I confess that I have a mandolin, and that I enjoy playing it regularly, especially when I'm trying to learn a new fiddle piece. It is less frustrating to me to learn the fingering on the mandolin first, and then translate that to the fiddle. Also, fiddles can be finniky travelling companions, and mandolins are not quite so delicate, so I sometimes take the mandolin as my "travel fiddle," for when I am away.
This last trip, when I was in the big windy was interesting. I took my fiddle with me this time, and took a break from driving at a small town park in New York on the way back home. There were a number of people who seemed to enjoy the strange out of town guy who stopped in their park to fiddle. It was probably the most entertaining thing that happened in the park in years. I really liked the young ten year old boy who parked his bike where he could hear, without (as he supposed) being seen by the fiddler! I hope he goes home and begs his mom for fiddle lessons!