Astute readers, with their wits about them, will have noticed that the Hooting Yard Boxing Day Project failed to appear yesterday. I do apologise. What wit one thing and anutter, as my Belgian mother used to say, I simply didn’t get round to it. Still, the Yuletide season would be a puny and curdled affair without a Hooting Yard project to keep you occupied, so – better late than never – here it is.
You will now have your complete Hooting Yard Advent Calendar, a large sheet of cardboard to which you have pasted, with glue, pictures of a drainage ditch and a wooden bobsleigh and cows struck by lightning and a blanket bog and a bat god and painted wooden decoy buffleheads and celery compound and the Hobbs End tube station demon from Quatermass And The Pit and a bowl of pap ‘n’ slops and pigs in a pig sty and Our Lady Of The Arctic Wastes and Aguirre, The Wrath Of God with a Capuchin monkey and a postage stamp depicting a trio of ne’er-do-wells with whisks and celery and Little Severin The Mystic Badger and undersea adventurers pursued by giant jellyfish and a Norbiton allotment shed and imaginary history in the London Library and crackpots brandishing placards and a graveyard of ships from The Lost Continent and Plovdiv and ectoplasm and a mandrake-root homunculus and statuettes of saints and martyrs and bishops and BVMs and cardboard signage and Jesus directing traffic.
Go and get a second sheet of cardboard of roughly the same size and, using a pair of sharp scissors, cut it into twenty-five rectangular bits. If you are doing things properly, you should find yourself with twenty-five bits of cardboard each of which is a little bigger than its corresponding picture pasted to the original sheet of cardboard.
The next step is to place the bits of cardboard over the pictures, thus blocking them from sight. You can now fix the bits of cardboard in place by sticking a length of sticky tape – cut from a roll using the sharp pair of scissors – along the top edge of each rectangle, so that you create a set of twenty-five cardboard flaps on the original sheet of cardboard. With a thick black marker pen, randomly number the flaps from one to twenty-five, using Roman numerals. Then shove the beflapped sheet of cardboard into a cubby or cupboard or indoor storage facility and forget about it.
And lo! When the first of December 2012 rolls around, eleven months hence, you can retrieve it from its hidey-hole and prop it up on your mantelpiece, if you have a mantelpiece, and then, day by day, from the first of December until Christmas Day, tear the appropriately numbered cardboard flap off the main sheet, carefully disposing of it in a wastepaper bin. Each day, therefore, you will reveal one of the pictures which, by this time next year, you will have completely forgotten about.
And thus, through craft and cleverness, you are already in possession of your Hooting Yard Advent Calendar for 2012!