Wiffle Lever To Full!

Daleks, Death Stars and Dreamy Sci-Fi Nostalgia…

Extracts from Bob’s 1984 Diary… Volume 15

Sunday 15th January 1984

Woke up at 8.45 and got up at 9.30. At 10.15 I rung Doug to see if he wanted to come swimming to Stokesley baths with us. He said he could come, and at 10.30 We went to pick him up. Doug showed me ROB-E and on Friday somebody had gone into the staff room and beat him up.

About 15 minutes later we got to the baths and first me and Doug swam down the deep end and started to leap in shouting ‘GERONIMO!!!’ Then we went in the little pool and I bust my back jumping in. We went back to the big pool, swam 2 lenghts, then mucked around in the little pool till 12.00 When they started to chuck people out.

After dinner I went back to Doug’s and we started making a K-9 robot. I came back home with Doug at 4.30 and we played on the videopac. Doug went home at 5.00 and we had tea. I played on the videopac until 7.15 when I watched Hi-de-hi. 9.45 Watched That’s life 10.30 Went to bed.

Obviously (and I might just have mentioned this already) it’s been exactly 25 years since the events in these diary entries were taking place, and sometimes when I read them back it really REALLY feels like it. Memories lost in the misty decades, and thoughts and turns of phrase that make me feel like a very different person indeed these days.

This isn’t one of them, though. The memory of this day feels starkly fresh and vivid and ‘now’. Especially the hour we spent at Stokesley baths. My Dad came with us, but Doug and I sidled away to the ‘little’ (ie kiddies) pool by ourselves and conducted experiments shouting at each other underwater to see how effectively our voices travelled through three feet of murky chlorinated water with a stray piece of elastoplast floating on the top.


(This is Stokesley, by the way… lovely market town somewhere between Yarm and Middlesbrough…)

And my back, my bloody back. I still have occasional back problems, and I trace it all back to this fateful day. I completely misjudged how shallow the pool was, and jumped in feet-first with a full-blooded howl. My feet shuddered instantly onto the dimpled tiles at the bottom, and the shockwave sent a spasm of pain and breathlessness all the way up my spine.

Doug, of course, laughed himself stupid, and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

It’s all feels so clear and recent that it could have happened six months ago. Which makes it all the more disturbing that in the same timespan again, if I’m still alive at all, I’ll be 61 years old. When you’re 11, the days seem infinite and endless and – as a terrifying result – almost meaningless. When you’re 36… they don’t. And I’m still not sure whether I like that or not.

Still, look – SCANDAL!!! ‘Doug showed me ROB-E and on Friday somebody had gone into the staff room and beat him up’. Oh, it’s true… when Doug collected our beloved robot from the mysterious, out-of-bounds realms of Levendale Primay School staff room on Friday afternoon, his front panel was hanging off by its flimsy metal hinges.

Of course, what had REALLY happened was that Mr Hirst or Mr Millward or Mrs Keasey had staggered across the room lugging a pile of Fourth Year Topic books, desperate for a mug of Maxwell House and a Silk Cut. They’d knocked poor ROB-E over on the way, sworn softly and stood him back upright, and never thought about it again for the rest of their living days.

11-year-old minds don’t think of things like that, though. We wanted INTRIGUE. We wanted conspiracy and violence and dastardly crimes committed against us so we could turn private investigators and bring the culprits to justice, like the Scooby Doo kids or the Hardy Boys, or this lot…

…and then we’d be given special commendations by Yarm’s own PC Bedford (Six Foot Two, Eyes of Blue, PC Bedford’s after you…) and be allowed to ride our bikes on the pavement forever.  Hooray!

Still, not to worry – by mid-afternoon we’d forgotten about ROB-E, and had already started work on the almost-built K9 that Doug had dragged down from the loft. Onwards and upwards, providing my back holds out, and the Philips Videopac G7000 doesn’t lure me away for the evening…

(This isn’t me by the way, it’s somebody else’s Youtube video… but I am going to make some special little films for this Blog over the next few weeks, I promise!)



  Drew Smith wrote @

That’s one scary promise!

  bobfischer wrote @

Made two films today… heh heh heh…

  Fiona Tims wrote @

“Doug showed me ROB-E and on Friday somebody had gone into the staff room and beat him up.”

When I read that I put my hand over my mouth and made a shocked noise! Then I couldn’t stop laughing at my reaction for a good 30 seconds ;p

  bobfischer wrote @

You weren’t there. You can’t possibly understand the horror.

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