Wiffle Lever To Full!

Daleks, Death Stars and Dreamy Sci-Fi Nostalgia…

Extracts from Bob’s 1984 Diary… Volume 132

Friday 11th May 1984

Woke up at 7.50 and got up at 8.00. At school I went to the boy’s  bogs and had a XXXXCENSOREDXX! Then I had to do a piece of writing from some farting English book. Slop was up at 12.00, then we played cricket with Ozzie. Came in and did another piece of maths, then had a muck around in with Sug in the library when Mr Hirst wasn’t looking.

Came home at 3.15 and wrote some of the FF, then I went on the field with Poggy Doggy and an incopetant person: Codename Dad. Came home, watched Noel Edmonds, then I dragged myself upstairs and had a sleep till morning.


Oh dear, a rare lapse of taste! Can you tell I’m playing to an audience here? Yep, this diary entry was written the following evening, when – guess what – Doug was staying over at my house for the night. So whereas my normal scribblings were written solo and intended for my eyes only, this was undoubtedly written with my best mate hovering over my shoulder and cackling manically while I hammed it up something rotten.

I love the idea of a farting English book, though – there are millions to be earned here if somebody can patent this in time! What a gap in the market, together with burping calculators and swearing protractors. ’40 degrees, you filthy t**t!’


I’m glad the ‘Boy’s Bogs’ get a long-overdue mention in this entry, though. Here, to be read in an Alan Freeman-style countdown, are my…

(I know ‘Ten’ is more traditional, but hey – I don’t make the rules)

8. ‘Mrs Bloor, that camel smells funny’. Christmas 1977, and I’m about to make my stage debut as a camel in the school’s Nativity Play. I’m one of three terrified five-year-olds wrapped from head to, erm, camel’s toe in Heavy Denier tights and forced onto all fours with a cushion strapped to my back (so, strictly speaking, we were Dromedaries, but 32 years later I’m ready to forgive…)

Just after our thirty second call, the camel in front of me (the always-perceptive David Westland) issues the immortal line ‘Mrs Bloor, that camel smells funny’. At which point it becomes apparent that the camel in front of HIM, the permanently-terrified Jonathan Millsom, has wet himself. Cue an emergency dash to the Boy’s Bogs, and a slightly truncated camel dance routine performed for the entertainment of Mary, Joseph and the Baby Jesus.


(NB I’ve since spent time in the company of real camels, and they smell far worse than Jonathan Millsom ever did)

7. Wet Arse Syndrome, early 1978. Five years old, in the middle of an unbelievably harsh winter, and I’m sitting on the toilet in our school’s teeny ‘Reception’ area when cackling caretaker’s son Nigel Strike bursts through the door and pulls the chain (and it was, in those days, LITERALLY a chain) resulting in a torrent of freezing water cascading around my nether regions. Even today, there are parts of me that are still slightly blue.

6.  Shocking Christopher Herbert into silence. Spring 1982, and on a dog-walking expedition with my parents, I pick a handful of quivering daffodils whose gooey, sticky sap instantly cascades down the front of my Star Wars T-shirt. The following morning, the skin on my chest and stomach has erupted into a violent, lumpy, bright red allergic reaction that looks like a serious case of Third Degree Burns. (As opposed, obviously, to all those non-serious cases of Third Degree Burns… but hey, you get the picture. It were ‘orrible)

It requires an emergency doctor’s appointment and a gigantic tube of Hydrocortisone cream rubbing into it thrice daily. Naturally, I have to do this in the Boy’s Bogs during school dinnertime, so I wait until the coast is clear and creep into the conveniences to treat myself in front of the mirror.

When I emerge, the foul Herbert is sitting outside the toilet door looking pale, shaken and dumbfounded, and refuses to speak when I say hello to him. The grotty little oik has clearly been spying on me through the ventilation grille. Serves him right.


5. Summer 1982, and we’re given ‘Disclosure Tablets’ as part of one of Mr Millward’s strange experiments. These tiny, foul-tasting pills create a bubbling, fuscia foam in the mouth that sticks like a limpet to any plaque present on the teeth. I remember at least half a dozen of us grubby pillocks chewing these for five minutes before racing to the toilet mirrors and gazing in awe at our sinister gobfuls of luminous pink teeth.

