designer.
Roger Chapman 1942 - Singer and songwriter. Frontman of the first band I ever went to see in concert, Family. Have a clip, here’s an early song from them, The Weaver's Answer.
Tony Banks 1942 - Politician.
James Herbert 1943 - Storyteller.
Hywell Bennett 1944 - Actor. James Shelley in Shelley and The Return of Shelley.
Keef Hartley 1944 - Drummer and bandleader. Here’s some rare footage of his band performing Sinnin' For You.
Steve Howe 1947 - Geetarist. Works mainly with Yes, but has featured in other bands such as Asia, GTR and the snappily named Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe. Here is a track from GTR entitled When the Heart Rules the Mind.
Tom Owen 1949 - Actor. Son of Bill.
Joe Royle 1949 - Fyooty bloke.
Peter Perrett 1952 - Musician. Vocalist with The Only Ones. Here is a track called Another Girl, Another Planet.
Justin Sullivan 1956 - Musician. Frontman for New Model Army. A clip? Why not. Here’s Here Comes The War.
Gordon Chisholm 1960 - Fitba guy.
Brian McDermott 1961 - Footy bloke.
Evan Davies 1962 - TV journalist and presenter.
Alec Stewart 1963 - Crickety bloke.
Julian Lennon 1963 - Musician, songwriter, actor... it says here. Son of John.
Mark Blundell 1966 - Racey car bloke.
Jenny Powell 1968 - TV presenter.
Colin MacIntyre aka Mull Historical Society 1971 - Musician. Here’s his best-performing single, The Final Arrears.
Lisa Cameron 1972 - Politician.
Conner Reeves 1972 - Singer songwriter. A clip? Why, of course. Here’s My Father's Son.
Ben Freeman 1980 - Actor. Scott Windsor in Emmerdale.
Josh Widdecombe 1983 - Comedian.
Matty Healy 1989 - Musician. Frontman of The 1975. Another clip? Why not. Here’s If You're Too Shy (Let Me Know).
Now then, what about the 15th of April? Which famous folk found their way into the world on that date?
Henry IV of England 1367 - The well-known king.
Henry James 1843 - Writer. Turn of the Screw, that was one of his.
Percy Shaw 1890 - Inventor of the reflective road stud known as a ‘cat’s eye’.
Joe Davies 1901 - Snookery bloke.
Thank goodness there was none of this Just-Stop-Oil in my day. What would I put on my hair?
Rikki Fulton 1924 - Comedian.
Neville Marriner 1924 - Conductor and violinist.
Colin Bean 1926 - Actor. Private Sponge in Dad’s Army.
Jem Marsh 1930 - Engineer, motor manufacturer and racey car bloke. Founder of the Marcos company.
Terry Duggan 1932 - Jobbing actor. Often played unnamed characters such as ‘Ape attacked by leopard’ in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Alan Plater 1935 - Screenwriter. Oh No It’s Selwyn Frogitt was one of his. Ask your dad.
Howard Winstone 1939 - Paffiwr
Reg Smith aka Marty Wilde 1939 - Singer. A clip? Here’s one that never actually made the charts, but you will probably recognise it nonetheless: Abergavenny.
Jeffrey Archer 1940 - Politician and author... it says here.
Dave Edmunds 1944 - Musician. Here’s a track that reached number 5 in the UK Singles Chart, Born To Be With You. [Only number 5? That is number 2 material to me. - Ed.]
Marsha Hunt 1946 - Singer, actor and writer. Have a clip. Here’s Walk on Gilded Splinters.
Stuart ‘Woolly’ Wolstenholme 1947 - Musician. Vocalist and keyboard player with Barclay James Harvest. Time for another clip. Here’s one called Titles.
Phil Mogg 1948 - Lead singer with UFO. I suppose you would like another clip. Aye, go on then. Here’s Doctor Doctor.
Anthea Redfern 1948 - Hostess on The Generation Game. Erm... That’s it.
Bill MacCormick 1951 - Jobbing bassist who worked with many bands including Matching Mole. Have a clip, here’s O Caroline. Here’s a little factoid. Odd name for a band, isn’t it? The reason for it is that Robert Wyatt was in a band called Soft Machine before moving on to forming his own band and Soft Machine in French is ‘machine molle’. Good, huh.
Benjamin Zephaniah 1958 - Poet and author.
Emma Thompson 1959 - Ectress, luvvie. Nanny McPhee in Nanny McPhee and Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang.
Sally Dexter 1960 - Actress. Faith Dingle in Emmerdale.
Nick Kamen 1962 - Model and singer. Here’s his most famous moment. That jeans advert.
Graeme Clark 1965 - Musician. One time member of Wet Wet Wet. A clip? Sure thing. Here’s Wishing I Was Lucky.
Samantha Fox 1966 - Page three pin-up.
Frankie Poullain 1967 - Musician. Bassist with The Darkness. Let’s have another clip. Here’s Get Your Hands Off My Woman.
Ed O’Brien 1968 - Musician. A bit of Radiohead. Another clip? No probs. Here’s Follow Me Around.
Dominic Brunt 1970 - Actor. Paddy Kirk (or is it Dingle?) in Emmerdale.
Matt Cardle 1983 - Singer. Won The X Factor, or something. I suppose you’d better have a clip, then. Here’s his last last charting single, When You Were My Girl. It reached number 171. [And I thought the charts only went up to 100. You learn something every day. - Ed.]
Tom Heaton 1986 - Footy bloke.
Eliza Caird aka Eliza (Doolittle) 1988 - Singer. Here’s a song from before she dropped the Doolittle, Pack Up.
