Latest added text here, that was updated Jan 2024, is second part of this page.

10 Year Anniversary page for cthisspace this December 2010 (FTL Mag is really 10 years Dec 09) - part one added so far here. More thinking needed for seocnd half- keep track. (This page was started early Dec 09)


scroll down Jan 2013. New Update added Dec 2021- link to my day at house of (& with) astronomer Patrick Moore pics for this page is below:


"...I've travelled in my mind. It seems we're on a journey, a trip through space and time ..." Move On - by Abba


It's a World (Claireville)


It's been 10 years since my website was first published (well nearly, Dec 2010)


Hasn't it gone quick? I set out not knowing what would happen - it was an experiment that may have got lost in the ether, but soon found it self, (in the cyber ether that is).

It's amazing how a site can connect around the world a world of the mind too. It's been super adding stuff that went onto become less of an ether world and more of a worldly world, to name a few examples, some of my space art that was used at an Astronomy exhibition at the Smithsonian Centre at Harvard University in America, another, an idea co- written by a scientist Stephen. P. Smith and myself that then was later taken further into a book. At the start of doing this site, there was another site that was part of the driving force for mine, the non profit Science and Science Fiction, FTL Magazine which incidentally included works from the Warrick University mathematician, Professor Ian Stewart (not to be confused with Professor Iain Stewart, Professor of Geoscience Communication at the University of Plymouth, who presented the brilliant 'Earth: The Power of the Planet,' series etc) details- and . I few years later, I would end up meeting Professor Ian Stewart's (maths) co-author of the Discworld series they wrote together, Sir Terry Pratchett (the English novelist with a twist) . It came as more of a surprise that I ended up meeting Mr. Pratchett at, Astronomy popularizer, journalist, and professional amateur astronomer Sir Patrick Moore's, house in spring 2008 thanks to the contact of another member of my local Astronomical Society, professional amateur and member of the BAA, who's work is often on the Sky At Night, the retired Vet, Mr. Andrew Elliot.


Strange how WORLDS turn out

Going back to April 2009, I went to the ever so wonderful and splendid Patrick Moore's house in Selsey for his (nine upside down three times) Special in April, but didn't report that much on it. The trip was two days. First day was Patrick's house and his garden, observatory, bathroom etc… The day before, my own hotel room in Oxford (on the way) as traveling was long. Then second night, a room to myself again in Chichester. I need not have bothered staying in a hotel second night because of the offer of a room to stay over at Patrick's house, but had already booked it, besides with the amount of stuff (lunar drawings, books, people, BBC crew) in Patrick's house at the time, I thought that there would be no room to kip over, but there was.

The house had a marquee in the garden that was later used for the celebration of '(nine upside down three times) Sky at Night Special'. This was Patrick's idea. Wasn't sure about the idea but the celebration was great.

At one point I was stood in Patrick's hallway, talking to three blokes at the same time. One of them was called Jamie Cooper who knows Damian Peach the well known Astronomer then Ninian who owns and another bloke who's details I have somewhere but not sure where, who was into astronomy too, well he would be wouldn't he. Jamie said he knew Brain May from Queen, (Dr. Brian May now an Astronomer/Scientist). Brian May wasn't there. The reason was because he was somewhere else, but that last part was obvious. Mr. Prachett was first stood in the hallway next to Patrick's office/study. I first noticed him from the back, black hat, black leather jacket, I knew it was him. He spoke to me later in the garden marquee. An absolutely lovely chap called Prof Derek Ward-Thompson me in the porch played on Patrick's xylophone meant that Dereck's rendition of Amazing Grace was stellar, whereas I just made some sort of sound. Dr Chris North sat behind me in dining room taking it all in..


Chips On An Accretion Disc

A couple of Americans drafted themselves into Patrick's dining room, myself included, near a piece of furniture that hosted his greatest work, his papers and stuff on Astronomy. We were all looking at his lunar drawings and hand written text from yesteryear. There were hundreds of old yellowed paper pages and documents. There were also hundreds of empty bottles and ornaments lined around the room. The dinning room some how managed to get itself a large and grand old dinning room table in it (somewhere?), it was somewhere in the middle of this room. The large dining room table was like a Black Hole gobbling up all the astronomers in the house and its accretion disc was the large plate full of chips from a chip shop somewhere in Selsey. We were starving. Sitting down eating there was a guy sat behind me called Dr. Chris North The house itself is old and kept (kept old) and quite dark. I loved the old windows. The hallway is paneled with dark wood. The best part for me was the stairs leading up to bathroom on the right. The stairwell walls were covered in his<- mums 'Alien' drawings, how cute. The Stannah Stair lift on his stairs need not be so embarrassed now, eh?


