Monday, 28 December 2020

The Year of Ferrero Rochering Dangerously

 Good afternoon, and welcome to the 2020 Coven Awards!  We hope you've all been to the loo and got yourself a drink and some snacks, as this does go on a bit.
 I'll say.  I've worn my fingers down to mere nubbins with all the keyboard clacking I've had to do to prepare all this!
 Oh, stop complaining.  You love it really.
 Well, it does keep me from getting bored, I suppose.
Let's hope the same can be said for the poor Blogorati that have to wade through this
miasma of muddled memories and self indulgent claptrap!
 I say!
 Shall we get on with it before this devolves into unrecoverable unpleasantness, hmm?
 Hmmph! As long as you can keep your SubC under control.
 Fine.  Carry on.
 Right.  Here we go: Well, this hasn't been the best year, has it?  However, we're not going to dwell upon the bad as amongst all the toothache, shingles, and Mondays, there were fuchsias, Freakin' Green Elf Shorts (sort of), and Ferrero Rocher!
Queen Armadillo Ferrero Rocher Ambassador
Despite appearances (you know, if you squint a lot and have had a gin or twelve...)
This is, in fact, a decoy.  Ms Scarlet is cunningly disguised as the youthful,
rather vertically challenged Ambassador's handmaiden, second from right.
(One of the other two at the back might be Charmaine...)

 As it's up to me to recap our blogging year as usual, I have decided that rather than document every single thing that occurred on the blog throughout the year, this year I have just picked some highlights.  After all, all of this year's Tales From The Crypt can be found in my Sideboard.

January: As with many previous years, 2020 was no different in that it began by finishing off that which was started in the previous year.  In this case, it was to reveal the "Did I Win Yet?" Grand Quiz winner.
February: Not much going on in February either, but highlights were my gathering and sorting of the Romulan tarot cards, pikhmit/pixmit, and the immortalisation of dear Mago as a star in the night sky.
March: A month of birthdays!  Well, Ms Scarlet's (with the trolley on the mezzanine) and mine (with a triple helping of Delilah Smythe's recipe books), anyway.  Oh, and there was my take on those tarot cards from February.

April: A month of horticultural shennanigans, including a look inside a Star Trek arboretum and an Infomaniac Garden Photos Event announcement.
May: I don't know if this is a highlight or something to avoid, but Delilah Smythe's Ferrero Rocher World grotto and theme park debuted.

July: July consisted almost entirely of swimming (and giant bumblebees and cake!), but some refugee Romulans were welcomed at the start of the month.
August: More swimming, but also some horticultural updates (featuring a Moom cameo), and ZOIDS!
September: In between two reminders for the 10th Anniversary Infomaniac Garden Photos Event was a Little Broad, and a moist groyne.

October: It felt like the whole month was just a nag to get entries in for the House of INFOMANIAC Garden Photos Event & Terrifying Triffidery Exhibit, but looking back, there were also some drunken shags with wonky groynes amongst other things...
November: The House of INFOMANIAC Garden Photos Event was launched!  Upon its conclusion, amongst many sunrises, was a look back over the Cusp to some witches getting on Beast's wick...
December: As a kind of coda to my own Garden Photos Event entry, December began with some old back passage loving, then...

 Then what?  Hang, on...  You've done the whole year at once.  We normally spread it out over the post.  You recap January to March then I present some awards, then you come back for April to June etc.
 Oh, I can't be bothered with all that squabbling over what goes where.  Byeee!
 Well, if Witchface thinks I'm going to do these awards in some sort of order they've got another thing coming!  I'm just going to chuck them all out and hope for the best.

 As well as the delights of Perfume Genius, The Irrepressibles, Woodkid, Tegan & Sara (all featured here), and Gravitonas, Heavenly Music would not be complete without Kylie.  Here she is with "Say Something":

 Another choon championed by Jon (which is how it came to my attention and made its way into my top five of 2020) is The Weeknd's "Blinding Lights":

 And the only Christmas song I've listened to more than once is The Dandy Warhols "Little Drummer Boy" as featured in the last ever episode of Teachers (which I rewatched this year):


 For some reason that I can't put my finger on at the moment, I didn't visit the cinema this year.  I did manage to watch a few films though - mainly on Netflix.  A couple of the standouts were Extra Ordinary - an Irish dark comedy - which was most amusing, and Bumblebee - yes, a Transformers movie - which turned out to be quite surprising.  There was also the accompanying video to Duvchi's "Geronimo" directed by Simon Stålenhag featuring a robotic, less creepy Noseybonk playing piano for aquatic lifeforms (I posted the video earlier this month, here).
 However, the standout film for me was Adrian Disoblige's Aqua Sculptured Pile, as brought to the world by Cookie!


