Monday, 18 January 2016

Mysteries and Coincidences

Every now and then, I like to go to the pub and catch up on reading some of my backlog of magazines while nursing a pint of real ale.  Sometimes it's Resurgence, sometimes Songlines or Shindig!, occasionally Lonely Planet.  Readers of this blog will know my tastes.  Yesterday it was the Summer 2015 issue of Acoustic magazine (for acoustic guitarists who care about Phosphor Bronze strings and appreciate Fishman pick-ups or, in my case, pretend to know what they are.) Why the Summer 2015 issue?  Well, I told you I had a backlog of magazine reading.

The mandolin that survived D-Day
 (image courtesy of Acoustic magazine)
In last month's blog post I wrote about Exercise Tiger and the Sherman Tank reclaimed from the sea at Torcross. The last place I expected to stumble across another Exercise Tiger story was in the pages of Acoustic magazine.  Yet here was an article written by Gordon Giltrap about a mandolin that survived Exercise Tiger. It seems Ken Small (the man who rescued the tank and established the memorial at Torcross) was given a mandolin that had been signed by some of the soldiers who took part in the exercises - the servicemen had scratched their names into the back of the instrument, which went with them to Omaha beach ... and was eventually returned to Devon. So now Ken's son Dean is the custodian of both the barnacled Sherman tank and the remarkable, war-veteran mandolin.

And, if finding an Exercise Tiger-related story in a magazine for acoustic guitarists isn't strange enough when, out of idle curiosity, I checked the stats for the Passengers in Time blog this evening it turns out that, while I was down the pub reading Acoustic magazine yesterday, 55 people were reading this blog. Why? I have no idea - but it seems we're big in Russia at the moment with 68 readers there, while some 48 people in Israel can't get enough of our eclectic mix of book, music and time-travel-related musings. We're also on our way to becoming a household name (kind of) in Vietnam, Malaysia and the Ukraine. So, let's hope stories about antique mandolins have a broad, international appeal.

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About me

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Tony Gillam is Senior Lecturer in Mental Health Nursing at the University of Wolverhampton, a freelance writer, trainer and musician. He is the author of 'Reflections on Community Psychiatric Nursing' (2002) and 'Creativity, Wellbeing and Mental Health Practice' (2018).