Flash Fiction Friday – How To Take A Long Break

January 2, 2023, prompt: Write a story about a sabbatical in 99 words (no more, no less). Who needs one or has had one? What kind of tension could a rest create? Where can a break take your story? Go where the prompt leads! Click here for details.

How To Take A Long Break – by Hugh W. Roberts

Some think I have one of the most straightforward jobs in the world. It may look like that, but I still need a sabbatical.

Some think my job is one of the toughest, so I deserve a sabbatical.

Rain, shine, blizzards or gales, I have to do my job. I pledged that I’d never let anyone down. Some think I have too many days off, but people need to learn what goes on behind closed doors.

What’s the best thing about my job? Tearing the date ‘December 24th’ off the calendar and starting my sabbatical for another 364 days.


Written for the 99-word flash fiction challenge hosted by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch.

Image of a message in a bottle on a beach
Image Credit: Charli Mills

***


Enjoyed this piece of flash fiction? Then you’ll love ‘More Glimpses.’

***

32 short stories and flash fiction pieces take the reader to the edge of their imagination.

More Glimpses

Available on Amazon

Paperback – £4.99

Kindle – £0.99

Follow Hugh on his social media platforms by clicking the buttons below.

Want more posts like this? Enter your email address and click Subscribe.

Join 20,476 other followers

Copyright @ 2023 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Throwback Thursday – How Not To Allow A Blank Screen To Defeat You When The Words Go Missing

Have you ever suffered from blank screen syndrome?

My latest post over at the Carrot Ranch gives details of what helped me when facing a blank screen and writer’s block.

Click the link below to read the post.

How Not To Allow A Blank Screen To Defeat You When The Words Go Missing

Throwback Thursday – The day to bring older blog posts back to life.

Image for 'Throwback Thursday' posts
Throwback Thursday

Not sure what Throwback Thursday is or how to participate in it? Click here for full details.

Comments are closed here. Please leave them on the original post.

Follow Hugh on Social Media. Click the buttons below.

Copyright @ 2023 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Pantomime #WordlessWednesday #Photography

Wordless Wednesday – No words, just pictures. Allow your photo(s) to tell the story.

Photo of the actors on stage in the pantomime 'Beauty and the Beast' held at The Theatre Royal in Swansea
Would you perform in a pantomime?

Not sure what Wordless Wednesday is or how to participate? Click here for full details.

Are you participating in Wordless Wednesday? Leave a link to your post in the comments section, and I will try and visit it and leave you a comment (provided the post and pictures are Wordless and do not contain any words). I will also share the post on Twitter, provided you have connected your Twitter account to your blog.

Want more posts like this? Enter your email address and click Subscribe.

Join 20,476 other followers

Copyright @ 2023 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Did You Miss Any Of These? Monthly Round-Up – December 2022

These 8 blog posts got people talking. Were you one of them? If not, join the conversations and share your thoughts.

  • There’s one last present under the Christmas tree, but who is it for and what does it contain?

Flash Fiction Friday – Christmas Present

  • Do sending or receiving Christmas cards give you any dilemmas? A brief, lighthearted look at the history of Christmas cards.

Christmas Cards: Do You Send Them? Do You Receive Them? How To Avoid The Dilemmas

  • Can you help me find my owner, please?

Lost At Christmas #WordlessWednesday #Photography

  • How and why these 7 methods help keep your blog and blogging healthy when it’s getting quiet in the blogging world.

7 Things You Can Do To Help Your Blogging During December

  • What’s on your Christmas tree?

Christmas Angel #WordlessWednesday #Photography

  • How will you be travelling this Christmas?

Sleigh Ride #WordlessWednesday #Photography

  • A Christmas message from Hugh.

Merry Christmas. Thank You For All Your Support This Year

  • Bonus: Guest Post on Judith Barrow’s blog.

Places in our Memories: With Hugh Roberts

Comments are closed here. Please leave any new comments on the original posts.

***

Banner for the blog post 'Monthly Round-up - December 2022'

Follow Hugh On Social Media.

Copyright © 2022 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Merry Christmas. Thank You For All Your Support This Year

I’m now on a blogging break until January 3rd 2023. However, I will respond to any comments left on my blog but won’t be reading or commenting on other blogs during this time.

Merry Christmas🎄

Copyright © 2022 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Sleigh Ride #WordlessWednesday #Photography

Wordless Wednesday – No words, just pictures. Allow your photo(s) to tell the story.

Photo of a Santa on a sleigh ride Christmas tree decoration
What’s your favourite Christmas decoration?

Not sure what Wordless Wednesday is or how to participate? Click here for full details.

Linking to the WordPress WordPromt challenge – Theme: Travel

Are you participating in Wordless Wednesday? Leave a link to your post in the comments section, and I will try and visit it and leave you a comment (provided the post and pictures are Wordless and do not contain any words). I will also share the post on Twitter, provided you have connected your Twitter account to your blog.

