Double Trouble for Mrs Claus

Constance Claus loves Christmas as much as she loves her husband but, every year from November until December 26th a disaster happens. And at his tremendous age, Santa hated problems. Constance tried to plan ahead as, let’s be honest; most people like to have a trouble free life.

Last year it was the missing gingerbread recipe. The recipe was ancient, almost as old as the cook who had the job of baking five million perfectly formed gingerbread houses. Every inch of the North Pole was searched. This meant the elves were hungry, a lot more than usual and so Constance spent most of her days cooking and preparing meals. If, she often reasoned afterwards, if she hadn’t been busy feeding the hungry elves, then she would have solved the puzzle earlier.  She found it – under the cook’s hat. It had risen as high as his pastry and was stuck to the top of it.

This year she began her anti disaster plan in July. The first thing she did was to make certain there was a copy of the recipe on her tablet. Next, she checked there was an awesome mountain of buttons for the Minion’s dungarees,then, enough paint for the rocking horses and on and on her list went. But she with the help of chief elf Enda,  worked their way through it.

So by the second week of November she was wondering if she could finally relax.

The workshop was thundering through the long menu of toys and electrical gadgets that needed to be made. The new computer department was turning out to be a great addition as the technicians had rigged up a mechanical serving belt which brought the food straight from the kitchen to the tables at lightening speed.

“Too fast for me,” moaned Santa as yet again he was too slow to collect his dinner off the moving belt and it whizzed on to Slim who snagged it.

But dear you are looking all the trimmer for it,” Constance said.

She was sitting before a pretty log fire with Summer, her cat, snoozing on her lap, when her walls began to shake and rumble. Strange, thought Constance. However, when the rumbling increased she jumped to her feet and went to investigate. Summer slid to the ground, shook himself and went off to find a more reliable less jumpy cushion to snooze on.

Constance wondered if Santa and the elves were playing a trick on her so she was a little wary of opening her front door. This was just as well, because when she opened it a chunk of snow slid off the roof and landed on her doorstep.

“This won’t do,” Constance muttered and picked her way through the mountain of snow.

Then she stopped and stared. She giggled because she couldn’t help it. The reindeers were playing dodge the snowball. And due to their very heavy appearance they were making the ground shake and groan under their hooves.

She frowned. “This is terrible, Rudolph you are looking a little chunky tonight.” She mused and then stopped and sniffed the air. He smelt of chocolate and something else. She stared at him.

“Is that marshmallow sticking to your coat?” He backed away and looked at her with huge sad eyes.

She went back inside but instead of sitting in her comfortable chair she peeped out the window.  She noticed some of the reindeer sniff the air and stroll off towards the elves living room. Constance decided to follow.

In the  elves living room she discovered the elves were having a snack. They had taken their shoes off and were sitting before a huge fire toasting smores. “Where did you learn how to do that?” She asked Santa who was managing to toast four at a time.

“Internet.” He said, “Try some. They are delish.”

She tilted her head to one side, “how long have you been doing this?

“Oh only a week or two. It’s just that we get so hungry with the extra work. It is a nice way to relax and we tell stories then head to bed.”

She looked around the room and noticed many of the elves were already asleep in their chairs. Just then the door opened and a young reindeer entered. He walked straight to a sleeping elf and very gingerly took the uneaten smore from the elf’s hand before moving to the next elf.

Constance did not want to be a spoilsport but she was worried. The reindeer needed to be fit and Santa, she knew would eat until his suit was close to bursting.

Over the next two weeks no matter what she did, the reindeer always found a way into the elves sitting room. She wondered if they were paying the elves to leave a door open. No, that is totally silly, she decided.

It was December and the workshop was producing toys at a frantic rate.

There was a “bang” followed by a “pop” and everything stopped. There was a shocked silence. Enda shouted, “lets find the fault.” An hour later they knew the problem. The generator couldn’t produce enough electrical power.

“We need to produce more electricity.It’s knackered.” Was the final statement from their workshop maintenance team.

“Right early lunch and lets chew on it.” Santa said.

Constance went for a walk. She always thought better when left to think by herself. Rudolph accompanied her, with Summer sitting on his back.

“I know you are trying to get fit and slim Rudolph but it is not working. You need a high intensity work out. Cross fit for Reindeers, I think.”

She let the thought rattle about in her head for a while and when she returned she called the maintenance team to her.

Three days later the workshop was producing more toys by the hour.

Enda smiled and said, “Thank you Constance for your brilliant idea.”

Constance beamed at  him. “You are welcome and I think everyone is happy with this ….or almost everyone.”

Enda grinned. “Well if Santa insists on eating so much then he has no choice. He can’t have it all his own way, even if his name is Santa.”

They both looked over at the line of reindeer waiting their turn to get on the exercise wheel. Beyond the exercise wheel there was another line of reindeer happily munching on smore flavored hay.  Santa walked alongside the reindeer. A giant pedometer declared, “well done Santa just 5,000 more steps to earn a whole smore this evening.”

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Santa wasn’t worried as he had a date on the 25th with a dog called Bob who was currently stashing marshmallows in his christmas stocking. The deal was, Santa would trade his jelly babies for Bob’s marshmallows, then it would be home to smores and more smores.

 

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Lottie Weeds Words

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Lovisma Tabitha Toothwich (or Lottie for short) was asked to mind her friend Molly’s house.  Molly was going on holiday.

Lottie said, “Yes, please.”

Lottie was bringing Bob, her furry four-legged friend, with her.  This meant there was a lot of extra’s: jelly babies, bones, and his favourite pink sunglasses.

When they arrived at the address Molly had given them, they were so surprised that Lottie danced and cartwheeled to the front door. She turned to wait for Bob who, wearing his pink sunglasses, plodded after her.

“Isn’t it perfect Bob? I didn’t know Molly’s new house is a lighthouse.  I love circles and look the garden is one giant circle.”

Bob said, “Woof.” They did a lap of the garden to celebrate.

On the first morning, Lottie raced to the top of the lighthouse and ran around shouting hello to the birds and animals far below. They spent the day exploring the lighthouse. Then Lottie decided they should sleep for the rest of the holiday right at the top of the building, outside.

That night they were watched carefully by the moon who seemed a little surprised at how soundly they snored while down below the waves crashed and thundered off the rocks.

Lottie and Bob enjoyed minding the lighthouse. The sun behaved as it should by rising promptly every morning. The dolphins and seals popped out of the water to say hello. Lottie and Bob ate most of their meals outside and left snippets of bread on the railing for the seagulls.  Lottie loved to sit on the rocks below the lighthouse watching the seals play in the water while Bob preferred to sleep on the circular lawn.

At the end of the week,  the grass had grown so high it was tickling Lottie’s knees. “You need to be cut.” She said.

She mowed the grass. Then stood back and looked about her. The flowers were playing hide and seek with the weeds.  “I suppose I should weed the garden.” Lottie took out the wheelbarrow and Bob jumped in. She pushed him along the path towards the vegetable garden. She stopped when she spotted some odd chunks of wood sticking up from the ground. Bending down she cleared the weeds and found the word ‘don’t’ written in bright purple paint.

Lottie frowned. “It almost looks as though it is growing there. Who would plant words in a garden, you can’t eat them?”

A soft noise got her attention. Lottie pivoted about and saw a rabbit chewing on another word. By twisting her head sideways Lottie could read the word. “Forget.” She wondered what it meant.

“What a strange thing to have plonked in the ground. Did you do it?” Lottie asked the rabbit who ran away.

Lottie spent a long time weeding. The words were difficult to move. She had to dig the bigger ones free. When she was finished she sat on the ground and looked at the words lying on the grass around her. They were all sizes, big, little, thin and fat.

“I wish they were made of chocolate, “Lottie said to a passing bumble bee who ignored her and flew home. She stared at Bob who was chewing on his name.

“I bet that tastes nice,”Lottie said and picked up the nearest word. “Promised, sounds tasty” she said and took a bite. “Ugh it tastes of old boots,” Lottie grumbled, noticing Bob was chewing on a bone. He paused chewing to look up and smile at her.

After dinner, Lottie decided to climb to the top of the lighthouse to see the words she had weeded.

She stood looking at the oodles and oodles of words. She twisted her head this way and that realising they might be a message but from who?

She got a piece of paper and a pencil. Then she began to write carefully.

“Its a puzzle. I need to solve this Bob.”

Her first attempt was terrible. It read;

Lottie,

Smiley don’t forget P.S. Bob Sunday Lunch me with your on surprising friend find it place in you for.

It took a long time but she finally solved the puzzled. It read:

Lottie,

Don’t Forget your promise to have lunch with me on Sunday, your surprisingly smiley friend.

Sam

P.S. I hope Bob left this message in a place for you to find it.

 

Lottie laughed. “He did, clever old Bob, lunch with Smiley Sam will be fun.” To celebrate they decided to have ice cream topped with marshmallows for Lottie and dog biscuits topped with Jelly Babies for Bob.