What ho Santa, I see that you are still just as busy this year”

“Not quite my friend; you know the crisis and all that, but it’s my last year here in the Yoo Kay; I’ve finally managed to get a transfer to Spain, so I guess that I won’t be seeing too much snow in the future”

“You lucky old Santa, didn’t know that you spoke Spanish?”

“Well I don’t at the moment, but I’m going to Snow School to learn how, but I’ll mostly be delivering to kiddies from the You Kay and Oirland I guess as the Three Kings have the gift delivery franchise in Spain”

“Why are you off then, surely you love it here?”

“Yes, I’ve enjoyed myself in Ingerland; I was born here you know, but it’s not the same any more and I just don’t like the way it’s going. For instance I can’t call myself Santa Claus any more after this year. Some PC brigade member has said that as Santa means Saint, the word may offend those kiddies whose religions don’t have Saints and Claus is a bit too similar to Claws and apparently the name may frighten some children who think that they are going to be visited by some monster with long nails”

“You have to be joking Santa, or whatever you are going to be called next?”

“Wish I were, but things have not been getting any better. Fair enough when a few years ago they brought in the drunk sleighing laws; I have to admit that after downing a few of the sherries that had been left out for me I had a few near misses with pylons and knocked over the odd chimney pot. Mind you chimney climbing is a thing of the past. It was bad enough that a risk assessment had to be undertaken on every chimney that I delivered to but when they forced me to go on a course I had to give it up.”

“What course was that then?”

“It was called Chimneys, Ropes And Pollution (CRAP for short). Couldn’t get down half of the chimneys with the gas tank on my back and I looked like the Hunchback of Notre Dame, scared some kids witless.

In Spain I can still be called Santa Claus or Father Christmas as they haven’t lost the plot over there and parking the sleigh will be much easier. If I block the odd pedestrian crossing or leave the sleigh on a junction no one seems to worry; not like here. When I got back from my round last year, I couldn’t open the toy workshop door for parking tickets. Some slimy so and so’s just knew that I would be around so waited up all night for me in case I stayed a nano second over my time. As for sleigh clampers; don’t even ask!”

Next some do-gooding animal fanatic got involved, said I was overworking the reindeer despite them glowing red with health. The dwarves had to go on an Elf and Safety awareness session. It’s getting too much
“Buying a Spanish sleigh then Santa?”

“You must be joking; have you seen the price of them? No this old girl has plenty of life left in her yet; she’s been well looked after and serviced regularly, just a few changes are necessary and she’ll do me well. Good job that I did my homework though. When I was last over I found this nice chap writing in the Costa Blanca News who seemed to know what he’s about. He told me to make sure that the sleigh runners are the same at the front and at the back; good job that he mentioned it really as when one broke a while ago, I had an odd one fitted, so have matched it up now. I’ve had a word with Rudolf who is going to switch to the other side of the team so that his red nose which lights the way will be pointing in the right direction. Made sure that the bar that I use for towing extra presents in the trailer has the manufacturer’s plate on it, apart from that I’m ready to go”

“Won’t you find it strange flying on the right side of the skyways?”

“To start with yes and I did consider a newer Left Hand Flying sleigh, but I like the sleigh that I have and I just couldn’t imagine having to change the reins with my right hand”

“No doubt there’s lots of paperwork needed?”

“Well, I have to say that the paperwork almost put me off the whole idea, but I was reassured that once I have everything, life just settles down to an easier pace and then I stopped worrying. Almost came a cropper though; I was in a bar one day having a hot toddy and got talking to bloke who seemed to know the answer to everything, then someone whispered in my ear to be careful as he was a lawyer. Careful I thought? Surely a lawyer must know all of these things? “Bar room lawyer was the response; knows everything and nothing”

I have to get a document called a Padron”

“Excuse me?”

“Padron; it’s free from a place called the Yuntimento where you live. Also because the Spanish would otherwise charge me some sort of import tax I need a badger from the Consulate. Apparently the tax is charged upon the gases emitted; I don’t mind telling you that after a few stops for carrots or worse still, brussel sprouts, the reindeers certainly emit a fair few gases. Before all of these though, I need an NIE”

“What’s an NIE Santa?”

“Well in my case it stands for Navidad Is ‘Ere, so Happy Christmas to you and yours”