Wiffle Lever To Full!

Daleks, Death Stars and Dreamy Sci-Fi Nostalgia…

Extracts from Bob’s 1984 Diary… Volume 139

Friday 18th May 1984

Woke up and got up at about 8.00, then first at school I read then finished my poster. Then me and Doug did some language. Had dinner at 12.00 and at 12.15 We all got together and played a mega game of tip-it.

In the afternoon we did maths, then at 3.15 I came home and played on the bike till tea. After that I typed, and at 7.00 I watched the pyramid Game. Then I rang Ozzie to see if I could pick up the FF tommorrow, and at 8.10 I watched Time of your life.

Went out at 9.00 to play on the bike and at 9.15 I went to bed.

I know we’ve done this before, but I’m still not 100% sure what ‘Tip It’ consisted of. I’ve searched online and found a few different board games called ‘Tip It’, but none of them ring any bells, and I still have vague memories of it being a game that used little, brightly-coloured plastic hands for part of it. Is that right, or am I thinking of something else? HEELLLP!

Bizarrely, although I can barely remember a single thing about the game itself, I do remember this being the lunchtime when Doug took a passing glance at my hands (probably in the middle of Tipping It, whatever that was) and issued the immortal line…

‘Bloody hell, you’ve got really thin wrists!’

I remember being a bit taken aback by this, as I’d always thought my wrists were perfectly ordinary, even – in fact – a little on the chunky side. Here’s a handy (ho ho!) current snapshot of my left wrist, just to give you an idea…


What the hell’s wrong with that, then?!?

(Incidentally, if any palmists are reading this, then feel free to predict my future. I’ll give you a head start by telling you that I will indeed shortly be going on a long journey and crossing water. After that, you’re on your own…)

I suppose it’s possible that Doug was seeing my naked, uncovered wrists for the first time, as I spent most of the early 1980s hiding them beneath a pair of truly revolting ‘sweatbands’, bought from Bill Gates’ Sports Shop in Middlesbrough in the summer of 1981. Still occasionally worn by tennis players, these foul loops of Terry Towelling are presumably designed to keep the palms dry by soaking up the torrents of salty goo that regularly pour down the arms of active, sporty people.


I had two sets, one a red and white version with ‘BORO’ on them, and one a yellow and blue edition with the suitably vague slogan ‘FOOTBALL’ on them. I often used to mix and match them, and once let Paul ‘Frankie’ Frank wear them as we sat down to dinner in his farmhouse kitchen one hazy afternoon during that endless summer.

‘Good god,’ muttered Frankie’s mum, rolling her eyes. ‘What are those monstrosities?’

With the benefit of hindsight, I’m on your side, Mrs Frank. My sweatbands are probably still in a bag in the loft somewhere – in fact, by now, they’ve probably generated their own bacterial eco-system large enough to wipe out most of the world’s most virulent diseases. For humanity’s sake, I’ll have a look for them this afternoon.

(Actually, the ‘FOOTBALL’ sweatbands almost certainly came from Stockton market, where cheaper, non-branded versions of Popular Things were readily available. I definitely had, in the late 1970s, a T-Shirt featuring characters from the popular film ‘SPACE WARS’, with Luke Starstriker and Hans Polo fighting the evil Drath Daver in their Z-Wing Fighters. I’m sure, if you looked hard enough, you’d also find Nottingham Woodland and Tottenham Hotfoot football kits)


Anyway, the ‘mega game of tip-it’ referred not to the fact that it was especially great (although I suppose it beat wringing out your sweatbands for entertainment) but that half the fourth year seemed to join in with it, meaning that at least three hexagonal tables had to be pushed together to fit everybody in. The only ones I can remember for certain were Doug and Ian ‘Ozzie’ Oswald, together with Andrew ‘Stan’ Henry, whose picture can never be reproduced enough, and Wendy Brunskill. 

Despite being (gasp) A GIRL, Wendy had become really good friends with Doug and I in recent months, even though I was still in my annoying ‘talking backwards’ phase, and repeatedly called her ‘Ydnew Lliksnurb’ to her face. She was the proud owner of a rapier wit and a sensational Princess Diana hairdo, and we liked her loads. And I still do, so hello Wendy if you’re reading this!

And yes, Ozzie and I were desperately racing against time to finish writing our latest Fighting Fantasy book in order to enter Warlock Magazine’s competition before the deadline on 31st May. I presume from the heated phone call that I made after The Pyramid Game that Ozzie had stalled on his half of the writing, and I was demanding to come over and claim his notes so I could FINISH THE DAMN THING MYSELF. Grrrr.

This aggressive inability to delegate has been a recurring factor in my career ever since, and I apologise to Ozzie here and now if I was… well, a bit sniffy on the phone.  Especially as, having bemoaned our lack of writing activity, I then spent the rest of the night watching Noel Edmonds and arsing around on my Chopper.

Would we make our competition deadline? Watch this space…



  Dr. Giles Parcel wrote @

It is my duty as a scientist to spare the rest of the human race the torment of making a sniggersome reference to:
“arsing around on my Chopper.”

  bobfischer wrote @

A selfless gesture, Dr Parcel. It’s raised the whole tone of the Blog.

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