Shall We Talk About Death Or Sex?

I probably talk or think about death more often than others.

I don’t talk about sex as much as I do death, but is that a problem when entering the autumn years of your life?

Many people I know don’t like talking about death. Do you? Many don’t enjoy discussing sex but is it easier to talk about than death?

Is it odd or natural to think and talk about death and sex simultaneously? You tell me.

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Which one do you feel most comfortable discussing?

Once upon a time, sex was a subject people didn’t like talking about. I’m going back to my early years here when sex was a hush-hush subject, almost taboo.

There was little information available about sex while I was growing up. The reaction I once got from my elders when I asked, ‘where do babies come from because I know the stork doesn’t bring them?‘ was like watching the faces of those watching the gory scene in a horror movie. ‘Is it something about a man and a woman solving a puzzle?‘ I went on to ask.

When I asked those questions, I got looks of shock, horror and embarrassment. My grandmother walked out of the room while my mother and father tried to change the subject quickly.

Lockdown talk

During the lockdown, my partner and I talked about death. But it was only while updating our wills. We couldn’t get past the point where we would talk about our deaths and what we wanted to happen when that time came. ‘We’ll talk about that another day,’ I told myself, yet death can come to any of us anytime. Can you imagine the problems we cause by not talking to each other about death?

Although nobody likes talking about death, we read, write and watch it happening in books, on television, in theatres and cinemas. It seems natural when reading, writing or watching it, but when talking about our deaths or the death of somebody we know, there comes the point where I hope somebody else will take the lead, and the subject will quickly change.

Why am I talking about death?

I have written about death here, but the truth is that what I call the otherside of death (where the person dying is not me) is approaching; it becomes a subject we can’t avoid. I have an aunt who is nearing the end of her life.

At 95 years old, some say my aunt has had an excellent innings. She loved life, but she wouldn’t like the life she is now living. I think I followed her for the love she had for life. However, she has spent what is left of her life in a hospital bed for the last three months. Her final words to me before she went into a deep sleep were, ‘I want to go home.’

I can relate to how she feels. Whenever I have been ill and not at home, I’ve always wanted to go home. If we allow it, being in familiar surroundings can help. Well, it always works for me. But does it help when nearing our final days?

As she faded in and out of consciousness, my aunt reacted to some voices in her hospital room yet ignored others. I wondered if she could choose which voices she wanted to respond to and which she chose to ignore? Does she have any control over what she hears while her life slips away?

Why do some people die quicker than others?

Truth be known, I wouldn’t say I like watching my aunt’s death being so drawn-out. The family all agree that she’d hate to be at the point she is – having to live the drawing out of the last days of her life in a deep sleep in a hospital bed. ‘There’s nothing else we can do for her except keep her comfortable,’ the medical staff tell us. ‘But keep talking to her because hearing is the last sense to go.

Really? Is hearing the last thing the dying sense? How can they possibly know? Have some of these staff lived previous lives, or has somebody who has left this world told them that’s what happens? It seems odd to say. I can not work out how they know.

When my father died in October 2020, his death was swift. He died within 24 hours of being taken ill. There were no weeks of being unconscious in a hospital bed. Yet when my mother died in September 2015, she took many weeks to die after we were told there was nothing else they could do. Why do some people die quickly, yet others seem to take weeks, months or years to pass?

Are those who have long-drawn-out deaths having to pay for what they may have done during their lives, or is there something or someone who has overall control over how long it takes for us to die? Do some linger because there is some unsettled business to attend to, or do we have no power over how long it takes to take that final breath?

Where do we go just before we die?

Years ago, I believed there was a waiting room we entered when dying. We sat there waiting for our name to be called before going through another door that took us on our next journey. Some remained longer in that waiting room than others. But while we wait, we are occasionally permitted to briefly go back through the first door to check what is happening in the world we are leaving. Perhaps we’re not quite ready to go because we’re waiting for somebody to come and say goodbye?

I’ve often asked myself why my mother took so long to pass away. Did she not want to go, or was she told she had to wait her turn? In life, we queue. Do we have to queue to die?

When we die, are we leaving behind those still alive, or do the living leave us behind?

I probably talk or think about death more often than others. Many people I know don’t like talking about it. How often do you talk about death?

Perhaps I should have talked more about sex? But would anyone have wanted to discuss it with me?

What are your thoughts on why we dislike discussing death or sex?

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How Do You Measure The Success Of Your Blog Posts?

How do you measure the success of a blog post?

