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Some of the residents of the Gornetz Platz have been so busy that they haven't had time to write proper letters to Father Christmas, but they’ve managed to scrawl some brief notes and Rosalie Dene has kindly typed them all up to be sent together.

1. Please could you slip some contact lenses into my stocking? My latest shipment from England's got held up in the Christmas post, and I can't wear my glasses because everyone else thinks I've got perfect eyesight. Yours anxiously, Hilda Annersley.

2. I know it's a big ask, but we could really do with an extension being built on to our house. We've got four children and the Courvoisiers have got three, and it's getting a bit crowded. Many thanks, Hilary Graves.

3. I could really do with some earplugs. I can't seem to get a decent night's sleep: the slightest noise wakes me up. Yours exhaustedly, Gwynneth Lloyd.

4. Any chance that you could call in at the Chalet School on St Nicholas's Day, to give out the presents in person? I know it's a busy time for you, but it is for me too and they don't seem to realise that I've got a sanatorium to run. Anyway, I feel bloody stupid dressing up to amuse a load of schoolgirls, and you probably think that I look bloody stupid pretending to be you when I don't look anything like you! Yours hopefully, Jack Maynard.

5. Bitte, I would just like a little peace and quiet somewhere where they are no hysterical women, screaming children or badly-behaved dogs, and where two people are not expected to wash, iron, cook and clean for over twenty people and look after hordes of children at the same time. Danke schon, Anna Pfeifen. (I am very weary. And, if it's not too much to ask, maybe my friends Rosli and Karen could come too?)

6. Is it possible that you could spare a few of the elves to keep an eye on things here once I go to Oxford? I can't think how they're all going to sort out their problems once I'm not here to do it for them. Yours busily, Mary-Lou Trelawney.

And finally, dear Father Christmas, it's Rosalie Dene typing all this up. Do you have any vacancies going at the North Pole for an overworked a hard-working secretary? If you want someone who knows all about dealing with endless lists and making travel arrangements, then look no further! You know where I am, and there'll be a glass of sherry and a mince pie waiting for you on Christmas Eve (and carrots for the reindeer, of course), if you'd like to talk it over ...



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