Wiffle Lever To Full!

Daleks, Death Stars and Dreamy Sci-Fi Nostalgia…

Extracts from Bob’s 1984 Diary… Volume 353

Tuesday 18th December 1984

I got up at 8.00, then Doug and Gaz came and we went to school. It was English, then a free RE, then a free English, followed by a free Drama.

At 12.00 I came home and had dinner, then when I went back it was French, Maths and free HE. At 3.40 I came home and had tea and at 5.10 I saw Star Trek.

At 6.00 I rewrapped Chris’s present, then we bagged £30 of money. At 8.30 I went outside and at 9.00 I came in and wrote my diary.

Yay! Our free periods start in earnest. Our teachers would initially attempt to waffle some vague reasoning into this outbreak of Demob Happiness… ‘Weeeeelll, we’ve worked so hard this term that we’ve finished this topic already, and there’s no point in starting another one now…’ but, even to our 12-year0ld selves, it was perfectly obvious that they’d planned this all along and just fancied – eseentially – a week off with their feet on their desks while we arsed about in our classrooms doing… well, whatever we liked, really. Within the limits of the law, British decency and Mr Flynn not spotting the compass point being gently inserted into Jonathan Haworth’s left buttock.

As far as I can remember, our teachers spent our Free Periods done one of three things…

1. Reading. It tended to be the Daily Mirror for the History and Geography lot (come on, it had ‘Garth’ and the Quizword), and The Guardian for the more right-on English and Arty set. Then the Daily Mail in Maths and Music and ‘Mein Kampf’ in the PE department.

2. Chatting. Yes, amazingly, we discovered during some of these Free Periods that our teachers were – by and large – pretty nice people who, when they weren’t taking out Stephen Mason from 15 yards with a lazer-precision board rubber assault – were happy to talk like (hey!) normal people. The king of this was our Drama teacher Eric Harrison, one of the finest men I’ve ever met, and a teacher who would happily while away a genial hour talking about everything from Mott the Hoople to Monty Python to International Socialism. I really wish I could find him just to say hello and send him a copy of Wiffle Lever to Full.

3.  Taking out Stephen Mason from 15 yards with a lazer-precision board rubber assault. Well come on, that game of Dirty Hangman was getting FAR too rowdy for its own good. GROW UP!!!

Not sure why I ‘rewrapped Chris’s present’, but Chris was (and is) undoubtedly my cousin, the son of my now unfeasibly famous Uncle Trevor. He was born in March 1982, so he would have been a few months short of his third birthday at this stage. We’d have bought him some kind of fluffy game with whistles, bells and mirrors, and I’m guessing I’d made such a pig’s ear of wrapping it the first time around, that my mother made me take it apart and have a second go.

I’m notoriously cack-handed when it comes to fiddly stuff like this, and if I’m left me alone with sellotape and scissors for any length of time, I’m likely to wind up looking like Boris Karloff in The Mummy. Chris is a strapping 27-year-old maths graduate now, and – the last time I saw him – he was buying me pints in a Redcar social club and chatting in a gruff voice about Aston Villa. Terrifying, really… I remember the night he was born, lying awake in the spare room of my Gran’s bungalow and listening to my breathless Uncle Trevor barging through the front door in the early hours of the morning. I don’t know if he knows this, but he was a whisker away from being called John Ross (it’s a Dallas thing)

And yay! £30 worth of money in the gigantic Famous Grouse whiskey bottle balanced precariously on the shelf in the front room. Filled half-way with coins (‘twos, fives and tens’ being my Mum’s mantra every time anyone went near it) and topped up every time my Dad returned from a Sunday night ‘quick one’ in the Cross Keys on Yarm High Street.

Only another £99.99 to find before my forthcoming ZX Spectrum 48K was paid off completely. Time to get supping, Dad…



  Dr. Giles Parcel wrote @

“- – U – F – – C -!”

  bobfischer wrote @

You’d be struck off if you were a real doctor.

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