Wiffle Lever To Full!

Daleks, Death Stars and Dreamy Sci-Fi Nostalgia…

Extracts from Bob’s 1984 Diary… Volume 268

Monday 24th September 1984

Woke up at 8.45 and got up at 8.00. At 8.35 Doug came and we went to school. We had maths, then History, followed by double rugby indoor. After tackling a continuous line of wets, I had dinner at 12.00.

Then it was French, and that was followed by English. Next came Geog, and then Doug and I finished the sheet in maths and did an answer sheet. At 3.40 I came home and played out for a while.

Then I came in and whitened my trainers, and at 7.40 I watched Get Set Go. Then I mucked on till Kelly Monteith at 9.00. Went to bed at 9.30.

That’s not a typing error in the opening lines… I really do claim in my diary entry for this day that I got out of bed 45 minutes before I woke up. This is either the result of…

a) sleepwalking
b) a successful time-travelling experiment conducted in my bedroom using a complex system of Doctor Who paperbacks, Pritt Stick and fluff
c) Making a horse’s arse of my diary

The only time I ever sleepwalked as a kid was in the Autumn of 1983, when I opened my lounge door in my pyjamas (funny place to have a door, but there you go) and walked in on my Dad, watching the end of Newsnight and drinking a knobbly pint glass of Trophy Best Bitter (complete with handle). Amazingly – in my sleep – I claimed that my  ‘bedside clock was upside down, and I thought it was half past six in the morning’ which I’m still incredibly proud of. What an astonishing act of subconscious bullshitting. I wish I could be such an inventive liar when I’m actually awake.

And I refuse to believe that my diary got anything less than my undivided attention, so let’s go with the time-travelling theory. I was *this* far away from constructing a full TARDIS time rotor (complete with winking lights and wobbly oscillator) in the middle of my bedroom.

I spent my entire first term at Conyers School playing outdoor rugby in the pissing rain and freezing cold every Monday morning, so the fact that this day’s activity was moved inside to our cavernous sports hall suggests that the weather on Teesside must have combined tropical monsoon conditions with Scott-of-the-Antarctic-style temperatures. ‘I’m going outside now, I may be gone for some time…’ said Mr Anderson. ‘Actually, bugger that, you lot run about in the Sports Hall while I do the Daily Mirror Quizword’.

I remember, oddly enough, on this very day, that – bizarrely – I challenged a lad called Gandhi to a fight, in the queue outside the changing rooms. Every school in the 1980s SURELY had a grotty bespectacled oik with this nickname, but I’ve no idea what our version did 25 years ago today to puncture my normally mild-mannered demeanour. The conversation went like this, though…

Him: Do you want a fight about it?
Me: Yeah, alright. 
Him: OK, nice one.

I think the Cuban Missile Crisis started with a similar altercation. 

At the start of our indoor rugby lesson, Mr Anderson split us into two groups, putting each motley rabble into an orderly queue. In turn, one boy from Group 1 would walk to the edge of the standard 1980s blue ‘crash mat’ while the corresponding oik from Group 2 would race headlong towards him from the far end of the hall, screaming whatever foul-mouthed oath came to mind (‘SPANDAUBALLEEEEEEEEEEEET’) before demonstrating a ‘textbook’ rugby tackle on his opposite number.

This led to much hilarity all round (especially when a yodelling Stephen Mason hurled himself at a terrified-looking Simon Bentley with a full-on belly flop, sending them both crashing off the edge of the mat in a flailing melee of limbs, hair and farts). However my own laughter ceased when the fates decreed that I would – of course – be tackling my stoic-looking nemesis Gandhi. I ran. I screamed. I threw my full weight against his weedy legs and tried to barge him over. He didn’t budge an inch.

I never mentioned the fight again.

Good to see us tackling a bit of local history in, erm, our Geography lesson. With twinkly-eyed Mr Flynn, strutting around the classroom with wild enthusiasm as he told us about Yarm’s presence in the Domesday Book, and we furiously scribbled down notes…



You’ll notice another opportunity to shoehorn the 1590 foundation of our school into a piece of academia seized violently with both hands!

I’d forgotten all about our trainer-whitening regime, but Mr Anderson had indeed instilled into us the importance of keeping our PE sandshoes in tip-top condition at all times, and as such we were ‘encouraged’ (with a knee in the small of the back and one arm bent agonisngly up towards the shoulder blades) to smear our ‘pumps’ in a sticky white goo purchased in small bottles from Bill Gates Sports Shop and with aromatic narcotic properties that would have made Keith Richards and John Lennon shake their heads in resignation and stick to Trophy Best Bitter.

I think I watched ‘Go For It!’ in a strange, hallucinogenic daze, so I might just have imagined a young Michael Barrymore bouncing up and down doing Basil Fawlty impressions while guiding three luridly-tracksuited couples through a cheap and cheerful BBC1 Krypton Factor knock-off. But then again, maybe not… 


  Chris Byers wrote @

Timothy Mills, or Gandhi as he was know was a lad with a great sense of humour and could be extremley funny at times. But he could also be extremely annoying and aggravating, so I am not at all surprise you had a fight with him.

  bobfischer wrote @

He was absolutely fine! It was me, I was easily upset and driven to bad temper. I should point out that the scrap itself never actually took place once I realised that he was a bit bigger and harder than me.

  Fiona Tims wrote @

Ahhh good old sleepwalking.
I once walked into my mum and dads bedroom in the early hours of a December night/day, pulled open their curtains and asked if it was Christmas yet! How random.
Another time on hol in the same room as them, I shouted in the middle of the night and got Dad to put the light on. I was all confused and said the wall was moving. I wonder what narcotics they fed me ;p

  bobfischer wrote @

I used to be convinced that the Star Wars characters on my curtains moved during the night. Quite exciting, really!

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