Saturday 18 May 2024

Post 505 - A vulpes vulpes gramble


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

They’re back. The foxes. They’re back. And I’m not taliking about the dynasty of actors and right-wing political activists. I’m talking about Vulpes vulpes bastardeus. Them. Those bushy-tailed verminous creatures that like to reorganise my garden for me.

I blame the neighbours. I do. Why the blibbing flip must they feed the damned things? They are meant to be hunters. The foxes, not the neighbours. Predators. It doesn’t take much predating (I think I may have just made that word up) to hunt down something that is dead, perhaps even cooked, and left on a saucer near someone’s back door.

Having eaten up any titbits left out for them, Mr and Mrs Fox show a certain etiquette by way of thanking their food provider by choosing not to sh*t in their garden. Oh no, that would never do. So the little furry vermin-infested bas... creatures go into the next garden to do their business. And that garden is mine.

If they did it in the same place each time, I could probably cope with that. But they don’t. One day it might be on the slabbed area; another day, the part of my garden covered in small stones. Try cleaning that up after a meal that didn’t agree with foxy. Not nice, I can tell you. Other times, their business is done in planted areas and containers. For some odd reason, they like to dig a hole before defecating into it. Nice.

Sadly, though they are brilliant at digging, they are not the tidiest. Often I begin the day by having to refill plant tubs with soil that has been flung yards away. I also have to replant those plants which have been dug up in the process.

Sometimes, the container itself gets upended. In such cases, the plants tend to get crushed under the soil which used to be in the pot.

Regular readers out there in gramblerland may remember that, in the past, I have tried some pretty unusual methods to rid my garden of these foxy vermin... Squirting urine everywhere was not the best idea I ever had. You will recall that nothing seemed to work. In the end, I found the best way to deal with the problem was to put netting over all my plant containers.

It did seem to work. For a while. But, as I said, they are back.

They seem to be able to get their paws through the mesh and still cause mayhem. I have now taken to placing obstacles near the places I don’t want foxes to reach. Sadly, my garden is now untidier than I would like it to be. Why is that shovel lying in front of a pot? Why is there a trowel there? Surely that rake shouldn’t be lying where it is. That’s just asking for trouble. Upturned plantpots and containers don’t help the look, either.

There has to be another way. And I think I have the answer. It came to me when I was watching a TV programme where police were attempting to stop a driver of a stolen car. They used a device they call a stinger. It is like a portable net with spikes that can be flung across a road in front of the car to be stopped. The spikes burst the tyres of the car making it undriveable.

How would deploying such a device rid me of foxes? It wouldn’t, obviously. But, something similar might. Foxy doesn’t like spiky ground, does he? So, I need something that provides a bit of spiky ground around the garden.

Good idea? I thought you’d agree. Now then, I need your assistance. Does anyone know where I can buy some razor wire?*

* Don't worry all you animal lovers out there in gramblerland, I would never harm an animal by deploying razor wire... Think of the mess from all that blood everywhere.



Birthday honours...

Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we? Were any famous or not so well-known individuals born on the 11th of May? Of course there were. Here are some that even I have heard of.

Margaret Rutherford 1892 - Actress. Miss Jane Marple in Murder, She Said, Murder at the Gallop, Murder Most Foul and The Alphabet Murders.

T. Dan Smith 1915 - Politician famous for accepting the occasional brown envelope... Say no more.

Denys Fisher 1918 - Toymaker. Invented the toy known as Spirograph.

Howard Goorney 1921 - Jobbing actor. One of those faces that cropped up in the likes of The Avengers, Dixon of Dock Green or The Saint during the 1960s. Often he played nameless characters. He is perhaps best remembered as Nachum in Fiddler on the Roof.

Kit Lambert 1935 - Rich bloke who wanted to be another Brian Epstein. Managed The Oo.

Eric Burdon 1941 - Singer/songwriter. A clip? Indeed. Here’s It's My Life. I recognise that guitar riff.

Graham Miles 1941 - Snookery bloke from the days of Pot Black.

Juliet Harmer 1943 - Artist, author and actress. Georgina Jones in Adam Adamant Lives!

Les Chadwick 1943 - Bassist with Gerry and the Pacemakers. Let’s have another clip. Here’s Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying. Factoid: The band was going to called Gerry Marsden and the Mars Bars. A certain company objected. Spoilsports.

Pam Ferris 1948 - Actress. Ma Larkin in The Darling Buds of May.

Jeremy Paxman 1950 - The inquisitor.

David Gest 1953 - Bloke who became famous because he married Liza Minelli... and he also had a lot of plastic surgery done.

John Gregory 1954 - Footy bloke.

Stacy Dorning 1958 - Actress. Jenny Gordon in The Adventures of Black Beauty.

Natasha Richardson 1963 - Actress. Patricia Hurst in Patty Hurst. Now, more famous for her death from an epidural hematoma after banging her head in a skiing accident.

John Parrott 1964 - Snoooookery bloke from Liverpooool.

Warren Brown 1978 - Actor. Terry Roberts in Ten Pound Poms.

Richard Gadd 1989 - Writer, actor and comedian.

Stephen O’Donnell 1992 - Fitba guy. Plays for Motherwell, you know.

Now then, what about those born the 18th of May...

