"So, what did Father Christmas bring YOU?"
"An estimate for replacing the central heating boiler, £4000."
"No, come on, now. Be positive! What did he bring you?"
"An ear-and-throat infection."
"You are hopeless. There must be something good you can tell me..."
"Well, I enjoyed another two chapters of Bleak House."
"Why are you being so difficult? Tell me one GOOD thing he brought you."
"Father Christmas, of course."
"Father Christmas?! Are you on substances?"
"OK, let's cut the crap. Is there any chance at all you could be POSITIVE about something?"
"Yes, I am positive there's something wrong with my left knee."
"Oh, hell, I give up. Stew in your misery."
"Thank you, Ms Poppins. Oh, by the way....."
"I had the most wonderful Christmas Day. I was invited to lunch by my neighbours, Andy and Alison, and it was a joy to watch the children, Clare and Edward, opening their Christmas presents."
"I had a really long loving phonecall with my son, Jeremy, and another with my daughter, Sarah."
"Oh yes, some really nice birds in my garden....."
"Enough with the birds already! Nice talking to you. Bye."
[Thinks: I wonder who the hell that was. Jacob Marley's ghost, perhaps?]