Teaching – holidays and coming up to the surface

Teaching always reminds me of swimming. You sprint up and down the lengths of the pool, barely pausing for breath at each end. Once you have do your set of exercises, you stop and pause.

As a full time teacher, I perceive each term as being like a set of exercises, the weekends being the gulp of air taken at the end of each length before you plough on with another stretch. Eventually you get to the holiday, and you need it.

So I’m now a couple of days into the holiday. The stress is beginning to bleed off, I’m beginning to relax. It helps that I’ve left the books I’ve brought home to mark in the car. There are over 100 of them, each requiring upwards of 5 minutes attention. I’ll need to put aside a long day to deal with them before returning to work.

While I enjoy teaching, the paperwork and marking is excessive. While I love being busy, the workload does take it’s toll. The holidays are lovely, but they don’t compensate for the stresses of term time and the total focus on the job. Having worked in the commercial world, I had much more of a life with 20 days annual holiday.

So why do I stay in education? I may write a post about that sometime.

Dave Gorman Gets Straight to the Point

For many years I have followed the work of Dave Gorman, possibly the only comedian in the world you can get me to roll around the aisles laughing at his use of a pie chart.  Yesterday, for the first time, I saw him live at the Royal Festival Hall on his Gets Straight to the Point* (*The Powerpoint) tour.  For years I have told students about ‘googlewhacks’ and his astrology experiment.  It was finally time to see him in the flesh, and thanks to an old friend, I got the chance.

To avoid specific spoilers – there’s a book, there is an amazing section on knees, his usual mischievous ideas about researching his material, and the usual amazing use of data in visual forms.  Trying to breath was a problem by the end of his second ‘found poem’, which really puts a different slant on comments at the end of news articles.

As the final show in a tour that started in 2014, so something like 90 shows, it was slick and perfectly timed.  Yet, it did not suffer from such a long run, with much spontaneous laughter from the stage.  Nick Doody, as the warm-up act and pianist, was hilarious, although the highlight was when he set Dave Gorman up by playing the Muppet Theme.

Teaser for work in progress – RZC

“The war had been going badly for the Allies. The great offensive on the Somme had been a disaster.

The casualty rates were horrific for both sides, one advancing into a hail of machine gun bullets, the other crushed under the weight of artillery.

The Battle of Arras was meant to be a turning point in the war. There were stories, rumours even, of strange events. Stories that circulated among us Tommies, of a phantom battalion that battered through a hail of machine-gun fire, falling upon the Germans within unheard of rage. They called them Tigers.”

Oliver Gill. Captain in the 1st Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry. Interviewed post-war for an unpublished research paper on the Battle of Arras, 1917.

I’ve been working on a new story for the last few months. In fact, this work in progress comes from an idea I was playing with a year ago, partly inspired by a series of interviews with World War One veterans published by the BBC History Magazine. The teaser above, from this new book, is actually the opening section, a fictional aural history interview.

I’m just working through the first draft of the first story.  Provisionally the series has been titled RZC – wonder if anyone will work out what the initials stand for without any extra clues?  The story is clearly set during World War One, introducing a new group of characters and a secret weapon known as Tigers.  There are a variety of inspirations for this story, but I’ll keep them to myself for now or the teaser will give away too much.

Available now! The Butcher’s Funeral

Now available on Amazon, the full story of The Butcher’s Funeral, available from Amazon, is released for the first time as a single volume compiling all the different episodes of the series The Butcher’s Funeral.

The butcher is dead and his wife is the chief suspect. Yet Col Butcher had many enemies, who killed him and why?

Follow Law and Judd as they try to resolve the death of the butcher in Medieval England, there intent to deliver justice to the killer. Could the murderer be the Carniter, who had been pursuing the butcher for his corrupt business practices. Or maybe the Barber Surgeon, a traveller to the city? Could it really be true that the butcher’s wife was the killer?  Who is the murderer?  Find out among a backdrop of medieval crime and punishment, a world of food adulteration, sharp business practices and the traditional medical practices of the period.

Previously published as a series of short stories during 2014 and 2015, The Butcher’s Funeral is available now as a complete and single volume for the first time.  This volume contains all the individual parts, each also available on Amazon.  Originally written as it was published, the book is the first extended piece of work published by C. M. Harald.

Coming Soon – The Trial – Conclusion of Butcher’s Funeral

The Trial – Final part of the Butcher’s Funeral

Early in December, the final part of the Butcher’s Funeral will be released on Amazon.  This is the concluding episode of The Butcher’s Funeral set in Medieval England, a story of murder, medicine and intrigue.

In this concluding episode, The Trial, the thief and the surgeon are on trial for their lives having been accused of crimes for which the death penalty applies.  The thief is charged with theft of sufficient coin for it to become a capital offence, the surgeon is accused of the murder of a King’s official working for the Court Leet.  Law struggles with his conscience, as the surgeon is tried for the death of the Carniter, knowing full well his own guilt in this affair.  Will the murderer of Col Butcher be unmasked at this time, will the guilty parties receive justice?

The Butcher’s Funeral is a serial of short historical murder mystery stories, reaching a conclusion this December.  A special book collection of all the short stories will be released later in December on Amazon.

Find the latest releases by C.M. Harald at Amazon.

NOW OUT! Butcher’s Funeral Part 6 – The Thief

New Release – Butcher’s Funeral – The Thief

The Butcher’s Funeral – The Thief is out today on Amazon.

The Thief is part 6 of the medieval short story serial (approx 5,100 words).  In The Thief, a boy struggles to survive in the city, using his wits, charm and skills as a thief. Things go wrong for the boy.

The Butcher’s Funeral is a series of short episodes covering medieval crime, punishment and health.  Who killed the butcher and to what ends?  Was it his wife, the surgeon or maybe the carniter?  Who was his love rival and could it have been him?

The final part, The Trial, will be released late in November or early December 2015.  An anthology of the whole series will also be released before the end of the year.

New Blog about writing fiction by C.M. Harald

Writing about writing – New Blog

Well, this is the fifth blog I’ve written over the years.  The first was while I was working as postgraduate in the late 90s; the most successful was kept going for eight years and was for a business I used to run; then there have been a couple of smaller and badly maintained projects.  So I’ve no idea how this will go.

It’s my aim, at the moment, to use this blog as a way of updating readers on the latest progress with my writing.  I’m also thinking about uploading the odd short fiction story as well.  We’ll see how it goes as I’m currently putting more time into writing than ever before.

Currently, I have two projects in progress.  I’m finishing up ‘The Butcher’s Funeral‘ series of short stories, editing the last two parts of this Medieval story – hopefully, there will be an update on this soon.  The Butcher’s Funeral will also be published in a single volume.  I’m also in the middle of a writing a story on zombies and World War One.

My full range of published writing can be found on Amazon – C. M. Harald books.