Copyright © 2022 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Christmas Angel #WordlessWednesday #Photography

Wordless Wednesday – No words, just pictures. Allow your photo(s) to tell the story.

Photo of a Christmas angel in a cobalt dress handing on a Christmas tree
The angel that always melts my heart.

Not sure what Wordless Wednesday is or how to participate? Click here for full details.

Joining the Sunday Stills photography challenge hosted by Terri Webster Schmandt. Theme: Cobalt Blue.

Are you participating in Wordless Wednesday? Leave a link to your post in the comments section, and I will try and visit it and leave you a comment (provided the post and pictures are Wordless and do not contain any words). I will also share the post on Twitter, provided you have connected your Twitter account to your blog.

Copyright © 2022 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

7 Things You Can Do To Help Your Blogging During December

This is my ninth December in the blogging world, and it’s turning out to be as similar as others.

I see a familiar path. As the days in December tick by, the blogging world gets quieter and quieter.

Banner for the blog post '7 Things You Can Do To Help Your Blogging During December'
Don’t allow blogging to lose its sparkle in December.

I’ve already witnessed bloggers signing off their blogs for Christmas, wishing their readers a Merry Christmas and saying they’ll be back early in the New Year. Others have announced the dates when they’ll take a blogging break.

Just because the world of blogging gets quiet doesn’t mean you don’t have to stop blogging, but I’ve always found that this time of the year is perfect for doing blogging jobs many of us were meant to do during the year but never quite got around to doing.

1. Fix broken links.

I use the free version of Brokenlink.Com to check and fix broken links on my blog.

It can be daunting if you’ve never checked for and fixed broken links on your blog but don’t be put off doing it.

Fixing broken links helps the SEO score of your blog and also helps to reduce spam. Did you know that spammers are attracted to blogs with many broken links?

Your readers will also be happier because they’re not taken to pages, posts and links that no longer exist.

Top tip for checking broken links: Don’t try and tackle the list in one go. Do a few every day. Before you know it, you’ll have smashed it.

Click here to start checking for broken links on your blog now.

2. Update the About me page.

Every blogger should have an ‘about me’ page on their blog. Why? Because not only do most readers like to know a little about the person behind the blog before following, but it’s also one of the most visited parts of any blog.

When did you last update the About me page on your blog?

Not sure what to put on the About me page? Click here for recommendations.

3. Do some blog housekeeping.

From sorting out the tags and categories on your blog to updating the menubar, housekeeping your blog is vital if you want to keep your blog fit and healthy.

This time of the year is perfect for performing blog housekeeping. My blog post, 4 Tips For Housekeeping Your Blog And Improving Its SEO Rating, gives details of some housekeeping jobs you can perform.

Blogs, where no or little housekeeping gets performed, lose more followers and readers than well-maintained blogs.

Get your blog ready for the New Year by performing some housekeeping on it during December.

4. Explore the Block editor.

Are you still terrified of the Block editor? As the number of bloggers using the Block editor continues to climb, now is the perfect time to explore the Block editor and join all those already using it.

WordPress has excellent tutorials on how the Block editor works and how to use it. Click here for more details.

If you’re still using the Classic editor, WordPress recently announced that they’ll continue supporting it until either the end of 2024 or when necessary. However, don’t forget that you can still use the Classic editor via the ‘Classic Block.’

5. Unsubscribe from blogs.

Following too many blogs is not good for your mental health. It can cause some bloggers stress and guilt from being overwhelmed with too many posts to read.

There are many good reasons for unsubscribing from blogs. Here are just a few.

  • No longer interested in the content being published? Unfollow that blog.
  • No new published content for many months? Unfollow that blog.
  • Not read any of their posts for the last year (also known as ghost-blogging)? Unfollow that blog.

Check what blogs you are following by clicking on the ‘Reader’ button at the top of your blog. Click on ‘Manage‘ (next to ‘Following‘). You’ll be presented with a list of blogs you are following. Go through them and unfollow the blogs you’re no longer interested in.

Image highlighting the Manage button on the Following list of blogs followed on WordPress
Click the ‘Manage’ button to see a complete list of the blogs you’re following.

6. Choose a new theme for your blog.

If the WordPress theme you are using has been retired, you are likely (or soon will be) having problems with your blog.

Once WordPress retires a theme, they remove support for it. Don’t waste your time trying to find workarounds. Choose a new theme.

To choose a new theme, go to your blog’s dashboard and click on Appearance – Themes. You’ll be presented with lots of current themes to choose from. However, my advice is not to spend too long choosing one. As soon as you find one you like, go with it.

The current theme I use for my blog is Toujours.

7. Delete old blog posts.

Did you know that keeping old, out-of-date posts can damage the health of your blog? These out-of-date posts are often the source of many broken links.

