Squirrels, shipwrecks and snow
History is often just under our feet, even if we don’t realise it. Last November we all heard about the collapse of several bridges in Cumbria after devastating floods. I was astounded at the force of nature that could bring down something that had stood for so long and was so well engineered.
Little did I realise that just up the road, our locally famous bridge in Bideford that has stood since Medieval times (so I thought) also collapsed after floods in 1968, fortunately without injury to anyone. This is one of the many gems that I discovered on film at the South West Film & TV Archive in Plymouth while researching footage for our first film. This will now be edited into a 20-minute compilation along with footage about the Taw gravelmen, the Appledore shipbuilders, the brave lifeboatmen, the salmon fishermen and the dangers of being a seaman along this rocky stretch of coast, as proved by the many shipwrecks that the area has seen. Already my eyes have opened to the rich history of our area that has been captured on film, some of which I’m excited that we’ll be able bring to as many people as possible in a new digital format.
One of the laws in life is that everything takes longer than you thought it would, and so it is with the restoration of the cinema bus in Exeter. It turns out a family of squirrels made a nest, many years ago, in the air conditioning housing. They kept themselves busy chewing on whatever was handy, including the electric cables. Almost complete rewiring has been necessary, but all the cables will all be tested before the electrical certificate can be signed off, so everything will be perfectly safe.
Snow delays for everyone, us included. The novelty wore off pretty quickly when we realised that we were snowed in, and deliveries of everything from upholstery fabric to speakers were halted at source. But we’re plodding on regardless of cold fingers and toes, and with the new dome panels due to arrive in the next couple of weeks, the bus is still undergoing an amazing transformation. It won’t be long now until we can run our first trial screenings.