Wiffle Lever To Full!

Daleks, Death Stars and Dreamy Sci-Fi Nostalgia…

Extracts from Bob’s 1984 Diary… Volume 92

Sunday 1st April 1984

When we woke up we played with Freddy Teddy, then when we got up it was inspection. After that we went out, then it was breakfast. Then we went to church and in the middle of it someone broke wind! When we came back we had a muck around in the playground, then we had our Sunday dinner.

After that we put our cagouls and boots on and went into the playground. Then we set off on a walk. We trudged along hundreds of roads, then went into Faceby plantation. When we got back to the centre we cleaned our boots.

Then Blue had a shower, and after that all other boys went in the shower. When we’d had that, we had tea, then we had to go into the classroom. Then we had supper and when we’d finished we watched a film on Pond life in the barn. Then we went to bed.

So there you have it, the ‘official’ record of events on (yikes!) April Fool’s Day 1984. But, wait! What about the exercise book diary that we scribbled up in the Carlton Camp classroom? Here you go… 

Sunday 1st April

Woke up when a Teddy bear came flying down at me, and held it for ransom until Gazzie gave me a Wine gum. Then Gaz got done for yogging Freddy Teddy at Harrison, and made his bed twice. We got up later and had some throat numbing porridge and then ran out with Slackie screaming ‘Sedgefields! Gengis Kahn!’


Then we went to church and tried to stifle our laughs when someone let rip in the vicars speech. When we came back we had dinner which was some manky sprouts, potato and all the usual rubbish. We then set off for a walk and got damn sick of Mr Hirst shouting O.K. Yar!


After some trudging through thick turd, which is animal ****, we stopped at a large pool and splattered everyone by chucking boulders in. We got back and cleaned all the turd off our boots, then had a muck around stranding people on the end of the see-saw that’s up in the air. After an awful salad we all had a shower, then chucked clothes on to get to the Tuck shop first. 


After a joyful splash out everybody slowly and mournfully trudged into the classroom. It was like a funeral but worse…

A bit of translation required  here! ‘Yogging’ was just ‘throwing’, of course. As in ‘Yog us that ruler, Slackie’ or ‘He yogged his teddy bear right in me face’. The latter occurence resulting in Gazzie Jones being caught red-handed (or indeed, bear-handed) by Carlton staff member Mr Chapman, a grizzled Yorkshireman who seemed, to us, like a throwback to a bygone Bash Street Kids era of school discipline.

‘You haven’t made your bed, son,’ he said to Gazzie Jones, on this fateful morning. ‘Do it now’.

Gaz made his bed with rigorous attention to detail as Mr Chapman watched.

‘Right’, said Mr Chapman, pulling the now-immaculate sheets and blankets onto the floor with a single, sweeping movement. ‘Now do it again. And learn to behave thiself’.



At some point during this nonsense, we were also made to write letters home, which goes oddly unmentioned in both of my diary entries. I’ve no idea what I scribbled to my parents, but I do recall Andrew ‘Sug’ Sugden writing to his Mum and Dad to inform them that his domitory bed had collapsed, and he was having to spend the week sleeping on the bare wooden floor beneath a blanket.

Check the date at the top of the page. Genius, I tells you.

 Good to see us showing due respect for St Botolph’s church in Carlton village as well, approaching it with a deferential cry of ‘Sedgefields! Gengis Kahn!’

I’ve no doubt whatsoever that we didn’t really know who Genghis Khan actually was. We just had a vague inkling that he was a pretty unpleasant character, and as such it was entirely fitting to shout out his name in tribute when yogging a Teddy Bear in your dormitory mate’s face.

Anyway, myself and Mr Jones revisited St Botolph’s Church this week, and showed it a little more subdued respect…

There can’t be a single former schoolkid in the country without memories of an entirely inappropriate fart during their school days, and our most memorable example came on this very morning. Carlton’s elderly, well-spoken vicar was halfway through the Lord’s Prayer when a spectacularly loud trump parped out from the massed ranks of us great unwashed, sprawling at the back of the church. It climbed and then descended the octaves like a startling glissando on George Chisholm’s trombone.

The ensuing wave of hilarity spread outwards from the epicentre of our group, red-faced giggles and stifled tears radiating like the aftermath of an underwater volcano eruption. If you’re 11 years old (and, let’s be honest, male) then there’s NOTHING funnier than a loud assembly fart. If I could find out who was responsible now, I’d still want to shake their hand. Provided they’d washed it first.

(By the way, here’s Mr Jones at the gate to St Botolph’s, adopting what he describes as his ‘standard photo pose’. I have bigger versions of this available if anyone wants to use it as their desktop wallpaper…)

sunday-carlton-churchAnd the walk! Faceby Plantation is a dense, tangled expanse of woodland about a mile’s walk from the camp, and contains – as I recall – a labyrinth of twisting paths. Here’s the last of my dodgy, wonky photos before I finally caved in and put a proper film into my Gran’s camera the correct way round. It’s Paul ‘Huggy’ Huggins (or at least a bit of him) setting off on this very walk…


 It was on this day that my friend Doug and I became convinced that we’d stumbled upon the evidence of… (DRAMATIC MUSIC)

A murder.

No, really. We spotted, cast aside near the ‘large pool’ a discarded pair of denim shorts and and a mud-stained T-shirt. With the benefit of 25-year-old hindsight, what had clearly happened was that someone had been for a swim, got covered in muck, and thought ‘bugger it, I’m not dragging these filthy old clothes home, I’ll just get changed and dump them here’.

In our fevered imaginations, of course, that was CAST IRON evidence that an innocent young girl had been brought here at knifepoint and stripped naked and murdered by a cold-blooded killer, her body left undiscovered for weeks amidst the impenetrable trees and undergrowth.