Not convinced? My post, ‘Are Your Old Blog Posts Damaging Your Blog? How To Stop It From Happening,’ gives full details.

All the above tips can be performed at any time of the year. But make the most of the quietness the month of December usually brings to the blogging world. Keep blogging from losing its sparkle in December.

Am I planning a blogging break?

Yes. I’ll take a blogging break from December 23rd – January 3rd.

I won’t be publishing any new blog posts during this time apart from my monthly round-up post on December 31st. I won’t be reading and commenting on blog posts during this time. However, I will be responding to comments left on my blog posts.

What will you be doing with your blog during December?

Looking for more blogging tips? Click on the ‘Blogging Tips’ and ‘Block Editor – How To’ buttons on the menubar of my blog.

Follow Hugh on social media. Click on the buttons below.

Copyright © 2022 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Lost At Christmas #WordlessWednesday #Photography

Wordless Wednesday – No words, just pictures. Allow your photo(s) to tell the story.

Photo of a model of Rudolph The Red- Nosed Reindeer
Can you help me find my owner, please?

Not sure what Wordless Wednesday is or how to participate? Click here for full details.

Joining the WordPress #WordPrompt Challenge. Theme: Lost.

Are you participating in Wordless Wednesday? Leave a link to your post in the comments section, and I will try and visit it and leave you a comment (provided the post and pictures are Wordless and do not contain any words). I will also share the post on Twitter, provided you have connected your Twitter account to your blog.

Copyright © 2022 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Christmas Cards: Do You Send Them? Do You Receive Them? How To Avoid The Dilemmas

If receiving Christmas cards were a hobby, it would be a hobby I’d embrace and never let go of.  

I’ve always preferred receiving Christmas cards to birthday cards. They’ve always been more important to me, but over the years have caused me a few dilemmas. Do you recognise any of these?

Banner for the blog post 'Christmas Cards: Do You Send Them? Do You Receive Them? How To Avoid The Dilemmas.'
Christmas cards. Are they a problem?

How to display Christmas cards

My parents always strung Christmas cards along our lounge’s longest wall. I’d stand underneath the line and count them every day. And if any of the cards overlap, I’d make it known so they could be adjusted. I wanted every Christmas card to give the same pleasure to visitors as I got out of them over the festive period.

I’d tell my school friends how many Christmas cards we had and keep a record of the number every year. The most we ever got was 106. So many that the line they hung on came down. I cried so much that my parents had to console me with chocolate.

Don’t hang too many Christmas cards on one line. If they are overlapping, put up another line.

These days, we display cards on a card rack. The overlapping doesn’t seem to bother me as much as it used to. However, I seem to prioritise those cards I see as more festive, so they don’t get pushed to the back of the rack.

How do you display Christmas cards?

Christmas at school

During my early schooling years, my class would send Christmas cards to each other. Back then, Christmas cards came in different sizes in one box. The first dilemma was matching the correct-sized envelope to the right card. 

Usually, you’d end up with a couple of cards that didn’t fit the envelopes you had left or, on rare occasions, have cards left with no envelopes. 

These days, Christmas cards seem to come in packs and are all the same size, so the dilemma of matching envelopes with cards has gone. But if you don’t have enough envelopes, dig out the spare cards from last Christmas. It’s unlikely people remember what Christmas card you sent them last year.

Christmas cards for school friends

We’d make a pillar box out of cardboard, cotton wool, paints and some sticky-back plastic. We were all encouraged to post Christmas cards into the box, and on the last day before the Christmas holidays, our teacher would sort them and distribute them out. 

I’d always be super excited to get a pile of cards with my name proudly written on the front of the envelopes. I’d open them all before rushing home to hang them with the rest of the cards, careful not to snap the line.

If there wasn’t enough room on the line, I had to wait patiently for my father to put another up. Sometimes, this could take days, and I’d get frustrated that my cards were not on display.

After Christmas, I’d keep the cards I liked the most and make gift tags out of them for the following Christmas.

Did you send Christmas cards to your classmates?

The first Christmas card

The first Christmas card was sent in 1843. Back then, there were no signs of robins, snow, Christmas stockings or Father Christmas on them. Most cards showed people drinking, eating and being merry.

It wasn’t until the 1870s that Christmas cards began to display some of the festive images we see today.

  

A Victorian Christmas card. Image by DarkmoonArt_de from Pixabay

Back in the 1970s (when I was sending cards to those in my class), I loved certain cards. These include the ones I thought were associated with Christmas. Those showing scenes that had Father Christmas, Christmas stockings, robins, snow, and Christmas trees were my favourites. 

And then there were cards I didn’t particularly like because I thought they had nothing to do with Christmas. These included ones with scenes of horse-drawn carriages, fox hunting, St Paul’s Cathedral, or a hand-drawn poinsettia. 