 Strictly Sensational: It has to be HRVY & Janette's American Smooth from Movie Week, which they reprised for the Final.  I thought about embedding the video from the Final as I think HRVY's dance is slightly better, and Janette's adorable husband Aljaž can be seen cheering and crying at the end.  However, there's far too much of Tess Daly's insincere-sounding wailing when they finish the dance, and HRVY's hair is better in the Movie Week dance.

 And I rather enjoyed their Charleston from the Semi-final, too:

 Special Mention: Clara & Aljaž's Charleston from Week 4.  Up until this point, Clara had been good, but not great, so when she came out and danced this Charleston, I was stunned!

 While we're on the subject, how about some Strictly Stunners?  Aljaž Skorjanec (left) shows his uncoiffed sexy side (top left) as he prepares for the Pro Challenge on Strictly It Takes Two, and his downright menacing, sweaty vampire side (Cwooooorrrr!!!) while rehearsing a pro group dance (bottom left).
 Strictly ITT's roving reporter and back-up presenter, sex god Gethin Jones takes centre stage (Phwooooarr!! What a fox!).
 And celebrity contestant Max George - who just can't help being utterly adorable - is on the couch with his pro dance partner, Diane "Red" Buswell (top right - underneath is pro dancer Johannes Radebe's stunning Paso Doble outfit!).

 Finally, as is now traditional, here are the many faces and straplines of Aljaž from Strictly ITT (my favourite is the mischievous look in the final image "Parting is such sweet sorrow..."):


 RHS Chelsea Flower Show?  No.  
 A Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace?  Certainly not.
 There is only one contender for the Triumphant Triffidery Award, and that's The House of Infomaniac's 10th Anniversary Garden Photos Event! A collection of eleven horticultural marvels that premiered with The Very Mistress's 10th Annual Lady Garden Presentation (following a Terrifying Triffidery preview).


 Another year, another batch of Star Trek fan art by moi.
 Out of eleven monthly challenges (November & December have been combined into one) over at the Trek BBS Fan Art lounge, I managed to produce something for seven of them, and I've whittled down my favourites to these three:

1. Into the Arboretum (April) - I had great fun with researching all the Trek plants (and non-Trek specimens) for this one, and finished the piece almost entirely with posh felt-tip pens!  The only bit I didn't enjoy was drawing that infernal Vortex grid from The Adventure Game on the left - the perspective left me flummoxed for ages.

2. Aefvadh (June) - This comic page-styled piece kept me on my toes in getting the narrative to flow from the "Oh, shit!  Are we being invaded by Romulans?!" circle at the top left to the Federation welcoming party at the bottom, and also keeping the fact that they were refugees rather than an assault force underwraps until the "reveal" in the lower circle.  I think it worked (it did win!) but if I was to do it again, I'd raise the Romulan beam-down and reveal a little to give more room for the welcoming party  (and also make it a bit neater).

3. Brighter Future (March) - The only good thing to come out of the miserable travesty that was Star Trek: Picard (apart from seeing Riker & Troi again) was the worldbuilding applied to the Romulans.  Particularly their fascinating tarot cards, known as pikhmit/pixmit.  I spent no end of time scouring through screen caps to get the design of these cards just so (apart from the central icons, which are my own designs).

 Honorable Mention: Hellrunner Loves Spineback (August) - a non-Trek challenge which was a happy excuse to unearth my childhood toys - ZOIDS - from a box at the bottom of my wardrobe!



  For nincompoopery over the Cusp: It can only be "Ms Scarlet with the Trolley on the Mezzanine" from March (mainly because that was the only trip over the Cusp this year after it closed its borders to prevent the transmission of BREXIT 20).
 This is how it began:
"EXCUSE ME????" Ms Scarlet was aghast. "Fight over the starring role??? Are you insane??? I am a natural leading lady.... See how the light follows me wherever I glide... See how the camera loves my glowing complexion. Fight over the leading role?! Oh, you are awful, Mr Devine."

  And this is how it ended (not the actual footage as that has been classified pending a top level investigation by MI5, the Director General of the BBC, and the Lord Lady High Executioner of the Women's Institute):

 Which leads us nicely on to the Special Whining Award as sponsored by Mago.

  There can only be one winner (despite Mago's attempt at keeping it in-house):
Hang on.  We've got another award linked to Ms Scarlet.
 We have?
Yes.  Just a mo, I'll pop it up...

