Wiffle Lever To Full!

Daleks, Death Stars and Dreamy Sci-Fi Nostalgia…

Extracts from Bob’s 1984 Diary… Volume 72

Monday 12th March 1984

Woke up at 7.50 and got up at 7.55. First at school we had assembly and when we came out I went into Topic group. After that I did some Topic. Had to write a letter to someone in hospital. At 12.00 I had dinner and in the afternoon I did maths.

After that I started to paint my Dogorilla that I started on Thursday. At 3.15 I came home and at 3.30 I went down to Doug’s. We mucked around in the garage for a bit then we got a doorbell for the hut and nailed it on but we needed a battery so we went down to Yarm and got one from Cartmells.

Then Doug got some chocolate and I got a Sinclair programs. At 5.20 I came home and had tea and after tea I wrote some of my story. Then I went outside and played football and at 8.00 I watched Points of view. 8.10 watched Duty Free and after that I played on the videopac. 9.30 Went to bed.

Back at school after a long weekend of Olympic-standard sniffling (finishing with a snotty flourish that would have put Torvill and Dean to shame), and carrying – of course – the obligatory ‘note from me mam’ for my form tutor Mrs Keasey, written on a side of lined paper from a ringed Presto ringed notepad with raggy, straggly bits all across the top.  

Dear Mrs Keasey,

Robert was off school on Friday because he was full of cold and we thought it best that he stayed in the warm.

Mrs Fischer

I’ll have had this tucked into my inside Parka pocket under pain of death to present it at registration, but before that I will – of course – have walked past here… (yes! Another exclusive 1984 Diary film, filmed in a hurricane so turn the sound up!)

It’s only a mile away from my current house, but I don’t get back to Levendale Primary School very much, and it always feels lovely to return there for a cheeky nose around.  The front of the school as seen above hasn’t changed at all, even down to the typeface (or is it the font?) on the sign. Whenever I return, I try to remember to walk up to it in a strange loping crouch, so I see things from the same height as I would have done back in 1980-something.


It gives everything a lovely, extra rush of nostalgia, although I’m now paranoid about checking the Evening Gazette every night to see whether police are looking for a strange, bearded man in his thirties walking like Groucho Marx around the entrance to his local Primary  School.

A fine bit of public-spirited activity in our Topic groups today, you’ll notice… ‘Had to write a letter to someone in hospital’. I presume this was genuine, and that it was actually going to be received a Real Life Ill Person, although given that most of my experience of hospitals had come from watching Only When I Laugh, it’s hard to imagine what comfort I could have offered.

‘Dear Norman, be careful of Glover he is trying to nick your Terry’s Chocolate Orange and Figgis has his eye on your toblerone. Love, Robert Fischer aged 11 and a third, PS is Dr Thorpe a real doctor? I don’t believe it’

Lovely to see a mention for Cartmells as well, yes it’s a 1984 Diary rarity… an independent, family-run high street shop THAT’S STILL THERE!!! Cartmells is lovely, friendly electrical store at the top of Yarm High Street, still run by the charming Cartmell family and still in the same building 25 years on. Doug and I regularly wandered down to buy the occasional mini light bulb, transistor and circuit switch for whichever robot (or indeed hut-cum-den thing) we had on the go, and every time I walk past the place now I think of him. Aaaah.

Another Sinclair Programs on the go as well, so expect some serious ZX81 coding action over the next few days. And I wonder what chocolate Doug bought? Given the time of year, the wise money’s on one of these…



  Chris Orton wrote @

Oh go on then…

‘Typeface’ refers to the type family (GillSans, Times, Bakerville etc), while ‘Font’ refers to the things that enable typefaces to be printed. So you can have a TrueType, Postscript, Cyrillic and Latin fonts of a typeface. Fonts are sometimes also referred to as a specific variant of a typeface (Bold, Italic, etc).

You didn’t really want this much information did you?

And you christen a baby in a font.

  Rev. Marcus Carcass wrote @

Strictly speaking you baptise a baby in a font. You christen it in a typeface.

  bobfischer wrote @

Thanks Chris. I’m still none the wiser, but that’s a state of being that I’ve become increasingly comfortable with. 🙂

It’s nice to have an ecumenical perspective on such matters, though. Welcome, Rev Carcass – this blog has long since been in need of some firm moral guidance, and I’ve heard that yours is about as firm as the Church of England allows.

  fiona tims wrote @

I can’t get “Bob goes back to school” to play 😦

14p for a cream egg!

  bobfischer wrote @

Actually, you’re right – I don’t think Doug would have stretched to those sort of prices. He was a straight-down-the-line penny chew man.

The film works fine for me – anyone else having trouble? Probably YouTube forgetting to put 50p in the meter or not pumping the handle anough…

  Patsy wrote @

I can’t get ‘Bob goes back to school’ to play and have tried three times at different times of the day – give up 😦

  bobfischer wrote @

Sorry. There does seem to be a problem with it – I’ve taken it down for the time being and I’ll try uploading it again from scratch in the morning.

ZX81s were never this unreliable… 🙂

  bobfischer wrote @

Done it! Does that work any better?

  fiona tims wrote @

Haha it works-for what it was worth-you were right about the hurricane ;p

I meant 14p was cheap for an egg ;p

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