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…
I recently spotted a man who looked exactly like Edward the seventh, the well-known monarch. I later found out that King Edward had been dead for over a hundred years, so it probably wasn’t him.
A lot of people have been moaning lately... Well, more than usual... about how difficult it is to get a doctor's appointment. Complaints range from not being seen by a gp to not even being able to phone a surgery.
I have been having difficulties with the latter of these. Whenever I try to call the surgery the phone is ringing engaged... Well, it's ringing engaged to me, it's not
even ringing at the doctor's. And who is to blame? Me.
Sorry pardon excuse me? And you. What? And him
I shall explain. When I telephone my gp, the number is stored on the phone. I simply press a button and the call is made. When I hear the engaged tone, I press two buttons and I have hung up and already redialled. Brilliant. It means that as soon as the doctor's number becomes free, I'll be right in there. Voosh! No, not voosh. Why not? Because I'm not the only one trying this tactic. There could be hundreds trying the same trick... dozens anyway.
It wasn't such a problem years ago when you had a telephone with an old-fashioned dial. It took a while to actually dial the number so, unless you had a lot of time on your hands, you would try a couple of times and give up to try again later.
Now, however, with the press-two-buttons set up, you can keep dialling for hours on end without it interfering with your activities. Some phones are clever enough that they have auto redial so you don't even need to press two buttons. You simply pick up the phone when you hear it finally ringing out; a bit like those annoying cold callers do.
Even worse, there may be more than one mobile phone in a household, so two or three phones might be doing the constant dial thing at the same time; the first to be heard ringing out will be the one that gets picked up.
All very clever, but also very frustrating because, if you are a person with access to only one telephone and are not fast at the button pressing, you might never get through.
You used to be able to walk into a surgery and speak to the receptionist face to face but that option is no longer available; not since the covid pandemic. And if you are signed up with a practice that hasn't embraced online technology (like the one I go to... there is such a thing as email nowadays you know! Yes, I'm talking to you, Doctor Mackintosh) your only means of contacting a doctor is by phone.
But, as always, I have a solution. [You bloody would have. - Ed.] Of sorts.
You know how a phone is equipped such that certain numbers can't be cotacted. Well, mine is anyway. I have it set up that I can't use my landline to phone a mobile phone. For some strange reason you are charged a fortune to use it to call a mobile. Any road up, if it is possible to set a phone up to not make certain calls, it should be possible to set it up that certain numbers must be dialled every time rather than allow speed dial, or whatever it's called, to be used.
How would it work, you ask. [Okay. How would it work? - Ed.] And I answer, how the f... how would I know. But the concept is this: certain numbers would only be able to be contacted if the person making the call actually dials the number (Yes, I know you don't dial numbers any more, but I'm old-fashioned and I also think you, my loyal readers, are smart enough to know what I'm on about.).
Thus, numbers like 999 or 111 for emergency services could not be stored on a phone; nor would doctors, dentists or any other individuals you might need to contact... erm... hairdressers? Whatever the case, as a certain bonkers ex prime minister might say, it's an absolutely spiffing wheeze.
In fact, I think I should phone the Dragon's Den people, right now... Damn! I've got to dial their number.
Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we? Were any famous or not so well-known individuals born on the 5th of August? Of course there were. Here are some that even I have heard of.
Joseph Merrick 1862 - Famously known as the Elephant Man, Merrick suffered from Proteus syndrome, possibly combined with neurofibromatosis.
John Siddeley 1866 - Motor industry pioneer.
Reginald Owen 1887 - Actor. Admiral Boom in Mary Poppins.
Joan Hickson 1906 - Actress. Miss Marple in TV adaptations of several Agatha Christie novels. She was already 80 years old when she played the role.
John Sharp 1920 - Jobbing actor. Mr Biggins in All Creatures Great and Small.
Carla Lane 1928 - Television writer.
