Call me old fashioned, but if you ask me, the difference between 240 and 260 is 20. Which is what I call a gap.

Particularly if you preface it with a pound sign, unitise it in millions and call it a business plan. Last time I was paying attention we didn’t have a gap. But looked at through the lens of my personal financial guru, Mr Micawber, I see misery ahead, with happiness only available at £21m.

“Now income, dear boys,” I ask in my finest impression of WC Fields’ portrayal of Mr Mic in the 1936 classic, “why goes it Pete Tong?”; “Or expenditure, forsooth, is that what’s gone wrong?” A rather poetic intro, I thought, eliciting the following lowlights from the three and a half hour Star Chamber of Doom.

I suppose I got what I deserved by asking for a comprehensive risk assessment of the cost improvement programme. The recalibration of the projected yield down to £0 for the plans to reduce demand for pathology tests (presumably building on the failure to deliver a similar plan in 2001-02 to 2009-10 inclusive), improve theatre productivity by 30 per cent (ditto) and to change the custom, practice, contracts and prosthetics of the orthopods does sound more robust than the previous assumed yield of £5m.

But top marks for plausibility to our friends the commissioner and their new demand management strategy. Something about a part time physiotherapist, new software and a GP incentive scheme that between them will reduce outpatient referrals by 94 per cent in two months. Not sure my instruction to shut down the associated capacity was the wisest decision I’ve ever made, but I expect they’ll ignore me - qv 2001-02 to 2009-10 inclusive.

But the pièce de résistance of this stroll through Wonderland goes to the regulator. I would like here to put on the record that it is nothing short of a privilege to pay for the joy of registering with the CQC. Worth every penny, what with the clarity of purpose, the red hot organisation and the all round value added. Not.