Feeling slightly unhinged? It’s probably lunar.

It seems 2020 is a very good year for moon-watchers.

Already, we have had the wolf moon (the first of this year’s 13 full moons - the name is inspired by hungry wolves which howled outside villages long ago) and a lunar eclipse, which happened when the moon passed through the Earth’s shadow, causing it to look darker than normal.

There’s a snow moon coming, and a pink moon (sadly, not actually pink, but inspired by the wildflowers which bloom in North America in early spring), a strawberry moon and a thunder moon. October will have a blue moon (on Halloween). There will be supermoons, new moons and more lunar eclipses.

The 16-year-old got an almanac for Christmas and we have all become slightly obsessed with it.

“Did you know,” he’ll drop in to conversation, “that the average sea temperature in Ayr in March is 7.7 degrees Centigrade? Or that you should thin carrots in the evening when the carrot fly is less prevalent? Or that May is the month when all the hawthorn flowers blossom?”

This lovely little book doesn’t care about Brexit or Megxit or anything-exit - instead, it tells us what the moon will be doing; what flowers to look out for; it makes us believe THIS will be the year we sow stuff and tend things, paying attention to the seasons rather than rushing blindly from one mad month to the next.

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We used to have a similar book when I was wee, a large hardback with a tattered dustcover, which sat on the living room shelves beside my dad’s multi-coloured Reader’s Digest books and my brother’s Peanuts stories.

I read it often, fascinated even by the word ‘almanac’, old-fashioned and mysterious, not to mention the endless supply of facts about everything from wedding anniversary gifts to treating wasp stings - and the moon, of course, reliable and reassuring, with its waxing and waning and mystical movements.

Almanacs, like the once revered Pears Cyclopaedia, which was discontinued in 2017 after 125 years, have fallen out of favour in the age of the internet, when information on all things is instantly available, all of the time.

But they live on, at any rate, in our house.

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In the gloomy hinterland of January, when the weather is dismal and the selection boxes are all finished, this little book offers a glimpse of a rich, vibrant and hopeful year to come.