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…
Whilst on holiday recently, I spotted a man who was a dead ringer for Everton manager Sean Dyche. He even had a little ginger beard. Have any of your readers had a similar experience?
[Well readers, have any of you ever spotted a scary-looking man with a ginger beard while on holiday? - Ed.]
We begin this week’s story time with a rather special report. For the first time since 2019, Mrs G has been able to run her ‘Tea for Stewart’ afternoon tea. Yay!
Now, I could give you a run down of how the day went, but if you simply read http://www.thegrambler.com/2019/07/week-45-grambling-at-this-years-tea-for.html from four years ago, you will get the general idea.
The only notable difference is that supermarkets and businesses didn’t provide the raw materials* as had happened in previous years. Shame. That didn’t stop us though; we have some very generous friends who were happy to help out. Thanks to everyone involved.
Oh, I nearly forgot, the total raised for the Bobby Moore Fund has exceeded the figure from previous similar events. How much was raised?
Brilliant or what.
* I should point out that a local businessman did still provide prosecco for the day, so our thanks go to him.
Now, story time proper...
Do you like cruising? I mean the holiday on a big boat type of cruising, not the other kind which involves a bit of kerb-crawling. What you do in your spare time is your own affair. Whatever floats your boat... which brings me back to this week’s topic, cruises.
Mrs G and I love to go on a cruise: a week or two of sheer luxury. You wake in the morning, shower and then head to a restaurant for a relaxing breakfast. If you are spending the day at sea, you can relax at a presentation, or sunbathe, head to a coffee bar, whatever takes your fancy. If you are stopping at a port, it is nice to head off on a tour of wherever you are, before heading back to the ship for more unadulterated pampering.
Are there any downsides to life on board, I hear you ask. Yes there are, I answer, but they have nothing to do with the holiday package provided on board. Any whim you have will be pandered to. No, any negatives have nothing to do the ship or the crew, they are more to do with fellow passengers. However do you mean, you may ask. Pull up a chair and I’ll tell ee...
Sometimes, mealtimes in the ship’s restaurants can get a little busy so it may be necessary to share a table with other people; usually four others. It can make for an interesting meal, listening to other people’s stories. This isn’t always the case, however.
On one occasion, Mrs G and I were seated at a table with some American couples. I had no problem with that, I am not racist against Americans. Any road up, we were all chatting away, but there was one elderly gentleman dressed in a tweed suit with colour coodinated bow-tie, who barely spoke during the general chit-chat about families and where everyone was from...
‘Scaddish? Oh, I thought you were Irish.’
... Meanwhile bow-tie man was silent. His wife told us he had been a university lecturer on history. How interesting, we thought.
Finally, bow-tie man spoke...
‘Tell me, what do you know about the Hundred Years War?’
‘Nothing.’ I answered with complete honesty.
This was the response he was looking for. It gave him a launchpad for possibly the only subject he could talk about.
‘Well, let me tell you...’, he began and so commenced a mind-numbingly boring lecture on a topic nobody at the table was remotely interested in hearing about.
I felt Mrs G’s size five kick me in the ankle and she mouthed the words ‘Don’t order a dessert.’
We, and the other couples at the table, suddenly had an urge to be somewhere, anywhere, else and left. I’m sure his wife would have done the same if she had been able.
Meanwhile, bow-tie man was still rambling on to no-one in particular abouut the history of the Hundred Year War.
Most people on board are nice to be around and are wonderful company. I hope Mrs G and I are perceived as the same. However, bow-tie man is not alone. There are always bores on board.
Once I recall sitting in one of the ship’s many bars and, because a theatre show was about to begin, the bar was somewhat full and we found ourselves sitting next to an English lady and her husband. Not that I’m racist about English people, you understand. He didn’t speak, mainly because he would have found it hard to get a word in.
Within minutes, this lady had told us how much her, now retired, husband had earned, how much his pension was worth, how much her pension was worth, how big their house was and how much it was worth, how much they had tied up in shares, how much their clever son in Hong Kong earned, which private school the grandchildren went to... RIIINNNNG! Thank goodness, the bell for the evening’s theatre production to start. We made our excuses and left. If we saw her again after that encounter, we simply said a polite hello and moved on.
My favourite mealtime moment was a time when we were seated with another two couples for our evening meal. I was seated next to a chap who had the fascinating hobby of building traction engines and cars. I would happily have chatted with him, a fellow petrol-head, all night. However, the other guy at the table was very much the ‘conversation controller’ and he wanted to talk about his favourite topic... himself.
‘Of course, since I retired we’ve been on lots of wonderful holidays, haven’t we dear?’ His wife smiled the weak smile of someone who knew what was to follow. ‘Cambodia was nice. Blah blah blah. And Peru. Blah de blah blah. Venezuela was nice, too. Blah blah blahditty blah. And Vietnam. Blah blah blah blah. But I think our favourite place was Bali...’
‘Oh, that was our favourite, as well.’ I said.
He looked disappointed, as if I’d stolen his thunder, but he gamely switched the conversation...
