Wiffle Lever To Full!

Daleks, Death Stars and Dreamy Sci-Fi Nostalgia…

Extracts from Bob’s 1984 Diary… Volume 217

Saturday 4th August 1984

Woke up at 8.30 and got up at 8.45. At 9.10 we went to Stockton and I got a blazer, a sweater, a pencil case, a rubber, a pencil sharpener, four biros and a pencil for Conyers. Came back at 11.30 and had dinner, then I went to Doug’s and his cousin was there.

We played on the Walkie Talkies then we played darts. After that we watched TV then at 5.30 I came home and had tea. After that I went outside and played football, then at 7.00 I watched Russ Abbott.

At 7.30 I watched Ultra Quiz, then I went out till 9.15, when I went to bed.

Ahhhh, here we go… a lifetime of watching Carry On films and Are You Being Served finally proved my downfall on this fateful afternoon, because – brace yourself – I WAS SENT OUT OF DOUG’S KITCHEN FOR LAUGHING AT A WOBBLY SAVELOY.

It wasn’t my fault! Doug’s Mum, bless her, gave a single knock on Doug’s bedroom door and shouted to us all that ‘There’s food in the kitchen if you want it…!’ Naturally the resulting stampede down the hallway would have left the buffalo of the Appalachian mountains sucking their teeth, shaking their heads and backing off timidly until the dust had settled.

What we found in the kitchen reduced all three of us to stifled, red-faced aploplexy. Neatly arranged on identical saucers on the kitchen table were three gigantic, light orange saveloys, THE MOST AMAZINGLY PHALLIC-LOOKING FOODSTUFFS I’VE EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE. Doug, never one to miss an opporunity, furtively picked his up, held it to his forehead, and twisted his features into the best, gurning ‘school spanner’ face in his extensive repertoire.

His cousin, who was (I think) called Russell, held his at crotch level and waggled it suggestively under the table while pulling a knowing ‘proud porn star’ face. At which point my inner hysterics exploded outwards, and thirty seconds worth of hidden, brain-melting, lung-bursting giggles splattered all over the kitchen and dripped down the melamine cabinets. I absolutely ROARED with laughter, hammering the table with my open palm, at which point Doug’s Mum spun around from the sink with a look of abject disappointment, rolled her eyes, and said ‘Oh, for crying out loud… go and stand outside…’

So I did. I tiptoed out of the kitchen door (still chortling and slapping my thighs as I went) and leaned against the garage wall. Occasionally I’d risk a sneaky glance back through the kitchen window, and on one occasion Doug anticipated my actions to perfection and sucked the last of his wobbly saveloy into his mouth with a cheeky wink and a thumbs up.

I rolled around the garden for fully ten minutes, whooping like Finbarr Sauders and clutching my aching stomach before Doug’s Mum finally relented and allowed me back into the house, on the strict condition that I wasn’t allowed to look at the prawn balls in the freezer.

I’d like to point out that, in the intervening 25 years, I’ve matured somewhat. I’d LIKE to point that out, but I can’t, because it isn’t true. I’m now 36 years old, and – given a packet of simple, child’s balloons – am still unable to resist blowing up two spherical red ones and one long, cylindrical orange one and hanging them all together above the front room door.    

And then waiting, with tears rolling down my face, for the local vicar to come calling, looking for volunteers to raise money for the church roof repair fund. 36 years, 8 months, 3 weeks, 2 days and counting…

Great to see preparations cracking on apace for my arrival at Conyers School as well. Important to get your pencil sharpener and biros bought a good four weeks in advance, ahead of the usual September rush on such rare and sought-after treasures. I’ve got a feeling that all of my booty on this particular day was bought at the now (obviously) defunct branch of Woolworth’s, as I definitely remember trying on the blazer in the shop’s crowded aisles, and looking forlornly at the cuffs, which brushed limply against the ends of my fingertips.


‘Well you’ll grow into it…’ said my Mum, impatiently. ‘There’s no point in spending twenty quid on something that’s not going to fit you in six months time…’ She was right, of course. I think I’d already gained at least four inches since the previous summer, and yes – feel free to insert your own saveloy jokes here.

By the way, I remember – one afternoon when my parents were out – creeping into their bedroom and trying on my whole future school uniform for the first time, in front of the full-length mirror on their wardrobe door. I think I even put the biros in my top pocket. I was absolutely stunned, scared and filled with anxiety at how downright ADULT I looked… I really liked being a scruffy, stupid kid, but now I looked like the eager office junior in a firm of respectable accountants.  I took it all off again and climbed back into my jeans and torn T-shirt, figuring that if I forgot all about it, then it MIGHT NEVER HAPPEN.