My favourite classmates always got the cards I associated with Christmas, but my dilemma was who should get the cards I didn’t like. Easy! The classmates I didn’t bother with much (or those I didn’t particularly like) got the boring ones. Back then, you could always tell who didn’t like you much from the type of card they sent you (or so I thought).

Christmas postcards 

Back in the early 20th century, some Christmas cards were like postcards. Many years ago, I picked up some on eBay. This one is my favourite. 

An Old Maid’s Christmas
On the back.

Postmarked Dec 24th 1912, I love the humour on this postcard. I’m not sure it would go down well these days. What do you think?

I can’t make out the postmark on this postcard, but the stamp on it tells me it’s from the U.S.A. 

Christmas postcard from the early 20th century
Christmas postcard from the early 20th century

And here’s another early one from the U.S.A., postmarked Dec 23rd 1913.

Christmas postcard dated Dec 23rd 1913
Christmas postcard dated Dec 23rd 1913

Postal addresses were so short back then.

The best era for Christmas cards

In my opinion, the 1980s were the best era for Christmas cards. Here are a few of my favourites.

I have a scrapbook that includes some of my favourite Christmas cards.

The boyfriend dilemma

Finally, here’s a Christmas card from 1988 that was sent to me by my then-boyfriend.

 

Christmas 1988
Last Christmas, I gave you my heart. By New Year’s Day, I’d taken it away!

Unfortunately, Bob went on to break my heart on New Year’s Eve, yet I kept the Christmas card he sent me. I wonder why?

I hope you enjoyed my brief history of the Christmas card.

Do you send and enjoy receiving Christmas cards? Have you ever had any dilemmas with them? Share them in the comments section.

This post was originally published in 2020 and has been updated and republished.

Click the buttons below to follow Hugh on social media.

Copyright © 2022 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Flash Fiction Friday – Christmas Present

November 28, 2022, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story using the saying, “not my monkeys, not my circus”. What is the situation that would spawn that aphorism? Have fun with the setting and characters! Go where the prompt leads! Click here for details.

Christmas Present – by Hugh W. Roberts

Watching the happy couple unwrap their gifts bought so much joy and happiness. I love Christmas.

One last gift, but who’s the recipient?

“The tag says it’s for you; somebody from your past?” said Veronica.

“Me?” replied David.

He hesitated at first, but his face was a picture when he pulled out red fishnet stockings and suspenders.

The atmosphere changed before death arrived. But it would be the next Christmas before they joined me.

Not my monkeys, not my circus,” I laughed as I walked out of their lives unnoticed.

Nobody cheated on me, the ghost of Christmas past.


Written for the 99-word flash fiction challenge hosted by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch.

Image of the word Circus on the doorway of a circus tent
Image Credit: Charli Mills

***


Enjoyed this piece of flash fiction? Then you’ll love ‘More Glimpses.’

***

32 short stories and flash fiction pieces take the reader to the edge of their imagination.

More Glimpses

Available on Amazon

Paperback – £4.99

Kindle – £0.99

Follow Hugh on his social media platforms by clicking the buttons below.

Copyright © 2022 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Did You Miss Any Of These? Monthly Round-Up – November 2022

These 11 blog posts got people talking. Were you one of them? If not, join the conversations and share your thoughts.

  • Did you bring an umbrella?

Rain Shower Over Swansea #WordlessWednesday #Photography

  • Do you care to share your thoughts with me?

What Are You Thinking About Today? #WordlessWednesday #Photography

  • What makes you put your head in your hands or shake your head regarding blogging?

Is Blogging Causing You Stress Or Making You Feel Guilty? How To Fix It

  • Can Gemma identify where the squeaky noise is coming from?

Flash Fiction Friday – The Squeaky Husband

  • Can you spot the clues in this photo?

Day Or Night? #WordlessWednesday #Photography

  • How long have you been blogging? Is it all that you wanted? A look back at 8 years of blogging.

Throwback Thursday – Blogging – Is It All You Want It To Be?

  • A new job. More money. Worldwide travel. What could possibly go wrong?

Flash Fiction Friday – Jobs

  • There is a much safer way to share the blog posts of other bloggers without the possibility of copyright infringement. Read on for more details.

WordPress: Press This. What Is It? How To Use It And Why It’s Safer Than Reblogging

  • Would you like to join us?

Playtime #WordlessWednesday #Photography

  • What would you do if you found yourself in a situation like this?

Flash Fiction Friday – The Gift Wrapper

  • Have you spotted any first signs of the festive season yet?

First Signs #WordlessWednesday #Photography

Comments are closed here. Please leave any new comments on the original posts.

***

Banner for the blog post 'Monthly Round-up - November 2022'
Monthly Round-up – November 2022

Follow Hugh On Social Media.

Copyright © 2022 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.