PRESENTS

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Whenever anyone asks me what I’d like for a Christmas or birthday present I’m always quite useless at suggesting anything. This is not to say that there aren’t things that could be mentioned; only they don’t quite fall into the category that you would feel comfortable requesting. If they are affordable, and I want it, I will have bought it.

If they are not affordable… I’d like a necklace of aquamarines and pearls. I’d like a cashmere dressing-gown. I’d like a silk dressing-gown and matching pyjamas. I’d like a small clutch bag of emerald green snakeskin like the one I had that the dog ate. I’d like a teaset in fine china, teapot, milk jug, sugar bowl, six cups, saucers and plates. Probably I’d never use it, but I would still like it.

I’d like a large black leather- bound notebook, with my initials in gold lettering and thick creamy paper pristine and without lines or margins, edged in gold, and I’d like to have beautiful writing to go in it. I’d like a set of six small perfume bottles, glassy and original, filled with different exquisite perfumes, every one of which I loved and which made me acquire some of them in larger sizes (or I could have that as a gift also.) However at the moment I can just about tolerate other people’s perfumes if they refrain from wallowing in a bucketful of it. I would like a pair of little finches in a cage whom I would release into our garden where they would eat what I fed them and stay clear of the cat. I’d like an Egyptian type kitten, all black with green eyes and a long tail, tres belle, and we’d call her Nefertiti. I’d like a section of a wood, on a slight slope mainly made up of beech trees, but with a few oaks, maples, elms and geans of the white blossom, with a stream running through it. I’d like a bay on the sea (the one between Banff and Macduff would do nicely) with a river running into it, wooded hills on either side of it where dolphins would occasionally visit.    No people would ever visit apart from people I loved.

I’d be embarrassed if I actually received any of that. It’s all a lovely fantasy.

It’s a bit like asking what weather we’d like. We would all like perpetual summer, where the days are warm and fragrant, full of light and birdsong but the oppressive heat of summer is not yet upon us. But we must take the rough with the smooth because if we monopolise all the good weather someone else is drowning in mud.

But some things are modest but nice and can reasonably be requested. Some embroidered handkerchiefs, or perhaps edged with lace. A silk scarf of colours that suit one. A pair of leather gloves, lined with silk. A large box of very good chocolates. A bottle of champagne. A new magazine or a novel you haven’t read by a favourite author…

Now you’re talking…

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HANDBAGS AT DAWN (OR WHENEVE R YOU LIKE. )

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I need a new handbag. Today is my birthday and my husband, asking me what I would like for a present, nodded when I told him this and I knew he did not foresee the difficulties which would arise in obtaining one. For him it was a simple matter: a handbag, what colour, any other requirements? Left to his own devices he would have gone out and bought one and presented it to me, nicely wrapped, this morning. There would benothing wrong with his choice either. He has good taste. It would have been a nice handbag. I tell him that I must see it for myself and we should expect it to take some time to find what I am looking for.

Because I am unbelievably picky about handbags. Although I own 5 or 6 of different colours, in practice I very rarely wear anything other than my black leather basic. I cannot be bothered shuffling my possessions from one bag to another. Having found one, I keep it close to me. The one I’m reluctantly replacing has been repaired twice. I bought it in a village nearWinchester, whose name I cannot now remember which has a beautiful chalk trout river with outstandingly clear water.

I’m not looking for a cheap bag but Iwould be unwilling to pay more than say a couple of hundred pounds for it. I have no desire at all for a fashionable bag and paying £3,000 for a handbag seems to me a disgraceful extravagance.

What I would like visually – a small, square, boxy handbag, black leather and with its metal trim silverand a fastener that slotted into place with a click does not hold my requirements these days. For many years I bought my bags in France or Belgium and I wore a European man’s handbag.

But now the list of requirements is rather long. It has to be leather and black with silver trims. It must come within my budget. It must have a long and a short strap. It must be light enough for me to carry myself and it must not be ultra feminine as John will carry it when we are together.

