Wiffle Lever To Full!

Daleks, Death Stars and Dreamy Sci-Fi Nostalgia…

Extracts from Bob’s 1984 Diary… Volume 293

Friday 19th October 1984

At 8.30 Doug came and we went to school. First was Basketball, then I got a merit in French. After that it was Geog and at 12.00 I had dinner. Then I got in the top set at maths, and after that was music. Last was science, and at 3.40 I came home.

I had tea, then we went to Yarm fair again and went on the dodgems. Then I won a Gonk on the darts and a Banana on the Huk-a-Duck, and at 8.15 we came home.

At 8.30 I watched We Love TV, at 9.00 I watched Tell the Truth, and at 9.30 I went to bed.

Top set in Maths? Bugger me, they must have been struggling to make up the (ahem) numbers that year. I still occasionally have to count on my fingers, and the only reason I can do subtractions in my head is because I grew up with a dartboard on the kitchen wall (in the middle of a patch of floral wallpaper that looked as though it was suffering from the world’s worst woodworm infestation)

What this meant in practical terms was that my time with the mad, bearded Mr Rolfe was coming to an end, and I’d soon be drafted into a special maths class run by the scary Mrs Clark (‘THAT’S CLARK WITHOUT AN ‘E’, EVERYBODY… IF I SEE AN ‘E’ ON THE FRONT OF ANYONE’S BOOK THEN I’M CROSSING IT OUT WITH MY TRUSTY RED BIRO’) who, in my fading memories, looked a bit like a fiery young Wendy Craig, but it’s possible I’d just been watching repeats of Butterflies on BBC2 again.

Meanwhile, in Geography, Mr Flynn’s inexplicable obsession with Shrewsbury continued unabated. Thanks to half an hour of frantic scribbling 25 years ago today, I can now tell you how far the following places are from this pretty Shropshire town…

Whitchurch – 27km from Shrewsbury 
Oswestry – 24km from Shrewsbury
Welshpool – 26km from Shrewsbury
Wellington – 15km from Shrewsbury
Oakengates – 17km from Shrewsbury
Bridgnorth – 27km from Shrewsbury

Has anyone got ANY idea what this might be about?

Meanwhile, in Mr Warren’s science class, we were discussing solvents. Tincture of Iodine (used for treating cuts) is a solution of iodene in the solvent Ethanol. Rubber solution (used for repairing punctures) is a solution of rubber in the solvent Trichloroethane. And nail varnish (used for varnishing nails) is dissolved in Pentyl Ethanoate.

Given that this was 1984, it’s probably for the best that we didn’t discuss what happens when the solvent of Cyanoacrylate Superglue is dissolved into a Presto carrier bag, although early testing suggests that the results involve wandering around the local playpark in a stupour and falling into the duckpond before being brought home by PC Bedford and told to get some ‘bloody cream on those spots around your mouth’.

And yes, I went to Yarm Fair again! Just with my Mum this time, walking the mile back and forth from our house in the freezing, foggy night air. I think Doug had blammed all his money the previous night, but I managed to cadge an extra couple of quid from my parents after revealing, entirely shamelessly, that I’d somehow scraped into the top set for Maths and would soon be learning advanced calculus from Mrs Clark, without an ‘e’.

Fittingly, I prepared for this giant leap forward in my education by scooping a fluffy banana and a white-haired gonk on the Huk-A-Duk stall, two cheap and ridiculous toys that inexplicably lived on top of a chest of drawers in my bedroom until December 1999, when – aged 27 – I finally moved out of my parent’s house.

They’re almost certainly still living happily in a box in the loft somewhere,  but I won’t disturb them after all these years.

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4 Comments»

  Chris Byers wrote @

I think the geography exercise may have been from a text book we had, although I am not entirely sure on this. The exercise I think may have been simply to look at a map and calculate the distances to various towns from Shrewsbury.

  bobfischer wrote @

Yeah, that rings a bell actually. It seems to be part of a series of exercises on commuting, and how far people travel to go to work… so we’d have been looking at people working in Shrewsbury but living in the outlying villages. I think.

Although I do like to think that Mr Flynn just had a strange obsession with the place. Is he still at Conyers, do you know? Maybe I should track him down and ask him.

  Fiona Tims wrote @

It’s so refreshing to find another hoarder hehe.
You;d have had nowt to write about without it 😉

  bobfischer wrote @

I know! Heaven forbid, but I’d have to live in the present and get on with my life! Sounds horrible… 😉


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