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Which of your blog posts are the most successful?

As we drift into the last few weeks of the year, I find the world of blogging gradually becomes a quieter place. Like thousands of others, I’ll be taking a seasonal blogging break as we head deeper into December. 

However, one of the most popular posts I see appearing every December and early January is the traditional ‘My Top 10 Blog Posts Of The Year’ post. It won’t be long before these annual posts drop into your email box and WordPress Reader. 

But how do bloggers measure the success of those top 10 posts? What is it that helps make those posts appear in their ‘top 10’ lists?  

The more hits, the more successful? 

Most bloggers who will publish their ‘Top 10 Blog Posts of 2021’ blog post will base their list on the number of hits each blog post achieved. But that always has me questioning if that is the right way to compile a top 10 list. 

A blog post may have thousands of hits, but how many actually read the content? Does not reading a post make it successful? Should the number of hits count towards success when we’ve no idea how many times the post was read?

Does landing on a blog post by mistake make a post more successful when some of those landing there don’t stay and read the content?

Search engines are significant when looking for something in particular on the web. However, how often have I clicked on a link and then moved on quickly after realising the page I’ve landed on is not what I was looking for? I’ll be honest and say that I’ve lost count!  

It’s made me question whether that click I made should count towards making the post more successful when I haven’t read the content. 

Volume V’s Sales

Let’s have a look at it another way. Take these two identical shops: 

Shop ‘A’ gets hundreds of customers a day because of its location or large advertising budget. However, it gets few sales a day. 

Shop ‘B” gets a much smaller number of customers because of its location or smaller advertising budget but gets a high sales volume. 

Which of the shops is the most successful? A or B?

When should comments count towards success?

If I compiled my ‘Top 10 Posts of 2021’ post based on the number of comments every post got, my top 10 list would look very different from the list I compiled for the number of hits or ‘likes’ a post got.

For example, one of my posts that received the most hits did not get any new comments or ‘likes’ left in the last 12 months. Yet the post that was number 21 on my most hits list got three new comments and six further ‘likes.’ Which one should be considered to have been the most successful in the last 12 months?

Then there are some bloggers (like me) who may not count specific comments. Comments that add value or prove the post was read, count. Whereas lazy comments such as ‘Great Post’ or comments that only included a line of emojis may not count. 

When measuring success, should we include all comments or just the ones that add value or prove the post was read? 

When is a ‘like’ not a ‘like’?

I’ve never been a fan of the ‘like’ button on blogs since I discovered that some bloggers and readers misuse it. However, I see many bloggers basing the success of posts on the number of times the ‘like’ button has been clicked. 

Should clicking ‘like’ without reading a post count towards making a post successful? How many times have you had the same person press the ‘like’ button on lots of your blog posts within seconds of each other?

How many times has somebody clicked the ‘like’ button within seconds of you publishing a post?

Surely Sandra read my 900-word post if she clicked ‘like’ within ten seconds of me publishing it, didn’t she? Otherwise, why would she have clicked the ‘like’ button?

How do we know if somebody who clicks ‘like’ actually read the post?

Unfortunately, unless somebody clicks ‘like’ a reasonable time after publication, and leaves a genuine comment that proves they’ve read the post, we don’t know.  

Misuse of the ‘like’ button seems to be quite widespread in the blogging world, with some readers even pressing it to take away the feeling of guilt for not having the time to read and comment on a post. Some click ‘like’ as a sign of support but may not read the post. Should those ‘likes’ count towards the success of a post?

Some see the ‘like’ button as nothing but a free promotional tool for their blog without reading a post. Leave a ‘like’ and, fingers crossed, it will bring in some new visitors. 

The only success we should be discussing for these types of ‘likes’ is that the person clicking the ‘like’ button feels the post and blog are successful. All they’re doing is jumping on the success bandwagon of somebody else’s hard work.

If you’re wondering why I still have the ‘like’ button at the bottom of all my posts, allow me to enlighten you. I discovered (and was told by WordPress) that it is connected to the ‘reblog’ button. Remove it, and the ‘reblog’ button also disappears from your blog posts.

That’s something I was not willing to allow. 

And removing the ‘like’ button from your blog doesn’t mean it will be removed from posts when they appear on the WordPress Reader. If you’ve removed the ‘like’ button from your blog, are you aware that people can still click on a ‘like’ button when reading your posts on the WP Reader?

How do I measure the success of a blog post?

