WHEN SANTA GOT STUCK UP THE CHIMNEY - WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?
Santa (or Father Christmas to give him his posh name) got stuck up the chimney, He began to shout, You girls and boys, Won't get any toys, If you don't pull me out.
The problem was because he was in the chimney no one could hear him. He shouted and shouted. But of course everyone was asleep because it was Christmas Eve and didn’t want Father Christmas to find them awake or they would get no toys or presents.
Father Christmas really was panicking because he had only just started deliveries to UK children. He had got stuck one or two years previously. This was 1991. He had 22.4 million UK households to visit and he’d visited only approximately 2.4 million.
When he had become stuck before there had been expert chimney sweeps in every village who had come to the rescue. But chimney sweeps were few and far between in 1991.
What upset Father Christmas most was that he knew he would be in big trouble with Mother Christmas when he got home. He feared Mother Christmas most in the world.
“Ho, ho, ho!” Father Christmas said to Rudolf, who had stuck his head down the chimney to unsuccessfully help pull Father Christmas out. “You see she’s been nagging me all year. No I tell a lie… advising me all year to do more exercise, go to weight watchers and cut down on my food intake and my little tipple intake or I’d get too fat and stuck in a chimney.”
“Unfortunately, Mum Christmas is very wise and you ought to know by now she’s always right.” Said Rudolf.
“Ho ho ho!But I have kept my eating to one meal a day.”
“Yes, but it lasted from breakfast to supper. And just look at all the mince pies you eat. At least one in every household. That is at least 22.4 million in one night in the UK alone every Christmas.” Said Rudolf.
“Ho ho ho! What’s life coming to if a man can’t have a little treat. Anyway, it would make the little boys and girls very sad if I didn’t eat them.”
“It’ll make them even more sad when they don’t get any presents because you are stuck in a chimney. And stop saying: ‘Ho ho ho!’ at the start of every sentence. It’s getting on my nerves. Quite frankly it’s bad enough being stuck in this chimney with you without suffering your false jollyness.”
“Ho ho ho! – Just a minute, finally someone must have heard. I think I saw the blue flashing light of the emergency services. Ho ho ho! Ho ho ho!” Said Father Christmas.
“No I don’t think so. My nose has gone from red to blue because of the cold. It is that which is glowing blue.” Said Rudolf.
“Ho ho ho! Come on then Rudolf, Dasher, and Prancer and whatever the rest of you are called, I forget you know. On the count of 5 yell ‘Help’ as loud as you.”
Little Jim who was sleeping in the bed room next to the chimney stirred in his sleep. He thought he’d heard Father Christmas. But it must have been a dream. He crawled to check out his stocking at the end of his bed. There was nothing in it, so Father Christmas had not been yet and time was getting on. Had he been forgotten this year?
But then he heard the noise in the chimney again. Fortunately he’d just got his Morse code badge at Cubs and so tapped on the wall dot…dot…dash…etc to say “Who is there?”
Father Christmas did not have a clue what was going on and just thought it was the death beetle knocking, but Rudolf, the most intelligent reindeer of all, recognised the Morse code and tapped back:
“Hello, how are you? It is cold in here. It’s Father Christmas and Rudolf and I hate to say it, but we are stuck in the chimney. Would you mind awfully just getting a little help to get us out or you boys and girl’s won’t get any toys.” Which is a lot to tap out in Morse.
Jim knew he needed to alert his dad. His dad wouldn’t listen at first and told him to go back to sleep. But then he heard the noise too and finally realised Father Christmas was stuck in the chimney.
Straight away he called 999 for the emergency services. But the lady on the other end of the emergency services telephone line wouldn’t believe him and said he was drunk. But at great danger to himself Jim’s dad pushed the phone up the chimney so that Father Christmas and Rudolf could speak to her. Fortunately the cable of the telephone was just long enough. Remember there was no mobiles in those days, only landlines.
An hour later after Father Christmas told the lady what presents he had for her she finally believed him. Within a quarter of an hour Jim’s street was cordoned off and there was Fire, Police, Ambulace, Paramedics, Air Ambulance, RSPCA (for the deers), and even the RNLI.
The Fire chief took control of the operations. He looked up the chimney from the fireplace. He looked down the chimney from the roof. He chatted to Father Christmas. He chattered to Rudolf. He had a coffee from his flask. He ate his sandwiches. (Very messy ones, sardines in tomato sauce.) He tried a half hearted tug to pull them out. and then finely deided that due to Health and Safety scaffolding must be erected around the chimney.
A team of scaffolders were summoned. Not easy on a Christmas Day. It took awhile, but they did it.
But Father Christmas was stuck fast no one could get him out.
“Hello, hello, hello.” Said the Chief of Police, “I have an idea. I think the only answer is to get the famous steeplejack, Fred Dibner to take the chimney down brick by brick.”