But where was Patrick?

At one point I was (we were all wondering) wondering if I would see the great man himself, after three quarters of an hour or more, being in his house he was nowhere to be seen. But soon enough, we were all called into the marquee in the garden. The inside of the marquee was dark with shining lights that looked like stars, very themed. The BBC crew were already in there, as was Patrick himself. We all piled in. Mr. Moore was in his suit and sitting quietly near the middle of the tent. The tent was so big that one of his small scopes on the lawn (had its own house) was inside the marquee - bit of real life topology Dr Who (Tardis?) thing going on there.

In the marquee a BBC camera man went right up to me a couple of times but they edited that part out, which is quite amusing andjust as well, am a bit camera shy - this was for the final programme as when I later watched, I realized that the film of the tent event lasted only a few mins, whic was a shame but the party in that part was a good length of time.. The Sky at Night programme is usually only 20 mins or so unless it's the extended version. During mid time I spoke to a lovely gentleman called Ian Sharp who has his work regularly on the Sky at Night programme. Mr. Sharp has a background in Physics and loves space art and photography. Later I met Heather Couper, an international broadcaster and writer on astronomy, space and science She and her husband showed me her then, new book. After the introduction to Patrick, it was John Fletcher F.R.A.S, who asked me if I would like to see Patrick's Observatory in the garden. John was wearing a space/astronomy pictured tie, most fitting. Most of us piled into Patrick's Observatory at some point. This part of the day was most splendid and an understatement to say the least. We couldn't use it because the weather was dull but that didn't detract from the wonder. Going back to the 'tent' in the garden, near the marquee entrance there was standing the scientist Professor Colin Pillinger Beagle 2 project scientist


Where's the phone? Not that phone, the other Phone?

I was mostly honoured when I played on Patrick's xylophone with Prof Derek Ward-Thompson. It was in the entrance porch to the house. It had to be because otherwise the neighbours wouldn't have something to complain about. That's a great thing (his xylophone, not the neighbours complaining).


Where were we?

Oh yes, at Patrick Moore's house in Selsey and just about finishing up from drink and food (chips on an accretion disc) from the kitchen. Peter Lawrence was sat in the dinning room, with all those I mentioned above, his work has to be the best I have seen yet, stunning work, not to be missed. Pete presents the Sky at Night very often. Dr. Chris Lintott was there walking around too


That Author Worldly Type Bloke

It was later that, that author bloke (with a worldy twist) walked back into the marquee/tent/clothbox and said hello. He is a very lovely bloke and remembers quite a lot as far as I was concerned. The hat was 'off' and sheer brilliance of head power for thinking up things like, "No-one could sit in that chair. It was full of old T-shirts and books and supper plates and junk. There was a deep sock layer and possibly the Lost Strawberry Yoghurt. No-one could sit down there without special equipment." -- From Only You Can Save Mankind made for a splendid bloke, if there was one and there is. Of course it does help who to say who the bloke was, Sir Terry Pratchett Terry said to me that he thought it was great to get lots of people interested in the same thing all in one place. Not bad for a Discworld bloke but I like his world.

So as a member of my local Astronomy Society, it was a privilege to attend one of Sir Patrick Moore's celebrations of a special edition of The Sky at Night at his home in Selsey, which was one of the longest running programs on the BBC. Also attending the event were noted scientists but the day before, I stopped off at beautiful Oxford for a while, a place I always wanted to see and visited the Royal Oak pub in St Giles because I needed to ring for a taxi in a quiet place to get back to my hotel, not because I needed a pint. Its historic buildings were wonderful. With regards to the South coast of England, although I've been to London and Cornwall on a few occasions, I had never been to Selsey, so was superb to go more central. The day after Patrick's I went to a private invite at the South Downs Planetarium Chichester which was hosted by Dr John Mason OBE, who is an excellent Astronomer and speaker. The planetarium is brilliant, but I thought the projector was just as fascinating, almost alien like. Chichester is wonderful place and I will no doubt love to visit West Sussex again just for the sheer beauty of the countryside and friendly people. (2008) (edited Feb 09, another Sir, OBE etc)( then July 2011.)...(11th July 2011)

Here are lots of links to the superb Sir Patrick Moore .... ...

