Mar 30

Hurrah More Doctor Who

I am really looking forward to the new series of Doctor Who starting tonight.It will almost make up for this rubbish Spring. I cannot believe the program has it’s 50th Anniversary later this year – it was first broadcast on the 23rd of November 1963. That makes it almost as old as I am and that I have been watching it for most of my life.

Aug 02

Hymn To Ratri Goddess Of Night

starry sky

Hymn to Ratri

The goddess Night has looked abroad with her eyes, everywhere drawing near. She has put all her glories on.

The immortal goddess now has filled wide space, its depths and heights. Her radiance drives out the dark.

Approaching, the goddess has expelled her sister Dawn. Now darkness also disappears.

And so you have drawn near to us, who at your coming have come home, as birds to their nest upon the tree.

The clans have now gone home to rest, home the beasts and home the birds, home even the hawks who lust for prey.

Guard us from the she-wolf and the wolf, and guard us from the thief, O Night, and so be good for us to pass.

For darkness, blotting out, has come near me, black and palpable. O Dawn, dispel it like my debts.

I have offered my hymn as a cow is offered, Daughter of Heaven. O Night, accept it, as a victors praise.

Ratri, Goddess of Night, is a Hindu deity and although this is the only hymn to her in the Rig Veda (Book 10, hymn 127), she also has four hymns in the Atharva Veda (Book XIX, Hymns 47-50).

Ratri was perceived, not as the dark, but as the bright starlit night. Adorned with all her splendour she drives away the darkness and protects her worshippers from harm.

By now, largely forgotten, she has been subsumed as Kalaratr, one of the The Nine Forms of the Goddess Durga.

She appears again as a goddess in her own right in the science fiction novel Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny, where he uses a couple of the stanzas from the hymn.

Jul 29

Gandalf’s Fist – A Modern British Prog Rock Band

Prog Rock or , to give it its full title, Progressive Rock had its heyday in the early 1970’s but is still alive and kicking today. Although I was big fan in the original days I haven’t been following it recently so missed the emergence of this band, Gandalf’s Fist, in 2005.

Comprising of Dean Marsh and Luke Severn they hale from Maryport in Cumberland and give their interests as drinking whisky and hunting Orcs.

Signed up to Out of the Box Records they have already released three albums, The Master and the Monkey, Road to Darkness and Songs from the Solway. They are currently in the process of writing their latest album From a Point of Existence.

I love this video – what more does any self-respecting knight need than a dragon to slay and a damsel to rescue.


Jul 28

Fragarach – A Sword Worthy Of The Moonlit Knight

Every legendary hero should have a named sword. Just think of Arthur and Excalibur, Roland and Durendal, Chrysaor sword of Sir Artegal  etc. And, now, thanks to  the page Celtic Mythology that I have only recently subscribed to on Facebook, the Moonlit Knight has found his.

The sword FragarachFRAGARACH the ‘Answerer’ or ‘Retaliator’ was the sword of Manannan mac Lir and later, Lugh Lamfada. Forged by the gods, Manannan wielded it as his weapon before passing it on to Lugh, his foster son. It was given to Cúchulainn by Lugh, and later to Conn of the Hundred Battles. It was said that no one could tell a lie with Fragarach at his or her throat, thus the name ‘Answerer’. It was also said to place the wind at the user’s command and could cut through any shield or wall, and had a piercing wound from which no man could recover.

Artwork by Chris Down

What better weapon for a seeker of truth and may he also prove worthy of bearing it.

Jul 20

Doctor Who Quote No1

I have really been enjoying the re-runs of the recent Doctor Who series on BBC3 and saddened that they have finished. What I did notice was that every now and then a very quotable line would come up. Unfortunately, I have a very bad memory and this is the only one I managed to jot down while still fresh in my mind. Do not hold your breathe waiting for Quote No2.

It's a coincidence. It happens.  It's what the universe does for fun

Doctor Who Quote No 1

I made the above image with a great little web application Recite. Just type in the text, pick a template and then chose what you want to do with it.

Jul 10

Moonlit Knight Is Now A DotCom


Today I took the major step of buying the domain name – not for the first time admitedly, I had it years ago but because of circumstances let it lapse.