 Ah, yes.  Sponsored by Rimpy, The Greatest Competition Never Held - how could we forget?
The Freakin' Green Elf Shorts Caption Competition!
 (Due at a blog near you soon.  Or, at least within the next year.  Probably...)
 But do remember Ms Scarlet's other competition which is actually going ahead right now:
 The deadline to get your entries in is 10th January, with the winner being announced on the 17th.


 This year, three Blogorati (all one-time Coven members coincidentally) made their triumphant return to blogging (although, quite frankly, they should never have left): Beast, 'Petra and Tim.  But which of them deserves this prestigious award?
 My initial reaction was none of them.  Especially Beast.  But Especially Tim!  Bang up a couple of posts then bugger off back to whatever life they were pretending to have before they remembered their blogging responsibilities?  Hardly conducive to receiving an award.  But then 'Petra did manage eight posts (mainly in April)... 
 So, by the finite patience vested in me, for gracing us with her presence more times than you can count on one hand, I award the Greatest Comeback to 'Petra!
 (Tim could have won, even with the one post, by popping his Speedos on and posing for a photo.  Maybe next year eh, Tim?)


  What the f...?!  A Delilah Smythe award??  Where the hells did this come from?  I'm not having that despica-
Pssst!  The "arrangement", remember?
What?  That isn't still a thing, is it?  Is it?!?
Unfortunately, yes.  Look, just present the award and then forget about it.  Once we get to 2021, the statute of limitations is up and-
Oh, fine.  Fine!  But I refuse to promote that cow's books.  Instead I'm awarding this to the Delilah Smythe Rocher Neutrino Detector (DeSRoND, AKA "Norma"), both for it's contributions to science and for introducing Fatty Lardy Lump Blobbles to the world.  And also because Delilah barely gets a penny from it!
Just one of the many glamorous jobs at DeSRoND is
fishing drowned Lump Blobbles from the hazelnut liqueur lake


 I know.  Don't ask.  This "award" is sponsored by The Very Mistress.
No surprise there!
 Quite.  I don't really know where to start with this one?  Could this be a cakefart coming up?
Would Maddie stoop to such lows?
 The evidence certainly seems to suggest that she would - Just take a look at (her post from May).  And if you didn't click the link, photographic evidence is presented below.
Yes, Maddie, Mistress Borghese, is crowned Cakefarter of 2020!

 I can't believe I'm doing this, but for anyone who has escaped the horrors of cakefarts, a description and 'before' photo can be found over at The Very Mistress's place (thankfully, the cakefart links in The Very Mistress's posts are now defunct).



  There is a tie for the Most Anticipated Arrival (2021):
After five months of waiting, Star Trek: Lower Decks is coming to the UK in January!   Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!

 I managed to watch the first episode back in August after it was mistakenly released on YouTube without the geoblocking doodad, and have seen almost all of the officially released clips.  I think it's safe to say that Lower Decks will be my favourite Star Trek show after Deep Space Nine.  
 Although, Strange New Worlds starring silver fox Anson Mount as Captain Christopher Pike is due out in a year or two...
The other most anticipated arrival here at Hexenhäusli Device is
 After Dinahmow taunted me with her Batflower (don't worry, that's not a euphemism), I located a UK supplier and ordered a couple of rhizomes.  They will be despatched to me in late January, apparently.   Prepare yourselves now for many, many photos of these exotic triffids.  As long as I can get them to grow, that is.

 Some other anticipated events for 2021 are:
Ms Scarlet's "Did I Win Yet?" Award/Quiz/Competition/Event thingy
Spring - Spring bulbs are already starting to appear in the gardens of Hexenhäusli Device
The migration of the Freakin' Green Elf Shorts from Devon
(I hear it's going to happen this year at some point)


 I couldn't decide who was the most adorable between these three specimens as they are all so different: 

(click the link to reveal everythingDanger: RUDE!)
Sam Rutherford from Star Trek: Lower Decks


 The Most Inconsiderate Birthday?  I mean, who else would have a birthday on the last day of the year, forgetting that the Coven Awards is taking place then?  And even if the Awards happen a couple of days earlier (as they are this year), there's no way I'm going to have time to do a special birthday post (tut sigh etc etc).
 So, who would have the audacity to have a birthday this late in the year?
Dear Savvy, of course!  
(Well, she's got to win something - it's in her contract)


 Who has eaten the most Ferrero Rocher this year?  Why, me, of course (purely in the name of research and the construction of this post)!  How many, I hear you ask?  In the words of mrpeenee: "Lots and lots.  Tremendously lots."*

* His answer when asked: How many acres of block paving make up Mog's Mill? (from January's "Did I Win Yet?" Grand Quiz)


 And that brings to an end to another year of blogging by me and Witchface (and the assorted SubConsciousnessess, of course).  We hope you've all had at least as much fun along the way as I have, and that you will return next year for more fun, frivolity and Ferrero Rocher!



