Wiffle Lever To Full!

Daleks, Death Stars and Dreamy Sci-Fi Nostalgia…

Extracts from Bob’s 1984 Diary… Volume 82

Thursday 22nd March 1984

Woke up at 7.50 and got up at 7.55 because Doctor Who was on breakfast telly and at 8.30 I went for the bus. At 9.00 He was just going to Worsall so I went and was the only one on the bus. Arrived at school at 9.15 and did maths and at 10.10 I went swimming.

First I had a much about, then I got my 50 metres. At 11.30 I came back and at 12.00 I had dinner. After dinner I read and at 1.45 we went out for football. We won 10-3 and I scored four times. Came home at 3.15 and at 3.30 I went down to Doug’s.

First we had some biscuits and orange and then we went outside and played on the Walkie Talkies. Then we went for a walk on Levendale and met Ramsey and Huggy. Came home at 6.00 and had tea and at 6.40 I watched Doctor Who with Colin Baker.

At 7.30 I watched Top of the pops and then I wrote some of my story. At 9.30 I went in the bath, then I went to bed.

Well, this was the day! The first day of the Sixth Doctor’s reign on TV, so naturally it was Colin Baker who perched himself on the BBC Breakfast Time settee while a pouting Selina Scott gently grilled him about all things Gallifreyan. Ironic that I got out of bed early for this, when actually I could have had an extensive lie-in, because (DRAMATIC MUSIC) the school bus was late!!!


So, as I was leaning on my usual road sign, the bus was heading in the opposite direction to usual, half an hour late in its journey to Worsall village to pick up a handful of rural stragglers (including my friend Phil Slack) before turning around to collect me and complete its journey to school. So I got an ultra-rare solo journey to Worsall, and was already stretched out on the back seat smoking a huge sweet cigarette when Slackie and the rest of the gang piled on.


I’ll also have missed Mrs Keasey calling out the register, and remember this was the pre-mobile phone era, so there’ll have been no way for anyone at the school to work out what happened to us bus-bound latecomers. It’s a wonder that the amazingly hairy Mr Chalkley didn’t scramble a SWAT Team of Levendale Primary School Gurkhas to hunt us down.

But yay! I got a swimming certificate! I think I’d picked up my 10m and 25m certificates years earlier, but the 50m had evaded me for a long time. I kept trying and kept pulling up with a length left to go, covered in snot and panting for breath. I was so far behind the rest of the school’s swimmers that I think by this stage I was the only one with the 50m certificate still not under my trunks, because – gasp – I definitely did this as a solo effort while the rest of the group sat on the sides and watched.


And did I collapse under the weight of this pressure and public scrutiny? Pffffft. Nope. I showboated it. On the final length, I could hear Doug and Frankie and Gazzie Jones shouting ‘GO ON FISCHER!’ and I paused in mid-stroke to give them a cheeky Steve Ovett-style wink, wave and thumbs up.

At which point I distinctly heard Mr Hirst say ‘Stop showing off and finish the damn thing or we’ll be here all afternoon…’

And what better way to round off a fine day’s worth of sporting activity than with four girls in our afternoon kickabout? No doubt with Mr Hirst sporting his Bullet Baxter tracksuit (plain red Adidas, with the treble stripe all the way down both arms and legs) and ‘refereeing’, although he was the only referee I ever saw who would occasionally barge one of the strikers out of the way to apply a thunderous finish himself.

On the rare occasions when we were allowed to have the ball ourselves, it was also worth working on a few little routines to accompany the feat. Those of us useless enough not to make the school team would compensate for our ineptness by accompanying our on-the-ball actions with a) a running commentary, and b) the occasional fanfare. The school playing field was constantly awash with cries of ‘Fischer’s got the ball… oh, he’s beaten one man, and another… brings it down… TA-DAAAAAAAA… DIDDLE IDDLE DIDDLE… it’s a sensation… and BRRRRRAMMMMMM!!! He lamps it over into the playground because he’s got feet shaped like bananas’.


We’ll have eaten Mint Viscount biscuits at Doug’s. We always did. And we’ll have drank Presto’s own brand Orange Squash, a pale pink concoction that would have made the Man from Del Monte shake his head and blow through his cheeks, before ditching the white suit forever and dressing like Johnny Cash for the rest of his working life.

‘Huggy’, meanwhile, was Paul Huggins, who I’ve mentioned before – a strapping, sporty lad who liked a laugh and became increasingly good mates with Doug and me at this time. And ‘Ramsey’ was Graham Ramsey, one of my oldest mates from Levendale, another good footballer with a mop of black hair. They both lived around the top of the ‘cut’ seen in Diary Entry Volume 74.

ANYWAY!!! Doctor Who… and, of course, Part One of The Twin Dilemma, Colin Baker’s debut episode. Now, this story holds bitter-sweet memories for me, and probably not for the reasons you’re expecting. Yes, Colin Baker was BRILLIANT, Nicola Bryant was BRILLIANT, the twins themselves were BRILLIANT and the whole story and stuff and everything was BRILLIANT.


But I knew I’d never ever get to see Parts Three and Four in my whole life, because the following week I was off to Carlton Outdoor Education Centre, thousands of miles away from my front room TV, and nobody in my family owned a video recorder yet.

Curse you, Grey Lady of Carlton Camp. Curse you…

(and I’ve just remembered, we haven’t had a scary ghost picture from the ‘Myths, Monsters and Legends’ book in our school library for ages now. Here you go…)


And what would have been on Top Of The Pops? Why undoubtedly this little gem, at Number One in the charts that week…



  bobfischer wrote @

It’s been pointed out to me that this entry contains the line ‘what better way to round off a fine day’s worth of sporting activity than with four girls in our afternoon kickabout’.

Correction: That should be ‘goals’ and not ‘girls’.

I was clearly thinking about my long-standing fantasy of starting a weekly five-a-side team with the former members of B*Witched.

  illegibleme wrote @

I’ve just realised that at the start of that video Lionel makes a blind girl act out a scene about arranging to go to the pictures. Nasty bugger.


  bobfischer wrote @

LIONEL RICHIE IS EVIL. It’s a lesson we all learn in life, sooner or later.

  Mark Hirst wrote @

Spooky this, but I thought I’d just mention it.

The piece about swimming and my flamboyant football skills is nicely juxtaposed with a fine picture of Steve Ovett………… who was a classmate of mine for three years at Varndean Boys School Brighton in the late 60’s. Even when he ran for the school bus, you could see he had talent and I might have thought then that Olympic Gold beckoned!!

He was also a chum of mine at Burwash Outdoor Centre, our school’s version of Carlton.

Now there’s a coincidence and a half!!

  bobfischer wrote @

Fantastic! I can’t believe you didn’t mention this at school. Actually, you probably did, but I’ll have been too busy throwing pencil sharpeners at Andrew Sugden to listen. 🙂

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