So, it's taken me ages to get back to writing more this text to this page because, since Andrew's passing away last year in November 2010, it has been very difficult to add more here without having sadness and eyes welling up when sorting the site. I will keep adding more updates here when the memories of the event (and its people I jkeep recognising on The Sky At Night) actually drift back. C-this space world...

Prestigious World (The Royal Institution, London). Will be adding more here about the event at the Royal Institution I attended which occured a year or so later but need to watch the DVD's of it first to catch up!


Added text a tribute to Sir Patrick Moore (I will add to this part as and when in the coming weeks, so keep checking)


It was in 2008 that I visited the now late, great, Sir Patrick Moore at his fantastic house. Here is a link to who he was It says a man of many talents, this is VERY true! and to say he was a (very good if not exceptional) amateur astronomer, very good writer, a researcher, a radio commentator and last but not least his very best, a brilliant television presenter is an understatement. It could be argued that Patrick didn’t have a proper job, maybe not and we don’t all have the luxury to create TV programmes out of hobbies and make money out of them, but this thing did become his own job, or career, where itended up making a positive contribution to astronomy and science on a wider scale - Including some very prominent scientists. To be able to inspire all sorts of people into science, let alone astronomy, has to be a good thing.

Well, what can I say? I got a text on a Sunday dinner time, from a friend of a family member, who knew I liked astronomy but because I hadn’t heard from him for ages, it was a surprise that he knew this sad news before me and said in the text, John that is, that he was sorry that Patrick had died. I wasn’t sure at 1st who he meant and only later then, did it dawn on me properly. Actually, it didn’t hit me until I got online and read all the tweets later, then the BBC news brought it all back home.

I have, like many, been inspired by astronomy and always watched the Sky at Night programme and found that it was such a great escape, that the BBC should do more to put this subject on TV anyway. It brings to light how much the nation, or world, sees astronomy as an encapsulating and amazing subject, with many dimensions, that include, physics, chemistry, biology, geology, philosophy, psychology, astrophotography and art, it goes on…


On Patrick’s death


Patrick was diagnosed with a heart condition at an eary age and this changed his career path dramatically and his view of life too, and because of this, it is amazing that he lived to to age he did after dealing with the heart problem. As with with his death, I have found in recent years, I am now more at ease more with the passing of life, if that life has been fulfilled and fruitful, including my own, even if it’s a bit shorter, which is a change that I hadn’t thought would happen until being diagnosed with a faulty heart valve myself a few years ago. Having now seen that Patrick has lived longer than many thought, it gives you hope (well, it gives me hope!) and if it has been a life that has met some good objectives and a certain degree of happiness has been achieved along the way, then that’s a job well done. I have high regard to Patricks views on how these things can change your perception of life and how much you have to pack into it, even if you find going out to do some astronomy at age 89 (he was 89!), becomes harder than climbing the stairs. With regards to life it self, I am not for suffering in life, but that if a life has been fulfilled and happy without it, even if a bit shorter, then it’s a job well done and Patrick in my opinion did it very well. We all have to die but still on the more emotional level, it came as a shock to see the man go, but it was also a kind of warm feeling, knowing that Sir Patrick touched so many lives before he did.