  1. Wow! That's a splendid round-up, indeed. You make 2020 sound!

    I do enjoy following your regular excursions around the middle-of-nowhere where you reside, and of course I loved the Garden Event, and much much more besides - keep up the great work, and let's look forward to a far, far better New Year. 2021 really can't be any worse than what we have endured for the past nine months... Jx

    1. Thank you, Jon! I'm glad you like the out-and-about photos as there'll be more in 2021 (although, I will aim for a bit more variety).
      Taking on the Infomaniac Garden Photos Event was hard work, but fun - I loved doing the hostessing!

      A silver lining to the horrors of 2020 is that I had more time for blogging as I wasn't going anywhere or doing anything else!

  2. I'm like a dog with two tails after reading this, all those exciting bums to smell. Am I supposed to submit a hat or something?

    1. Well, if you're a good dog I might find you a treat...

      Oh, gods! The hat! I was going to do another Tinfoil Hat Competition. Ah, well... Now I have something for 2021!

  3. Loved this and loved hounds comment too which made me gaffaw

    1. Thank you, John!

      That Hound is a one. And possibly even a two!

  4. Oh my goodness!! I feel like I have won everything and am now confused about how many speeches I have to make. Should I write a thesis instead? Failing that I very much this traverse into the recent past! You see - I can write a comment without whining, and with this upbeat positivity I am spoiling you!
    I’m looking forward to writing my own blogging review. It will be short and sweet, I imagine.
    Bravo, Mr Devine!!

    1. I was going to insist on a 10,000 word Winner's Essay, but the spectacular lack of whining means I have to take that particular award back. So, you have gotten away with it. This time...

      I am looking forward to your blogging review, too - I could do with a pick-me-up have slogging through my own review!

  5. *enjoyed this traverse....
    Crikey, my mind is getting ahead of itself.

    1. Oh, and thank you, Ms Scarlet! Not least for being an inspiration, but also for putting up with it all!

  6. I would never have believed that Peenee ever referred to anyone as a "Sweet, sweet boy," but I clicked and there it was.

    Candy for EVERYONE!

    1. There is a very slight glint of wickedness in that sweet sweet boy's eyes. No candy for him - instead, we should take his!

  7. My mind, unlike Scarlet's, is all behind itself.
    I can hardly remember what I'm supposed to cook for dinner so I'm relieved to see you've rounded up a whole year's escapades of this crazy crowd.
    Well done! And thankyou very much. Here's to another year of zany posts.

    1. Don't worry about dinner, Dinahmow - there's plenty to eat here: Cake. Oh, er, maybe not... Candy. Actually, I think Norma's hogging it all? Ah! Ferrero Rocher! There's loads of the bloody things - they're everywhere!

      And, thank you, too.

  8. Did someone mention CAKEfarts? Well done, Mistress Maddie.

    Mr. DeVice, your blog managed to give us fun, frivolity and Ferrero Rocher in an otherwise anus horribilus.


    1. I couldn't believe what I was seeing over at Maddie's back in May. Naturally, I immediately thought of you! CAKE!

      Oh, and you seem to be a bit confused: there was no Ferrero Rocher up an anus. Horrible or otherwise.

      Was there?

  9. I'm outraged I won NOTHING. Surely my return was like Patrick Stewart returning to Star Trek after 20 years. I at least deserve a knighthood.

    1. I'm sure I can whip up a quick knighthood if you don those Speedos, Tim. All you'll have to do then is kneel before me while I get out my sword...

    2. Well sure I’ll- WAIT A SECOND!! I see what you’re trying to do here. I’m rebooting the restraining order. And that’s not restraining in the way you’re thinking.

  10. Oh gosh!
    I was going to bang on about Aljaz because well. You can all see why but...
    I WON! YOU LIKE ME! You really like me! (Although not as much as a photo of Tim in Speedo’s. Noted.) I’d like to thank the Academy for this incredible honour. To win such a prestigious award given out by peers. I’m eternally grateful and should it come with a commemorative plaque, plate, tea cup or jpg I should gladly display it along with my many other accolades (like the post-it from MIstress MJ currently on my fridge)

    1. All right, Sally Field, put a lid on it. How about a magnetic Cher as a prize? Just like your blogging comeback she did a Comeback Tour, didn't she? I could superglue a magnet to her back (I'm getting Romy & Michelle flashbacks now) and you could pop her up on your fridge along with that priceless Post-It (more R & M flashbacks)?!

      And if anyone's banging Aljaž, it's me! (and possibly his wife, Janette. Although not at the same time, because, ew...)


Tickle my fancy, why don't you?