It must have room for: a tin containing my drugs; a small bottle of water; a small plastic cup in case I need to take an effervescent drug; a small purse; a small bag containing the key to disabled toilets; a small pack of paper tissues; a small bag containing mirror, comb and lipstick; a handkerchief; my mobile phone and a notebook and pen and house keys.

The quest may take some time!

PS I had imagined a 6 month’s leisurely perusal of leather shops and websites but I had forgotten my partner’s legendary drive to complete what he has started. Facedwith hundreds of handbags on the internet, a dozen of which met my requirements, I thought, resistance is futile.

The bag arrives tomorrow.

Welcome to the Gutenberg Editor

Of Mountains & Printing Presses

The goal of this new editor is to make adding rich content to WordPress simple and enjoyable. This whole post is composed of pieces of content—somewhat similar to LEGO bricks—that you can move around and interact with. Move your cursor around and you’ll notice the different blocks light up with outlines and arrows. Press the arrows to reposition blocks quickly, without fearing about losing things in the process of copying and pasting.

What you are reading now is a text block the most basic block of all. The text block has its own controls to be moved freely around the post…

… like this one, which is right aligned.

Headings are separate blocks as well, which helps with the outline and organization of your content.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Handling images and media with the utmost care is a primary focus of the new editor. Hopefully, you’ll find aspects of adding captions or going full-width with your pictures much easier and robust than before.

Beautiful landscape
If your theme supports it, you’ll see the “wide” button on the image toolbar. Give it a try.

Try selecting and removing or editing the caption, now you don’t have to be careful about selecting the image or other text by mistake and ruining the presentation.

The Inserter Tool

Imagine everything that WordPress can do is available to you quickly and in the same place on the interface. No need to figure out HTML tags, classes, or remember complicated shortcode syntax. That’s the spirit behind the inserter—the (+) button you’ll see around the editor—which allows you to browse all available content blocks and add them into your post. Plugins and themes are able to register their own, opening up all sort of possibilities for rich editing and publishing.

Go give it a try, you may discover things WordPress can already add into your posts that you didn’t know about. Here’s a short list of what you can currently find there:

  • Text & Headings
  • Images & Videos
  • Galleries
  • Embeds, like YouTube, Tweets, or other WordPress posts.
  • Layout blocks, like Buttons, Hero Images, Separators, etc.
  • And Lists like this one of course 🙂

Visual Editing

A huge benefit of blocks is that you can edit them in place and manipulate your content directly. Instead of having fields for editing things like the source of a quote, or the text of a button, you can directly change the content. Try editing the following quote:

The editor will endeavor to create a new page and post building experience that makes writing rich posts effortless, and has “blocks” to make it easy what today might take shortcodes, custom HTML, or “mystery meat” embed discovery.

Matt Mullenweg, 2017

The information corresponding to the source of the quote is a separate text field, similar to captions under images, so the structure of the quote is protected even if you select, modify, or remove the source. It’s always easy to add it back.

Blocks can be anything you need. For instance, you may want to add a subdued quote as part of the composition of your text, or you may prefer to display a giant stylized one. All of these options are available in the inserter.

You can change the amount of columns in your galleries by dragging a slider in the block inspector in the sidebar.

Media Rich

If you combine the new wide and full-wide alignments with galleries, you can create a very media rich layout, very quickly:

Accessibility is important — don’t forget image alt attribute

Sure, the full-wide image can be pretty big. But sometimes the image is worth it.

The above is a gallery with just two images. It’s an easier way to create visually appealing layouts, without having to deal with floats. You can also easily convert the gallery back to individual images again, by using the block switcher.

Any block can opt into these alignments. The embed block has them also, and is responsive out of the box:

You can build any block you like, static or dynamic, decorative or plain. Here’s a pullquote block:

Code is Poetry

The WordPress community

If you want to learn more about how to build additional blocks, or if you are interested in helping with the project, head over to the GitHub repository.


Thanks for testing Gutenberg!

👋