4. Sometime in 1979, and I’m sitting on the toilet in the cubicle when Jason Fenton hammers on the door, claiming – not entirely convincingly – to be ‘The Ghost Of The Boy’s Bogs’. ‘I don’t believe you,’ I reply, again not entirely convincingly. ‘Who is it really?’

‘I’ll give you a clue,’ he mutters, and pushes a Polo mint underneath the door towards my trouser-clad feet. I’ve still no idea what he was on about, but I ate the Polo anyway. Urgh!


3. An ongoing knock-out competition of  ‘Who Can Pee The Highest Up The Wall’ occupying most of early 1981. The urinal in our toilet consisted of a solid, stainless steel slab that extended up the wall, far above head height for the average eight-year-old wazzock – presumably in anticipation of us attempting exactly this kind of unsavoury practice. Stephen Mason regularly claimed that he’d managed to hit the water tank on the ceiling, but we never actually saw him do it.

2.  1980, and I tell Wayne Parker than I’m going to go and ‘write on the toilet’, a fact that the grotty little snitch immediately reports to our headmaster of the time, Mr Watson. As a result I’m discreetly taken aside, have a Mateus wine bottle lamp shone in my face, and am interrogated endlessly about my boastful graffiti claims.

What I’d actually meant was that I was going to TAKE MY WORK, my exercise book and pen, and continue writing my Star Wars story while SITTING on the toilet. Not literally ‘write on the toilet’. As far as disastrously ambiguous declarations go, I’d say this is second only to Derek Bentley’s ‘Let him have it, Chris’.

1. Falling in the trough, late 1978. Take one unco-ordinated five-year-old, one slippery toilet floor, and one trough filled with lurid, Sugar Puff-fuelled infant wee, and observe the hilarious consequences. I had to wear a pair of giant grey flares from Lost Property for the rest of the day while my own foul, pee-stained trousers were wrapped in a Hinton’s carrier bag and sent home to be humanely destroyed.


Anyway, the word I was grasping for in my 1984 Diary entry on this day was ‘Incompetant’. And yes, when my Mum read this entry a couple of days later, I was told in no uncertain terms to ‘write a proper diary entry, I don’t want to read about doing Censoreds in the Boy’s Bogs’.

I’ll probably be in trouble again when she sees this.

PS Mr Hirst has his own sensational Levendale Primary School Boy’s Bogs Story at the end of his interview on this diary entry. Well worth a look!



  Chris Orton wrote @

I have to say that I am quite surprised that there is no entry in the Top Eight for a tale related to ‘skiddy roll’. I thought that most primary schools back in those times had an endless supply of this despicable stuff. I mean, whoever thought that it would be a good idea to furnish the toilets with rolls of what can only be described as thin tracing paper? What was the thinking behind that exactly? We all know what we do at the toilet, but what was the reasoning in producing a toilet roll that was slippery, thin and prone to rip whilst in use? For little children? You could have lined cake tins with the rubbish that we had to contend with. I dread to think what it must have been like for some mams when the came to do the washing.

(I suspect that there must have been complaints about skiddy roll at our primary school as I do remember at one point that it was replaced by a rough pink roll, that was almost as unpleasant as the previous stuff).

Mind you, that falling in the trough story takes some beating.

  bobfischer wrote @

Beaten you to it, Chris…! 😉


It was amazingly unpleasant stuff, not least because if you somehow managed to use more than about six inches of the stuff, it would clog up the toilet and absolutely refuse to budge no matter how vigorously you flushed.

I presume our Education Authorities must have had a deal with the Izal company to buy the stuff in bulk, a lorryload of the stuff for £1.75 and a couple of packets of Rothmans for the driver.

  Chris Orton wrote @

Yes, there was clearly some kind of brown envelope dealing going on between the local authorities and the bog roll factory I reckon.

Actually, they should have just given us the brown envelopes…

  Chris Byers wrote @

I can remember a rumour that the staff toilets had soft paper. Dont know if this was true or not but we all belived it. Perhaps the living legend Mr Hirst can confirm this.