Simple. If I was motivated or inspired to write and publish a post, then it’s a success. Therefore, you won’t find a ‘Top 10 Blog Posts Of 2021’ post on my blog.  

Winding-up

At the end of the day, I guess it’s entirely up to the blogger concerned about how they measure the success of their blog posts. What I do question, though, is should bloggers be publishing results that are not necessarily accurate?

Allow me to run a final thought past you 

Suppose a blog post only gets a few hundred hits yet gets over 50 genuine comments and likes. Does it make it more successful than a post with thousands of hits yet very few comments and likes?

What do you think? How would you measure the success of a blog post?

Copyright © 2021 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

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Click the ‘Diversity with a Twist’ image to check out my latest post on my column at the Carrot Ranch.

Questions About Blogging: How Many Is Too Many Or Too Few Blog Posts?

While on my recent unplanned blogging break, I found myself asking these questions –

  • Am I publishing too many blog posts?
  • How many are too many blog posts?
  • Am I overwhelming my readers?
  • Am I publishing too few blog posts?
  • Is anyone missing me?
  • Am I really on a blogging break if I’m thinking about blogging?

No, forget those last two questions, but I did keep asking why was I asking the other questions.

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How Many Blog Posts Have You Published?

When my last post, ‘Did You Miss Any Of These? Monthly Roundup – August 2021‘ got published; I hadn’t realised it was my one-hundredth post for 2021.

‘One hundred posts! That’s far too many in eight months,’ I told myself.

One hundred posts over eight months mean that, on average, I’m publishing 12 posts per month or around three per week.

I was rather shocked by the figures, but told myself that it shouldn’t be about me but my audience. That’s where I hope you will step in by answering some questions and leaving your answers in the comments section.

  • Are 12 posts per month too many, too few, or just right on Hugh’s Views And News?
  • How many blog posts did you publish between 1st January and 31st August 2021?
  • Do you think you’ve published too many, too few, or the right amount of posts so far this year?
  • What are your reasons for the answer(s) you gave to the last question?

If you blog on WordPress.Com, you can find out how many posts you’ve published by going to your blog’s ‘Stats And Insights‘ page and click on the ‘Insights’ tab.

Screenshot highlighting the Insights tab on the stats page of a WordPress blog
Insights into Stats

You’ll find the information towards the bottom of the page under ‘Annual Site Stats.’

Screenshot highlighting the Annual Site Stats box on a WordPress blog
Annual Site Stats

Join the discussion and let me know your answers by leaving them in the comments section. You don’t need to answer all of the questions if you don’t want to, but I’d be interested in reading the answers you do give.

In the meantime, if you’re wondering what I did on my unplanned blogging break, here’s a clue of one of the places I visited.

Twitter

Doesn’t it look gorgeous?

Over the coming months, I’ve lots planned for Hugh’s Views And News. In the meantime, if you’d like to follow me on my other social media platforms, click on the buttons below.

Follow Hugh on Social media by clicking on the buttons

Copyright © 2021 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Why Are Some Bloggers Killing Off Comments Being Left On Their Blogs?

I’ve always believed that leaving and responding to comments is the very heart of blogging.

I won’t repeat what I’ve said before about bloggers who do not respond to comments. You’ve heard it all before. But imagine my surprise when I recently read that some bloggers are turning off comments on their blogs for good.

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Are you thinking of killing off the comments on your blog?

Hold on. What? A silent blog? No comments? No place to discuss what you’ve just read and interact with other bloggers? Will these blogs become known as ‘library’ blogs? A place where you can read but not talk?

Are some of the bloggers that don’t respond to comments the people turning off comments for good?

What are the reasons for turning off comments?

The number one reason seems to be time. Some claim that responding to comments is a waste of their time; time better spent writing more blog posts. I got really hot under the collar when I read that statement.

If you’re lucky enough to get lots of comments left on your posts, then responding to them can become overwhelming. And I agree that the time it takes responding could be put to better use, but if we manage our time correctly, it should never become a problem in the first place.

How many is too many comments?

In the seven years I’ve been blogging, I’ve approved and responded to well over 40,000 comments. I don’t know if that is too many, but I’m a blogger who craves even more comments.

Sometimes it takes me a whole morning responding to them. I could have spent that time writing more blog posts or short stories. However, I’ve always had the attitude that if somebody takes the time to read one of my posts and leave me a comment, then it’s only polite to acknowledge them with a response.

“Treat every visitor to your blog, as you would any guest in your home.”

Those were the words I read very early on in my blogging journey. Written by a blogger who had a follower number I could only dream about, she responded to all the comments left on her blog. Her words have forever remained etched on my mind.

One of the first jobs I do every morning when opening my blog is responding to comments. Not only does it makes me feel good (because I know people are reading my posts), but I like to think that the person who left the comment will see that I’m a friendly guy who doesn’t ignore his audience.

Are comments all the same?

No. Comments come in all shapes and sizes. There are the comments where you know your whole post got read. There are the ones that spark new ideas for future posts. And then there are the comments that say little if nothing and get you wondering if all they did was click the ‘like’ button without reading your post.

I acknowledge lazy comments by pressing the ‘like’ button next to the comment. It, at least, shows I’ve read what they’ve had to say.

Do I have a good quote about comments?

I think so, yes. I published this quote on my blog many years ago – one which many readers seemed to like and agreed with.

“Not answering comments left on your blog is like inviting somebody around for coffee and ignoring them.”

Other things comments do.

Comments can often open up debates between readers. I always enjoy seeing two or more bloggers commenting between themselves about the subject of my post. I refer to it as ‘healthy debate.’ Somebody once told me that getting a discussion going on a blog post you’ve written and published proves you’re engaging with your audience, even if some of the comments are not directed at you.

But what about the question I posed in the title of this post? Should bloggers kill off comments on their blogs? I can certainly see why some bloggers would temporarily disable comments. But to disable them all together is something I don’t believe is a part of what blogging is about.

After all, don’t comments allow the reader to communicate with the author, and isn’t that what most bloggers and writers want? – to engage with their audience?

Would you consider turning off comments on your blog? Are there any reasons why you turn off comments on specific posts? How do you manage the responding to comments process on your blog?

Join the discussion. Let’s get talking.

Glimpses

28 short stories and pieces of flash fiction take the reader on a rollercoaster of twists and turns.

Available on Amazon

Paperback – £4.99

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Copyright © 2021 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

How A Comment Left On One Of My Posts Got Me Questioning A Previous Life

Do You believe in life after death? What about life before life? Have you ever written yourself into a piece of fiction without knowing it?

Check out my latest post, ‘How To Write Yourself into A Piece Of Fiction Without Knowing It‘, on my column, Diversity with a Twist, at the Carrot Ranch. Find out how a comment left on one of my blog posts got me asking questions if I’d lived before and witnessed one of the biggest disasters of the Twentieth century.

Click the image below to read the post.

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Diversity with a Twist

Many readers have already left comments, some of whom have shared glimpses of former lives.

Comments are closed here. If you’d like to join the discussion, please leave your comment on the original post.

Copyright © 2021 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

How Do You Respond To The Comments Left On Your Blog?

I recently asked the following question on Twitter. 

Blogging question

And I got great answers back. 

Suzanne at Life At No. 22
Bree from 3 Sisters Abroad
Caroline from BellesMot200DotCom
Debbie at Deb’s World
Liesbet at Roaming About
James from Perfect Manifesto

I love James’ reply because he refers to something called a lazy response. We’ll look at those further on in this post.

Chris at BoomingOn
D at ShiftnShake
  • Gilda said

I’ve been involved in some great discussions on Twitter. This one inspired this post.

How did all this start?

It all started when I came across a tweet from an indie author advertising one of his books.

While checking out his Twitter profile, I noticed that one of the right things he’d done was to include a link to his blog. His books looked interesting, so I decided to check out his blog and engage with him.

However, several weeks later, he had not acknowledged or responded to any comments or questions left on his blog posts. Yet he remained active by publishing new blog posts a couple of times a week.

This got me thinking not only about bloggers who do not respond to comments, but some of the responses I often see – those lazy responses that James referred to.  

Now I know it’s up to each blogger how they handle comments left on their posts, but am I the only blogger who finds that not responding to comments is a strange occurrence?

After all, leaving good meaningful comments does seem to work. Take a look at Marsha’s response to some comments I’d left on one of her blog posts.

Short comments – do you like them?

What do you think about comments such as  Great PostNice Story, or Lovely photos? Have you left comments like those or asked yourself ‘why don’t they tell us what made it a great post, nice story, or what it was that made those photos lovely ?  

How to respond to short comments

Reader – “Great post.”

Me – “Thanks!”

Reader – “You’re welcome.” 

Are those comments beneficial or should they be deleted?

Why do readers’ leave ‘Great post’ comments?

  • Is it because they’re trying to read and leave comments on too many blog posts in too little time?
  • Do they feel guilty if not leaving any kind of comment on a post they read so short ones will do?
  • Is it because they haven’t really read the post? 
  • Is it because they don’t have the time to get into any discussion about the topic of the post?
  • Is it because what they were going to say has already been said by somebody else?

What are lazy responses?

For me, they’re the types of responses that let all the air out of your blogging balloon. You’ve left a great comment that opens up for a discussion about the post you’ve just read, but all you get back is a ‘Thank you for your comment.’

How deflated does that kind of response make you feel when you left a comment that asks questions and opens up a discussion?

I believe this is what James was referring to in his answer to my question on Twitter. But is a lazy response any better than no response at all?

  • Maybe you’re somebody who doesn’t mind getting and leaving short comments. Are there any reasons why you leave them?
  • What are the benefits of leaving short comments?
  • Maybe you’re somebody who doesn’t like getting into discussions on your blog posts?
  • Are there any benefits to leaving lazy responses?  
  • If I told you that I delete any comments that only include emojis or words such as ‘Great post‘, would you think I was being too harsh?

Finally, this reply to my question on Twitter really got my attention. 

What do you think about Lydia’s answer? Do people really care whether you respond to their comments or not?

How would you respond to the question I asked on Twitter? Do you like getting into discussions when replying to comments on your blog posts? Let’s cary on the discussion here. Join the conversation by leaving me a comment.

Copyright © 2021 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Curious Christmas Objects Around The House

Over the years, I’ve collected and accumulated lots of Christmas objects. However, some items have me curious as to why I bought them.

Take, for example, this curious little pot.

The curious Christmas pot

Purchased on eBay over ten years ago, it has never seen the light of day in our house. Not even at Christmas time have I been tempted to put this strange little pot on display. I’m not even sure what it is.

However, there may be a clue in the hole on the side of the lid where maybe one could place a teaspoon.

Does the hole hold the clue?

So is it a festive pot for holding jam, mustard, cranberry sauce, or Boxing Day festive chutney?

And it’s probably no wonder why I’ve never had it out on display at Christmas. I mean, look at it. It’s the stuff of nightmares. It’s something that belongs in a horror story. Feel free to write one that includes this object.

I’m positive the words ‘Christmas Antique’ in the heading of the auction were what tempted me to buy it. I don’t remember how much I paid for it, but it was no more than £20.

Was I conned at buying this supposed piece of ‘Christmas past?’ Maybe the mark on the bottom of the object answers my question? Maybe you know an antiques expert who could answer my questions?

At least we know where it was made

I wonder what’s its history is and what stories it could tell me?

Have you seen an object like this before? What do you think its purpose is? Is it an antique, or was it massed produced for the market?

Thank you to Michael at Spo-Reflections for the idea for this post.

Copyright © 2020 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Blogging Awards: Do They Work?

When WordPress first introduced a blogging award on one of its early online blogging courses, I thought it was one of the best ideas they’d come up with.

Blogging Awards – Do they work?

Not only was it a way of introducing student bloggers to each other, but also to the wider blogging community. For most of those who participated, they helped gain more followers, more ‘likes’ and more comments. 

If like me you remember ‘chain letters’, blogging awards work in much the same manner. 

Should we accept blogging awards if they come with demands?

I remember how delighted I was when I got a comment informing me that my blog had been nominated to receive an award. 

Given that I’d only been blogging for a few months, that comment produced a big smile on my face. I spent the next few hours telling everyone I knew that my blog had already been nominated for a blogging award. 

Now faced with a list of demands (as I saw it) of what I had to do if I wanted to accept the award, I duly wrote my post. This involved answering lots of questions, mentioning and linking back to the blogger who had nominated me, and nominating another 15 bloggers for the award.

Weeks after that first award post was published, I was delighted with the results it had produced. Not only had the award nomination gained my blog lots of new followers, but it had boosted my confidence in becoming a blogger. 

The whole process had been fun to do. People got to know more about me from the questions being asked. My blog stats rocketed and, most importantly of all, I was able to pass on the good fortune of the award nomination to other bloggers.

The snowball effect

Of course, more followers meant more comments. More followers also meant more awards, but these were different from the first award I’d been nominated for. 

I asked myself if bloggers were now making up their own awards and whether or not it was a good thing. 

As the award nominations came in, my writing time started to get swallowed up with writing posts and answering questions about nothing else but accepting blogging awards.

New award nominations were popping up in my email box, daily. As the whole thing snowballed, they started to become more of a problem, rather than of help to me. 

