Santa can appear in many guises and from unexpected quarters....
When we moved here, the water meter was buried underneath an immense, concrete lid. No matter how hard we tried, even with a crow bar, we were never able to lift it. Sometimes we would be out and shortly afterwards receive the ubiquitous card asking us to read the meter. So, I wrote to Veolia, the local water company, explaining it was impossible for us to read the meter and could they please replace the concrete lid with something lighter. Nothing moves fast in France. And look what happens to the escargot. But then, surprise, a man arrived without warning and checked out the situation. He recommended that they, Veolia, should move the heavy lid and meter and move it all to the other, street, side of our gate so that in future they could read the meter when we were out. Knowing me, the inevitable question: who's going to pay and how much? Answer: me, and 1K euros. I said 'no way'. Stalemate until a few weeks ago I received a surprising email from them. They would do the job in a few weeks and that they would pay. I re-read it. Yes, it would be free! Yipee.
So, job now done and only cost to me? Two cups of coffee for the workmen.
....Merci Santa Veolia and season's greetings to one and all.