Jeffry Wickham 1933 - Actor. Seemed to specialise in legal types, often unnamed. He was Judge in Heartless, Solicitor General in Yes, Prime Minister and Andrew Flint QC in Crown Court. [Ooh, he got a name in that one. - Ed.].
Wanda Ventham 1935 - Actress. Col. Virginia Lake in UFO.
Alan Howard 1937 - Actor. Oliver Cromwell in The Return of the Muskateers.
Tim Preece 1938 - Writer and actor. Tom Patterson in The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin.
Tam Paton 1938 - N*nc*.
Roger Clark 1939 - Rally driver bloke.
Rick Huxley 1940 - Musician. Bass guitarist with The Dave Clark Five. A clip? You betcha. Here’s Glad All Over.
Christopher Godwin 1943 - Jobbing actor. Another well-known facewho often plays unnamed characters such as Third Local, Magistrate’s Clerk, Barman or Recruitment Officer.
Andy Roxburgh 1943 - Fitba guy.
Jan Francis 1947 - Actress. Penny Warrender in Just Good Friends.
Ray Clemence 1948 - Footy bloke.
Barbara Flynn 1948 - Actress. Councillor Bone in Kate & Koji.
Pete Burns 1959 - Singer songwriter, best known for this. I know I’ve played it before, but it’s a cracking song.
Janet McTeer 1961 - Actress. Helen Pierce in Ozark.
Mark Strong 1963 - Actor. Daniel Milton in Temple.
Dougie Arnott 1964 - Fitba guy. Spent his entire playing career with Motherwell.
Colin McRae 1968 - Rally driver bloke.
Karl Theobald 1969 - Actor. Martin Dear in Green Wing.
Spike Dawbarn 1974 - Singer. He is a member of ‘boy’ band 911. At 49 years of age? Boy band? Man band sounds even worse. Any road up, here’s the band’s biggest hit, the old Doctor Hook song A Little Bit More.
Dan Hipgrave 1975 - Musician. Guitarist with Toploader. Here’s a hit. You could say it was their Achilles Heel. Do you get it? [Yes we do. You really shouldn’t bother. - Ed.]
Antony Cotton 1975 - Actor. Sean Tully in Coronation Street.
Wayne Bridge 1980 - Footy bloke.
Kara Tointon 1983 - Actress. Betsey Day in The Halcyon.
Cindy Ofili 1994 - Athleticky bloke.
Right then, what about the 12th of August?
George IV 1762 - The well-known king. Looked nothing like Hugh Laurie.
Charles Landseer 1799 - Artist. The Monarch of the Glen, that was one of his.
John Cadbury 1802 - Founder of... can you guess which chocolate making company?
Guy Gibson 1918 - A dam buster.
Fulton Mackay 1922 - Actor. Mr Mackay in Porridge.
Ross ’n’ Norris McWhirter 1925 - Writers, political activists and TV presenters.
Dave Lee 1926 - Jazz musician, but also wrote tosh like this.
John Bluthal 1929 - Actor. Frank Pickle in The Vicar of Dibley.
Oliver Ford Davies 1939 - Actor. Peter Foxcott in Kavanagh QC.
Michael Brunson 1940 - Journalist and TV news presenter.
Craig Douglas 1941 - Singer. Had a few hits in the late 1950s and early 60s. He even had a number one with a cover of Sam Cooke's Only Sixteen. Here's a clip from one of those awful British films that were produced to cash in the popularity of the then current crop of young singers. Introduced by Helen Shapiro, Craig ‘sings’ Rainbows.
Lesley Duncan 1943 - Singer-songwriter. Here’s her most famous tune, Love Song.
Terry Nutkins 1946 - Naturalist. [What? He takes his clothes off? - Ed.] I think you did that gag last time he got a mention.
Ozzie Yue 1947 - Actor and musician. Mr Wang in All Quiet on the Preston Front.
Terry Oldfield 1949 - Composer. Mike and Sally’s bruv.
Mark Knopfler 1949 - Musician. A clip? But, of course. Here’s a bit of rockabilly, The Bug.
