You can have a religious argument about the definitions of "a blue moon". Whatever, this month contains the novelty of two full moons in one calendar month.
As it was so cloudy at the first full moon I wasn't able to see it so I'm hoping for better weather on Friday night. The August moon(s) are my favourite; she floats over the fens and fields as if looking for her own reflection in the water and windows. The great harvesters creep over the land late in to the evening, half-paddle-steamer, half-dragon, then they vanish improbably by daylight as if they went back to giant burrows.
Logically, everyone knows the moon is a faraway rock but when you look at that silver white disc - or a ruby moon which I've seen - it is impossible to think of it as merely subjectively beautiful; she's objectively, intrinsically beautiful and always was long before there were any humans to wonder if you could reach her.
In 2005 Andrew Smith published his series of interviews with the astronauts who had done more than just wonder. Standing at the pinnacle of thousands of years of technological development they had been able to answer the question: what's it like to go to the moon?
"Moondust - in search of the men who fell to Earth" was updated in 2009 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the first moon landing. It is now 40 years since the final manned Apollo mission and Smith's book puts the programme in to its historical context. He secured interviews from the remaining moonmen, including email exchanges with Neil Armstrong who clarified many factual points about the mission.
Thank goodness Armstrong's mission was successful. The emergency speech had already been written in case anything went wrong. And yet, as Smith's book shows, there is curious sense in which the eulogy remains true; the moonmen suffered a kind of death because their old selves would not exist thereafter and nothing they would do subsequently could quite compare with those few days.
This full moon will not have Neil Armstrong beneath it. I believe she'll be looking for him.
Moondust - in search of the men who fell to Earth
Andrew Smith, Bloomsbury 2005, update 2009
ISBN 978 1 4088 02380