Fred was in the middle of his Christmas dinner but he never refused a photo opportunity, so with a police escort driving his fastest steam engine he set off. It was a struggle to get to Jim’s house, with all the world’s TV and press and crowds who had gathered. But being the superstar he was he knew exactly how to handle the situation.
Meanwhile households were waking up to no presents. There were rumours of riots in some towns because kids had not got their presents.
The Prime Minister addressed the nation making a statement and declared a state of emergency and appointing a Minister for Christmas. The Queen made modifications to her Christmas Day Message.
The Police made a way through the huge crowds for Fred, who gave him rapturous applause and cheers.
“You’ve got yourself in a right plum pudding, there Father Christmas.” Said Fred.
“Ho,ho, ho! Please just get me out.” Said Father Christmas. “This is all so embarrassing.”
“Keep your whiskers on.” Said Fred and began chipping away brick by brick.
Five hours later he pulled Father Christmas out and he climbed up Fred’s ladder to the roof. Rudolf followed. Everyone below cheered and clapped.
“Did you like that?” Asked Fred.
Ho,ho,ho! Not alot.” Said Father Christmas.
The paramedics insisted Father Christmas went to hospital for a check up. And the PDSA checked out Rudolf and his mates.
“Nothing but a small graze on your bum, Father Christmas.” Said the doctor, “I’ll put a plaster on it and you can go on your way.”
Father Christmas gave was so pleased, he gave him an extra special present: a brand new stethoscope.
So Father Christmas set out on the rest of his deliveries. But it was late, after 4.00pm. And in the end the Queen had not given her speech at 3.00pm. “No.” She insisted. “One must wait until Father Christmas has delivered before one delivers.”
“Ho, ho,go!” Said Father Christmas. “Let’s get this show on the road.”
And off he went delivering presents avoiding narrow chimneys. To be honest, avoiding chimneys in general.
But the job took so much longer because everyone was up and about, except grandparents, old aunts and uncles and mums and dads, who had fallen asleep after Christmas dinner.
The delivery was a little on the horrendous side for Father Christmas. Everyone wanted to talk and challenged him about gifts they wanted and he had not brought them. He said I now know why I do it secretly at night when everyone is asleep. Much easier.
Finally, finally, he got home at 10.37pm. And what a welcome from Mother Christmas.
“Where have you been? I’ve been worried sick.” She said (Remember no mobile phones. And as a tradition and matter of principle Mother Christmas will not watch TV or listen to the radio on Christmas Day.)
“Ho…” said Father Christmas.
“The Christmas Dinner is in ruins.” Interrupted Mother Christmas. “The turkey is burnt to a cinder, the roast potatoes roasted to a scraggle, brussel sprouts boiled dry, stuffing stuffed, sausages scrozzled, the gravy is rancid. And as for the pudding. Do not even ask.”
“Ho…” said Father Christmas, once more.
“And look at you covered in soot. You’re worse than ever this year. Look at the black trail you’ve left on my nice clean carpet. Go and get yourself showered and a change of clothes. You’re gonna eat this dinner. Burnt or not, after I’ve spent all year preparing it.”
“Ho!…” said Father Christmas.
“I’ve told you before you should not go to the pub for an after work drink with those reindeer. They lead you astray.”
Finally Father Christmas got a word in and explained to Mother Christmas about his bad work day.
But instead of sympathy she started off again.
“I told you this would happen. You are too fat. You eat too much, drink too much and never exercise. But you never listen to me. Oh no. It’s a good job I have bought you a year’s gym membership as a Christmas present.” Said Mother Christmas.
Father Christmas took a deep breath and took his punishment like a man and went shamefully off to have his shower. Afterwards he and Mother Christmas exchanged gifts. And then he sat down to the very best Christmas dinner he’d ever tasted, even though: the turkey was burnt to a cinder, the roast potatoes dried to a scraggle, brussel sprouts boiled dry, the stuffing was stuffed, and the sausages scrozzled, the gravy is rancid. And as for the pudding. Do not even ask. But it was the most delicious he had ever tasted. The dream of the Christmas dinner is what had kept his spirits up in the chimney.
After dinner, dressed in his slippers, pyjamas and dressing gown, he fell fast asleep in his favourite easy chair and dreamt of a chimneyless world.
Mother Christmas settled down in her rocking chair in front of the blazing log fire too, content and satisfied that yet again she had been right!
When I was a lad at school around 13 years old, our Maths teacher used to call me Wol. At the end of the year as we were moving up a class I plucked up courage to ask why he called me Wol. He told meit was thename of the deslexic owl in Winnie the Pooh. With my Harry Potter glasses he said I looked like the Wise Old Owl in the Winnie the Pooh stories.
Being the vain person I am I took it as a compliment
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