The Reaction

I decided to wait for two levels of reactions to Patrick’s death before writing this extra bit for this page (and we have moved on a bit since my last entry here!) and found some very contrasting and interesting things going on. I read on various online sources, that some people have criticised Patrick’s ideas about various subjects other than astronomy and many had never really liked him. Do you know what? This is ok and totally justified; of course, it is to be human to have differences, with both likes and dislikes that might go against the grain and we all have them. But when looking at this from a person, say as famous and as influential as Sir Patrick Moore, the whole thing gets massively magnified and we have to think again about it all on a larger level of magnification, one which is of course, an expert telescope, like what Patrick has in his observatory, in contrast to say, a short, but let’s not forget, on closer inspection, we are all very similar and one would think that then we were using this analogy, the magnification of an eye monocle and we all know who’s eye monocle I am talking about here don’t we? One thing you have to remember is that Patrick was, although youthful in outlook and method of inspiring others by educating us all on astronomy, via TV and the like, from an older generation of people who had, and still carry old fashioned views about the world at large, even if astronomy was even lager. The larger world of astronomy according to many, even if I might say so myself, was also probably outnumbered by Patrick himself on some occasions, almost eclipsed by his energy and infectious enthusiasm.


So 1st, looking at the inner world, the man himself, who had lived through World War II (and that in my opinion, cannot be argued as an irrelevant part of his views and his character and his angle on human behaviour then and now) before we have even started is paramount to his life (whether under a microscope or through a telescope). The idea of even experiencing a war at that level has in my opinion, high regard, such that, anybody saying they have had their views coloured by such an event, is considered totally ok. Today’s new generation might differ (that younger generation also includes me, am a 43 years old) if not by a more narrow views of the world and by a type of short sightedness of, 1st youth and 2nd, by no experience of loss or hardship through bad health or otherwise, at an early age. These experiences that Patrick had gone through are about what makes a character the way they are, and in this case, this is what made Sir Patrick Moore the way he was.


The Reaction to the Reaction


Later I wanted to see who and what would happen that might have been created by the void of our loss of a great inspirer. It appeared that after such discussions and shape shifting of the ‘who’ (s)? and ‘what’ (s)? there seemed to be a type of settlement (although looks a bit temporary but I could be wrong) of who and what will be the next Patrick Moore, especially in the realm of The Sky at Night area. This is completely impossible of course. Unless we had a type of quantum teleportation device to re-create the information used that was Patrick himself (see I told you all, you should have made one before he departed to the stars, or got his DNA and cultured his cells in a petri dish, in a scientific lab, in order to make another Patrick Moore) which would use up half, if not all the availably energy of the universe, at the moment and probably in the foreseeable future, we cannot (and maybe should not) try to re-create a person so unique as Patrick. It’s not going to happen folks and that’s the bad news, but there’s good news to come which is, even after all the whingeing about what happened before, and what the reaction was about what happened before, and what the reaction was about the reaction, there is this thing called the future.


The Future of Astronomy


I liked watching The Sky at Night and hope that it will continue to inspire (if this can be achieved) but I would LOVE another astronomy programme that is a bit like a twitter feed, sort of. It would have to have relevant content of today’s astronomy, new or fresh presenters added and this next bit is the important bit, that emphasises be on children’s interest in astronomy and the investment in education linked with this idea. It would be on more often at an earlier time. Because astronomy is such a wast subject covering a wide range of areas, it could be lucrative. This part of this page will be updated to include ideas of my own about what could help make a great new programme on astronomy. With todays technology you see its relevance to the world of how to communicate and inspire in a new way but this does not discount yesterday by the way, it does however consider what new advances can be used to convey information, like what science and astronomy has to offer today, to the world. Astronomy has massive scope (excuse the pun) so, a bit of everything I say, and in the meantime (and again I will keep updating this part of the page) and if by this page, this next part has anything to go by (and in the theme of Sir Patrick Moore a quote by the man himself) I leave you with this quote:


“If the Martians can translate this and interpret it, it will give them an interesting view of human nature.” - Sir Patrick Moore, (long live your legacy in astronomy, the stars and more (or Moore) by Claire)



In memory of Sir Patrick Alfred Caldwell-Moore CBE, FRS, FRAS 4 March 1923 to 9 December 2012 (aged 89)



(With an archive of an old magazine copy thrown in) all original artwork and ideas written or otherwise on this site are Copyright Claire C Smith © 1999-January 2024, except specific content on FTL Magazine archive (sub-section) that is Copyright of its ---> contributors, for example, if you are wanting to use work by the math and geometry Professor Ian Stewart, it is better to let him know first. Before using material from it would be a preference that you ask for permission via e-mail. It would be good if a credit note was included and my name and this web address, if you do ask for permission, which you probably will get. The same applies for FTL Magazine and its contributors.