Wiffle Lever To Full!

Daleks, Death Stars and Dreamy Sci-Fi Nostalgia…

Extract from Bob’s 1984 Diary… Volume 127

Sunday 6th May 1984

Woke up at nineish and got up about 10.00. Started to sketch a Dr Who picture, then Doug came and we went on the kebble estate, up the mud track, then went back through the estate. Had dinner, then we went out and played cricket, and after a muck on  upstairs, we went to the tree at the Cricket Club.

When we came back we played Cricket, then Doug went home and I had tea. At 7.15 I watched Last of the Summer Wine, then me and dad went outside and played cricket. When I came in I went upstairs and played on the computer, then I did some drawings until 11.30, when I went to bed.

Pull up a pew and grab a King Cone and a dog-eared bag of Butterkist… I thought it was high time we had another exclusive, high-octane 1984 Diary film…

This is the ‘Mud Track’ that I mention repeatedly in my diary, and you can read a lot more about its strange influence on our lives in Volume 106 of this nonsense, dated Sunday 15th April 1984. But I thought it was worth clambering to the top of that bank… and I was amazed when I found the remains of our old tarzie up there!

(I’m not sure it comes over that well on the embedded film above, but you can see it better on the proper, full-screen Youtube version, which I’ve put here)

So we’d take a short run-up from the position that I’m standing in on the film, and swing out over the sharp drop, often daring each other (or – gasp – even ‘double daring’ each other) to let go of the rope at the highest point, at which point a grotty, mop-headed 11-year-old would plummet like the proverbial sack of sh*t to the ground and tumble sickeningly to the foot of the swings, where no doubt a couple of teenage glue-sniffers* would come to the rescue and attempt resuscitation with a couple of firm boots to the fleshy bits.


 (*or ‘GLUEEEEEYS!!!!’ as they were commonly known, a cry usually accompanied by a high-speed scattering of terrified kids in all directions, because a) clearly all teenage boys with spots were glue-sniffers at this point and – hey – they were EVERYWHERE, and b) those with a prediliction for strong solvent abuse are obviously well-known for their abilities to give relentless chase at speeds that make Steve Ovett look like Else Garnett).

And yes, that intimidating-looking fence was entirely absent in 1984. The bank just continued up to the (completely unprotected) railway line, and Doug and I used to regularly wander up there for a walk, and occasionally sit in the ramshackle workmen’s hut surrounded by weeds and containing all manner of interesting tools, signs and archaic railway apparatus. Looking back, it had clearly been there since the days of Dr Beeching, and was a musty, spider-filled link to the exciting distant past. 

Incidentally, was anyone else forced to watch the Schools Information Film called – and I’m going entirely from memory here – ‘DON’T BUGGER ABOUT NEAR RAILWAY LINES, YOU NUTTERS!’ I may have paraphrased this a little, but that was the gist. I have very vague memories of being traumatised for weeks by fuzzy footage of 1970s kids being clipped, killed and damaged by passing trains, but I can’t pin it down to a time or place… which is unusual for me, so I’m not sure if it’s an entirely false memory. Does this ring any bells for anyone?

We were clearly in a contemplative mood, anyway. I think the ‘mucking about upstairs’ on this day might have consisted of us abandoning our plans to build a fully-functioning disco in my bedroom, with us both coming to the crashing realisation that an intermittently flashing yellow light stolen from the roadworks on Green Lane was never going to give Studio 54 a run for its money. ‘I can really see Debbie Jarvis grooving away to that,’ said Doug, sarcastically, as it winked away on my bedside table.


As a result we went to the mud track and our new retreat, the tree at Yarm Cricket Club, to plan our next project. I remember sitting wistfully in the tree branches watching (I think on this day) an actual cricket match in progress beneath us. Nobody spotted us at all, and we had a blissful afternoon drinking Panda Cola from tiny bottles, feeling deeply superior to the unsuspecting middle-aged men in whites as the sun slowly crawled across the sky.

Compo, Clegg and Foggy would have been proud of us.


1 Comment»

[…] we retreated to the top of the bank where the Tarzie was (there’s a film of this location on this entry) and tried to scare her off with some advanced […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: