Adrian Tod tells a heart-warming Christmas story.

Scrooge had been trying to sell his house all year - but to no effect. He was fed up with cold winters and longed to move to Spain where he had found a villa at a knockdown price being sold by a motivated seller. Now it was Christmas again and there was still no sign of a buyer for his own house. Scrooge hated Christmas. Bob, at the local estate agent, Cratchit and Co, had almost given up on ever selling the house. Scrooge was far too mean to put the lights on inside or light the fire to make the house look cosy and inviting. Instead it was unwelcoming and cold. He refused to let people see the house when they wanted to and only allowed viewings when it was convenient for him. The few offers he had received he had treated with derision - even though the asking price was really far too high - which put everyone off taking it any further. Scrooge was even insisting that any buyer would have to purchase, at extra cost, the threadbare carpets and even some wet logs at the end of the garden which he described as firewood. That night Scrooge had three disturbing dreams. The first vividly showed him what life had been like before he had become so mean and his wife had left him. The second dream showed Christmas dinner at his estate agent's house. It was a jovial family affair with Bob, his wife and their small son, Tim, all enjoying themselves. But slowly the scene changed to illustrate what life would be like if Bob couldn't sell any houses and had no money. The third dream showed Scrooge's grave. He had died an embittered old man who had never sold his house or moved to sunny Spain. Waking up in his bed Scrooge realised that wasn't too late. He raced round the house putting lights on and setting the fire ablaze in the living room. He then rushed down to see Bob at Cratchit & Co, and told him to reduce the price immediately and to tell everyone that he would heartily entertain any reasonable offers. Scrooge even told Bob that he would increase the commission if the house was sold quickly. So Scrooge did sell his house and moved to Spain where he enjoyed many long years in the sun. He even married an attractive lady he met in a local tapas bar.Scrooge never forgot to send Bob a Christmas card, as without all Bob's tenacity, forbearing and hard work he would never have had his new life.

The moral of this story is to be as accommodating with potential buyers as possible and always try and find a estate agent like Bob. Hayward Tod in Carlisle is just such a firm as Cratchit & Co. Call us - we might change your life. Happy Christmas everyone - with apologies to Charles Dickens