May 1976

IMG_20140916_090412 - Copy


Started reading Sven Hassel book Assignment Gestapo which I got over Marela’s. Reg, Sid, Harry, Paul etc came round with beer to watch Cup Final. Put bottle holder on new bike. Stayed in and babysitted for while in evening.

I don’t recall watching the FA Cup final, perhaps I didn’t. But, it was apparently one of those fine occasions when the underdogs won. Here are some highlights.

Harry, Reg and Sid on Branch Rd (aka the Rotherhithe Tunnel approach road, Reggie lived in John Scurr House) in the 1970s….

Harry, Reg and Sid.



Started saving to buy Weinmann centre-pull brakes for 60p. Got 7 Mad books off Paul. Planned to go Eastway with R. Hearnden + Brother, but didn’t. Stayed in most of the day. Had bath in the evening. Went bed at 12.30.

Everybody wanted Weinmann centre-pull brakes. They were rubbish – too spongy and not enough braking power. The only advantage I can think of is that they returned back to their central state far easier after braking, a distinct advantage with wheels as buckled as our own. 6010310800_62bb5a9576_z

“Planned to go but didn’t” to Eastway, the cycling track near Stratford, demolished to make way for the Olympics cycle race track.

Great Britain's Sid Barras, with Belgium's Eddy Merckx, behind, at Eastway.
Great Britain’s Sid Barras, with Belgium’s Eddy Merckx, behind, at Eastway.


IMG_20140916_090417 - Copy


Library Books Overdue.

Decided to do diary in ink from now on. Went games field today. Did athletics. G. Blondell + R. Stevens swopped their Suzuki 80 for a moped. G. Blondell nearly got nicked on it. Ricky gave me a spindle and some spokes. Did Badminton in the evening. Went up Ricky’s house, helped him do his own bedroom.

I wonder what that reminder’s all about? Was I aiming to expressly bring the books back late? Or was I hoping this would serve as some kind of warning (in which case, wouldn’t it have been better if the warning was a day or two earlier)? Who knows how teenage minds work? Even teenage kids don’t know that.

If Gary Blondell nearly got nicked on a moped, did he escape by means of some nifty navigation through the flats? Or were the old bill too busy laughing to give chase?

Too many questions, time for certainties…

On this day in Coronation St (episode 1596), Sylvia’s Separates holds a sale and Hilda buys a hideously ill-suited teenager’s smock-top. Ray feels there isn’t enough work for Terry. Everyone is too embarrassed to tell Hilda she looks a fool so Tricia plucks up courage and tells her that she looks like mutton dressed as lamb. Terry agrees to work part-time at the Yard. Alf is told to train a lad in his job at the Post Office but he feels he’s getting too old to work. Elsie tells Stan he ended up at the wrong pub on purpose. Gail refuses to take the top back. Hilda says she’ll force Elsie to give her the money back.


Ricky. Note Weinmann centre-pull brakes and DOUBLE bottle holder (without bottles)….

Scan0012 - Copy (4)



 Stan = Bob = Hearnden

Decided to go to cycle race at Crystal Palace on Sunday. Went down Greenwich with Stan at dinner-time. Did motorcycle mechanics over the club. Went over the muddy for George to see if we could find an old bike. Went home at 9.00, And did homework. Went to bed at 11.15.

Poor Hearnden or Bob or Stan (or Robert) with his continually changing name.

I’m not sure who George was, but am intrigued that I thought it possible to find an old bike over the muddy. An abandoned car, yes. dumped rubbish, OK. But an old bike?



IMG_20140916_090424 - Copy

Photography (Ask about photos of play).

Went down Greenwich again at dinner. Cleaned up Weinmann centre-pull brakes. Had photography in the evening. Asked Dominic if I could borrow a camera for Sunday – Yes. Watched TV in the club as well. Didn’t have any HW.

Not mentioned in my diary, but today saw the final of the European Cup Winner’s Cup; Anderlecht v West Ham at the Heysel Stadium in Belgium. West Ham fans might want to look away now….




Played cricket over the dips in PE. Gears went wrong on bike when coming home from Harbinger, but soon mended them. Went over the club for a little while. Ricky came in. Did some Maths HW. Watched Rhoda and went to bed. Watched Omnibus about David Bowie in Bed.

Here’s a Rhoda episode….

That Omnibus programme was Cracked Actor, directed by Alan Yentob, which was the seedy and decadent story of a coke-addicted pop star on tour in the US. What more could a 15 year old want to watch in bed? The BBC re-released it a year or two ago. Brilliant! Would more could a 50+ year old want to watch in bed?