‘What ‘wheels’ have you got?’ Notice that? Wheels. Not car. Just wheels. What a tw*t. He didn’t wait for an answer, but, after listening to him reeling off all the expensive brands he had owned, I finally got the chance to actually say what my ‘wheels’ were. When I said that I drove a big Mini, his sneer was quite palpable...
‘I’ve now moved on to a Maserati (which he pronounced Mezzerarti) Ghibli (which he pronounced Jibbly... Why does this guy remind me of Del Boy Trotter?) Nought to 60 in 5.7 seconds. 158 em pee aitch. Well worth ninety grand.’ He turned to traction engine man, ‘You’re not saying much, what do you drive?’
‘An AC Cobra,’ he said.
‘That’ll be a replica, I should imagine.’
‘No. It’s original. I restored it myself.’
You could see self-obsessed man almost deflate as he realised his ace had just been trumped. Like me, he realised that good Cobras are now being auctioned for seven-figure sums.
He muttered a few departing pleasantries and left the restaurant, with his wife following obediently.
Did I say these were the downsides of cruising? I take that back. Often, it’s moments like these that make a great holiday even better. Mezzerarti Jibbly indeed. What a tw*t!
Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we? Were any famous or not so well-known individuals born on the 17th of June? Of course there were. Here are some that even I have heard of.
Edward I 1239 - The well-known king.
John Wesley 1703 - Founder of Methodist movement. [That’s what Marlon Brando practised, wasn’t it? - Ed.] No.
John Kay 1709 - Inventor of the flying shuttle [Between Gatwick and Manchester? - Ed.] No.
Diana Mitford 1910 - Poash wummin.
Sam Costa 1910 - Singer, actor and, later, a DJ. [Didn’t he invent takeaway coffee? - Ed.] No.
Sam Costa: ‘Good morning, Sir, was there something?’ That was his catchphrase. Oh how we laughed.
James Cameron 1911 - Journo and broadcaster. [Didn’t he make that film about the big boat? - Ed.] No.
Duncan Lamont 1918 - Actor. Station Sgt. Cooper in Dixon of Dock Green. Mind how you go.
Beryl Reid 1919 - Actress.
John Amis 1922 - Broadcaster.
Ken Loach 1936 - Film director. Kes, that was one of his.
Chris Spedding 1944 - Musician. Although he was a sought-after session musician, he only had the one hit, Motor Biking, but you don’t want to hear that. [Don’t we? - Ed.] No. So here’s a bit of Guitar Jamboree. Yee hah!
Ken Livingstone 1945 - Politician.
Paul Young 1947 - Singer. Worked with Mike and his Mechanics, but had a former career with Sad Cafe. Here’s their hit, Every Day Hurts.
Guy Evans 1947 - Drummy bloke with Van der Graaf Generator. A clip? Indeed. Here’s Wondering.
Ian Cussick 1954 - Singer and songwriter. Here’s a very early hit from his days as a member of Linda and the Funky Boys, [I’m guessing he was a funky boy. - Ed.] Shame Shame Shame.
Nicky Clarke 1958 - Barber.
David Longdon 1965 - Musician and vocalist with Big Big Train. Here’s a little toon he wrote, Uncle Jack.
Arthur Darvill 1982 - Actor. Rev. Paul Coates in Broadchurch.
Lee Ryan 1983 - Singer and actor. A bit of Blue. Have a clip. Here’s their first hit, All Rise.
Jordan Henderson 1990 - Foo’y blurk laik.
Shura 1991 - Musician. Have a clip. Here’s What's It Gonna Be.
Now then, what about the 24th of June?
Brian ‘Jonners’ Johnston 1912 - Broadcaster.
Fred Hoyle 1915 - Astronomer.
Anthony Wager 1932 - Actor. Young Pip in Great Expectations (1946).
Arthur Brown 1942 - Musician. Have a clip. [Hopefully something other than Fire. - Ed.] Here is Arthur Brown’s Kingdom Come with Spirit of Joy.
Julian Holloway 1944 - Actor. Son of Stanley. Did you know he was in A Hard Day’s Night? No? Well, he was. 146 credits on IMBd.
Jeff Beck 1944 - Musician. Let’s have a clip. [Please, not Hi Ho Silver Lining. - Ed.] Here is his cover of Luxembourg’s entry for the 1967 Eurovision Song Contest, L'amour est Bleu.
Chris Wood 1944 - Musician. Founding member of Traffic. A clip? [Not Hole in my Shoe, I beg of you. - Ed.] No, here’s Medicated Goo.
John ‘Charlie’ Whitney 1944 - Musician. Did you know he was in the first band I ever saw live. Yep. Family, Green’s Playhouse, 1971 [Blimey, you’re old. - Ed.] Have a clip. Here’s the rather pleasant Anyway.
Colin Blunstone 1945 - Singer and songwriter. He was a Zombie, you know. Here’s Time of the Season. They were all in their mid-seventies in that live rendition. Not a bad performance, considering.
Clarissa Dickson Wright 1947 - TV personality. Half of Two Fat Ladies.
Mick Fleetwood 1947 - Drummer with Fleetwood Mac. A clip? [Not Albatross again, surely. - Ed.] No, not Albatross and don’t call me Shirley. Here’s Black Magic Woman.
