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 (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

Hooting Yard Advent Calendar (xiii)

Those of you who have been following the doings of Mr Key for an improbable length of time will know that in the final decade of the twentieth century I produced four – or was it five? – Hooting Yard Calendars. Certain persons have tried to cajole me into reviving this undoubted boon to the date-befuddled, but for the time being you are going to have to make do with the pale shadow of the calendar proper that is this year’s Hooting Yard Advent Calendar. Today’s picture, however, is the sole remnant of an abortive calendar, from (I think) 1996, which was to be entitled something along the lines of Treasures From The Istvan Plunkett Postage Stamp Collection. This one shows, according to my notes, “a trio of ne’er-do-wells brandishing whisks and celery”.

whisks and celery

Hooting Yard Advent Calendar (xi)

A letter arrives from Poppy Nisbet:

Dear Mr Key, I have been enjoying your advent calendar very much and have dutifully been printing out the pictures and pasting them with glue to a sheet of cardboard, as you recommend. May I make a request? For many years I have been absolutely fascinated by the Wobbling Virgin of Ballinspittle, and I think she would make a fine addition to the calendar.

It’s a nice idea, but getting a snap of the Wobbling Virgin actually in the act of wobbling has proved impossible. Instead, I hope Ms Nisbet, and indeed all of you, will make do with the equally splendid Our Lady of the Arctic Wastes.


Courtesy of abelincolnjr

ADDENDUM : Ruth Bosch writes “Dear Mr. Key, In my yoot I had some friends who comprised a BVM (Blessed Virgin Mary) SWAT team. Their mission being to regularly move a very heavy concrete statue, under cover of darkness and from place to place, so that when the chosen households looked out their morning windows THERE she was. A miracle. They sustained quite a few injuries in the course of this project.”

Hooting Yard Advent Calendar (x)

It’s pig time, at last, in the Hooting Yard Advent Calendar. Here is a picture of pigs doing what pigs do best. And let us not forget that if you gaze at these pigs for an hour or so, any mental or emotional turmoil buffeting your brain will be becalmed, for as we know, the contemplation of pigs in a pig sty is greatly soothing to the frantic.


The snap is from the Animal Photos! website. I like the breezy gusto of that exclamation mark. Perhaps I should rename this site Hooting Yard!