IMG_20140916_090431 - Copy

4.15 George Green.

Took Bottle holder to school. Mr. Leaper welded it for me. Got caught going into dinner early by Mr. Schollar. Had to see Alfie after school for being out of school uniform. Very Hot today. 82 degrees F measured in some places. Borrowed Pentax Camera, Film and light meter off Dominic for Sunday.

82 degrees F is almost 28 degrees C, in May! There was a heatwave in 1976 – just look at this graph of the temperatures in the two weeks around July 1st.


But my school, with its 300 year old traditions and teachers in Batman cloaks, saw no need to relax the uniform rules.

More positively, I got to use a Pentax K1000 – a definite step up from the Soviet Bloc Praktica! Imagine a time when you also had to carry a light meter around with you, measure the light, then set the camera accordingly, and then grab that spontaneous shot.


The Pentax K1000 (originally marked the Asahi Pentax K1000) is an interchangeable lens, 35 mm film, single-lens reflex (SLR) camera, manufactured by Asahi Optical Co., Ltd. from 1976 to 1997, originally in Japan. The K1000’s extraordinary longevity makes it a historically significant camera. The K1000’s inexpensive simplicity was a great virtue and earned it an unrivaled popularity as a basic but sturdy workhorse. The Pentax K1000 eventually sold over three million units. – Wikipedia



Was also V. Hot today. But it poured down in the evening. Got bike ready for tomorrow. Made sandwiches, Put on back rack etc. Ricky came in in the evening. Had a game of monopoly. Got bike out most of today. Ricky went in at 11.30. Mum + Dad went out. Bed at 12.00

Bottle holder mounted (no mention of a bottle), sandwiches made, bike rack attached. Sounds like I was going on a major cycling expedition. I was going to Crystal Palace, all of 6 miles from Greenwich (all uphill though!).

That David Bowie bloke played at Wembley tonight.



IMG_20140916_090454 - Copy

 Went Crystal Palace today with R. Hearnden + Brother. Took Camera. Went round the track on the bike a few times. Swapped him a spindle for two mudguards. Went in the woods round his way. Got home at 6.30. Dave + Yvonne came round. Had bath + washed hair. Bed at 11.30.

The following photo is not me. Obvious, really……

  • He has a bottle in his bottle holder
  • He has no bike rack
  • He does not have Weinmann centre-pull brakes
  • His trousers are not tucked in his socks


(It’s Franco Bitossi:



Went to school late today. Missed French test. Did tennis at Games. Wore training shoes because shoes hurted me. Did Badminton in the evening. Gary Houlding came in. Went in his and G. Blondell’s house. Wrote out letter for scrambling club. Went in at 9.40. Bed at 11.00.

I bet my shoes looked like one of these (or two of these, I mean)…. shoes

Gary Houlding’s house (the odd one out)…


Gary Blondell’s house (the one with a bike)…


Our house (the one above the odd one out)….


Ricky’s House….


Micky Batley’s House…..



IMG_20140916_090502 - Copy

Fairmo got sent home today for wearing the wrong colour shirt.  Wore training shoes. Went up the Observatory in Greenwich Pk at dinner. Did motorcycle mechanics at the club. G. Blondell + G. Houlding also did it. Put cover on new German book. Came in at 9.30. Went to bed at 11.20.

My training shoes were Gola, something like this (but a lot tattier).


The Royal Observatory at Greenwich (built by King Tubby Isaacs III to provide him with a better view of the Isle of Dogs).




A Ford Capri crashed into the church last night. A kid (about 18) got out of it and ran. Had Leaper for TD. Had photography in the evening. G. Blondell asked if he could do it. Produced negatives from photos I took on Sunday. Some are V. Good. Went to bed at 11.40.

It was that dangerous bend again, close to Christ Church and the chip shop. Always someone crashing there…



IMG_20140916_090508 - Copy

 Took negatives to school. Showed them to Hearnden. Played non-stop cricket in PE. Good laugh. On way home R. Stevens. K. Ayres and R. Newark were waiting for us in the tunnel, Went over the club in the evening. Didn’t do anything. Played 3-Lives and Chinese afterwards. Wore shoes.

I’ve still got those negatives, but no means of creating photos from them. I must take them to a photo shop some time, if such things still exist.

The Top 5 today:

  1. Abba – Fernando
  2. Brotherhood Of Man – Save Your Kisses For Me
  3. JJ Barrie – No Charge
  4. Hank Mizell – Jungle Rock
  5. Fox – S-S-S-Single Bed

This was an odd s-s-s-song:



Records Overdue. Went up the Observatory with Duff at dinnertime. Bought Motorcycling Monthly. Dyed training shoes black. Went over the club for a while in the evening. Got coffee thrown over me. Talked in G. Fraser’s flats. Went in at 11.20. Bed at 11.40.

There, my Gola trainers were so tatty I decided to dye them “black”. I bet they looked MUCH better afterwards.


How did I get coffee thrown over me? Was it an accident? Was it deliberate? Did I ask for it? Was there milk and sugar in it?



IMG_20140916_090515 - Copy

Went Sidcup on bike with G. Blondell to find out about Kent Grasstrack Club. No Good. Went over the club. Fairmo and Rolo were playing Table tennis. Watched England V Scotland. Slept up his house. Went to bed after watching film (Comedy).

Kent Grasstrack Club was a scrambling club – motorbike scrambling. I appeared to be determined at the time to join such a club, even though I didn’t have a motorbike (perhaps I should have looked over the mudchute more often), and didn’t have much experience riding one.

But…..this club was “no good”, more than likely a judgment of whether they would let us join, rather than a judgment of their quality.

Actually, the match was Scotland v England, played to a crowd of 85,000 at Hampden Park. On paper, the England team looked quite good, but Scotland won 2-1.


And can you believe it? Roy of the Rovers got married today! Life will never be the same.




Got up at about 9.00. Went home. Went out on bike. Sid gave me a load of Motorbike Mags. Went pictures at Welling in the evening with Fairmo and the two Phillips. Saw Freebie and the Bean and Enter the Dragon. Dave + Sheila were just leaving when I got back home.

Two good films for the time.


Enter The Dragon was released in 1973, so it must have been a re-release. How many of us after seeing this film walked around the streets pretending we could do Kung Fu, making “eeeyaaaa”  and “woo” noises, moving like a cat (“talking like a rat”), pulling a leg muscle while attempting a flying kick? Everybody really was Kung Fu fighting.



IMG_20140916_090521 - Copy

Bloody Mary = Card Game

Just hung around in Games again this week. Played Bloody Mary on the way home. Took a lot of skin off my knuckles. Ricky came in for a while in the evening. Read Danish Erotic. Went out for a while in the evening. Wasn’t really worth it. Wore JD tee-shirt. Read bike mags. Bed at 11.15.

Another typically stupid and violent game, Bloody Mary. The rules of the game escape me, but they were not so important anyway. What was important was that the winner got to hit the loser across the knuckles with a full pack of cards. If that was happening on the way home (from school), then the players were probably Mark Fairweather (Fairmo), Tony Rose (Rolo) and myself (Dances With Bleeding Knuckles).

Danish Erotic? My first thought on re-reading this entry was of Danish pastries. Imagine that, a magazine of erotic pastries. I suspect it was about something else.


I had to rack my brain to figure out what my JD t-shirt was, but it came to me. JD was short for Jack Daniels. A very common clothing logo at the time. My t-shirt was light green, and I bought it at Mr. Byrite’s up Roman Rd.




 Gave Danish Erotic back to Rolo. Got certificate for Rehab walk. Watched a film about Mountain survival in the Physics lab at 1.30. Did motorcycle mechanics in the evening. Started mending a Honda 50. Went over the muddy after. Got lift back P. Wright’s FS1-E. Bloody Good.

The mountain survival film was in preparation for a trip later that year to the school’s camp at Braithwaite in the Lake District. I found it all very exciting, and took it very seriously….whistles, torches, first aid, hypothermia, Kendal Mint Cake, map reading, compasses, bin bags in rucksacks. Serious stuff – I didn’t ever need to consider this kind of thing in the middle of East London.


I remember that Honda 50. I don’t know why I ever thought I could mend it. The crankshaft had been bent after an accident, and I thought I could straighten it. I spent weeks hitting it with a hammer, making it worse. Trying to bend it in a vice, making it worse. The only thing that would have worked was to replace it, but spending money on it was not an option.


IMG_20140916_090530 - Copy

Got a football on the way home from school. Took it home and pumped it up. Gary Blondell came in for a while, showed me a list of scramble clubs. Went photography in the evening. Made a bit of a mess of the bike photos. There was a car crash outside George Green. No one badly hurt. Capri hit Morris turning out.




Rolo got a dot today off Birch. He may get caned. Got sent out of Physics for tying up Hearnden. Got a lot of homework. Didn’t go out in the evening. Did HW and watched TV. Watched The Oblong Box and went to bed at 12.30. It rained a couple of times today.

The school had a system of dots, which you would get for misbehaving, a bit like points on your driving license. 3 points (I think) and that would mean the cane. A recent survey among Daily Telegraph readers (who else?) revealed that more than 50% approved the return of the cane. Idiots.

And I got sent out of Physics for tying up Hearnden (or Bob or Robert or Chas). I do hope this wasn’t during one of our sex education lessons.



