Monday 17 November 2008

Biggles in an adventure with seaweed

The Saturday before last (on the fairly interesting date of 08.11.08) saw Jon, Graham and me out on a filming trip to the old haunt of Mawnan Old Church. We did not encounter the ubiquitous Owlman – not that I had thought we would - but enjoyed our day out in a somewhat rain-lashed Cornwall nevertheless. It was also the first official CFZ trip for Major James Bigglesworth (aka Biggles the pup) who christened the event by being sick in the back of the car halfway through the outward journey. Bless.

Taking a puppy out on a trip is a bit like taking a baby out. The amount of things you have to take with you - just in case – is reminiscent of those trips out with my two girls when they were gurgling bundles of delight (not that they are no longer bundles of delight I hasten to add, but have, I think, stopped gurgling). Items from bottled water to deodorised plastic bags for those necessary moments had been bundled into the boot of the car. However, a puppy throwing up breakfast time Baker’s Original for Puppies cannot really be catered for, but luckily I had had the foresight to take along one of Biggles’ blankets for the back seat so that caught most of it. A visit to a garage shop to obtain a free local newspaper was then made in order to line the Jag’s leather seats just in case of a repeat performance on the way back!

I adore old churches and love wandering around their peaceful confines. It was my first trip to Mawnan and I had been wondering whether I would get ‘bad vibes’ - you know the sort, the hair standing up on the back of your neck etc. However, the only feeling I had was of the serenity of the place. The church is nestled at the end of a lane overshadowed by the autumnal trees. The old graveyard is dotted with angled headstones and, although the walkways are obviously well-tended, the plots themselves are very overgrown, giving it a very ancient feel. The sea winds have done a wonderful job of weathering the headstones and most are covered in lichen or ivy. One of my hobbies when visiting old churches (as macabre as it may seem) is to spend ages wandering around reading the inscriptions on the headstones. I have found some quite amusing ones over the years, as well as those that bring a tear to the eye. I was surprised to notice, however, that considering the church has been there for hundreds of years, the oldest one I could find dated from 1894. There may be some that I missed, but I can only presume that under those plots visible there are older inhabitants at rest in this peaceful overgrown patch of Mawnan.

The fact that Graham found himself having to climb into a tree to take aerial photos of sorts kept the event a typical CFZ one. The tree was not a particularly hefty looking specimen but he managed to keep aloft long enough to take the film that Jon required.

Biggles enjoyed sniffing the undergrowth while Jon and Graham did an interview with some young ramblers and I was quite proud of myself for even managing to cross from one area of the path into the other using the rambler’s traditional method of climbing over a stile! We then gave the pup his first feel of the sand beneath his feet, which he took within his stride. However, I think the exciting smell of stale seaweed detracted to a point. So much so, that when we reached the shoreline he was quite surprised to look up and see the sea. He didn’t take to that at all! Oh well, no surfboard training for him then.

The return journey was hampered by the rain and the fact that the car heaters were not working properly. This meant that the windscreen kept misting up making it rather difficult for the driver to actually see where we were going. Biggles was completely oblivious to it all though – his first adventure out with the CFZ had exhausted him so much that he was fast asleep on the back seat all the way home.