“It seems that destiny has taken a hand.” Thus Humphrey Bogart, in a pivotal scene from the iconic 1942 film Casablanca. In Bogart’s case, destiny had to do with the sudden arrival of Claude Rains and the gendarmerie at Rick’s Café Américain, with profound implications for his relationship with Ilsa. In my case, fate was more jejune, involving the failure of my PC’s power supply just as I was asking myself whether it was now time for my August vacation. The power supply left little doubt. Surely a sign from the cosmos that after all the recent work reconfiguring the site’s software, I should take some time off?

That’s how I plan to interpret it, in any case. In the meantime, I’ll get the PC problem resolved. As to the still developing work on the site, a couple of things to note:

1) I am all too aware that the mobile experience is problematic, depending on what phone you use. I find this bewildering, as many people see the site correctly on their phones, whereas people like me see a very skinny column of text with huge side margins. So that is right up there on the list, and I plan to work on it during my time off. Since I can’t travel anywhere right now, I will be staying put. I will be on the site each day, moderating comments and also trying to work out glitches. But I will not be posting new material under my byline for approximately two weeks.

2) Speaking of glitches, this one came out of nowhere. I’ve learned that older posts have comment sections that are not formatting correctly. This too needs to be fixed, and part of my time off will be spent in the quest for answers on that matter.

Otherwise, in the next couple of weeks, I plan to watch old movies and read the novels now at the top of my fiction reading stack. These include books by Richard Ford, Alastair Reynolds, Graham Greene and Emily St. John Mandel, although I have to finish up Alan Furst’s wonderful The World at Night before proceeding to the first of these.

One last thing: Every now and then I get a message from someone who has had trouble trying to leave a comment with the new interface. Here’s the method: To comment, what you need to do is click on the title of the post, which will open the same post with the comment section in place at the end of the text.

As I say, keep the comments coming, as I’ll be here to put them through. Thanks to all for your patience and suggestions re the site changes. More to come.