Wiffle Lever To Full!

Daleks, Death Stars and Dreamy Sci-Fi Nostalgia…

Extracts from Bob’s 1984 Diary… Volume 48

Friday 17th February 1984

Woke up at 7.50 and got up at 8.15. First at school I went into Topic group then me and Frankie did a Topic sheet, then I wrote some of the jewel. At 12.00 I had dinner and played cricket.

After dinner we had to watch this stupid film called Dragonslayer which nobody could understand but we watched it anyway. At 3.15 I came home and at 3.50 Doug rang to see if he could come down and he could so I walked Poggy Doggy down to meet him and we ran back and went upstairs and mucked about.

Then we came downstairs and looked at some photographs and then we played on the Tarzie. 5.5 Watched Grange hill and at 5.40 Doug went home 5.45 Had tea and at 7.00 I watched The A Team. At 8.00 I watched That’s my boy and at 8.30 I watched a Fine Romance.

Dragonslayer! An almost-completely-forgotten Disney swords-and-sorcery film from 1981, it thrust future Ghostbusters 2 star Peter MacNichol into the action as the magnificently-named Galen Bradwarden, seeking to release the kingdom of Urland from the tyranny of Vermithrax Pejorative (that’s the dragon, by the way) with the help of Ralph Richardson’s mercurial sorcerer Ulrich of Craggenmoor.

There’s something about a magical amulet as well, and a ‘virgin sacrifice’ (which naturally made us giggle) but that’s about as much as I can remember. What do you think I am, some sort of saddo?


So why were we watching rollocking old Disney films when there was serious educational work to be done? Why, because it was the last day of school before the half-term holidays, and our teachers clearly weren’t in the mood for vulgar fractions (five f***ing eighths, etc) and another telling of the Parable of the Talents.


So, instead, they wheeled our ancient, Grundig TV (in a cabinet with wooden doors that locked!) and a top-loading video recorder the size of a paving slab into the end room and left us to it. I remember sitting on the floor at the back of the room, the wall-length red and black curtains drawn behind me, wondering when – oh when – would I be allowed to get up and restore the blood circulation to my arse cheeks.

Not sure where the early 1984 cricket obsession came from,  were the England team doing something exciting at the time? It’s hard to imagine. What I do hope is that the phrase ‘we played cricket’ doesn’t conjure up images of flattened greens, linseed oil, cucumber sandwiches in the pavillion and the crack of leather on willow.


We actually played in the concrete school playground, using a wire litter bin (usually stuffed with Feast wrappers and Monster Munch packets and surrounded by wasps) as the wicket while ‘bowling’ wildly and entirely inaccurately with a tennis ball. Every shot was lamped towards the Under-5s playgroup hut with an admirable slog, although it’s hard to imagine that even Ian Botham accompanied his strokes with a loud exclamation of ‘Get up, y’bastard’ like Steven Foster did.

Actually, on second thoughts…

All of this occasionally attracted the attention of our fearsome yellow-coated dinner nannies, of which the terrifying Kray Twins-esque double act of Mrs Gallon and Mrs James were the acknowledged enforcers. Smelly Christopher Herbert was once impounded in the middle band cloakroom (Levendale Primary School’s own Guantanemo Bay) for the heinous crime of ‘running with his hands in his coat pockets’. I’d like to say he was forced into a humilating orange costume and made to sit with his head between his legs, but that was pretty much how he liked to spend most dinnertimes anyway.

Meanwhile, I think Steven Foster is still on the run from the time he shouted ‘BUGGER NANNIES!!!’ at Mrs James from behind the football pitch hedge and ran away. Like an exiled Great Rain Robber lying low in South America, he still fears the long arm of justice. In a yellow sleeve.


I like the mysterious ‘went upstairs and mucked about’ as well. It’s almost certain that this means ‘went upstairs and talked about filth’ although I do recall attempting, around this time, to form the nascent seeds of a top pop act by forcing poor Doug to harmonise while I attempted to sing Guys and Dolls’ gloopy 1975 hit ‘There’s a Whole Lot of Loving’ (on my ‘found’ TDK C90 tape, remember… see 13th February for the full gory story!). Sadly neither of us could carry a tune in a bucket, but that didn’t deter me from spending the half-term holiday planning the world domination of our Levendale Primary School supergroup ‘Titchie Ritchie and the Weirdos’.

Stay tuned. And bring a bucket.



  Chris Orton wrote @

Marvellous stuff as ever Bob, but oh dear, you appear to have used the term “wicket” when in fact you meant to say “stumps”! Something that probably confuses member of the current England test team too.

“Herbert” sounds like the type of name that a smelly type would have doesn’t it?

  bobfischer wrote @

Sorry! I know nothing about cricket, and the wasps made it difficult to get close enough to the bin to see very much.

Christopher Herbert smelt of wee and Fine Fare digestive biscuits.

  Dr. Giles Parcel wrote @

I have yet to discern a quantifiable difference between the two aromas.

  bobfischer wrote @

You need a connoisseur’s nose like mine! You should come to one of my biscuit-tasting evenings. Allow a Tesco No Frills chocolate chip cookie to roll around your palate before ejecting the mushed-up contents into a bucket.

You should already have the bucket, as per my instructions.

  bobfischer wrote @

So what is the ‘wicket’ then? If the bits down below are the stumps, and the bits on top are the bails, what else is there?

  Drew Smith wrote @

He’s an ewok.

  bobfischer wrote @


Ladies and gentlemen, he’s here all week.

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