The year started badly, thanks to global warming. We lost several workshops when the ice sheet melted and they drifted off - checked ocean current charts, and they're due in the Hudson Bay in 2014. Must put a reminder in my Google calendar about that. Everything is now wet underfoot and I was getting grief about installing a drainage system.
It was time to move and we, for reasons that now elude me, decided to relocate to Brussels.
We settled into our new premises at Tours and Taxis. Then things started to go seriously wrong. Off to the Commune to register - they asked what was the nature of my work? “Well, I sneak into children's bedrooms when they're asleep, and if they're good I give them a present.” Eventually I got released from the cells. Apparently, I'm on some sort of 'watch list' now.
Had to put the sleigh in for a 'control technique' even though sleighs don't have engines. Still got a 400€ bill, though. Got stopped by the police on the way back and fined for not having a reflective vest and a red warning triangle. For the love of God, who could miss seeing me and a dozen reindeer?
Had a lunch meeting with Commissioner Wallström - I'm sure she's part Elf. She wanted me to deliver a copy of the Proposed EU Constitution to every child as part of their communication strategy. “Even if they've been naughty?” “Especially if they've been naughty,” she purred. We manage to find a compromise and they're going to produce it as a colouring book. What sold me on the idea is thinking of the look on Nigel Farage's face on Christmas morning. As I leave, she calls out, asking what I would think of a rebrand. Pardon? Would I consider rebranding myself as EuroSanta, as it would give the EU a friendlier image? I take a huge slug from my hip flask and promise to think it over.
Noticed that expenses were climbing alarmingly and production was down. Popped round to check the reindeer and found out one reason why - they've been stuffing their faces with waffles and beer and put on so much weight that they're about as aerodynamic as Louis Michel. Went to talk to the elves, but they were all in the pub. For 'lunch'. All day. Dead important meeting, apparently.
DG Environment come round to discuss my carbon emissions. They decide to make an impact assessment. Commissioner Dimas turns up in the reindeer shed: “What is the carbon footprint of a reindeer fart?” “Let's find out,” I say, grab him and stuff his head up Prancer's backside. One of the Elves filmed it on their mobile phone and had uploaded it to You Tube before I could stop laughing.
Jamie Shea calls from NATO to give me a telling off about flight plans. Seems that last year I crossed the flight path of an unmanned drone over Khandahar and scared the daylights out of the remote pilot when I suddenly appeared on his monitor. Poor chap's still off work. Well, if you're going to spend the season of goodwill to all men by lobbing missiles at destitute Afghan farmers, then you get what you deserve. Call it karma.
Summoned to Berlaymont, where Commissioner Mandelson lectured me on our toy production being against EU tariffs and upsetting the Chinese. I express my sympathy through the medium of a fist and get a couple of good ones in before security pounce and bundle me out of the building. I get back to the office, make a couple of calls, pull a few strings and the next thing we know, Mandy's on a one-way ticket back to London.
It's about this point that I realize I'm getting too old for this. But finding a replacement is impossible as they would need to be able to cope with reindeer and work with elves and have impeccable planning skills. I have a moment of sheer genius. I reach for the phone and dial.
“Margot Wallström speaking.”
“Hey babe, have you thought about breaking through the ultimate glass ceiling?”
Sorted. Put the toys on eBay and buy a small Caribbean island with the proceeds.
So, I hope you enjoy Christmas. I'll be distilling my own rum on a tropical beach and you'll have EuroSanta in your chimney.
Ho, ho, ho.