Archive for the 'Advent Calendar' Category

The First Noel

Mr Key would like to wish all his readers and listeners a very happy Christmas.


Top row, left to right : Mary, Joseph, Middle Eastern Potentate.

Bottom row, left to right : sheep, Gentle Baby Jesus, sheep.

Merry Christmas

A very merry space age Christmas to all our readers!


Overdue Boxing Day Project

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!

Hooting Yard Advent Calendar (xxv)

And so we come to the final picture in our Hooting Yard Advent Calendar, and one which I feel sure will warm your Yuletide cockles. Mr Key wishes all his readers and listeners a very happy Christmas!


Hooting Yard Advent Calendar (xxiv)

It occurred to me that no Advent Calendar for 2011 would be complete without one of Outa_Spaceman’s pieces of cardboard signage. I chose this one, number 356, for the simple reason that it filled me with unalloyed glee. But you might have a different favourite, and as it is Christmas Eve, I think I will give you a treat. You can choose any one of the 357 signs currently in the cardboard archive, print it out, cut around the edges, and paste it to your sheet of advent calendar cardboard with glue. Please leave a comment under the appropriate postage at Outa_Spaceman’s Inexplicable World so he can keep a tally. He may not wish to keep a tally, but let us at least give him the opportunity to do so.


Hooting Yard Advent Calendar (xxiii)

Christmas is now almost upon us, so it’s about time the Hooting Yard Advent Calendar got devotional. What better image to concentrate our minds on holiness than this heteroclite jumble of saints, martyrs, bishops and BVMs, snapped by Salim Fadhley?


Hooting Yard Advent Calendar (xxii)

Today’s Hooting Yard Advent Calendar picture is of a homunculus, specifically the mandrake-root homunculus.


There is a legend that when the mandrake-person is pulled from the ground, it shrieks in pain, and this cry is able to madden, deafen or even kill an unprotected human being. One way of pulling a mandrake out of the ground safely is given as follows: “A furrow must be dug around the root until its lower part is exposed, then a dog is tied to it, after which the person tying the dog must get away. The dog then endeavours to follow him, and so easily pulls up the root, but dies suddenly instead of his master. After this the root can be handled without fear.”

Hooting Yard Advent Calendar (xxi)

A ghostly paranormal substance that could be doughy, sticky, airy, smoky, or thick and syrupy so far neglected by the Hooting Yard Advent Calendar is… ectoplasm! Today we put that right with this tremendously thrilling photograph of Mina Stinson Crandon, seen here at a séance, exuding ectoplasm from her right ear.


from the Ectoplasm page of the very sensible Studies Of The Paranormal website

Hooting Yard Advent Calendar (xx)

On the twentieth day of the Hooting Yard Advent Calendar, we show the fair city of Plovdiv, home of Ugo and his blind Ma and his pal Ulf, under an eerie post-apocalyptic sun, like the sun in a John Martin painting. Put that in your pipe and smoke it!, as they used to say, curiously, in British films of the interwar years.


from the Avion Hotel website.

Hooting Yard Advent Calendar (xix)

ship graveyard

Today’s Hooting Yard Advent Calendar picture shows the graveyard of ships marooned in the Sargasso Sea from The Lost Continent (Michael Carreras, 1968), based on the novel Uncharted Seas by Dennis Wheatley (1938). Featuring giant crab monsters, killer seaweed, and a colony of ultra Roman Catholic descendants of Spanish conquistadors.

Hooting Yard Advent Calendar (xviii)

According to one or two of my correspondents, it is high time I injected some explicitly religious content into the Hooting Yard Advent Calendar. We have had a Mayan bat god, and Our Lady of the Arctic Wastes, but these are not enough for the more devout among my readers. Today, then, a picture which will I hope give rise to earnest discussions of faith, fury, and foolishness.


Hooting Yard Advent Calendar (xvii)

For today’s advent calendar picture I have raided the London Library blog, wherein one can find this snap (bigger when clicked upon) of the H. Imaginary History shelfmark. One of these days I may write an entire postage about the London Library shelfmarks – particularly those within the Science & Miscellaneous category – which are wildly idiosyncratic, occasionally baffling, and very, very pleasing.


Hooting Yard Advent Calendar (xvi)

It is about time we had a hovel in the Hooting Yard Advent Calendar, so here is one that doubles as a Norbiton allotment shed.


I have taken this snap from Anatomy Of Norbiton, an extraordinary website and a thing of strange and terrible beauty. If you can bear to tear yourself away from Hooting Yard – never an easy task, I know, but with grit and determination it is occasionally possible – I recommend that you immerse yourself in its wonders for several hours.

Hooting Yard Advent Calendar (xv)

Today’s thrilling advent calendar picture shows what happened next in the as yet unwritten adventures of the men with whisks and celery. As you can see, the whisks have been discarded, as has the celery, and our trio of doughty ne’er-do-wells are engaged upon a perilous subaquatic mission, pursued by giant jellyfish (actual size).

newport hovel 052

Picture from Surf : Karmic Voyager

Hooting Yard Advent Calendar (xiv)

It is traditional at Hooting Yard, as Christmas approaches, to wheel out Little Severin, the Mystic Badger, and to pay close attention to his prognostications. The only difficulty lies in interpreting them, for Little Severin’s spooky forecasts take the form of his scrubbling about with his mighty claws among twigs and roots and undergrowth to no apparent purpose. So while we try to work out what on earth it may all portend, here is a snap of the Mystic Badger to print and cut out and paste with glue to your Hooting Yard Advent Calendar.

baby badger