The rain comment was because of the drought. It’s hardly worth mentioning rain in England, usually.



IMG_20140916_090535 - Copy

Bowerman was away today, but did some multichoice papers anyway. Bought a Wescott off M. Fairweather for £2.50 in the evening. Went over the club in the evening. Didn’t do much. Went in at 10.30. Bed at 11.20. Read Motorcycle Mechanics in bed.

A Wescott? I’ve a horrible feeling it was one of these denim efforts. £2.50 and it didn’t even have sleeves?




Got up at 11.30 today. Went down to S. Turner who was at his new car – a Honda 360. Went over Samuda with others until about 6.00. Pat was here when I got in. I Babysitted in the evening because Mum + Dad went to see  Emmanuelle.

That Honda company were never gonna get anywhere making cars like this.


I’ve never seen Emmanuelle. But I do know that Sylvia Kristel (1952-2012) was from Utrecht, the daughter of the owner of a hotel/cafe near the station.



IMG_20140916_090541 - Copy

Just hung around today. Went round G. Houlding’s way where he had a NSU (which clapped out). Went under Galleon where Micky Hackney was giving his Yamaha 250 a service. Went over Samuda. Got  a lift back on the Yam 250. Was doing about 60 mph. Went to bed at 12.30.

The Yamaha RD250. It had a distinctive screaming 2-stroke sound and a stupidly high speed (90+ mph).


Didn’t go up the Samuda Estate too often.




Fairmo went Braithwaite today. Didn’t do anything at games. Had badminton in the evening. Ricky also did it. Played football with Danny + Steven. Borrowed 9 LPs off Steven. He lent 3 of mine. Went in at about 10.00. Bed at 10.15.


IMG_20140916_090548 - Copy

Had part of the french exam today. I got it all right. Bought home TD work for revision. Borrowed TD Book. Had a cartoon film on VD in RE. Went sailing at Thamesmead after school, good laugh. Got home at 6.30. Went motorcycle mechanics in the evening. Had bath and washed hair, when got in. Went to bed at 12.00, after Drive-In.

There you go…a routine day of no note. 100% score in a French exam, a film about Venereal Disease in Religious Education (I hope this was not in preparation for our trip to the Lake District), my first ever experience of sailing (which gave me another type of bug which remains with me), motorcycle mechanics class, and a bath.  A day like that in 2014 would have me reaching for a paracetamol and the Jameson.




Had another part of the french exam and got it all right again. Broke a piece of Duff’s watch during the dinner hour. Played records when I got in. Went over the club in the evening. Had photography. Produced some pretty good prints. Colin Robinson came in for a while afterwards. Mum + Dad went badminton.

Mr. Duff (Lawrence aka Larry) on the left. The other two Herberts are me and Andy Murphy.

1978 roan 7


IMG_20140916_090553 - Copy

Brought a lot of books home for revision. Played non-stop cricket in PE. Sorted out our projects in Physics. Hearnden and Me are doing one on  Why there is a ring when water pours into a sink. Didn’t go out at all in the evening. Sorted out what I would do for revision. Bed at 11.20.

Why there is a ring? Why does the water spin? If you think it’s to do with the earth’s spin, I am sorry to disappoint you. The earth’s spin does have some influence, but it so marginal that you wouldn’t even notice the effect, and all that stuff about the direction changing when you cross the equator….not true.

The swirling that occurs is caused by the same effect you see when an ice skater is spinning. When the skater pulls her or his arms in close to the body, the skater spins faster. In the water bowl, even though the water looks quiet, there are slight circulating motions, the movement being left over from filling the bowl or tub with water.

Because the drain opening is much smaller than the bowl, as the water gets near the small drain, the movement gets faster so you can see it, like the ice skater pulling her or his arms close to the body.

This is known as the Coriolis effect, named after the nineteenth-century French mathematician who figured it out.

I’m not sure if we figured all that out during the Physics project……for sure we didn’t have Google at that time.



Got Richard III cards today for revision. Went to school by bike, because I wanted to get home early to see film over George Green. (Didn’t see it). Took home a lot more books for revision. Ricky gave me some old Cycling magazines. Did revision in the evening.


IMG_20140916_090559 - Copy

Went down Chrisp St. with Ricky to try and get a bag. Went over the club to help Dominic to do some photographs (some were mine). Sid gave me a motorbike mag. Took Angie everywhere on the crossbar of my bike in the evening. Mum + Dad went out in the eve.



IMG_20140916_090604 - Copy

 Didn’t do much today. Went over Samuda. Reggie was here when I got back. He went over the club + Did Badminton. I watched Norman Wisdom film + did some revision. There was a good film on in the evening – Murphy’s War. Starring Peter O’Toole.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s