The Almanac – A Seasonal Guide to 2023 by Lia Leendertz
For a small hardback book this book contains a wealth of information, fascinating facts and interesting, useful information. Arranged by months, this book reflects a seasonal journey through the year from January through to December. This book is so valuable because it gives the actual dates for significant events in 2023, of holidays, special days and so much more. It is beautifully laid out with clear printing of the information, and illustrations of the tables – of tide times (with how to work it out for each locality at the start of the book) and phases of the moon. There is a beautiful drawing for the start of every month, often linked to the zodiac sign which is further detailed in the text. When the zodiac symbol is drawn, it also picks out the shape of the star formation that gives the consolation its name. This is a book with which to explore so much, with its section for each month, and I was pleased to have the opportunity to read and review it.
Each month begins with a list of the days of note in the month. This may include special days for particular faith like Lammas in the Christian faith in August, Bank Holidays, major sport events and other yearly landmarks like the Notting Hill Carnival. It gives details of the month “at a glance” such as the appearance of the countryside and traditional practices in rural areas such as Morris dancing. The “Sky at Night” section looks at which planets are more obvious in the night sky. There is a page of the times of sunrise and sunset at a certain place, and the tide timetable. The phases of the moon are illustrated. Highlights of gardens are listed, and the concept of Gardening by the moon. Each month has two recipes, often from a part of Britain but also from around the world. It will often include ingredients that are freely available in that particular month, which encourages seasonal cooking. The sign of the Zodiac is discussed with an illustration. A folk song for the month with the tune is also given, with a set of traditional words. The world of nature is also covered – May’s offering is pond life creatures illustrated allowing identification of certain beasts.
This is a book that will provide good reading throughout the year. I have picked out some favourites, such as the Folk Song for Aries’ Ram “The Derby Ram” which is especially interesting given where I live. My favourite recipe is for Pea soup with cheesy mushroom dumplings, and the rhubarb recipe to be found in February. I enjoyed looking through this book in 2022, and it would be a fascinating guide through next year.