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…
Why do conductors at posh operas and stuff like that get given a bunch of flowers at the end? Flowers are a bit of a naff gift for a bloke. I’m sure they would much prefer a Costa Coffee voucher or something.
What has caught my ire this week? British Ga... oops, nearly wrote it out in full. As I don’t relish the possibility of being taken to court by the lawyers of a huge energy company, let’s call them British not liquid or solid. Okay? No? well, it will have to do.
What is my gripe with this energy supplier? Pull up a chair and Oi’ll tell ee...
Firstly, a question... How do energy suppliers make profits? It is a genuine question; I really would like to know.
Some time earlier this year, I was contacted by letter from said company. It requested, nay, demanded that I get in touch with them because my gas meter was not recording my gas usage. If I didn’t deal with it I would be liable for increased charges. Hang on a mo... If my meter isn’t recording anything, why am I likely to get hit for higher costs? Surely, it is the gas provider’s problem that the piece of kit they provided is a piece of crap. It serves them right for buying shoddy goods. Agree? Of course you do.
However, as I wasn’t quite brave enough to express this opinion to them, I acquiesced (Ooh, that’s a good word; wonder what it means.) and got in touch as requested.
I telephoned the number quoted on the letter. My first problem was trying to speak to someone who could understand why I was phoning. No, I’m not being racist and suggesting that the person on the other end of the line did not use English as their first language. Not this time, anyway. No, the person on the other end of the line wasn’t accepting of the fact that the meter wasn’t working...
‘It will just need resetting. I’ll wait while you do that.’ said the less than helpful individual.
‘I’m sorry? Reset it? Me?’
‘Yes. Do that for me, would you?’
‘You cheeky b******! You demand that I call you because your piece of sh**** equipment doesn’t work and, as well as suggesting that I will have to pay you more money to put things right, you want me to f****** fix it myself?!! On your bike, pal. You’re not on.’
Actually, I didn’t say that. I said, ‘Okay.’
So, while the British... that company... employee waited on the phone, I went outside to reset the meter. Then, I re-entered the house to find the special key to open the box which houses the meter. After searching for what seemed to be ten minutes or more, I found the yellow, plastic key.
I opened the box, to be faced with various instructions about what I should or shouldn’t do... This mob seem to be downright bossy, I thought. Finally, I found the instruction about resetting the meter. It told me to press and hold a button for so many seconds and the meter would be set. I did this. It wasn’t. I went back inside the house to my phone.
‘Are you still there?’ I asked.
‘Yes. Did it work?’
‘Did you press the button for 20 seconds?’
‘Yes, I did.’
Then, the person on the phone asked me that question which, more than any other, really annoys me.
‘Are you sure?’
‘Of course, I’m sure. I can follow simple instructions. I’m not daft. although you seem to think I am.’
Actually, I didn’t say that. I said, ‘I’ll just check again.’
After checking it again, I told the cheeky sod on the phone that it was most definitely not working.
‘We’ll send an engineer out.’
At last. Progress.
Any road up, the engineer duly arrived to fit a new meter. Great. Job done. Better still, he told me that I wouldn’t have to pay any extra for this work being done. Oh good, I thought; although, inwardly, I was thinking, I should blibbing well hope not, given that it was your dodgy equipment that caused the problem, not me.
A few days later, I received a letter from the energy supplier which told me my meter wasn’t working and I would have to arrange for an engineer to visit and replace it with a new one. Since I now had a spanking new meter whichwas now functioning as it should, I simply ignored the letter.
A week or so later, another letter from that company dropped through my letterbox. It told me that the engineer couldn’t come to fit the meter as requested. Sorry pardon excuse me? It also told me that, because of the inconvenience caused, £30 would be deducted from my next bill. Did I phone to explain their error? Of course not.
A few days on and another letter arrived. This time the information imparted was short and to the point. It announced that as I had not arranged for an engineer to come to fit the meter, the matter was now closed. Eh? That was all it said. Should I phone to ask what is going on? No, they might want their 30 quid back.
More time passed... a few weeks, anyway... and another letter dropped onto my hall carpet. This time, it told me that everything was now sorted. Yay! No, not yay. There was also a mention of money. Lots of money. £180, no less. This time, I did phone and I spoke to a very pleasant lady from somewhere in Asia, I guessed.
I was already to complain...
‘I’ve received a letter from you telling me that I owe £180.’
