Wiffle Lever To Full!

Daleks, Death Stars and Dreamy Sci-Fi Nostalgia…

Extracts from Bob’s 1984 Diary… Volume 319

Wednesday 14th November 1984

I woke up at 8.00 and I got up at 8.50. At 8.55 Doug and I went to school and had Art (I got 88% in the test). Next we got a merit for ‘speed and efficiency’ in History, and next was maths.

At 12.00 I had dinner, then we looked in the book shop. Next was French, then English, and last we studied some locusts and I got a merit in science.

At 3.40 I came home and did some of Iceworld Adventure, then I had tea. Then I did homework, and 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 I went to bed.

Ah, bless you Mrs Ansbro! 25 years on (and nearly 20 since she ascended to the great history classroom in the sky) you’re still bringing mystery, intrigue and downright puzzlement into my life. A merit for ‘speed and efficiency’? Since I’ve spent all 37 of my years on this planet resolutely avoiding either quality, I’ve no idea how this came about. But dear, dotty old Mrs Ansbro – as well as being a fabulous, enthusiastic history teacher – was also keen on encouraging us to grow as people*, so I’m guessing the whole class was simply given a merit for filing into class with the minimum of fuss, fiddle and faffing around (we saved all that for the actual lesson)  

*Not that anyone in 1984 would have used such soppy, touchy-feely terminology. The only way I ‘grew as a person’ during my teenage years was by eating four packets of Monster Munch every dinnertime.

The book shop, fabulously, was one of those little extra-curricular ventures that brought a tiny frission of bonus excitement into the school day. It was set up during Autumn dinnertimes in a tiny broom cupboard in the language department, just around the corner from Miss Wilson’s form room. Here, enthusiastic, well-spoken fourth formers with ruddy cheeks and plummy, middle-class tones sold a tiny selection of new and second-hand books to passing oiks with their faces covered in bits of filth and Wham bar.

Doug and I sometimes wandered in for a browse (especially, oddly enough, if it was pissing down outside, which made our interest in literary academia shoot through the leaky roof) and I had my beady eye on this little beauty…

A breezy account of filming Peter Davison’s 1982 story ‘The Visitation’, it was propped up on a wooden shelf next to a stack of Tricolore French textbooks, and I couldn’t resist flicking through its’ brightly-coloured pages (with stacks and stacks and stacks of ‘on location’ Doctor Who pics that I’d NEVER EVER SEEN BEFORE) with a sense of giddy excitement. While Doug pottered beside me, rolling his eyes and thumbing idly through the Fighting Fantasies. One day, but one day, it would be mine…

First, however, there was biblical-style terror to deal with. Yep, I’m not embarking on another strange, pre-pubescent flight of fantasy… Mr Warren’s science lesson was indeed invaded by a plague of locusts!

And I hated them. They were all mercifully dead, and arrived – as far as I can recall – wrapped in tissue paper and plonked onto our tables for closer inspection. We’d been studying insect biology, and the locusts were provided as a practical example of the differences between a head, a thorax and an abdomen.  They were about six inches long, pale yellow, and I was absolutely f***ing terrified of them.

Which is odd, as I’ve never been scared of any other form of insect life before or since. But they just seemed so ALIEN to anything else I’d previously encountered in my 11 years on the planet. They were cold, and gooey, and REAL, and stared back at me with blank, dead eyes. As Jo Spayne prodded at our allocated locust’s lifeless wing with an HB pencil, I half-expected the dreaded thing to burst into life and flutter into my face, chasing my screaming, flailing body across the school courtyard and into the melee of Mr Nielsen’s cross country runners.

I spent the rest of the lesson cowering at the corner of our table behind Chris Byers, and drawing it from a sage distance. At least I got a merit for my troubles… and a few cheap giggles from writing ‘reproductive parts’ in my official science exercise book.


PS Tune in later today for my official birthday entry!



  Dr Giles Parcel wrote @

Now why on earth would you be terrified that a long-dead insect might suddenly spring into life? This is scientifically impossible.
Anyone would think you had been watching Quatermass and the Pit.

  bobfischer wrote @

I thought it might just have been resting. Stunned. Pining for the Fjords.

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