Wiffle Lever To Full!

Daleks, Death Stars and Dreamy Sci-Fi Nostalgia…

Extracts from Bob’s 1984 Diary… Volume 97

Friday 6th April 1984

When we got up we had a wash, then had to strip our beds and fold all the covers up. When we’d done that I got all my gear and put it on my bed, then packed my case and took it round to the front. Somewhere in the middle of that we had breakfast and just after a game of chess we had assembly.

Then we got on the bus and met mam at school. Doug’s mam took us home, and I played on the ZX when I got back. Then I typed for a bit and I read my comics, and after that I had tea. Then I played on the ZX81 and at 6.45 I watched Pink Panther.

At 7.00 I watched Odd One Out and at 7.30 I watched Fame, closely followed by Time of your life at 8.20. After that, at 9.00 I played on the ZX81. Then I went to bed.

Awww.. the end of my stint at Carlton Camp, and the return to normality. Or as close as I ever got. One last strange incident to report before we go, though… I have very vague memories of Gazzie and I falling out as we stripped the beds, words (probably ‘Nark On’ and ‘Cheesy Wah’) being exchanged, and – unbelievably – a little flurry of fisticuffs. It’s the only thing ever approaching a fight that I’ve ever had in my life, although I seem to recall my lightweight slaps (‘You bwute! You bwute!’) were laughed off pretty comprehensively by the rugged Mr Jones.

It lasted for a matter of seconds until Mr Hirst marched into the room, rolled his eyes and made us shake hands. And then – like all childhood scraps – we completely forgot about it and were immediately mates again. No idea why it started, presumably I disapproved of his blanket-stripping technique, or maybe it was just belated revenge for last night’s Grey Lady stunt.


We were back at school by lunchtime, I think. My mum didn’t drive in 1984, but Doug’s mum did… and the family had a luridly yellow Lada that was waiting for us outside the school gates as the bus pulled up. I was slightly disturbed to see both of our mothers stepping out of the car together, as I don’t think they’d even spoken to each other before we went away to Carlton. 

But this meant they were now FRIENDS, and had undoubtedly been swopping notes on mine and Doug’s activites in our absence. My heart sank in the knowledge that the vintage ‘nuddy calendar’ in our den would undoubtedly have been brought into the conversation, and my shady secrets were out. There was no other option but to persuade my parents to move house somewhere several hundred miles away to spare my embarrassment for the next fifty years.

‘Did you have fun?’ asked my mum, as we slung our suitcases into the back of the car.

‘Oh, he’s got a tale or two to tell you…’ laughed a passing Mr Hirst, clearly referring to my full-body tumble into the stagnant pond at the foot of Carlton Bank.

Mine and Doug’s mums (and me and Doug) exchanged a single, worried look, burst out laughing, and piled into the car. 


Anyway, a little interlude… speaking of Mr Hirst, it struck me last week that he’d been mentioned so often in my Carlton diaries that it might be nice to find him and see if he could be persuaded to have a little chat for the blog. Bearing in mind that I hadn’t seen him since I left Levendale Primary School in July 1984, and had no idea if he was a) still teaching, or b) still local.

Nevertheless, a campaign of exhaustive detective work (ten minutes on Google) revealed a likely-looking Mr Hirst was the headmaster of Galley Hill Primary School in Guisborough, a few miles outside Middlesbrough. I tentatively sent the school an e-mail asking if their and my Mr Hirst were one and the same, and – lo and behold – he WAS!

So on Friday afternoon, slightly nervous, I wandered over to the school itself, and spent a lovely hour swopping memories with my old teacher. And then we turned the camera on, and tried to keep things slightly less libellous! (Apologies for the Crap-O-Vision quality of my creaky digital camera – just turn the sound up a bit…)

Seriously, I know you’ll read this, so thanks Mr H – it was lovely to see you again.

Attentive readers might remember that during our week at Carlton I’d speculated with Doug that my parents might – just MIGHT – have bought me a coveted ZX Spectrum while I was away, as a luvverly surprise to make my homecoming all the more special. I’m not sure exactly WHY I thought this, other than the fact that I was completely deluted about my parents financial situation, and clearly thought I was the son of Richard Branson or Tiny Rowland.

Needless to say, when I shambled through the kitchen door, and Poggy Doggy came racing out of the dining room to throw his paws around me, there was no sign of a ZX Spectrum in the house. Just a pile of comics (Beano, Dandy, Whoopee!, Whizzer and Chips, Eagle, Star Wars Weekly, Nutty) that my mum would have collected from Mr Murray’s newsagents in Acklam on the Saturday, during her weekly visit to my gran’s house.

Ah well… I’d have to wait until Christmas, after all…

A couple of strange TV bits: ‘Odd One Out’ was a game show presented by Paul Daniels, in the days when every night of the week boasted at last two prime-time game shows, and they all brought in squillions of viewers. It looked liked this…

And ‘Time Of Your Life’ was a pre-Telly Addicts Noel Edmonds vehicle, revelling in gooey-eyed nostalgia and shameless retro trappings. (Cuh! As if anyone’s interested in THAT). Every week a noted celeb was invited to reminisce about the happiest period of their life, while L’il Noel introduced clips from TV shows and songs of the time. It was actually good fun, and a rare source of old TV clips in the days before the Fischer household boasted a video recorder. My dad’s theory being that ‘there’s bugger all on telly that I want to watch ONCE, let alone record to watch again…’

An early night as well, you’ll notice. I must have been knackered after all that fresh air and stagnant water.




  Chris Orton wrote @

Fantastic interview with Mr Hirst there Bob – isn’t it incredible how teachers can remember individual pupils, years after teaching them? I mean, teachers must teach *thousands* of kids over the course of their careers.

You should have tried to recreate your scrap with Gaz!

  Mark Hirst wrote @

It’s always good to meet up with ex pupils and it was a pleasure to meet Bob after all these years. I’ve really enjoyed reading this blog and it’s amazing how certain pupils remain fixed in the memory. This was a very good Carton trip from my recollection, as we had a good group and the weather was reasonably kind.

In `those days`, health and safety concerns were filed away somewhere under `to do` and we were able roam free, so to speak!

Apart from the Slackie incident, accidents were few and far between and to be honest , the unpredicatble and entertaining Slack, could ihave injured himself in a padded cell!

Strangely, following this interview I could remember Stephen Mason with alarming clarity and if medals were awarded for whingeing, he would have taken gold.

I probably turned the shower temperature down a few cogs, when he immersed himself after a hard day on the hills.

This whole `diary` should serve as testament to the value of taking children out of school and experiencing the joys of the wide outdoors and communal living!

Beats boring topic work researching holiday destinations doesn’t it? Off to Lanzarote next week, as my class reckon it’s the best deal I’ll get.

Cheers, Keep on writing!

  Dr. Giles Parcel wrote @

What an enjoyable interview! It must be strange to catch up with somebody after so much time and I doubt any of my teachers would remember me. We Parcels have always been indistinct.
He is a brave man for stepping in to break up your fight too, though I agree with the person above that you should have recreated it, perhaps with nunchuks.

  bobfischer wrote @

Mr H, we’re truly honoured by your presence! And don’t worry about the freezing showers, they made me the man I am today (feeble and slightly athsmatic).

It was great to see you, thanks for indulging this nonsense! And I spoke to Mr Slack yesterday, who has fond memories of you taking him and his bleeding chin to Stokesley clinic.

[…] own sensational Levendale Primary School Boy’s Bogs Story at the end of his interview on this diary entry. Well worth a look! Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Extracts from Bob’s 1984 […]

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