Wiffle Lever To Full!

Daleks, Death Stars and Dreamy Sci-Fi Nostalgia…

Extracts from Bob’s 1984 Diary… Volume 60

Wednesday 29th February 1984

Woke up at 7.50 and got up at 8.10. First at school we had assembly and Mr Chalkley said we could show K9 on Friday. After assembly I went into Topic groups, then I did a picture of some grapes. At 12.00 I had dinner (got clouted by a cricket bat) and after dinner we had RE.

After that Mr Hirst told us about Carlton then when we came out I did Maths and a poem. At 3.15 I went into Boys’ Games and we got beat 9-2. Then I walked home down the cut with Doug, Huggy and Pitty then Doug came home with me. At my house we played with K9 and at 6.30 Doug’s mam came for him and K9.

Then I played on the Tarzie and when I came in I played on the Videopac and nearly beat my Munchkin score of 2637. (Got that yesterday). at 8.45 I had a bath then at 9.00 I watched Minder. 10.00 Went to bed.

I’ve got very vague memories of being ‘clouted by a cricket bat’ on this chilly but sunny dinnerbreak, which is probably more than I had at the time. I think it was my new Computer Club comrade-in-arms Jason Tuck (huge smile, Start-Rite shoes, mop of straw-coloured hair) who made an ambitious swing at a Gazzie Jones googly and caught me squarely in the temple.


I remember sprawling into a pile of Orange Fruitie wrappers, then being escorted inside by Doug and Tucker himself. Noted medical expert Mrs Keasey tilted my head backwards, peered into my eyes, and gave the reassuring diagnosis ‘You’ll live’. A grinning Mr Hirst asked me how many fingers he was holding up. If the answer was one, then I was definitely seeing double.  

Still, if Mrs Keasey’s diagnosis was inaccurate, then at least I had an hour’s worth of RE to prepare my mortal soul for eternity. I imagine it stands you in good stead if you reach Heaven with yet ANOTHER telling of The Parable Of The Talents fresh in your mind.


And, oh blimey… ‘After that Mr Hirst told us about Carlton’. Yes, for the first time in our little lives, we were going to spend some time away from our parents. Carlton Outdoor Education Centre was a rugged, Outward Bound camp in the tiny village of… well, Carlton at the foot of the North Yorkshire Moors. And yay! It’s still there…


It was a rite of passage for every Fourth Year Junior at Levendale Primary School to spend a week at Carlton Camp, and I was terrified of the prospect. We would have to sleep in DORMITORIES. We would have to wear PROPER BOOTS and go WALKING. And, worst of all, Carlton Camp was HAUNTED. By the GHOST OF THE GREY LADY. I knew it, Doug knew it, we all knew it. And it was clear that Mr Hirst was just skirting around the matter.  Heck, we’d even seen a PICTURE of the Grey Lady in the ‘Myths, Monsters and Legends’ book from our school library…


(It’s taken me ages to find this picture, and it still gives me a little chill even today!)

‘You’ll need to give these consent forms to your parents,’ smiled Mr Hirst, handing around a sheaf of photocopied papers with the school’s unmistakeable logo at the top. ‘And here’s a list of things you’ll need to bring. Boots, cagouls, wellies, soap, toothbrushes and a towel’.

‘And, oh…’ he winked, as we filed out of the school hall. ‘Don’t forget to watch out for the Grey Lady’.


We were going at the end of March. I was already wondering about the prospects of a) feigning an athsma attack or b) joining the French Foreign Legion. We had, of course, been told all about The Grey Lady and her propensity for snatching 11-year-old boys from their dormitories in the middle of the night and stealing their mortal souls for all eternity, even the ones who could recite The Parable Of The Talents verbatim. We’d been told this by last year’s Fourth Year Juniors who, evil bastards that they were, simply couldn’t resist putting the fear of devil into a bunch of wide-eyed 10-year-0lds in the three-month gap between returning from Carlton Camp and leaving Levendale Primary School forever.

Still, I rallied enough to rattle up a near-world-record score in Munchkin. Get in there!



  Dr. Giles Parcel wrote @

Science can find no reason why the parade of monks and ladies and nuns and horsemen who are credited with haunting these places are invariably black, white or grey. They are never sage green, or royal purple or even powder blue.
I wonder if the eleven year old Fischer would have been quite so apprehensive at the thought of glimpsing the powder blue lady?

  bobfischer wrote @

Probably. Things that I was scared of in 1984 included..

1. Spiders (of all sizes, even piddly little ones)
2. Girls (all of them)
3. Occasional episodes of Doctor Who, especially ones set in dark underground places (vis a vis: the Dutch crypt in Arc Of Infinity)
4. Dark, underground places (in real life, not just in Doctor Who)
5. Mr Chalkley.

If I’d seen the resurrected spirit of a dead, elderly woman come to claim my mortal soul, then the colour would have been the last thing on my mind.

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