  Fiona Tims wrote @

As if the toilet paper alone wasn’t bad enough, did you also have the TP holders, that only let you rip of 2 sheets at a time? They wouldn’t roll all the way round and so you had to keep tugging to get more paper. I wonder if Junior/Secondary Schools still have this stuff??

I’m guessing not, judging by how PC things are today ;p

  bobfischer wrote @

And if the envelopes weren’t brown when they were delivered, then… (finish that sentence yourselves)

Chris, I once caught a glimpse of the staff toilets, and can confirm they not only had toilet paper made of crushed velvet, they also boasted gold-plated hand-dryers and fluffy towels made from lambswool. We should have started a revolution while we had the chance!!!

Fiona, bad though the toilet paper was, I’m pretty sure that we could at least take as much of it as we wanted to. Which admittedly wasn’t usually much more than two sheets, unless we were on a dedicated bog-blocking mission.

  Mark Hirst wrote @

Unlike my razor sharp memory, male staff provision was pink budget coarse/soft.

But not soft enough for the female staff, who often brought their own!

Bob’s glimpse of the staff toilets is testimony to his talent for writing fantasy. Either that ,or I was using the boiler room in error!

  bobfischer wrote @

PINK toilet paper! LUXURY. Our toilet paper was dark grey and made out of melted-down razor blades. And you try telling that to kids today… etc…

Name and shame those who brought their own, Mr H. We have a right to know.

  Chris Byers wrote @

Surprised to hear they didn’t have marble sinks with gold taps and Mr Strike providing hot towels.

  Drew Smith wrote @

Coming to this late with my two favourite toilet-related primary school memories.

1) In year 1. – Along with three other lads, being paid 20p to do a wee in front of two curious older girls. The dinner nanny caught us and we were escorted to the head master, who explains why we’re not allowed to do this sort of thing. He asked us to point out who gave us the money and so we shopped in one of the girls from year 3. Later that day we realised that this girl had done nothing wrong – she just happened to be the older sister of a girl in year 2 who paid us to get our winkies out.

2) Year 4/5 – Michael and Nathan decide it would be a brilliant idea to dump into some toilet-roll parcels they have improvised, wrap them up, and lob them full pelt at the dinner nannies. Four, poo-glued, sticky parcels remain stuck on the side of the school for the remainder of the day.

  bobfischer wrote @

I’d like to apologise in full to any respectable, professional members of the community (doctors, architects, ombudsmen, Mr Hirst, etc) who may have inadvertantly stumbled upon the above post.

I’d like to point out that it in no way reflects the overall tone of this blog, and the high standards of decency that I’ve constantly strived to maintain over the course of this project.

PS The going rate at my school was 15p.

  Kurt & Gert Birt wrote @

We apologise for arriving late to the lavatory symposium but we simply must ask for clarification on Point 4: did you really eat a polo mint off a toilet floor?

  bobfischer wrote @

You think I’m proud of this? You think I didn’t agonise for hours before deciding to release this information into the public domain? What I will say, in my defence, was that the standards of lavatorial hygeine at Levendale Primary School in the late 1970s were exemplary, and – as my Dad would no doubt have said – ‘you could eat your dinner off that sh*thouse floor’. Or, indeed, a Polo mint.

At least it wasn’t a Fruit Polo, they gathered the dust like nobody’s business. Can you still get them?

I await your response before deciding whether to issue any further toilet-related leaks. So to speak.

  bobfischer wrote @

By the way, I think I have some of Lavatory Symposium’s early albums.

  Kurt & Gert Birt wrote @

A lemon fruit polo would have been a very distressing thing to eat of a lavatory floor, we imagine. The lingering doubt that it might actually have been a greatly-eroded urinal cleansing block would surely have been unbearable.

Incidentally we admire your courage in engaging the blogosphere with your toilet related honesty. We greatly appreciate being made privy to these hitherto unspoken recollections and trust you are flushed with the success of your endeavour.

  bobfischer wrote @

It’s a pleasure. Although it’s driving me round the bend.

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