As a certain S Claus Esq makes the final preparations for tonight’s journey – go faster stripes on the sleigh, go faster juice given to the reindeer, (no way that they would pass a British Horseracing Authority dope test; unless of course they belonged to the rulers of an oil-rich country…), elves careering around like workers in an Amazon warehouse and a hip flask of something warming, but legal, (Cheshire and Co does not condone drink-driving, even in the stratosphere) – it is heartening to read that just like the worn fairy that I made in kindergarten, (I am now a very young-looking 55), that still perches precariously on the tree, some things never really change but are recycled again and again and again. I am talking about the hot topic of 2013; no, not Miley Cyrus and her twerking but the housing bubble that has taken – if certain parts of the media are to be believed – a place in the universe that is bigger than the hole in the ozone layer. In fact I wonder whether Santa Inc. has done a risk assessment on the possibility of Rudolph and Co crashing into the said bubble and whether as a precautionary measure Santa will sport a rather fetching high-visibility vest and Donna, Blixen and the rest of the quadrupeds will wear similarly natty quarter sheets and flashing lights? Aside from the attire of the man in the sled, I read with bemusement/amusement in yesterday’s press that although house prices are set to rise by a predicted 4-8% in 2014, the Halifax believes that there is, “little current sign of the excessive behaviour associated with a house price bubble” [sic] Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, The Times 23 December 2013
The experts at the ‘H’ – of which I once was, many eons ago – concur with their counterparts at the Nationwide Building Society, Rightmove and The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors – that there is a likelihood that more people will buy a property in 2014 as the economic recovery continues. It is though a healthier, gradual increase that is predicted with a muted rise post 2015 as the growth in peoples’ earnings is tempered by the eventual rise in interest rates. To be frank, (and I haven’t even started on the mulled wine so I cannot be accused of succumbing to ‘In Vino, Veritas’ declarations), one did not need to ask the man in the red suit (and high-vis vest), for a crystal ball to work it out. This is despite the mutterings and typical hand-wringing and teeth-sucking of Meddler-in-Chief Vince Cable. I have to agree with Grant Shapps that Mr Cable is becoming the, “rude old uncle at Christmas”[ sic], although I think that ‘Christmas’ could be substituted with All Hallow’s Eve, 4th of July or any date in the calendar. On that seasonal note of goodwill, I will bid you all a Merry Christmas. Perhaps NORAD (North American Aerospace Defence Command), who as well as scrutinising the skies for possible threats posed by enemy missiles and hijacked planes, also track the global flight path of the distinctive rotund individual in the sleigh, will have their task made considerably easier in that he and the reindeer will be wearing more personal protective equipment than you would find at a Health And Safety convention.