Please make no mistake about it, blogging awards are a great way to promote new bloggers and put them in touch with lots of other bloggers. They can help build up blogging communities and put you in front of brand new audiences, but they do come with a downside.

Should bloggers invent new blogging awards?  

I even went as far as to invent my own award – ‘The Mildred Awards’ which, at the time, went on to become one of my most viewed and commented-on blog posts. 

In the early days of blogging, these awards can propel both you and your blog, but be careful in allowing them to take over your blog.

Ask yourself if your readers are beginning to get fed up with reading post after post about awards you’ve been nominated for. Are the people you’re passing on the awards to getting fed up with being nominated by you all the time? 

Are you passing on awards between each other by nominating the same bloggers all the time? Does that look good? Or do you do it because you don’t want to upset anybody?  

When I started getting behind with accepting awards, I began to panic. 

What would people think if I didn’t accept their award? Would I start to lose followers because I wasn’t passing the award on? Would people stop nominating my blog for awards?

How a milestone helped.

In February 2015 (on the first anniversary of my blog) I decided it was time for my blog to go award-free. I’d seen other bloggers do the same thing, and I knew it was time for me to accept that blogging awards had done their job for me and my blog. It was time for my blog to move on. 

I wrote and published The ‘Mildred Awards’ post and made the announcement that my blog was now ‘award-free.’

I can’t tell you just how good that made me feel. I felt as if I’d taken a huge weight off my shoulders. After all, I had come to the world of blogging to write about anything I felt like writing about – not just about awards. 

However, that did not stop the award nominations from coming in. 

How to deal with bloggers who keep nominating you for awards when your blog is award-free.

Of course, I thanked people for nominating me and informed them that my blog had gone ‘award-free.’ Most were happy with my decision, but there were a few who saw it as a bit of an insult that I was not accepting their nomination. One blogger even went as far as to say that they were really disappointed that I was not taking the award and that they were unfollowing my blog!

That was a tough conversation, but I also saw that I was partly to blame. Why? Well, although I’d announced in February 2015 that my blog was now award-free, there was nothing else on my blog stating my decision. 

How could I possibly expect anyone (having not read the ‘Mildred Awards. post) to know my blog was now award-free?

You’ll see it on my widget bar to the right of this post. (Scroll down to see it). It hasn’t stopped award nominations coming in, but it has drastically cut them.

Do blogging awards work?

Yes, they do. However, I believe they have their time and place in the blogging world, and my advice is to let them go once they have done their work in establishing both you and your blog. Do you agree?

How to award bloggers without nominating them for an award. 

There are many other ways bloggers can reward each other. For example, visiting blogs and reading posts on a regular basis.

However, for me, the best award is leaving good meaningful comments on each other’s blog posts. You don’t need to do this on every single blog post you read. One good meaningful comment every once in a while is far better than no comments or lots of short comments that don’t really say much.

Instead of leaving comments such as ‘Great Post, ‘Great Tips’, ‘Great story’ or ‘Well done,’ write a few sentences saying why you thought it was a great post or such a good read.

What was it about the post that stood out for you?

What is it about the post that makes it such a ‘good post’?

Which tips did you enjoy the most, and why? Have you tried any of the tips out? Do you have any new ones you can add?

Leave a comment that gives the writer more reply options other than just being able to reply ‘Thank you.”

I believe this is one of the best awards you can give other bloggers. Do you agree? 

The kind of comments you leave on other blog posts act as an indication of who you are, what kind of blogger you are, and whether or not your blog is worth checking out and following.

Hugh W. Roberts – February 2015

Is there anything you particularly like or dislike about blogging awards? Have they worked for you? Have you ever accepted them? If not, why not? Do you get fed up with seeing award after award posts on a blog? I’d love to know your thoughts. Join in the debate by leaving your comments in the comments section.

Copyright © 2020 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Why Do We Not Like Talking About Death?

In September 2015, when my mother passed away, both my brother and I were with her as she took her final breath. I remember thinking how beautiful she was. She’d been in a deep sleep for nearly a week and, over that week, she seemed to age quickly. But during the last ten minutes of her life, beauty and youth came back to her.

Can people nearing death hear us?

The medical staff told us to talk to Mum while she slept. ‘She’ll hear you’, were their words, but how could they have known? Had they once been near death’s door where they witnessed the voices of those still living, or had somebody who had experienced near-death told them what happens?