Simon Groom 1950 - TV presenter, producer and director. He’s got a Blue Peter badge.
Amanda Redman 1957 - Actress. Dr. Lydia Fonseca in The Good Karma Hospital.
Neil Cooper 1958 - Fitba guy.
Steven Hartley 1960 - Actor. Supt. Tom Chandler in The Bill.
Roy Hay 1961 - Musician. He was guitarist with Culture Club. I can feel another clip coming. All together now Karma, karma, karma, karma, karma chameleon...
Scott Crabbe 1968 - Fitba guy.
Paul Tucker 1968 - Musician. He played keyboards for Lighthouse Family. Cue another clip. Here’s their big hit (which, to me, sounds just like every other song they released), Lifted.
Tanita Tikaram 1969 - Singer-songwriter. More music? Of course. Here’s The Way You Move.
Richard McCourt 1976 - Comedian and actor. One half of comedy duo Dick & Dom. [Really? Which one is he? - Ed.] Groan...
Tyson Fury 1988 - Boxy bloke.
Tom Cleverley 1989 - Footy bloke.
I’ve received a letter; which is nice.
Dear Tanita Grambleram,
It was wonderful to hear a track of yours. I recall you had a couple of hits early in your career - Good Tradition and Twist in My Sobriety - but what was your next best performing single?
Yours in sobriety,
How did our last bet with Brakdoles fare? We won. Only kidding. We got a return of £1.68 from our £2.20 stake. 52 pees down. Not so good. Never mind. Let’s have another try.
At least the new footy season has started proper, so let’s have a crack at five games from the English and Scottish senior leagues on Saturday the 12th of August [The glorious twelfth, they call it; when rich b*st*rds can shoot so-called game birds. I tell you, I’d be anything but game to get filled with half a pound of lead. - Ed.] Ahem, where was I? Oh yes. All games kick off at 3pm, except the first one listed; that’s a 5.30pm kickoff.
Game - Result - Odds
Newcastle vs Aston Villa - Home win - 8/11
Cardiff vs QPR - Home win - 4/5
Millwall vs Bristol City - Home win - 10/11
Southampton vs Norwich - Home win - 17/20
Watford vs Plymouth - Home win - 8/11
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
Well, at least that’s a bit whoppinger than last 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 1957 in Chester-le-Street, County Durham. A midfielder, I began my senior career at West Bromwich Albion before signing for Manchester United in 1981 for a record-breaking £1.5 million (a record that stood for six years). I ended my playing career at Middlesbrough as player/manager. I was capped 90 times for England. Though I have managed various clubs, my current involvement in football is as a global ambassador for Manchester United.
Answer - Bryan Robson
2. Which player scored the most goals for Wales?
Answer - Gareth Bale with 41
3. Which non-English player has scored the most Premier League penalties?
Answer - Sergio Agüero
4. Which club plays its home games at Prenton Park?
Answer - Tranmere Rovers
5. Here’s something different, unscramble these letters to name a famous player past or present...
RIPE PIRATE RINK
Answer - Kieran Trippier [Sounds like he’s on something. - Ed.]
Okeydokey, let’s have five for this week...
1. Who am I?
I was born in Maasmechelen, Belgium in 1994. I am a versatile player and have been used as a left winger, an attacking midfielder and also a forward. I began my senior career at Genk and was loaned out to several clubs before moving to Brighton & Hove Albion in 2019. In January 2023, I moved to Arsenal. I have been capped for Belgium 26 times.
2. Who currently wears the number 9 shirt for Rangers?
3. Which Scottish player scored the most Premier League goals last season?
4. In which country would you find the football stadium with the greatest capacity (150,000 approx.)?
5. Here’s another mix up. Can you name the football team? (The letters are arranged in alphabetical order)
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 Messrs. J. Bluthal and S. Milligan for this week’s finishing item. I may well have given you a link to this in the past, but this appeals to my childish sense of humour. Ladeez and genullum I give you The Fresh Fruit Song aka The Raspbery King... again.
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.