‘Just a moment, sir, while I check your account. No, you don’t owe £180. This is the amount you are in credit and the letter is to let you know that it will be returned to your bank account.’
‘Oh. That’s... good.’ I said, not really believing what I was hearing.
‘In fact, you are over £400 in credit. We could transfer more than the £180 if you wish. May I suggest £350 and that will leave you with some credit if energy prices rise again?’
‘Yes, that’s... good. Thank you.’
That was a worthwhile phone call, don’t you think?
We now come to a bang up-to-date tale. Last week, a letter arrived to tell me that the annual service for my gas boiler was due. Mrs G phoned and made an appointment. A day or so later, an engineer telephoned to check if we were still happy for him to come at the appointed time.
Things are looking up. Perhaps British not liquid or solid have finally got their act together.
The engineer came as planned and gave the boiler a clean bill of health and, for once, didn’t try to sell me some ‘necessary’ upgrade. I was bidding the engineer goodbye when the postman came to the door. He gave me a letter. Guess who from. Yep. Right first time. British G... them. Guess what it said... I’m sure you are well ahead of me here... It told me to contact them so that I could arrange to have my annual gas boiler service carried out.
Back to my question... How do energy companies make profits? It’s not down to whoever organises engineers or sends letters, that’s for sure.
The words arse and elbow come to mind.
Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we? Were any famous or not so well-known individuals born on the 21st of October? Of course there were. Here are some that even I have heard of.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge 1772 - Poet. The Rime of The Ancient Mariner, that was one of his.
Georg Solti 1912 - Conductor.
Malcolm Arnold 1921 - Another conductor.
Leonard Rossiter 1926 - Actor. Rigsby in Rising Damp.
Georgia Brown 1933 - Singer. Her real name was Lilian Klot. [I wonder why she felt the need to change it. - Ed.] Here is a medley of songs she performed on The Good Old Days.
Lord Luvvaduck, if it ain’t sweet Georgia Brahn
Geoff Boycott 1940 - Crickety bloke, sithee.
Manfred Mann 1940 - Musician. Shall we have a little clip? I think so. Here’s his (and his Earth Band’s) take on Jupiter from Holst’s Planet Suite, Joybringer.
Dickie Pride 1941 - Singer. He signed to Larry Parnes, a music manager and promoter of the 1950s who had the nickname of Parnes, Shillings and Pence given to him, such was his propensity (Another good word; I must look that one up.) for making dosh. He had a stable of bankable pop artists under his control. Sadly, although Pride’s stage act was said to be one of the best of the era, his record sales were never high, so Parnes dropped him. Pride tried various comebacks with groups The Guv’nors and The Sidewinders. Any success was brief and he suffered mental health problems which were perhaps exacerbated (There’s another.) by drug use. He died aged just 27. He had only one solo (minor) hit record, Primrose Lane.
Tariq Ali 1943 - Political activist, writer and historian.
Tommy Wright 1944 - Footy bloke.
Mandy Rice-Davies 1944 - Actress, it says here.
Anne Lorne Gillies 1944 - Singer, writer, broadcaster and politician. Here’s a bit of Gaelic country and western(?), Larach Do Tachaidean.
Tetsu Yamauchi 1946 - Bass guitarist. A session musician, he joined Free when Andy Fraser left and later took over from Ronnie Laine in The Faces. He also produced a few solo works. Here’s a track from Tetsu & The Good Times Roll Band, the title of which translates as Wake Up.
Phil Ryan 1946 - Musician. He was a member of Welsh band, Man. Then he left. Then he joined again. Then he left again. Then he joined yet again. Keep up at the back! Here’s one of his compositions, Something is Happening
Peter Mandelson 1953 - Politician.
Eric Faulkner 1953 - A Bay City Roller. Would you like a clip? Of course you would. Here’s the group’s last record to chart, You Made Me Believe in Magic. Eric’s the one wearing what appear to be hotpants.
John Baine aka Attila the Stockbroker 1957 - Musician and poet.
Julian Cope 1957 - Musician and author. A clip? Why not. Here’s an oldie, Trampolene.
Steve Pyke 1957 - Photographer.
Rose McDowall 1959 - Musician. She was half of Strawberry Switchblade. A clip. Of course. Here’s their biggie, Since Yesterday. Interesting outfits, ladies.
Kevin Sheedy 1959 - Footy bloke.
