Wiffle Lever To Full!

Daleks, Death Stars and Dreamy Sci-Fi Nostalgia…

Extracts from Bob’s 1984 Diary… Volume 329

Saturday 24th November 1984

At 10.00 I got up, and at 11.00 Doug came down. At 12.00 we had dinner, then we went to the mud track and had a muck on. At 1.30 I came home and read ‘House of Hell’ till 4.00, when we went to Grandma’s.

At 5.00 I had tea, at 5.20 I watched The Tripods, and at 5.45 I watched the Late Late Breakfast Show. We came home at 6.30 and I read House of Hell till Hi-De-Hi at 8.00. After that I mapped House of Hell and at 11.00 I watched Pushing up daisies.

I went to bed at 11.30.

A dark, wet and gloomy Saturday in the middle of November… and yet still Doug and I found the fun in cycling past the skeletal limbs of bare tree branches to our beloved mud track, rocking idly back and forth on the (wet) swings and watching the smoke, mist and rumbling greyness rolling across the rooftops of Yarm. Curling around the skinyard chimney, clinging to the slates of the Town Hall roof, and settling upon a little hubbub of fresh-faced punters in the throes of early Christmas shopping.

We huddled into our parkas, talked about the Box of Delights, and tried to convince ourselves that the rain was turning into snow (it wasn’t). We sang ‘Together In Electric Dreams’ in blissfully terrible harmonies, and our voices mixed together in a haze of frozen breath. We sat on our fingers to stop them turning blue, and tried to see if either of us could spit as far as the damp park bench.  

Just another simple, stupid afternoon to us at the time, I suppose. And yet, the older I get, the more precious these strange little memories become. In the same amount of time again, I’ll be 62 years old. I don’t suppose the swings will still be there, but I hope I’m still around to watch The Box of Delights on the Holo-Box every Christmas.

And then over to my Gran’s house for tea, steaming through the mist and the murk in my Dad’s Reliant Scimitar, sprawled across the leather back seat pretending to be in the Millenium Falcon while my Dad shifts gear and makes the jump to hyperspace. Or Acklam, whichever is easier to find.

I’ll have draped myself across the cream armchair by the front room window, shoving Mr Kipling’s almond slices down my fizzog until I felt slightly sick in the middle of the Late, Late Breakfast Show. And then I think this was a night when we brought my Gran back to our house in Yarm for the night… she and I looked after each other while the dogs snuffled around the house and my parents sloped off for a rare pint together in the flock wallpaper-coated snug of the Cross Keys or the George and Dragon.

So that was my evening… the coal fire will have been roaring up the chimney, and my Gran will have snuggled into the armchair by the sliding glass door to the dining room. The click-clack-click of her knitting needles combining with the spluttering of the flames and the gentle buzz of Hi-De-Hi. I’ll have had a pile of A4 graph paper spread out on the coffee table, attempting to wend my way throught the blood-soaked halls of the House of Hell as we chattered away about school, telly and Christmas.

Occasionally, she’d tell me about her husband, my Mum’s Dad, who died the year before I was born. I remember once, probably a year or so before this, flicking through the pages of Whizzer and Chips as I perched on the arm of her chair. ‘Eee…’ she said, smiling at the latest exploits of Sid’s Snake and Lazy Bones. ‘Your Grandad would have read these with you for hours…’

And then, at 10.30pm or so, my parents would return from the pub, crashing through the kitchen door in soaking wet coats and stamping their feet on the mat. They’d stink of John Smiths Best Bitter and other people’s cigarettes, a heady combination that reeked of all things adult and untouchable and exciting.

And then we’d all grimace our way through a glass of home-brew wine and watch the muck on Channel 4 before heading to bed, although my Dad would stay up and watch a late-night Hammer Horror on BBC2, before standing up to salute the national anthem with a peanut bowl on his head.

In another year’s time, I’d be joining him in this midnight madness. But I was still a little but too young for horror films before bedtime, so instead consoled myself with a good book in the orange glow of my ET bedside lamp. House of Hell, of course. Now how do you splatter those zombies again…?



  Patsy wrote @

Very poetic and beautiful summing up of your diary today, felt quite moved, perhaps am just in a very odd frame of mind tonight..

  bobfischer wrote @

Ah, that’s nice. Thanks. Strange you should say that, as I was in a very odd frame of mind when I wrote it. Sometimes when I write these things I just chortle and giggle all the way through them, remembering stupid schoolboy escapades and daft old pop songs and TV shows.

Other times it just saddens me to think that so many of the people I loved and write about are no longer around. And I miss them desperately. Last night was one of those.

  Mark Hirst wrote @

Evocative piece of work Fischer


  bobfischer wrote @


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