Wiffle Lever To Full!

Daleks, Death Stars and Dreamy Sci-Fi Nostalgia…

Extracts from Bob’s 1984 Diary… Volume 108

Tuesday 17th April 1984

Woke up at 9.00 and got up at 10.00. Then we all walked Poggy Doggy down to Yarm. I got a pin for my Strika at Cartmells, then me and dad went to Yarm autoparts and on the way back we met Doug and his family.

On the way home I showed mam the mud track and when I got home I fixed the Strika. Then Doug came and put the gear chain on the chopper and after dinner we went for a ride. We went round and round the estate, and went under the bridge to an estate near the meadowings.

We went to the main road and went up the mud track, and after a go in the mud track we went back to Doug’s and played on the BMX course. Then I came home and had tea and after a run outside I watched Tuckers luck. Then I watched a question of spork

Ah yes, A Question of Spork! Such clear memories of Ian Bokham and Peker Shilkon pitting their wits against Cliff Khorburn and Fakima Whikbread. I’ve absolutely no idea what distracted me from finishing my diary-writing on this day, but it must have been pretty drastic. Probably a bit of left-over spam frikker stuck in my gullek.


Anyway, I owe Cartmells electrical shop a big apology… clearly they did (and possibly still do) sell bicycle parts, because the ‘pin for my Strika’ was obtained from there, despite the fact that I’ve no recollection of any bike in my possession ever requiring a ‘pin’ to function properly. It was probably to attach an A-Team badge to the saddle, or somesuch kwaddle.

I do remember being slightly disappointed, though, that my Mum clearly didn’t share my sense of wonder at our discovery of the magical, mysterious ‘mud track’. ‘Look, it’s an amazing, scenic short cut into the High Street!!!’ I exclaimed, conveniently ignoring the fact that it was at least twice the length of our normal route. 

‘Yes, lovely,’ she replied. ‘Now stop fiddling with that pin or you’ll lose the bloody thing, and we’re not going back to Cartmell’s’.

Thankfully Doug came to the rescue, and we returned to the ‘mud track’ on our own later, no doubt for another in-depth chat on the swings. Looking back, I think these stolen hours rocking back and forth in the playground were when I became really close to Doug… obviously we were best mates, but before the ‘mud track’ we filled our time actually DOING stuff (building things, playing football, riding bikes) rather than simply talking.

But on these strange, lazy afternoons we had – I think – the first real ‘adult’ conversations I’d ever had in my life. We talked about our fears for the future (secondary school and nuclear war, in that order), we talked about girls we fancied (and I’ll spare their blushes here) and we talked seriously and sensibly about… well, growing up. Adulthood (or at least, our teenage years) was looming on the horizon like a thunderous black cloud, and we knew it.

‘Do you consider yourself a child, or a young adult?’ I remember Doug asking me, on one of these occasions.

‘A young adult,’ I replied, thoughtfully. On the way back home, cycling crazily through the Meadowings estate, we overheard – or so we reckoned – an attractive young Mum telling her teenage daughter all about… well, (cough cough) the facts of life. We found this at once hilarious and intriguing, and spent the rest of the journey home singing Billy Joel’s ‘Tell Her About It’ by means of a tribute.


And then a few circuits of Doug’s home-made BMX course just to round the evening off. Piles of bricks, planks of wood and the indescrible, crushing agony of attempting to do bunny-hops on a Raleigh Chopper constructed entirely from wrought iron girders.

Ouch, me kestickles!



  Chris Orton wrote @



  bobfischer wrote @

Crikey, thankyou! I’m learning things every day from this blog. Both about myself and about oddly-shaped pseudo-cutlery.

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