Wiffle Lever To Full!

Daleks, Death Stars and Dreamy Sci-Fi Nostalgia…

Extracts from Bob’s 1984 Diary… Volume 332

Tuesday 27th November 1984

I got up at 8 and at 8.30 Doug, Gaz and Burton came. We went to school (naturally) and 1st was English. Next was RE, then I got the box of delights from the library. After that was Drama, and at 12.00 I had dinner, then played in goal in a wass footy match.

When we came in we went on the headphones in French, and after that was geog. Then I got IX for my rocky cakes in HE, and at 3.40 I came home.

At 5.00 I had tea, and at 5.10 I watched Star Trek, at 6 Doug came and we went to youthy and played Hockey, and at 8.00 I came home and went to bed.

First of all, I’d like to point out in defence of the lateness of this entry that MY 12-YEAR-OLD SELF WAS AN ANNOYING, CONTRARY LITTLE SOD. Look at the handwriting I’ve had to decipher in order to type this up…


Some boys spend their adolescent years experimenting with drink, drugs and sexual excess… not me, I decided to experiment with handwriting in an attempt to find myself (I just threw back the covers and there I was). You’ll notice I got tired halfway through and reverted back to my normal half-decent scribble, thus making this diary entry the equivalent of the Rosetta Stone. Using this single entry as a starting point, it should now be possible for scientists to translate the remaining 34 days of the year into something vaguely resembling English, lest we miss a single detail of my adventures watching Blankety Blank and playing Chequered Flag on the ZX Spectrum.


Good to see that the first TV episode of The Box of Delights had made such a positive impact on me, anyway… yep, another ‘libary lesson’ and I made a beeline straight for the ‘M’ section, to hunt down John Masefield’s original literary version – this one, in fact…


It was dusty has hell, and the pages crackled when I turned them over, which all added to the mystique. According to Wikipedia, the above cover is the original edition from 1935, but I can’t believe anything could exist in our school library that long without getting covered in Hubba Bubba and having comedy willies drawn on the cover. I’d love to provide a proper scan, but – amazingly – I can’t, BECAUSE I ACTUALLY RETURNED THIS BOOK TO THE LIBRARY WHEN I’D FINISHED WITH IT. What was I thinking of? This is the Conyers School equivalent of the ravens leaving the Tower of London, and I’m only amazed the entire Block 1 building hasn’t crumbled to the ground by now. (Although if it had, I’d only have picked up the bits and used them in my ‘rocky cakes’)

I spent a lovely 35-minute lesson immersing myself in John Masefield’s gorgeous prose, and being particularly taken with the phrase ‘the purple pim’, used as an expression of disapproval by young Master Kay Harker in Chapter One. Maybe this inspired my own creation of the word ‘wass’, which has just taken me 20 minutes to decipher from the above spidery diary entry.


Yes, ‘a wass footy match’. Sounds vaguely rude for some reason, but it just meant big. ‘A cross between whopping and massive’ I explained to my Mum one dark November afternoon, when – quite understandably – she pointed out she had NOT A BLOODY CLUE WHAT I WAS TALKING ABOUT. Anyway, our wass footy match will undoubtedly have taken place against the exterior wall of the Sports Hall, with anything up to 50 filthy, foul-mouthed oiks kicking lumps off each other in a vague attempt to get somewhere near a tatty, ravaged Mitre football. To be honest, for all the skills on display, we could probably have played just as effectively without the ball.

And yes, indeed – 9/10 for my ‘rocky cakes’, created in the busy nooks of our HE department, faffing around the hobs of a vintage gas oven with Alistair ‘Burton’ Burton as twilight descended outside. In a respite from the usual tirade of smut and indecipherable rubbish that we spouted for the rest of the 70-minute lesson, I vaguely remember us looking out the window at the gathering gloom, and talking half-sensibly about how excited we were about Christmas.


Then it was back to the ‘rocky cakes’, undoubtedly renamed by us after Sylvester Stallone’s virtually pensionable boxer, and accompanied by all manner of bobbing, weaving and nasal ‘Cut me, Mickey’ impressions as a tray of small beige boulders with the same density as Venus emerged from their Gas Mark 7 torture chamber. The world owes us a giant favour for not dropping them on the floor, as they would undoubtedly have sunk directly to the Earth’s core and resulted in a decade of catastrophic global seismic and volcanic terror. As it was, they just gave my parents a dicky tummy in the middle of Northern Life.

And how come, yet again, I have no recollection whatsover of a sporting activity at Youth Club? I’m still baffled that Doug and I regularly played basketball on these cheery Tuesday evenings, but HOCKEY??? Mr Lake must have performed some kind of mind-meld on me to remove these long-lost memories. He always had a strangely Vulcan look about him (mainly the ears)

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2 Comments»

  Dr. Giles Parcel wrote @

Perhaps each reference to ‘the youth club’ was code for something else that you have now forgotten? Some information you did not want falling into enemy hands…

  bobfischer wrote @

The only enemy I had when I was 11 was common sense…


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