Father Christmas found himself in a bit of a pickle yesterday when he broke down on his pre-Christmas test flight.
This annual test takes place just before Christmas eve so that Santa can ensure that he has a fully working sleigh and the reindeer remember what to do; reindeer having notoriously poor memories.
This year, however, just as he was passing Basingstoke, Santa was forced into an emergency landing when Prancer developed a wonky antler seriously affecting the stability of the sleigh, a problem exacerbated by the seven thousand metric tonne load in the back. Landing in the car park of a Big W Saint Nick attempted to correct the problem himself using a spare antler kept for just such an emergency, but was unable to locate the appropriate antler adjustment wrench from the toolkit under his seat.
It was at this point the AA stepped in.
They were canvassing shoppers to tempt them into joining the recovery service in time for the festive getaway when the patrolman noticed Santa was in a spot of bother.
"I just approached him," said patrolman Dan Drough (pronounced Drew, not Druff, if you please). "I asked what the matter was, as it was obvious he needed help. He told me that Prancer's antler had swung loose but lacked the tools to correct it. Fortunately, our AA vans are fully stocked with a wide range of tools, and I located a size seven antler adjustment wrench and we had him back in the air in no time. I even got a year's subscription out of him, just in case he needs us again on the actual flight in a couple of nights."
Father Christmas was unavailable for comment.