New Podcast -The Chains he Forged – a Ghost Story for Christmas

Lockdown is the mother of invention, or so it seems. In the long, idle hours generated by Covid and Retirement, there has been ample opportunity to hone a new set of skills. The main insight I have gained after being out of the English classroom for the first time since 1982, is that the thing that I miss the most, the essence of English teaching is reading a great book or a poem aloud to a classroom full of kids. And so, I present the results, via my two new ventures, The View from the Great North Wood Youtube channel, and the Telling Stories Podcast. Indulge me, and think of this as therapy for someone still grieving.

Both ventures are straight out of the “Sniffin’ Glue” school of publishing, that is, rough and ready, with an unmistakeable aroma of punk. In those days, we were all just encouraged to get it down while it was hot. To pick up a guitar and learn two chords (who needed more? Patti Smith famously used just one, brilliantly) and start to thrash. To type, cut and paste (with scissors!) and xerox it.

So with that in mind, dive in. But be kind. And, don’t hold back from subscribing and spreading the word.

The Chains He Forged – a Ghost story for Christmas Telling Stories

Ben Marley has climbed his way up the greasy pole  to finally become Headteacher. All the scams and tricks and double dealing of his ruthless pursuit of advancement come back to haunt him when he finds himself back in his old school one last time on Christmas Eve as darkness falls.
  1. The Chains He Forged – a Ghost story for Christmas
  2. Episode 2 Three Poems
  3. Episode 3 September
  4. Episode 1 Mr Stringer's Snow Day

Podcasts and Youtube videos

Lockdown is the mother of invention, or so it seems. In the long, idle hours generated by Covid and Retirement, there has been ample opportunity to hone a new set of skills. The main insight I have gained after being out of the English classroom for the first time since 1982, is that the thing that I miss the most, the essence of English teaching is reading a great book or a poem aloud to a classroom full of kids. And so, I present the results, via my two new ventures, The View from the Great North Wood Youtube channel, and the Telling Stories Podcast. Indulge me, and think of this as therapy for someone still grieving.

Both ventures are straight out of the “Sniffin’ Glue” school of publishing, that is, rough and ready, with an unmistakeable aroma of punk. In those days, we were all just encouraged to get it down while it was hot. To pick up a guitar and learn two chords (who needed more? Patti Smith famously used just one, brilliantly) and start to thrash. To type, cut and paste (with scissors!) and xerox it.

So with that in mind, dive in. But be kind. And, don’t hold back from subscribing and spreading the word.

Telling Stories podcasts, featuring readings of short stories, poems, and ramblings on politics, education and culture

The Chains He Forged – a Ghost story for Christmas Telling Stories

Ben Marley has climbed his way up the greasy pole  to finally become Headteacher. All the scams and tricks and double dealing of his ruthless pursuit of advancement come back to haunt him when he finds himself back in his old school one last time on Christmas Eve as darkness falls.
  1. The Chains He Forged – a Ghost story for Christmas
  2. Episode 2 Three Poems
  3. Episode 3 September
  4. Episode 1 Mr Stringer's Snow Day
On Spotify, if you prefer…
The View from the Great North Wood Youtube Video channel
Books of the Year. Surreal doesnt cover it.
Casting Spells. The joys of reading aloud to a class
Enjoy the short story to a relaxing backdrop of snowy , silent woodland

Casting Spells

This is for all those teachers, of whatever stripe, that have ever held a class spellbound, and more particularly, for those English teachers who have ever read fiction aloud to a class of students. My very last thoughts on retirement, honest.

Casting Spells

I have loved casting spells
In the gathering gloom of wet November Friday afternoons
As yellow lights held us all in a web of careful, bold words.
Thirty pairs of eyes wide and gleaming in the dusky, chalk-dusted corners.
Thirty breaths held in a cloud of concentration above our heads.
Yes, that was worth the whole shebang.
But I did not like
The Marking, that squatted on my life like a Toad.
There will come a time, on a wet November afternoon, when a pile of bruised and scribbled purple books might be the object of my wildest dreams.
But not yet.
Not for a long, long time.
And come September, when Summer’s warmth begins to fail and blistered leaves turn yellow,
I will watch the lines of scrubbed children laden with heavy bags,
Proceed to school with first day nerves, and think, with sadness and relief, that no bell summons me,
To cast the old spells
 Afresh for them.