Wiffle Lever To Full!

Daleks, Death Stars and Dreamy Sci-Fi Nostalgia…

Extracts from Bob’s 1984 Diary… Volume 312

Wednesday 7th November 1984

I got up at 8.30, then Doug, Gazzie and Burton came and we went to school. First was Art, then History, and I got a merit and two thirds. Next was maths, and at 12.00 I had dinner. After dinner it was French, then I got a merit in English.

Last was science, then at 3.40 I came home and started a cover for Iceworld Adventure (a new Fighting Fantasy I’m writing) At 5.00 I had tea, then I did homework.

At 7.00 I watched I’ve got a secret, at 7.30 I watched Sharon and Elsie, at 8.00 I watched Dallas, at 8.45 I watched Points of view, and at 9.00 I went to bed.

I’ve been racking my brains to work out how the hell I got a ‘merit and two thirds’ in History and I think I’ve cracked it… every time lovely old Mrs Ansbro wrote ‘Good’ at the bottom of our work, it counted as a third of a merit. A ‘Good Work’ counted for two thirds. And then, every couple of weeks, she’d tot them up, tick them off and dish out the merit marks accordingly.

I seem to have got a ‘Good Work’ for some scribblings about the Vikings, and three ‘Good’s for – respectively – a drawing of Tuthankhamen’s death mask, a map of the Mediterranean showing the Phoenician trade routes, and a cartoon of a Viking longboat with dear old Poggy Doggy resplendant on the main sail. So a merit and two thirds. Yay! You’ve got to have a system, haven’t you?    

Here’s the ‘Good’ for my Viking longboat drawing, ticked off by Mrs Ansbro as she totted them all up, 25 years ago this morning…

English with Mrs McDonald, meanwhile, seems to have been focused on those hardy classroom trouble-makers of ‘There, Their and They’re’. I’m guessing we had to write a short story that utilised all three words, because I’ve hurriedly scribbled the following…

‘They’re over there,’ said the cop.
‘They’re not. You can tell by their car,’ said 008. There was a look of determination in his eyes. ‘I can also see their footprints in the mud over there,’ he added.
There were now a load of cops there but they obviously had their hands full with the Blackgang bunch. They had had them cornered before but

Sorry, but that’s as far as it gets. The bell must have rung in mid-sentence (‘THAT’S A SIGNAL FOR ME, NOT FOR YOU!!!!!’) so I broke off, drew a line underneath with my Shatterproof ruler, and never looked back. I believe Douglas Adams used to take a similar approach to his writing deadlines.


My science work, sadly, gets bit a sloppy from now on, as – oddly – there are no more dates written in the rest of the exercise book. So it’s hard to work out what I wrote on any given day. Clearly Mr Warren’s science lessons operated outside of Time Itself, in a temporal hysteresis maintained by the Time Lords of Gallif – oh, alright, I’ll stop now.

(I should point out that no such laxity existed in Mrs Clark Without The E’s Maths class, where the FIRST PAGE of my new maths exercise book boasts the terse message ‘Marks lost for presentation – no date!’ in red Biro. Yikes!)

Anyway, we were certainly still working on vertebrates vs invertebrates (Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight!!!) in our science lessons, so it gave me an excuse to slip yet ANOTHER cartoon drawing of Poggy Doggy into serious academic research…

And then  – yet again – another 1980s evening spent goggling in front of the telly. ‘I’ve Got A Secret’ was, I’m pretty sure, an ITV panel show in which grotty members of the public shuffled onstage and whispered their ‘secret’ to the host, who would then tease a three-man celebrity panel (Barbara Dickson, Lionel Jeffries, Eve Pollard, that kind of thing) until they guessed it. I can’t remember the host, though, and Google brings up nothing whatsover. Can anyone help? Oddly, I CAN remember one single ‘secret’ from the show, which was – brace yourself – a wheezy old duffer proudly proclaiming to the panel that ‘I suffered a hernia while playing five-card brag’.

I had to ask my Mum what a hernia was, naturally. We were halfway through Sharon and Elsie before I recovered my senses, and it was another six months before I could eat a tomato.



  Chris Byers wrote @

Came across this little clip that might well answer your question regarding ‘I’ve Got A Secret’.

  Chris Orton wrote @

This show is very clearly along the ‘What’s My Line’ type of thing isn’t it? Clearly they’ve been told the answer as to what Ken did – I don’t for a second believe that she guessed that.

Did Tom O’ Connor and Barry Cryer ever not have grey hair?

  bobfischer wrote @

Wow! That’s fantastic, well done! I searched all over the place for a clip, but could only find the 1950s American version of the same show.

And, amazingly, I actually remember watching this clip first time round. Just sitting in the front room with a glass of lemonade in my hand. It all comes flooding back to me.

Who is the French woman who gets it right? I can’t place her at all. And yeah – Barry Cryer and Tom O’Connor seem never to change! Are they Time Lords?

  Chris Byers wrote @

Youtube names her as Bettine Le Beau. After a quick look on Google it turns out she was an actress who apparently appeared on The Benny Hill Show and The Prisoner amongst other things.

  bobfischer wrote @


I’ve met her. At a Prisoner convention in Portmeirion last summer. I didn’t recognise her at all in that clip.

  Fiona Tims wrote @

I’m amazed no-one has commented on your brilliant grasp of there, their and they’re as a 12 year old!
A lot of people can’t even grasp it as an adult *titters*

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