To be fair to us, there had been a spate of high-profile serial killings in the UK in the early Eighties, and we were only a couple of years down the line from the capture of the Yorkshire Ripper. This genuinely troubled us, and we talked about it privately a lot in the weeks to come. Inbetween messing around with tarzies and laughing at ill-timed assembly farts, naturally.

Anyway, these are undoubtedly pictures taken on this very day, in Faceby Plantation…


sunday-faceby-2The lad in the yellow football socks (Nottingham Forest away kit, I think) is Andrew ‘Stan’ Henry, a good mate who’s had a few mentions over the course of the year so far. And the sandy-haired kid on the right of both pictures is Jason ‘Tucker’ Tuck, a funny lad with a few acting aspirations. The other boy, with the dark hair, is Richard Horseman. He was definitely one of our regular crowd, although I don’t recall him making it to secondary school with us, so he must have drifted away from Yarm around this time.

(I should say that I’ve sadly lost touch with a lot of my old school friends, so if anyone finds themselves pictured on here and would rather not be, then I’m sorry… let me know!)

Mr Hirst did indeed say ‘OK, Yar!’ a lot on this walk, a phrase I’d never heard before, but I’m guessing it must have been all over TV at the time as the emergent ‘Sloane Rangers’ started to make waves. He also had us singing a strange, improvised variant on the old ‘Quarter Masters Store’ song, the only line of which I can remember is…

‘There were peas, peas, with little hairy knees, in the store… in the stoooore…’


The (very reluctant) shower we had on our return was in a big, communal block, with Mr Hirst herding us in there, ten at a time, with a cattle prod. ‘Why don’t you all sing a song to cheer yourselves up?’ he suggested, noting our grumbling faces.

At which point, en masse, we struck up the following charming ditty, a regular ‘naughty’ playground chant at the time…

One plus one and we’ve having lots of fun in the bedroom. Da-na-na. Da-na-na-na-na.

Two plus two and she’s taking off her shoe in the bedroom. Da-na-na. Da-na-na-na-na.

Three plus three and she’s got me on her knee in the bedroom. Da-na-na. Da-na-na-na-na.   

Four plus four and she’s got me on the floor in the bedroom. Da-na-na. Da-na-na-na-na. 

Five plus five and my legs are open wide in the bedroom. Da-na-na. Da-na-na-na-na.   

Six plus six and she’s taking off her knicks in the bedroom. Da-na-na. Da-na-na-na-na.   

Seven plus seven and it feels like heaven in the bedroom. Da-na-na. Da-na-na-na-na.   

Eight plus eight and the doctor’s at the gate in the bedroom. Da-na-na. Da-na-na-na-na.  (Doesn’t really make sense this one, and – predictably – I couldn’t sing this line without thinking about Doctor Who. Which sadly shows you exactly where MY priorities lie in life)

Nine plus nine and the nappy’s on the line in the bedroom. Da-na-na. Da-na-na-na-na.  (More geographical confusion) 

Ten plus ten and we’ll do it all again in the bedroom. Da-na-na. Da-na-na-na-na.   

Kids are great, aren’t they? Who needs formal sex education when literally EVERYTHING you need to know about the human reproductive cycle is here. When I say we sang this in the shower, I do – of course – mean that we made it to the end of the first line before Mr Hirst rolled his eyes and shouted ‘NOT THAT ONE!!!!’ 

Cue raucous laughter, a few flicks of freezing water into Christopher Herbert’s face and a subdued rendition of ‘Peas, peas, with little hairy knees…’  


Tuck shop was, basically, a table set up in the draughty barn, with a few Wham Bars, Sherbert Dib-Dabs and Chewitts spread out for us to waste our pocket money on. And the documentary about pond life was SO dull that it was clearly intended to reduce us all to a semi-comatose state to make bedtime a little more bearable for our weary, half-mad teachers.

It didn’t work, naturally. I still have fond memories of one of the Seaton Carew teachers – a huge, terrifying man with a Freddie Mercury moustache –  storming into our darkened, riotous dormitory at 11pm and letting rip with a furious, red-faced tirade of anger. ‘AND IF YOU DON’T ALL SHUT UP…’ he bellowed. ‘I MIGHT EVEN LOSE MY TEMPER!!!!!!!!!’We shut up. Quick smart.



  Fiona Tims wrote @

Our Southern version of the song was:

Tea for One, The Story’s just begun,
Tea for Two, I’m telling it to you
Tea for Three, He’s got me on his knee
Tea for Four, He’s got me on the floor
Tea for Five, My legs are open wide
Tea for Six, He’s taking off my knicks
Tea for Seven, It feels like I’m in heaven
Tea for Eight, The Dr’s at the gate
Tea for Nine, I’m feeling rather fine
Tea for Ten, we’re doing it again!

Which makes Line eight even more non-sensical!

  bobfischer wrote @

Fantastic! Who’d have thought sex education would have had regional variants? 🙂

  Dr. Giles Parcel wrote @

When you say that everybody had “A joyful splash out “…

…I desperately wish you hadn’t.

  The Reverend Marcus Carcass wrote @

It’s heartening to see that you all attended Church, although it sounds as though one poor soul misheard the liturgical exhortation “Open Your Hearts!”

  bobfischer wrote @

Pehaps that was it, Rev Carcuss! How impressive for an 11-year-old to have such a destructive weapon in his arsenal.

  Add Themathematicalsymbol Curtis wrote @

i lived in london and we had “tea for eight, midwife is at the gate, tea for nine, the nappies on the line, tea for ten we’re doing it again”

  bobfischer wrote @

I’m intrigued by the way you Southern folk equate sexual adventure with a cup of tea! (It’s all Bovril up here)

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