In three days’ time, the Hooting Yard website will be seven years old, and I am disconcerted, on trawling back through the archives, to note that every Yuletide season has passed without the appearance of what one would have thought was essential, a Hooting Yard Christmas Gift Guide. God alone knows how you lot have coped! Anyway, following an exclusive commercial tie-in with the most gorgeous department store in the known universe, Hubermann’s, I can now rectify this terrible omission. Here, then, are five superlative gifts, available at bargain bin prices from a bin outside the bargain bin basement of Hubermann’s “beacon” store in Pointy Town.
Jumbo Sack O’ Agricultural Waste Matter. The perfect gift for the peasant in your life. A mind-numbingly gigantic burlap sack absolutely cram-packed with noisome slurry and farm filth.
Wandering Mendicant’s Collapsed Lung, Preserved In Jelly. Surgically removed by top doctors from the corpse of a wandering mendicant, this collapsed lung has been expertly preserved in special jelly. Is what it says on the jar.
“Two-In-One” Marionette. Made from old coathangers, rags, and solidified puff pastry, this fascinating puppet looks just like Yoko Ono until you turn it round and tweak it a bit, when, voila! you have a lifelike Bernard Cribbins doll! Hours of fun with two of your favourite non-fiction characters. (Provide your own string.)
Grow Your Own Marsh. Transform your living room into an eerie marsh, complete with mephitic vapours, inexplicable darting lights, and pipe-smoking marsh sprites. Simply sprinkle the contents of the sachet on to your carpet and watch it dissolve, before sinking up to your armpits and flailing hopelessly, just like Sabine Baring-Gould!
The Radiating Lance Of Saint Poppo. If you have any Belgian Catholics in your family, they will treasure this miniature plastic toy lance, radiating fire from heaven just like the lance of Saint Poppo (977-1048), one of the first Flemish pilgrims to the Holy Land.