Wiffle Lever To Full!

Daleks, Death Stars and Dreamy Sci-Fi Nostalgia…

Extracts from Bob’s 1984 Diary… Volume 136

Tuesday 15th May 1984

Woke up at 7.50 and got up at 8.10. First at school I read, then it was hymn praggy (POO!). When we came out it was maths group, then I did maths and also read. Had dinner at 12.00, then we (me, Ozzie, Doug and a cast of thousands) played Cricket.

When we came in we did some language from a book with Mr Millward and played rounders. POO! We lost! Came home at 3.15 and ran down to Yarm, grabbed some blu-tack, then ran back and had tea.

Then I typed, Then me and dad took Poggy Doggy on the field and at 9.00 I watched The Young Ones. Went to bed at the same old 9.30.


I’d like to take this opportunity to apologise unreservedly to Mrs Mulhearn for my appalling slur on our morning’s hymn practice. This shameful comment (POO!) in no way reflects my contemporary opinions on the nature of religious song, and naturally I am deeply ashamed for any hurt or offence my comments may have caused. By means of recompense, I now intend to spend my entire working day singing:

Now in came the animals two by two,
The hippopotamus and the kangaroo…’


I stand by my comments on our rounders performance, though. We sucked, and we sucked big time.

(By the way, what a fine piece of work that Noah song is! I would GENUINELY be singing it all day, if only I could remember any more of the lyrics whatsoever. Although I do vaguely recall that, and I quote, ‘the elephant laughed at the monkey’s tricks…’

Presumably – and admittedly this is a wild stab in the dark – as the animals were coming in six by six)

I remember the big cricket game. We were becoming increasingly obsessed by the sport at the time, and it was around this period that plottings and whisperings began to surface about the possibility of a proper, organised game between two fully kitted-out teams one afternoon. It sprung from rivalry (possibly on this very day) between two particularly sporty types in our year: the laid-back Paul ‘Frankie’ Frank (my mate from the farm, good singer, white tie and black shirt combination, you remember…) and bespectacled wit James ‘Placie’ Place, who seemed to spend his entire school career in a chunky green army jumper.


Kids today don’t dress like they’re in the army, do they? In the late seventies and early eighties, each academic year boasted a smattering of little nutcases who regularly marched off the school bus in green and khaki fatigues and would whip out an Action Man – with eagle eyes and gripping hands – at a moment’s notice. And in even in the adult world you often saw fully-grown blokes (usually lanky hippy types with moustaches) lurking around town in full camouflage gear. I blame Rodney Trotter.

So yes… the seeds of a Frankie vs Placie cricket match were already being sown as two hapless batsmen attempted to slog a punctured tennis ball around a school field containing enough eagle-eyed and gripping-handed fielders to fill a crowd scene in a Cecil B Demille movie. More on this as we get it…

I’ve no idea why I felt the urge to embark on a headlong two-mile run simply to procure some Blu-Tack. There must have been a Doctor Who poster that I was desperate to stick to my bedroom wall AS A MATTER OF URGENCY, failing that it’s possible I just fancied rolling it into little balls and flicking it at Poggy Doggy during our walk. Our poor pooch’s raggy bib usually contained enough Blu-Tack to hold together a modest battleship… in fact, I could probably have saved myself the trip to Yarm with a quick rummage around his shaggy mane. Chances are I’d also have found the Tusken Raider action figure that disappeared in March 1981 and was never seen again.   


And have I imagined it, or did Blu-Tack actually make a pretty decent rubber (or ‘eraser’ if you prefer, stop giggling at the back there…)? I’m sure that, if times were hard, a ball of rolled-up blue stuff would just about vanquish a dodgy pencil drawing of Frankie and Placie squaring up on the cricket field. I’ll have to give it a go sometime and report back (I’m not running though, I’ll take the car into Yarm… well, it’s raining today)

Anyway, another great episode of The Young Ones, and undoubtedly more fodder for tomorrow’s playground escapades.  This was the ‘Cash’ episode, where Neil joins the police force (‘Open up, it’s the pigs…’) and the boys write a stiff letter (‘Dear Fascist Bullyboy…’) to their bank manager. Oh, and there’s a small matter of the poltergoost…



  Chris Orton wrote @

[b]Who Built the Ark?[/b]

Who built the ark? Noah, Noah,
Who built the ark? Brother Noah built the ark.

Now didn’t old Noah build the ark?
He built it out of hickory bark.
He built it long, both wide and tall,
Plenty of room for the large and small.


Now in came the animals two by two,
Hippopotamus and kangaroo.
Now in came the animals three by three,
Two big cats and a bumble bee.
Now in came the animals four by four,
Two through the window and two through the door.
Now in came the animals five by five,
Five little sparrows, doin’ the jive.
Now in came the animals six by six,
The elephant laughed at the monkey’s tricks.
Now in came the animals seven by seven,
Four from home and the rest from heaven.
Now in came the animals eight by eight,
Some were on time and the others were late.
Now in came the animals nine by nine,
Some were shoutin’ and some were cryin’.
Now in came the animals ten by ten,
Five black roosters and five black hens.
Now Noah says, “Go and shut that door,
The rain’s started dropping and we can’t take more!”


You’re right about the erasing effectiveness of Blu-Tack too. But it goes a nasty grey colour.

  bobfischer wrote @

Fantastic, thankyou! I’ve just had a strange flashback reading that… the bit where it goes:

Now Noah says, “Go and shut that door,
The rain’s started dropping and we can’t take more!”

…was sung a bit slower than the rest wasn’t it? Then it sped back up again into a rousing chorus. Great stuff.

I used to love the smell of Blu-Tack as well. Although I once got told off by Mrs Mulhearn for sniffing a permanent marker.

  Chris Byers wrote @

Hymn practice remember it well with Mrs mulhearn. Miming i mean singing such classics as The golden sunshine, All things bright and beautiful and other such classics i can’t now remember.

The only thing was nobody ever told us what we were actually practicing for? The only explanation can be it was an excuse for the rest of the staff to have an extra fag brake or a stiff drink. Before they had another go at trying to educate us lot. Well i suppose they had to try.

  bobfischer wrote @

Good point! We practiced solidly for seven years, so you’d think we’d have been bloody good by the time we left. There should have been a competitive Hymn League where we could put all that practice to good use.

I’ve seen the light, I’ve seen the light, and that’s why my heart sings…

  Chris Byers wrote @

As it seams the fashion these days for 80s bands to reform. Maybe we should all reform for another hymn practice to see if we have improved with age.

On second thoughts perhaps not.

  bobfischer wrote @

I’m game, so long as I can wear my acrylic jacket!

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