Friday, 3 January 2014


There is apparently no correlation to be found between the ghostly phenomenon known as 'earthshine on the moon',  and the coming of stormy weather.    We, however, had a rare example of this tonight, (3rd January 2014) here on the Jurassic Coast.   The light of the Earth was reflecting onto the hidden face of the moon and a bright crescent moon was seen to be supporting it and, within an hour,  the stormy weather followed it like a dog his tail.

By a remarkable coincidence I had earlier in the day been reading the Scottish ballad of 'Sir Patrick Spence' (or Spens) to one of my granddaughters, a nine-year old,  and she had been particularly taken by the famous stanza:

"Late late yestreen I saw the new moon
Wi' the auld moon in her arm;
and I fear, I fear, my dear master,
That we will come to harm."

So said a skeely mariner and of course they did come to harm:

"Half o'er,  half o'er to Aberdour,
It's fifty fathom deep;
and there lies guid Sir Partick Spence,
Wi' the Scots lords at his feet." 

A few hours only after we had read this we were looking up at a fine example of the new moon with the old moon in her arm as the moon climbed high over Sidmouth.   Then came storm.  

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