Cleveland Watkiss 1959 - Singer, composer and actor. Let’s have some reggae jehzzz (?) Here’s Gimme What You Got.
Robert Marlow 1961 - Musician. Let’s have a clip. Here’s a very minor hit he had called The Face of Dorian Gray.
Paul Ince 1967 - Footy bloke.
Tony Mortimer 1970 - Musician and record producer. The songwriter in the group East 17. His solo career didn’t provide any hits, although he must have thought that this, complete with cheesy video, would have charted. Here's Shake It Down.
Paul Telfer 1971 - Fitba guy.
Jade Jagger 1971 - Clothes horse. Mick’s lass.
Kieran Richardson 1984 - Footy bloke.
Oliver Wilde 1988 - Musician. A clip? Indeed. Here’s Perrett's Brook.
Sam Vokes 1989 - Footy bloke.
I’ve received a letter...
Dear Eric Gramblener,
Absolutely wunnnderful to hear your wunnnnderful group the wunnnnderful Bay City Rollers who, as everyone of a certain age will know, were quite good. I was at a wunnnderful party recently where everybody pretended they were waving tartan scarves like we did back in the 1970s when a particular song of yours was played. It was simply wunnnnderful! However, the memory isn’t what it was and I can’t remember the title of the song. Can you help.
Yours in wunnnnder,
How did our last bet with Drakboles fare? Sadly, not very well. We didn’t lose. Not completely. We got 62 pees back from our £2.20 stake. Oh dear. What happened? Read on.
Cambridge vs Shrewsbury - Home win
Result - Cambridge 1 Shrewsbury 1
Ooh! ’It the bar!
Michael Morrison scored his first Cambridge goal in over 16 years as they drew 1-1 with Shrewsbury.
The U's had been frustrated until the 69th minute, when the captain picked the ball up just inside the opposition half and proceeded beyond five challenges before firing past Marko Marosi for a remarkable solo effort.
Morrison's last goal for the club had come on 23 January 2007.
The home side missed a number of chances in a goalless first half. James Brophy was denied by an excellent Tom Flanagan block, before Morrison fired wide when well placed following Ryan Bennett's knockdown.
Seven minutes before half-time Liam Bennett released Fejiri Okenabirhie on the right and the forward squared the ball to Jack Lankester, who crashed his effort onto the crossbar.
Morrison's moment of magic looked to have won the game, only for Shrewsbury to snatch a point two minutes from the end.
The hosts could not clear from within their area, and Taylor Perry slammed an equaliser past Jack Stevens.
Lincoln vs Burton - Home win
Result - Lincoln 0 Burton 1
Jack Burroughs' own goal handed Burton a win at the expense of 10-man Lincoln at Sincil Bank.
Daniel Mandroiu was sent off 10 minutes after half-time for a rash tackle on Burton forward Josh Gordon and the Brewers wasted no time in taking advantage.
Less than five minutes later, Burroughs diverted Joe Powell's corner beyond goalkeeper Lukas Jensen.
Earlier, Mason Bennett had cut inside and fired his effort wide of Jensen's goal as Burton looked to open the scoring with the game 11 v 11.
Bennett had another chance to open the scoring after Gordon and Bez Lubala linked up well, but his effort was smothered by Jensen.
Lincoln managed just one shot on target all afternoon through that of Burroughs, who forced Max Crocombe into a fine save to prevent the Imps opening the scoring at 0-0.
But it was ultimately Burroughs' mistake at the other end that separated the sides as Burton took the points.
Crewe vs Tranmere - Home win
Result - Crewe 2 Tranmere 0
Tranmere had goalkeeper Luke McGee and defender Tom Davies sent off as they went down to a 2-0 defeat at local rivals Crewe.
Jack Powell floated over a 40-yard free-kick and Mickey Demetriou drifted free to plant a header into the bottom corner in the 11th minute to give Crewe the lead.
Seven minutes into the second half, McGee left Tranmere in the mire when he was stranded several yards outside the penalty box as he handled Chris Long's goalbound attempt to earn a straight red card.
Long deepened Rovers' troubles when blasting the resulting free-kick into the bottom corner, with veteran keeper Joe Murphy's first action off the bench being to pick the ball out of the net.
After a lengthy stoppage following an incident in the crowd, the visitors rallied and went close to reducing the arrears when Connor Jennings glanced the crossbar with a thundering drive.