Bertrand Russell 1872 - Mathematician, Logician, philosopher and all-round intellectual. He really was a right old smarty boots.

Hedley Verity 1905 - Crickety bloke.

Fred Perry 1909 - Tennisy bloke.

Margaret Hookham 1919 - Who? Oh... Margot Fonteyn. That woman who danced about on her tiptoes.

Bill Grundy 1923 - TV presenter. Famously tried to interview the Sex Pistols and got it all wrong.

John Abineri 1928 - Actor. Sir Kenneth Neston in The Legend of Robin Hood. 166 credits on IMDb.

Ray Lonnen 1940 - Actor. Harry Brown in Harry’s Game. [I’ll bet he is. Game for anything. Woyoy! - Ed.] Do behave.

Miriam Margolyes 1941 - Sweary actress. Professor Pomona Sprout in the Harry Potter series of films. [I’m guessing she didn’t swear in that. Not much, anyway. - Ed.]

Norbert ‘Nobby’ Stiles 1942 - Footy bloke.

Albert Hammond 1944 - Musician. Let’s have a clip. Here’s a song about... making sandwiches? That can’t be right.  Here's The Peacemaker.

Rick Wakeman 1949 - Musician (and raconteur). Let’s have another clip. Here’s Ascraeus Mons.

Eric Goulden aka Wreckless Eric 1954 - Musician. I think we should have a clip. Here’s Whole Wide World.

Toyah Wilcox 1958 - Musician. A clip? Here’s her best-performing single Thunder In The Mountains.

Graham Dilley 1959 - Crickety bloke.

Hugh Whitaker 1961 - Musician. He was briefly the drummer for the Housemartins and contributed to this, Happy Hour.

Russell Senior 1961 - Musician. He played guitar and violin in Pulp. Here’s This House is Condemned.

Nathaniel Parker 1962 - Actor. Inspector Lynley in The Inspector Lynley Mysteries.

Holly Aird 1969 - Actress. Dr. Frankie Wharton in Waking the Dead.

John Higgins 1975 - Snookery guy.

Danny Mills 1977 - Footy bloke.

Lee Hendrie 1977 - Footy bloke.

Gary O’Neill - Footy bloke.

Lee Miller 1983 - Fitba guy. Lennon’s dad.

Craig Sibbald 1995 Fitba guy.

Ryan and Steven Sessegnon 2000 - Twin footy blokes.








I’ve received a letter...

Dear Albert Hamgramblond,

I enjoyed hearing your song about making pieces. Tell me, did you ever release any songs that would lend themselves to a contrived play on words that could conceivably be taken as somebody’s name?

Yours earnestly,

I. Matrane.




Gramble time...

How did our last bet with Dorkables fare? We won... Nae kidding. Four out of five predictions were right so, from our £2.20 stake we won £3.60. Woo hoo! We’re in the money! Let’s face it, that’s all you need to know. It was a fortnight ago. Are you interested? Nah. Let’s just get on to this week’s predictions which are all matches taking place in the Bundesliga. Yes, I know that breaks my own rules but, if anyone can do it, it’s me. So what has The Grambler come up with?

Game - Result - Odds

FC Heidenheim vs FC Cologne - Home win - 6/5

TSG Hoffenheim vs Bayern Munich - Away win - Evens

Union Berlin vs SC Freiburg - Home win - 21/20

VfL Wolfsburg vs FSC Mainz 05 - Away win - 11/10

Eintracht Frankfurt vs RB Leibzig - Home win - 7/5

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 dear. That’s far too 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 2003 in Copenhagen. A forward, I began my senior career with Copenhagen, before moves to Sturm Graz and Atalanta. I joined my present club, Manchester United in 2023 for a fee of over £64 million. I have been capped for Denmark 12 times.

Answer - Rasmus Højlund

2. Who is Nottingham Forest’s first team captain?

Answer - Ryan Yates

3. Which team has won the most league games in the Scottish Premiership this season?

Answer - Celtic. However, at the time of asking the question, the answer was actually Rangers, but the wheels came off the bogey a couple of games ago.

4. Which player from Iceland has made the most English Premier League appearances?

Answer - Hermann Hreidarsson

5. Which club plays its home games at Meadow Lane?

Answer - Notts County

Now then, how about five for this week? Aye, go on then...

1. Who am I?

I was born in Reading in 1997. A striker, I began my senior career at Chelsea but played only one game and was loaned to Vitesse. I then signed for Liverpool. I signed for my present club, Bournemouth in 2019.

2. During the 2023-24 season, who was the only man to win the Premier League manager of the month award on more than one occasion?

3. Sticking with the Premier League, which is the only club which did not concede an own goal during the 2023-24 season?

4. Which team in the English League Division One drew the most games in the 2023-24 season?

5. Which club plays its home games at the snappily titled Poundland Bescot Stadium?

There you have it. Have fun trying to work that lot out. 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 quoted is miles out of date. The total raised for the Bobby Moore Fund now stands at...





And Finally...

And finally, Cyril? And finally, Esther, I am indebted to a Mr. W. Grundy for this week’s concluding item. I mentioned a certain infamous interview he conducted with the Sex Pistols. Would you like see it? You would? Prepare to cringe with embarrassment.

No wonder you look so unhappy after that performance.
Bill Grundy?  Heh heh... Bill... Heh heh... Grumpy, more like.



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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