Wiffle Lever To Full!

Daleks, Death Stars and Dreamy Sci-Fi Nostalgia…

Extracts from Bob’s 1984 Diary… Volume 59

Tuesday 28th February 1984

Woke up at 7.45 and got up at 8.10. First at school I had a read, then we went in for Hymn Practice. When we came out I did Topic, then I read again. After that I wrote some of my long story and at 12.00 I had dinner. After dinner I played cricket and at 12.30 I went into Computer club.

Me, Ozzie and Tucker wrote a program for calculating Skill and Stamina in a fighting fantasy book. Came out at 1.45 and did some Some Maths, then I wrote some of a story I had started Yonkers ago. At 3.15 I came home and at 3.45 I went to Doug’s and we took K9 to my house.

Then we took some photgraphs of him and at 4.40 we watched Charlie Brown. At 5.05 Doug went home and at 5.10 I watched Grange Hill. At 5.40 I watched Tucker’s Luck and at 6.15 I wrote a Poggy Doggy game for the ZX. At 9.00 I watched Alas Smith and Jones and at 9.30 I went to bed.

‘Me, Ozzie and Tucker wrote a program for calculating Skill and Stamina in a fighting fantasy book’ Woah!!! Get back behind the barrier, ladies, and form an orderly queue!

Yes, clearly bored with playing playground cricket amongst Orange Fruitie wrappers and clouds of wasps, I’d decided to embrace my inner geek (rapidly becoming a very outer geek) and enroll… yikes… for ‘Computer Club’. An excuse for half-a-dozen pale young boys raised entirely on Mother’s Pride egg sandwiches to gather around a fawn BBC Micro on a trolley and do some (ahem) ‘serious coding’ in peace without being bothered by Christopher Herbert waffing his own farts around and laughing maniacally.


If there’s anything in the world more quintessentially mid-80s geeky than writing programs to aid Fighting Fantasy statistic-keeping on a BBC Micro then I’d like to see it. Sealed in a hermetic, aroma-proof container, naturally.

I like the word ‘Yonkers’ here. Definitely a variation on my parents own use of the word ‘yonks’ to mean any time between one and thirty years ago. Not sure if it has any linguistic connection to the phrase ‘donkeys’ years’, a phrase I still like to regularly drop into conversation, if only to see the puzzlement on young peoples’ faces.

It’s the only pleasure I get these days.


The ‘long story’, by the way, was a rambling sci-fi epic involving the teenage space fighter pilot Zak Quarquon and his quest to depose the merciless Lord Wav Kinquex, warlord of the planet Drexel. Something like that anyway… I’m making it up as a I go along now, just I was exactly 25 years ago today. Whenever I handed the latest instalment to Mrs Mulhearn for her perusal, her shoulders visibly slumped.

And, yay! An historic day after all. Our K9 photo-session in my garden is heavily documented in Chapter One of ‘Wiffle Lever To Full!’, as it required Doug and me to push our home-made, full-sized wooden K9 replica half a mile along the busy main road from his house to mine, in the face of a busy rush-hour traffic. As I point out in the book, this was the first time in my life I ever saw anyone make a fully-fledged ‘wanker’ sign. 

Taking the photos, however, feels amazingly fresh and clean and crisp in the memory. I don’t think I’d ever been so proud of anything in my life, and I’m not just talking about K9 here. My friendship with Doug and the way we’d worked tirelessly together on this utterly brilliantly daft venture made this a very special time for me indeed.

So here we are, in my back garden, exactly 25 years ago today. Doug’s in the blue top, I’m in the red socks and yes – that’s Poggy Doggy. I haven’t looked properly at these pictures for a long time, and I find it almost heartbreaking to look into our own eyes again. It’s Yonkers ago, but it really doesn’t seem it. 

Where does it all go? And can I have it back?



  fiona tims wrote @

Awww even Poggy Doggy looks proud in bottom from 1.

I still say donkey’s years although now I just say donkey’s. I keep meaning to look up the origins of the phrase-but alwaysforget ;p

  bobfischer wrote @

Poggy Doggy’s just confused. It was a permanent state of affairs.

Seemingly donkey’s years comes from ‘donkey’s ears’, which are – of course – very long!


When I’ve finished with media rubbish, I want to open a donkey sanctuary to look after elderly and abandoned donkeys. Seriously. I love donkeys.

  fiona tims wrote @

Haha ta for looking that up-I’d still forgotten to do it.
OOh if you open a donkey sanctuary I wanna come visit. I’ve always wanted an animal sanctuary!

  bobfischer wrote @

You’ll be welcome! I only found out recently found out that donkeys can live to be 50! So it’s very possible that the ones I rode on Scarborough beach in 1978 are still alive… 🙂

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