Wiffle Lever To Full!

Daleks, Death Stars and Dreamy Sci-Fi Nostalgia…

Extracts from Bob’s 1984 Diary… Volume 289

Monday 15th October 1984

Got up at 8.00 and at 8.45 Doug and Gaz came and we went to school. First was Maths, then History and I got 28/30. Next was Rugby, and at 12.00 I had dinner. After that I played football with Stan and Placie.

Then it was French, English, Geography and Maths. Came home at 3.40 and played football till tea at 5.00, then I did homework till 8.00, when I watched Tripper’s day.

At 8.30 I watched Chance in a million, at 9.00 I watched Kelly Monteith, and at 9.30 I went to bed.

Strange how a single sentence like ‘played football with Stan and Placie’ can bring long-buried 25-year-old memories coughing and spluttering from the back of my mind. We DID play football on this rainy, overcast dinnertime, and – bizarrely – decided that the best location for a good kickabout was a narrow strip of pavement that ran between the back of the school gym and the towering, mesh fence around the tennis courts.

HOWEVER… this was no ordinary pavement. Oh no. This crucial qualifying match – ahead of Tuesday’s grand final against the wall of the French Language Labs – was given an extra frisson of excitement by the presence of an inexplicable three-foot brick slope that ran, at an angle of exactly 45 degrees*, along the back of the gym wall. And, at the top of the slope, was a six-inch brick ridge just wide enough to accomodate a couple of size 6, 11-year-old feet clad in black plastic school shoes from Charles Clinkard’s junior department.

(*Ian ‘Ozzie’ Oswald once measured it with his protractor)

So, in cross section, the whole location looked like this…

At any one time, the narrow ridge at the top of the slope would be occupied by anything up to 20 grotty oiks indulging in one of three dangerous activities…

1. Inching their way along it carefully, fingers splayed across the brick wall behind them, in a desperate attempt to make the virtually impossible journey from one end of the gym wall to the other.

2. Charging manically along it with arms flailing, shouting ‘BANZAI!!!! ACHTUNG!!!!’, and violently dislodging any smaller kids attempting to complete Task (1).

3. Going in ‘goal’ while Andrew ‘Stan’ Henry and James ‘Placie’ Place knocked a four-tonne waterlogged ‘casey’ football between themselves and peppered ferocious shots at the hapless custodian teetering three feet above them and cowering into his blazer. Guess which one I was doing?


Great fun, anyway. Until Stephen Mason dislodged me from the goalmouth by racing across the ridge and shouting ‘BANZAI!!! ACHTUNG!!!!’

 I’m pretty sure I also had dinner with Stan and Placie on this day, as I think it led to a bit of embarrassing dinner lady-related humilation. We actually had TWO dinner halls at Conyers, a junior (for First to Third Years oik) and a senior (for Third Years to Sixth Formers).  Naturally we were expected to take our place in the former, however – if it was completely full – it was tacitly agreed that we could meekly shuffle through the ACTUAL SCHOOL KITCHENS into the hallowed halls of the latter.

I got to a crowded junior dinner hall two minutes behind Stan and Placie, saw no sign of them, and naturally assumed they’d made the perilous journey through the kitchens. So I grabbed my tray, fixed my eyes firmly to the floor, and silently fumbled my way through a crowd of queueing Third Year girls to the kitchens. ‘Oh GOD, it’s Operation Foggie’, yawned one of them… ‘Foggie’ being the schools acknowledged nickname for First Year oiks, and Operation FOGI being – brace yourself – a Roland Rat series that had aired during the Summer of 1984.

I hurried red-faced past the sweating, middle-aged dinner ladies in the kitchen, and emerged in the senior dinner hall… which, I was mortified to discover, was virtually empty apart from a few be-stubbled sixth formers tucking into slices of pizza. No sign of Stan or Placie anywhere. So I made an abrupt about turn and bid an even more shame-faced retreat back through the kitchens.

‘EH!!!!’ shrieked one of the dinner ladies as I shuffled past her for the second time in under a minute. ‘Where do you think you are, Piccadilly Bloody Circus? You can’t just wander back and forth through here whenever you like. Make your bloody mind up where you want to be, for crying out loud…’


 I mumbled a startled apology and pushed my way back through the same group of Third Year girls. ‘What’s the matter, lost your mummy?’ asked the same mouthy tart, blowing a gigantic bubble of Hubba Bubba into my ear. Back in the crowded junior dining hall, Stan and Placie were waving frantically from a secluded corner. I settled down to join them, ate my chips, and concocted secret, silent plans to DESTROY THE WORLD AND MAKE THEM ALL SUFFER.

All of which I’d forgotten about by the time I did my History homework…

Yes, we’d moved onto the Vikings, and I spent two hours of a filthy, rainswept evening drawing the only longboat ever to have entered Valhalla with a picture of Poggy Doggy on its mainsail. Aw.



  Fiona Tims wrote @

Hehe Poggy Doggy on a Sail to Valhalla. I love it!

  bobfischer wrote @

He was a dog that always had a bit of the Viking warrior about him. Very good at pillaging sausage rolls and peanuts.

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