Friday 13 March 1987

…Next Tuesday is the Budget.
I think I’m going to do a report about it, by recording the news and then
playing it over and over again so I can put it into my own words.
I might even put my own words into the recording…

“Among his announcements, Mr Lawson said that the price of [SMASH HITS] would be reduced by two pence from midnight tonight, while the price of a packet of [PANINI STICKERS] would rise by five pence.

“The chancellor had bad news for [COWS]. The cost of filling up [A MILK BOTTLE] is to go up by 15 pence at midnight.

“There are no plans to alter the amount of [DISGUSTING CHEESE AND TOMATO PIE SERVED IN SCHOOL DINNERS] within England and Wales.

“Mr Lawson also confirmed that the tax on [UNSIGHTLY WASHING LINES IN YOUR NEIGHBOURS’ GARDEN] would rise by 10% from 1 April.”

Thursday 12 March 1987

…This morning Chris Balderstone and Laurie Potter turned up to
give a talk on cricket and to show people how to play properly.
They asked questions and if you got one right they gave you a prize.
I managed to answer one right and got a 1983 Guide to the Prudential Cup.
Honestly.
One girl got a book priced £1.95 for answering her question right!
Afterwards they gave out scoresheets for a 1985 match and a picture of the
team, and how to join the team, and signed autographs.
After break we had a quiz on what we had learned.
Wow…

I’ve had to look up who these two people were. Both were professional cricketers for Leicestershire, although I think only Potter was still playing for the team in 1987.

What were they doing coming to our school? I haven’t a clue. Perhaps the local education authority had launched another new initiative.

But evidently it had yet to be finessed; witness the handing out of scoresheets from a match of two years previously, and worse, the awarding of a “prize” that covered a competition almost half a decade ago. Obviously they thought we’d lap up any old tat, being no old enough to know better.

The Prudential Cup was actually the World Cup. Now why didn’t they say so? Not that I would have shown it any more respect, still having to reach the age of starting to hoard stuff simply because it was old.

A book “priced £1.95”! It was as if a yuppie had moved into our town.

Saturday 7 March 1987

…DISASTER!
Yesterday at 7pm a ferry was leaving the Belgian port of Zubrigge [sic].
Just one mile out of the harbour it is thought to have hit something under the water
and capsized on to its side.
It is already being labelled as one of the most terrible sea disasters ever.
All round the harbour every boat was sent to the rescue, including divers in
RAF planes, HMS I’ve forgotten the name, tugs, police, ambulances and all
their services were called and sent.
And the worst thing was that it was at night – see map at bottom.
Witnesses said it all went, people started screaming and then came icy water.
Saturday Superstore started late.
The figures so far: 409 alive, 79 missing, 49 dead.
The prime minister has visited the scene and so have
the Duke and Duchess of York – they all said it was a terrible tragedy…

It was rare for me to include so much reportage in my diaries. I even drew a rather clumsy map:

Insert "ro-ro" gag here

There’s also this, in one of my school exercise books. I don’t think the intent was 100% respectful:

Bow doors not pictured

That’s not my writing, by the way. Except the correction. Naturally.

Friday 6 March 1987

…This afternoon we could choose what we wanted to do.
We chose to do a radio play – comedy, of course – about the Nine O’Clock News.
It was great to do.
On Monday I am going to bring a classical tape to play during lunchtime.
I am fed up of Madonna warbling on about being Like A Virgin…

I still can’t abide it. I think my dislike dates back to an afternoon in the summer of 1985, when one of our neighbours decided to sunbathe in her garden while playing the song over and over again. It was a form of suburban torture.

How pompous of me to say that, rather than bring in another kind of pop music, I would go for something classical. Predictably I chickened out in the end. I’d forgotten, though, that we could listen to tapes during lunchtime. I wouldn’t get to enjoy that kind of freedom again until I was in the sixth form.

As for the radio play, nothing survives on paper, on tape or in memory. I think that’s best for everyone.