Crewe's goal was busy in the closing minutes (and 13 of added time) when Harvey Saunders lifted over from close range and rattled the bar with a header while Courtney Baker-Richardson cleared a header from Jennings off the line.
Tranmere's woes were complete when skipper Davies earned his side's second dismissal of the game with a second yellow card for a late tackle deep into stoppage time.
Grimsby vs Accrington - Home win
Result - Grimsby 0 Accrington 2
Accrington put 10-man Grimsby to the sword with two late strikes in a 2-0 victory at Blundell Park.
Shaun Whalley and Josh Andrews helped Accrington deservedly pick up three points after Luke Waterfall saw red for two bookable offences.
A superb block from Accrington defender Jay Baghuelou denied Harry Clifton in the early stages, while his Grimsby team-mate Harvey Rodgers glanced over the crossbar after meeting an out-swinging Jamie Andrews corner.
At the other end, Josh Andrews went close with a tame header before Abo Eisa saw his shot clawed away by Accrington goalkeeper Jon McCracken.
Grimsby striker Danny Rose prodded goalwards upon the restart from a set-piece as Eisa then passed up a golden opportunity - on the hour mark - when the winger fired over right-footed from inside the six-yard area.
Waterfall handed Accrington an advantage when he was sent off with 18 minutes to play and they instantly seized control with Whalley and Josh Andrews both scoring in quickfire fashion to help their side.
Swindon vs Newport - Home win
Result - Swindon 2 Newport 0
Swindon Town eased past Newport County in a hard-fought game at the County Ground.
Swindon led when Charlie Austin picked out Dan Kemp, who took the ball past Exiles goalkeeper Jon Maxted to score.
Austin thought he had doubled the lead, but play was called back for a foul in the build-up.
But Rushian Hepburn-Murphy sealed the win when he poked home a loose ball, after Maxted pushed Saidou Khan's shot onto the post.
In The Grambler’s defence, two of those results went awry because of sendings off. Anyway, let’s see what he/she/it has predicted for this weekend. All games take place on Saturday, 21st of October at 3pm.
Game* - Result - Odds
Brentford vs Burnley - Home win - 4/5
Nottm Forest vs Luton - Home win - 4/6
Middlesbrough vs Birmingham - Home win - 4/5
Watford vs Sheff Wednesday - Home win - 7/10
West Brom vs Plymouth - Home win - 7/10
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
Nine quid 12 pees? Whopping? I don’t think so.
* As we go to press, all these games are due to be played, in spite of the awful weather conditions.
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 1974 in Salford. A midfielder, I played my entire senior career for one club, Manchester United. In 2011 I retired to take up a coaching job with the club. However, I resumed my playing career in 2012 for one more year. I was capped for England 66 times.
Answer - Paul Scholes [Doesn’t he make sandals? - Ed.]
2. It is well-known that Norwegian player, Erling Haaland was the top Premier League scorer in the 2022/23 season, but which Norwegian was also in the top ten scorers?
Answer - Martin Ødegaard
3. Which Uruguayan has scored the most international goals?
Answer - That famous ear muncher Luis Suárez
4. Which English club plays its home games at the stadium known as The Valley?
Answer - Charlton Athletic
5. ARMY GEM JIVES?
Answer - Jimmy Greaves
Shall we have five for this week. Aye, go on then...
1. Who am I?
I was born in Artigas, Uruguay in 1999. A striker, I began my senior career at Peñarol, before moving to Almeria, Benfica and, my current club, Liverpool. I have been capped 20 times.
2. Which Danish player has scored the most Premier League goals?
3. What record is shared by Wolves, Burnley, Preston North End, Portsmouth and Sheffield United.
4. Which club plays its home games at the MKM Stadium?
5. Another anagram? Why not. Can you name this famous footballer?
MAD CHAV BIKED
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 quoted in the video is miles out of date. The total now stands at...
And finally, Cyril? And finally, Esther, I am indebted to a Mr. L. Rossiter who was one of Britain’s great, and much sought after, comic actors in the 1970s. If he was involved in any production, you knew you were in for a treat. He could make even a mediocre script funny. As it would have been his birthday today, let's have a finishing clip from him. What should it be, I ask myself. Rising Damp? The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin? His impression as one of the Andrews Sisters with Morecambe and Wise? A Cinzano Bianco ad with Joan Collins? No, none of these. Instead, please enjoy a short film he made in 1979... Ladeez and genullum I give you Le Pétomane.
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.