#family
My mother and grandmother. Taken January 1962 ©hughsviewsandnews.com

We took their advice and talked to Mum as if she was sitting there having tea and biscuits with us. However, occasionally, general chit-chat turned to tears as we told her how much we loved her and to go on her way with whoever was waiting for her. But how did we know that somebody was waiting for her?

Twelve hours earlier, Mum had briefly opened her eyes and looked up at me. I spoke to her and wondered if she knew who I was. I didn’t tell her who I was but made sure I told her that I loved her.

Having suffered from dementia for the last five years of her life, I asked myself if her condition was still stopping her from recognising me, and if she saw me as a stranger?

When she looked into my eyes, squeezed my hand gently and smiled, before closing her eyes again, I thought I knew the answer. However, years on, I still wonder if I did have the answer. Why? Because I didn’t have any proof of who she saw when she had looked up at me. However, at least she did know that she was loved.

Do books and movies hold the secrets to death?

Maybe the answers are in the fiction we read and watch? After all, whenever we read a book or watch a movie, are we witnessing what the author or authors believe about death?

When we read about a person being at ‘death’s door’, or watching a film where a death occurs, is the author sharing some of their experiences with us from a previous life they can’t quite remember?

What about those who claim to have witnessed the bright light that appears when they were near death? Are they talking from experience, or is it guesswork? Even if only a tiny amount of what they tell us happens, are they telling us what they have witnessed, or are they merely portraying it?

Do the lights go off when we die?

Is knowing you’re about to die, a gift?

Death is something many of us find difficult to talk about. When my step-father asked me to help him organise funeral plans for both him and my mother, it was something I didn’t want to talk about with him. I felt uneasy having to discuss it with him.

He, on the other hand, didn’t seem to have any problems in asking me to help him put the funeral plans into place. He’d already decided which company he wanted to use, how much he wanted to spend, and what would happen on the day.

After I agreed to help him, I wondered why he had chosen that time to ask for my help. He had, after all, been thinking about death because he already knew which company he wanted to use and what both funerals should include. Nine months later, he suffered a heart attack and passed away. Did he know that the actual day of his death was nearing?

Are the displays of death as beautiful as the displays of life?

Have I made any plans for my death? No. Why? There’s something about death that I don’t like talking about, yet here I am discussing it with you.

Talking about death makes people uneasy. None of us wants that, do we? However, in some circumstances, shouldn’t the discussion make us feel happy that it’s out in the open?

If talking about death takes pressure off others, why do we still not want to talk about it?

I knew that my step-father was glad when I helped him organise his and my mother’s funerals. He knew that nobody had anything to worry about when he and my mother passed away. It was all paid for, and nobody had to do anything apart from pick up a phone, and report their deaths.

Everything was taken care of. My step-father was happy, and I should be happy because some of the pressure he’d experienced with death was something I wouldn’t have to go through.

#death #life

If Hell is below us, why do we still bury some of the dead in the ground?

Can only the dead answer the questions we have of death?

Do you ever wonder who the last person will be that you will see before closing your eyes and allowing death to take you on your next journey? Is there another journey after death? Are there journeys for all of us, none of us, or just some of us?

Some of us still have a birthday to look forward to this year, while the rest of us may be looking forward to a birthday next year. But what about our death day? During the last 12 months, we’ve all passed the date in the month we are going to depart this world (our death-day). Do you ever wonder about that date, knowing that it passes you by every single year?

Does not knowing the date of our death day make us better people or make our lives any more comfortable? If you knew the date of your death-day, would you change anything about the way you live your life? Would you ensure you became a better person and made the most of every single moment of your life?

#death #trees #fog #life

Do we become isolated when we die?

Would you visit those you seldom see more often knowing that you may soon lose the chance ever to see them again?

Like my step-father did, would you ensure that loved ones are taken care of by preparing for your death? As well as celebrating a birthday, shouldn’t we all celebrate our death day?

Has the location of our death already been chosen for us?

I’ve often wondered about the place where I am going to die. Is that place already somewhere I know or is it somewhere I’ve yet to visit? Will it be at home? Will it be in a shop, theatre, cinema or a bar? What season will it occur? What day of the week will it be? Perhaps, Friday (the day I was born)?

Will I be with others who all have the same death-day as me, or will I be on my own? I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be alone when death approaches me. I want to be with people (just as I was on the day I was born).

I’m not sure about being surrounded by my family and friends at the time of my death. I don’t like the thought of them watching me pass away. It wouldn’t be fair to them, would it?