John Illsley 1949 - Musician. Bassist with Dire Straits throughout the band’s existence. Have a clip. [Not Money for Nothing. - Ed.] Yep. Just to see how how rubbish CGI was 40 years ago. Once again, please enjoy the dodgy video made for Money for Nothing.
Simon Rouse 1951 - Actor. D.C.I. Meadows in The Bill.
Terence Wilson aka Astro 1957 - Musician. A member of UB40 from 1979 to 2013. Have a clip. Here’s a song written and performed by Astro, Rat in Mi Kitchen.
Keith Graham 1958 - Who? Better known as Levi Roots, the man behind Reggae Reggae Sauce.
Andy McCluskey 1959 - Musician. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark front man. A clip? [Not Enola Gay. - Ed.] No, not Enola Gay. Here is their best performing single which reached number three in the UK charts, Sailing on the Seven Seas.
Curt Smith 1961 - Musician. Half of Tears for Fears. A clip? I should think so. My favourite 80s band. Here’s a track from 2021's The Tipping Point, the band’s last studio album, called Stay.
Richard Lumsden 1965 - Actor. His first TV role was as Foggy in First of the Summer Wine.
David May 1970 - Footy bloke.
Charles Venn 1973 - Actor. Jacob Masters in Casualty.
Zeb Soanes 1976 - Radio and TV presenter.
Kevin Nolan 1982 - Fyooty bloke.
James McPake 1984 - Fitba guy.
Stuart Broad 1986 - Crickety bloke.
Micah Richards 1988 - Footy bloke.
I’ve received a letter...
Dear Grambly McCluskey,
I have always enjoyed listening to your band, Orgasmic... Hang on. Not orgasmic; that’s not right... I’ve always enjoyed listening to your band, O.M.D. Sailing on the Seven Seas is noted as being your best-performing song, but I thought there was another which also reached number 3, although I can’t remember which. Can you help?
How did our last bet with Braldokes fare? We won... sort of. 58 pees back from our £2.20 bet. Not so good. Where shall we head this week for our bets? Last time, we headed west to Argentina; let’s head east this week... to Japan. Why not.
All games take place on the 24th of June.
Game - Result - Odds
Consadole Sapporo vs Cerezo Osaka - Home win - 20/21
Kashiwa Reysol vs Albirex Niigata - Home win - 5/4
Kyoto Sanga vs Yokohama F.C. - Home win - 5/6
Sanfrecce Hiroshima vs Yokohama F Marinos - Home win - 21/20
Shonan Bellmare vs Sagan Tosu - Home win - 19/20
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
Oh no. That’s far too whopping.
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 Northampton in 1996. A striker, I began my senior career at Northampton Town before moving to Newcastle United. During three years at St. James’ Park, I only played twice for Newcastle but was loaned out to Barnsley, Shrewsbury Town, Scunthorpe United and Wigan Athletic. I then moved to Peterborough United before transferring to my present club, Brentford. Unfortunately, due to some breaches of gambling laws, I am currently serving an eight month suspension.
Answer - Ivan Toney
2. Talking of bad boys, which team is managed by Duncan Ferguson?
Answer - Forest Green Rovers
3. Who, at 15 years 181 days, was the youngest ever player in the top flight of English football?
Answer - Ethan Nwaneri
4. Which club plays its home games at Bescot Stadium?
Answer - Walsall (It is also known the Poundland Bescot Stadium)
5. What was the original name of Dundee United?
Answer - Dundee Hibernian
Now then, what about five for this week?
1. Who am I?
I was born in 1992 in Winchester, England. A forward, I began my senior career at Bournemouth before moves to Burnley, Liverpool, Southampton, Aston Villa and my present club West Ham.
2. What club is managed by Derek Adams?
3. Which is the oldest club currently playing in the English Football League?
4. Who is the tallest player to play in the English Football League?
5. Which club plays its home games at Brisbane Road?
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; and with the money from singalongabingo, it is now sitting at...
And finally, Cyril? And finally, Esther, I am indebted to a Ms. B. Reid who provides us with this week’s finisher. Beryl Reid was a popular comedienne and actress in the 1950s and beyond. If she played a part in a film, it tended to be a comedy and she was playing it for laughs. However, she shocked all her fans in 1968 when she played the character of June Buckridge in The Killing of Sister George, a film about the delicate subject (at the time) of lesbian love. She had already won a Tony Award for the stage version in 1967 and was nominated for, but didn’t win, a Golden Globe Award for best actress in a drama (The award went to Joanne Woodward for Rachel, Rachel, a film that is barely remembered now.). The film marked Reid out as a superb character actress and from that time forward she appeared in many more dramatic roles. She would go on to win acting awards for Born in the Gardens and Smiley’s People. It is often said that comedians make good actors, but actors don’t necessarily make good comedians. Beryl Reid proved that beyond doubt.
But, come on, this is thegrambler.com, surely you’re not going to end with something serious are you, I hear you ask. Of course not. We end with a sketch from her show Beryl Reid Says Good Evening... Please enjoy, The Crossword Sketch... The Crossword Sketch.
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.