I was originally going to buy it from 1&1 Internet as £6.99 for the first year and then £9.99 annually seemed to be a good bargain and it has a UK presence. Midway in the registration process though I hit a snag – it would not accept my mobile number and I have not got a landline.

Next on my list was Go which had an even better offer, £6.74 for the first year – so I went for that and the signup was a doddle. They even threw in for free, although I am not sure what to do with it at the moment.

I was very impressed with the speed between confirmation of purchase and being able manage my domains. The domain manager itself is reasonably easy to use and it wasn’t  long before I had used domain forwarding to point to my website.

Changing Hosts

OK, so far so good. The only trouble is that domain forwarding, used mainly if you have variations on the same domain name but want them to point to the same website, still shows the original url. Call me vain but I wanted to see in the address bar.

Domain masking is one option but, because it uses a frameset it has the disadvantage that it breaks the link between content and a URL, making it difficult to link to or bookmark a page within the frameset. Search engines will also see two websites with duplicate content – not good.

Being a poor knight errant I am hosted free at but unfortunately, although it has been good in every other respect, there is no access to their nameservers. Luckily for me I also had an account with another free host that did.

(To Be Continued)

Jul 01

The Hollow Crown: Richard II – Well Worth Watching

Finally. Last night, after all the waiting and the trailers, the first part of The Hollow Crown, Richard II, was shown on BBC 2.

I absolutely loved it. Gorgeously shot and superbly acted, especially by Ben Whishaw in the titular role. One nice little touch was the death of Richard mirroring the martyrdom of St Edmund, also a king, that was being painted in one of the earlier scenes.

St Edmund , of course , was one of the saints pictured with Richard II in the The Wilton Diptych, along with St Edward the Confessor and St John the Baptist.

It could have done with an intermission though – time to make a cup of tea. It was too good to miss any of it.

But don’t just take my word for it. Here is a proper review:

The Hollow Crown: Richard II,  review from The Telegraph

If you missed it there is always BBC iPlayer. And, you get the added bonus of pausing it.

Jun 29

Can Somebody Shut Sharapova Up

Maria Sharapova may be a brilliant tennis player but I cannot watch any of her games. That grunting and shrieking like some demented banshee really puts me off. She is not the only one, but certainly the worst. I can understand the odd grunt when serving and maybe when playing a difficult shot, but every (insert your own expletive here) stroke. It’s excessive, unwarranted and makes me want to gag her.

Last year her her loudest effort was recorded as 101db, 11db above a freight train but 35db below the rock band Kiss, but, to be fair, they do have the advantage of  huge banks of amplifiers.

Jun 27

The Pre-Raphaelite Collection Of Andrew Lloyd-Webber

Well, I know what I shall be watching on television later tonight.

I read last year that, as a schoolboy in the Sixties, Andrew Lloyd-Webber spent his pocket money buying up paintings by the then highly unfashionable Pre-Raphaelites. Ever since then, as well as a feeling of jealousy, I had wondered what was in his collection.

Now, thanks to ITV, at 11.35 I shall be able to find out.

Perspectives: Andrew Lloyd-Webber – A Passion For The Pre-Raphaelites.

In which the composer talks about his love of these Victorian artists and showcases his own collection.


Jun 20

Shakespeare Unlocked

Well the BBC’s Shakespeare Unlocked season has started , well  for me anyway. I seem to have missed a couple of programmes in April. Yesterday evening I watched:

Joely Richardson on Shakespeare’s Women, BBC Four

By focusing on the female roles of his earlier plays Twelfth Night and As You Like It, this documentary set out to show that Shakespeare had an insight into the hearts and minds of women.

I found it very interesting, but then I’m biased – I could find the Telephone Directory enthralling if read by gorgeous Joely Richardson.

I shall be watching Simon Schama’s Shakespeare BBC2 9pm on Friday although it conflicts with David Bowie And The Story Of Ziggy Stardust on BBC Four. Thank god for iPlayer.

I am really looking forward to The Hollow Crown. This is the series of film adaptions of four of Shakespeare’s history plays that cover the reigns of Richard II, Henry IV and Henry V. The trailers look very stunning.

I wonder how it compares to the 1960s BBC series “An Age of Kings” that I remember from childhood.