We went to Exeter yesterday and saw far more than seven swans-a swimming, more like seventy, all very agitated, and with the tidal River Exe rather oddly overflowing its banks we had to jump and paddle right through them to get back to the car, none of this helped by a well-meaning person feeding them into a state of mass swan-upping madness and wing-flapping hysteria with added swooping-plopping seagull input. The Queen is Seigneur of the Swans on the River Thames, I'm not sure who has the privilege in Exeter but they wouldn't have wanted them yesterday.
Someone will have to help me out and find a link between swans and the moon somehow, because I can't and Rick Stroud doesn't seem to have one either, but is has to be The Book of the Moon today and you'll see why in a minute.
But first, Happy New Year's Eve.
I'm sure you're all in a terrible rush stuffing mushrooms and making the canapes but perhaps have a break, a calming moment, take five and have a listen.
There was a beautiful song I loved years ago and I was extremely happy to rediscover it for today, Once in a Very Blue Moon by Irish singer Mary Black
and what an incredibly soothing singer she is on the day when that rare event occurs, a blue moon.
Thanks to Rick Stroud I now know there are two meanings to the phrase 'once in a blue moon'.
The newer meaning refers to a full moon occurring twice in the same calendar month which happens about once every two and a half years, apparently there were about forty in the twentieth century and tonight there will be one of those.
This a picture from earlier in the year and I Want to See the Moon by Louis Baum, but I love it so any chance to use it again.
The older meaning refers to the fourth full moon in a quarter year that normally has three...are you keeping up...and we had one of those back in February 2008.
We'll have another one of these new versions on 31 August 2012.
Tides will be unusually high in the season of a blue moon which explains why the River Exe, was flapping over its sides yesterday.
Blue moons can also be caused by atmospheric conditions, Krakatoa's big event in 1883 caused the moon to appear blue for the next three years.
So all this and more I have discovered from Rick Stroud's fascinating The Book of the Moon and truly, you will never be stuck for something to read with this one to hand. The most incredible miscellany of all things lunar, a compelling combination of scholarly and readably entertaining and I'm amazed at how often I have picked it up to check something out since I've had my copy.
Lunar farming could be the way forward. The evidence for biodynamics is gathering out there thanks to people like Professor Frank Brown who put in over a million potato hours to discover that their metabolic rate rose and fell with the waxing and waning of the moon.
And now I have to find out which phase of the moon I was born under; gibbous (bigger than a semi-circle, smaller than a circle...at last I know that too) and I'd be a helper or a carer, waning gibbous and I'm a revolutionary tyrant in the making, balsamic and I'm going to be dreamy and contemplative.
Incidentally I'd never heard of a balsamic moon but it's the last phase before a new moon.
Now apparently care must be taken when releasing dreams under a blue moon as their potency will be very strong so perhaps that bodes well for the lucky winners of a copy of this book in today's New Year's Eve prize draw, but you'll have to concentrate...and don't ask how we've got this organised but somehow we have.
Three copies (from UK publisher Doubleday) can go to winners in the UK and Europe and three can go to winners in the US (from US publisher Walker) so names in comments and perhaps the US entries could mention they are in the US and somehow Rocky the Lunarcat will sort it this end.
And while you work all that out and before you head back to the canapes, here's a perfect little video produced by Rick Stroud who is also a film director.