Wiffle Lever To Full!

Daleks, Death Stars and Dreamy Sci-Fi Nostalgia…

Extracts from Bob’s 1984 Diary… Volume 64

Sunday 4th March 1984

Woke up at 8.30 and got up at 10.00. Played on the videopac until 11.10, Then I went down to Doug’s, but met him half way so we went back to my house and played on the videopac. At 1.15 Gareth came and we had dinner.

Then we mucked about for a bit and at 1.50 We set out to go to Yarm but stayed on Conyers field and found a door and a crash helmet. At 2.45 We went back and on the way home I found some matchboxes and decided to collect them. When we got back me and Gazzie had a playfight, and at 3.00 Doug went home.

Then me and Gazzie designed a treehouse and at 4.30 Gazzie’s mam came and we played on the Tarzie. At 5.00 Gazzie went home and I had tea. At 7.15 I watched One by One, and at 8.5 I started to write a story. At 9.20 I watched That’s life and at 10.05 I want to bed.

Matchboxes! A crash helmet! A DOOR! Blimey, is there no end to Fingers Fischer’s one-man Teesside crime wave?


Yes, spurred on by the previous day’s sensational cricket ball theft, I was clearly in the mood to add to my ever-growing pile of swag. The matchboxes, obviously, I stuck in my pocket. The crash helmet I’m fairly sure was a battered, nasty-looking thing that had been chucked into a pile of rubbish at the edge of the school field, and it came home and was tossed carelessly into the back of the garage for the rare occasions when I decided to play ‘Boba Fett on the Tarzie’.

But a DOOR! That’s impressive booty. It was lying face up, clearly abandoned, at the edge of the school field, and I distinctly remember crossing my fingers and hoping that if we lifted it up, we’d find a flight of murky steps leading down into the underwurlde, our own personal alternate dimension. But there wasn’t, although we did have fun with the impressive collection of worms and woodlice lurking underneath. 


Did we really nick it? Yes, I think we did. As far as my 1984 diary is concerned, ‘found’ doesn’t mean that we saw it and left it alone. ‘Found’ means that we saw it, half-inched it, and carried it shamelessly across the main road to be stored in the back of the garage for future woodwork projects. I’m rather proud to report that, around this time, Doug and I were contemplating building a full-sized TARDIS replica (the outside would be full-sized, that is, not the dimensionally transcendental inside) and a big abandoned door would have provided almost a quarter of the wood required. 

It’s hard to imagine the thought processes that would have led the door’s previous owner to think ‘You know what? I’m sick of that door. I’m going to take it off its hinges and chuck it on the school field’ but back in 1984 Yarm was home to a lot of very old, semi-derelict houses being bought up and renovated by…. well, people like my Dad. So it probably came from one of them, in a fine example of the Eighties laissez-faire attitude towards waste recycling.

Although hey, we nicked it to use for our own ends – we were doing our bit!


This is clearly what inspired Gazzie and I to design our ‘treehouse’.  I think 11 is a good age for just beginning to wonder what it MIGHT be like to live without your parents, and it’s probably around this age that many kids start to concoct plans to make dens, sheds, treehouses, TARDISes and other ramshackle refuges from the adult world. 

It didn’t hurt that my front garden was full of enormously huge and sturdy trees (just take a look at the K9 photos from the other day!), and undoubtedly the intention will have been to hoist our construction into one of those. Although given that none of them had substantial branches lower than about forty feet off the ground, we’d no doubt also have had to design an impressive weights and pully system to get the bloody thing (and us) up there.

Doug could have done that, while Gazzie and I drank pop and collected matchboxes. In our minds eyes, the finished product looked like the above picture. In reality, it didn’t get any further than the sheet of A4 foolscap we had on the coffee table for a hour.


And a ‘playfight’! Fantastic. A fake rumble that would have got Kent Walton indecently excited, no doubt we’ll have been rolling around all over the dining room floor in the spirit of ‘not-quite-knacking-each-other-as-much-as-if-it-was-a-real-fight’. I’m quite impressed with my bravery here, seeing as Gaz ‘Gazzie’ Jones was (and still is) about twice my size, although no doubt if things had taken a nasty turn then Poggy Doggy would have intervened in my favour.



  fiona tims wrote @

You could say you were in fact, recycling the door! Did you ever use it or did it sit there for garage and get re-thrown out?

  fiona tims wrote @

Bleurgh-engage brain!
That should read:
Did you ever use it or did it sit there for ages in the garage?

  bobfischer wrote @

We definitely never used it, and as far as I can remember, it was still at the back of the garage in 2000 when my parents sold the house! I’d like to think the new owners still have it for old times sake…

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