But young adulthood was just around the corner (insert dramatic music…) and I think it’s appropriate to prepare for my advancing maturity by regaling you with a delightful chant that was a staple constituant part of my schooldays from at least 1981-1987…  

Bonk-On Billy had a ten foot willy
And he showed it to the girls next door
They thought it was a snake
So they hit it with a rake
And now it’s only five foot four

(Please feel free to add your own school variations on this, as – in my experience – the lengths involved seem to vary considerably from region to region! Maybe we can come up with a rough national average for the pre and post-rake attack measurements…?)



  Chris Orton wrote @

That rhyme… I’m *certain* that our school’s filthy-minded urchins crafted an alternate version that went something like:

“Your Aunt Annie
Had a foot wide…..”

You get the idea, but I’ll leave it there.

  Patsy wrote @

I’m confused, you got up 15 minutes before you woke up, and five mins before that you went to Stockton ?

  bobfischer wrote @

Oops! I’ve corrected it now. Well done Patsy, you win today’s special prize… a filthy rhyme from Chris Orton (see above)

  Patsy wrote @

LOL – well I know the missing word, but what about the other three lines ? I thought this entry hilarious, took me back to days out with my parents and my younger brother always insisted on buying a saveloy. I thought he was crackers as we used to say, and never knew what he found so funny about them – I was such an innocent :in those days !

  Thing wrote @

The rhyme sounds a bit like a rude version of Sid’s Snake from Whizzer and Chips. Makes me wonder if there was some dodgy subtext going in that strip now…

  bobfischer wrote @

Oh blimey, you’re probably right. Sid’s Snake was called Slippy, wasn’t he? As in ‘I wonder what my slippery snake, Slippy, will be slipping into today?’ It’s muck on a stick. They shouldn’t have been allowed to give it to kids.

Is innuendo the great unspeakable in comedy these days? I don’t anyone that doesn’t at least find a well-placed double entendre quite funny (and most of my friends are fans of downright smut) but it seems to have all but vanished from TV and films these days.

I’m sure that when modern TV executives see a bit of innuendo in a finished script, they just whip it out as quickly as possible.

  Thing wrote @

I do wonder if it’s more difficult to create embarrassment over sexual matters these days. Given that there’s now comedy which isn’t abashed about going straight for the single entendre, I could imagine it could be quite difficult to create that atmosphere of awkward and nervous tittering that a lot of British comedy used to rely on.

Which is one reason why I’m doubtful as to whether it’d possible for anyone to revive the Carry Ons successfully these days. Possible perhaps, but not easy maybe. It might even be a reason why mainstream British comedy seems to have faltered so much over the last twenty years or so. The coy nervousness about what Python called ‘The Naughty Bits’ which some of it relied on seems to have declined steadily, so there’s possibly less fertile ground?

  bobfischer wrote @

Yeah, that’s true. Was there a sketch on TV sometime in the late 80s that really lampooned the Carry On attitude to sex, and (I think) showed a house for sale that was infested by Carry On stars?

‘Do they breed?’ asked the potential buyer.
‘No,’ said the estate agent. ‘They just bloody talk about it all the time…’

At which point ‘Kenneth Williams’ (possibly played by Chris Barrie) appeared doing his traditional ‘outraged’ face, and despairing eyes were rolled.

This is really vague, and I’ve no idea which programme it was from. Definitely not Spitting Image though, as they were real people!

  Thing wrote @

I’m pretty sure that was ‘And Now – Something Else’, an early vehicle for Rory Bremner in 1986, which also featured Jeremy Hardy in regular slots as a boom mike operator doing a stand up act in front of the audience, along with Jim Sweeney and Steve Steen, and Sara Crowe and Ann Bryson. All acts from the alternative circuit of the era. At east if we’re thinking of a same sketch. A giant pear, as in the fruit, was used for obvious purposes.

Which also reminds me of Mitchell and Webb’s more recent 70s Hospital sketch also satirising the Carry Ons, although if you wanted to be really pedantic, you could mention that only one hospital Carry On was produced during the 70s…

  bobfischer wrote @

Bloody hell, I think you’re right! I’d forgotten all about that show, and could never have told you the title, but I definitely remember a very young Jeremy Hardy holding that boom mic every week. Amazing stuff… I don’t know how you do it! 🙂

I’m sure that will have been it, and the date sounds right as well… it was definitely broadcast while a lot of the Carry On crew, including Kenneth Williams, were still alive, so that dates it to pre-1988.

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