However, being surrounded by total strangers seem alright. I wonder if those strangers are already in my life or if I’ve yet to encounter them?

I don’t like to think about myself dying in a hospital bed or on a beautiful beach in full sun. Although I love living by the sea, the feel of sand on my skin is something I’ve never been fond of experiencing, yet its beauty attracts me.

Rainbow over Swansea

Can I become a rainbow when I die?

I do like the thought of dying while sitting in front of the TV, especially if what I am watching is making me laugh or feel happy.

Does the way we’d like to die change as we grow older?

When I was younger, the thought of passing away while in a passionate embrace was something I thought was one of the best ways to die. However, as I grew older, I started to think about how unfortunate it would be for the person with me at the time. Now, I wouldn’t want to find myself in that position. Would you?

Final thoughts

When I pass away, will anything or anybody replace me? How do I convince people not to be sad that I am no longer here? I want them to celebrate my life, not my death. Does grief have to come hand-in-hand with death? Even if it is a stranger who has just entered my life when I close my eyes for the final time, and sadness will be erased away by time, won’t it?

There is something about death that I do know. While we are still here, we should do all we can to ensure that the sadness that often comes with death is not the kind that buries its roots deeply into those that we leave behind.

Do the dead leave us behind, or are we leaving them behind?

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The Trouble With Chocolate

Can chocolate be trouble? Yes, in my books, it can, and Audrey Hepburn is to blame!

I’m really bothered, severely troubled, and it’s all to do with this commercial.

 

So there you have it. Cute commercial, yes? But, where does the word ‘trouble’ come into it and why am I bothered by what Audrey Hepburn is up to on that bus?

Now, I know some of you are shaking your heads and looking at me as if I’ve just announced I’ve purchased a cat flap for a submarine, but please stay with me on this and let me tell you why I think that commercial has made me believe chocolate is nothing but trouble.

Maybe the trouble is to do with the beautiful scenery right at the beginning?

Is it the beautiful Audrey Hepburn look-a-like sat on the bus? She does have incredible eyes, doesn’t she? All sort of puppy looking and adorable.

Is it what she reveals is inside her handbag when she opens it?

Oh, wait! What about the handsome chap who pulls up in the car beside the bus? No, he’s not my type, and why is there a woman sitting on the bus with a yellow bowl on her head? Did you see her? Yes?

Now, where was I? Oh yes, what was inside Audrey’s handbag. Now considering she’s sat on a hot bus (because it’s a beautiful sunny day outside and the commercial is set in a hot country), should that chocolate bar not have melted in her handbag? Does the guy sitting next to her look like he needs some Gaviscon? To me, it seems like he has heartburn. Are you still shaking your head?

Is it the music and the song, Moon River, that is the problem, or what about the singer’s voice? Beautiful voice, yeah, but wouldn’t make it on X-Factor or The Voice. Besides, I prefer the original version.

Then there’s that guy in the car. He may be good-looking, but, believe me, I don’t think he’s the one who is trouble. OK, I wouldn’t turn down an offer of a beer with him just to find out what hair products he uses and discuss why Barbie and Ken never got married, but, believe me, it’s not him.

Right, back to the commercial. Is that a pumpkin on the road Audrey passes when she gets off the bus? Did they have big ripe pumpkins in the middle of summer in the 1950s, and why has somebody painted what looks like two caterpillars above Audrey’s eyes? I’m sure they’re moving around her face.

Could it be the rugged bus driver that is the trouble? Is it him I want to see in place of Audrey on the bus? Well, no, because who would then drive the bus? Audrey? Not with the shoes she’s wearing. No way! I’d be off that bus quicker than my Aunt Mary being chased down Dagenham High Street by two Store Detectives after sticking a frozen turkey up her jumper and making a run for it.

Now, back to the good-looking man in the car. Do you think he has a big head? I only ask, as when Audrey puts the bus driver’s cap on him before getting into his car, it looks at least two sizes too small for him. On the other hand, maybe the bus driver has a small head? After all, he is bald. Perhaps that is why the cap is far too small for the good-looking man driving the car? What do you think?

How on earth did Audrey get the chocolate bar out of her handbag as the good-looking man whisked her off in his car? I never saw her open her bag and get the chocolate out. Did you? And, come on, Audrey, would you really get into a strange man’s car without even asking his name?

Want to know what happened to Audrey after being driven off in that strange man’s car? Was there really romance in the air? Click here for all the details.

Do you ever have problems with chocolate?

heart shaped chocolates
Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

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