I thought I'd give you an update on The Tinker's (father of dgr) progress since becoming an internationally acclaimed author on the publication of his little memoir Bugle Boy, life as a fourteen year old in the Royal Marines at the outbreak of World War Two, with it's lovely foreword from The Duke of Edinburgh.That's The Tinker on the cover, the little one on the left of these three.
Never one to sit idly thumb-twiddling he's been quite busy on other projects through the winter. As many of you may recall he does have a huge talent for tapestry work and was asked to produce a church kneeler in memory of a deceased comrade which he has been working on with a great precision and the tiniest of stitches in recent months. It's now completed and is indeed a beautiful memorial to a good friend, almost too good for knees and he's also got through stacks of audio books while he's been stitching.
Bugle Boy seems to have been selling well and The Tinker himself is never without a copy upon his person for anyone who enquires where they may purchase one. The lady behind the chemist's counter presented hers with a flourish for him to sign the other day. Vulgar though it may be deemed to discuss money, he was delighted with his first ever royalty payment at the age of nearly eighty-four, but that aside he has received some wonderfully kind and very flattering communications from all manner of people in high places. Being the humble chap that he genuinely is, this has all been quite a surprise for him and he is treasuring all the kind words.
Coming up, two exciting little ventures.
Anyone who has read the book may recall the story in which he recounts his first and only charge of mutiny at the age of fourteen for refusing to clean the ship's bell. The re-cleaning was ordered by the Captain five minutes after poor little Tinker had just polished it to within an inch of its life whilst the ship was anchored in the middle of a very murky misty Scapa Flow. The Tinker was already smartly dressed in his best uniform for Sunday service on board HMS Iron Duke ready to blow all his bugle calls. Punishment was either a public flogging (yes,seriously) or loss of pay and extra duties. He's now thinking he should have opted for the flogging and he could probably now be claiming some compensation.
Well to our complete surprise that very same bell is still in existence.The ship was eventually sent for scrap but the bell is lovingly preserved in Winchester Cathedral and he has been invited back to give it a bit of a spit and a polish in fond memory of that day. Truthfully it was the source of so much grief I think he'd rather see it melted down but he's looking forward to the day very much indeed and I of course will give him instructions to go and pay homage at Jane Austen's resting place while he's there.
Then he is also off to a sort of Guest of Honour Day at Eastney Barracks in Portsmouth, for a guided tour and a 'see how we do it now' presentation. Eastney of course where he pitched up for duty as a wee nipper back in May 1939 and where he carried out his first order after the declaration of war on Sunday September 3rd 1939.
If you've read the book you'll know what that was, those poor cats again.
So again, many thanks to all visitors here who have bought the book, read it, written about it, written to him about it and if you haven't read it yet, well it's spreading around the libraries, will be going into Large Print and of course is still available to buy.