Leonie Elliott 1988 - Actress. Nurse Lucille Anderson/Robinson in Call The Midwife.
Emma Watson 1990 - Actress. Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter series of films.
Nathaniel Mendez-Laing 1992 - Footy bloke.
Let’s not forget those born on the 22nd of April.
Henry Fielding 1707 - Orfer. Tom Jones, that was one of his. [That’s not unusual. D’you geddit? Tom Jones. Not unu... I’ll get me coat. - Ed.]
Ethel Smyth 1858 - Composer and suffragist. Here’s her March of the Women. Spot the bloke desperate to get to the loo first.
Megan Lloyd George 1902 - Politician. David’s lass.
Eric Fenby 1906 - Musician and composer. Famous for being Frederick Delius’ amanuensis (They can’t touch you for it.) in that he helped a virtually helpless Delius compose several works in the composer’s final years. Here is one such, A Song of Summer. Tons of cult'yer and stuff, this week.
Kathleen Ferrier 1912 - Singer (contralto). Let’s continue this week’s highbrow musical journey with What is Life. See? Err another wan fur yeez.
Hilda Fenemore 1914 - Jobbing actress. Jennie Wren in Dixon of Dock Green. 184 credits on IMDb.
Yehudi Menuhin 1916 - Fiddler.
Leo Abse 1917 - Politician.
Avis Bunnage 1923 - Actress. Helen Hayward in The Spoils of War.
Hugh Lloyd 1923 - Actor. Hugh in Hugh and I.
George Cole 1925 - Actor. Arthur Daley in Minder.
Mark Jones 1939 - Actor. Michael Armstrong in A Family at War.
Ann Mitchell 1939 - Actress. Dolly Rawlins in Widows.
Carol Drinkwater 1948 - Actress. Helen Alderson/Herriot in All Creatures Great and Small (the 1978 one).
Roger Leach 1948 - Actor. Tom Penny in The Bill.
Peter Frampton 1950 - Musician. How about a clip? Here’s his biggest UK hit, I'm In You. [Ooer, missus. - Ed.]
Paul Carrack 1951 - Singer/musician. Another clip is called for, methinks. Here he sings the Pink Floyd song, Hey You.
Lloyd Honeyghan 1960 - Boxery bloke.
Gary Rhodes 1960 - TV chef.
Sean Lock 1963 - Comedian.
David Gourlay 1966 - Booler.
Amanda Mealing 1967 - Actress. Connie Beauchamp in Casualty/Holby City.
Dion Dublin 1969 - Footy bloke.
Darren Moore 1974 - Footy bloke.
Chris McCausland 1977 - Comedian.
Helen Zaltzman 1980 - Podcaster.
Jonathan Trott 1981 - Sarth Ifrican crickity blike.
Eve Muirhead 1990 - Curly bloke.
I’ve received a letter...
Dear Roger Grambleman,
Nice to hear a song from your band, Family. I believe you had a few hits in the very early seventies. What was your last single to reach the charts?
Your obedient servant,
How did our last bet with Bardlokes fare? Well, it was a long time ago, so... let me see... Oh yes. We lost. Not a brass bean back. Is it worth going into detail? No. Let’s not bother, then. Let’s just have a look what The Grambler has predicted for this week.
Game - Result - Odds
Portsmouth vs Accrington - Home win - 4/6
Plymouth vs Cambridge - Home win - 4/6
Cheltenham vs Forest Green - Home win - 3/4
Wycombe vs Lincoln - Home win - 3/4
Barnsley vs Oxford - Home win - 4/6
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
Eight pounds 32 pees? That is mince!
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 Newry, Northern Ireland in 1945. A goalkeeper, I began my senior career at Watford, but played the bulk of my career at Tottenham Hotspur (13 years) and Arsenal (8 years). In an international career lasting 22 years I was capped 119 times.
Answer - Pat Jennings
2. Who is Manchester City’s all-time highest goalscorer?
Answer - Sergio Agüero (260)
3. Which player made 700 appearances for Bayern Munich?
Answer - Sepp Maier
4. Who is the oldest outfield player to have made Premier League appearances for Chelsea?
Answer - Thiago Silva
5. Which club plays its home games at The Suit Direct Stadium (formerly known as Victoria Park)?
Answer - Hartlepool United
How did you get on? Did you get them all? Course you did... you’re too clever to be troubled by such simple questions. See how you get on with these...
1. Who am I?
Here’s an easy one. I was born in Ealing in 2001. I began my senior career at my current club, Arsenal, in 2018. So far, I have made 128 appearances and have scored 29 goals. I have been capped for England 26 times and have scored eight times.
2. Talking of Arsenal, who made the most appearances (all time) for the Gunners?
3. Who is Northern Ireland’s most capped player?
4. Who succeeded Brian Clough as Derby County’s manager?
5. Which club plays its home games at Galabank?
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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26HWQXMalX4. The amount raised is a little out of date; it is now sitting at...
And finally, Cyril? And finally, Esther, I am indebted to a Mr. S. Lock who provides us with our finishing clip this week. Sean Lock was a stalwart (That’s a good word, must look it up.) of the comedy show which combines two of Britain’s favourite shows. Thus, Eight Out of Ten Cats + Countdown = Eight Out of Ten Cats Does Countdown. Yes, I know that makes no sense to anyone outside of the UK. Sorry about that. Any road up, Sean Lock took it upon himself to rewrite the children’s story, The Tiger Who Came for Tea... You’ll like this; here’s The Tiger Who Came for a Pint.*
*I may have included this in a previous edition of this esteemed blog... the memory’s not what it was. It's still funny, though.
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.