Published: 10/03/2005, Volume II5, No. 5946 Page 35

Martha is assistant director of modernisation at a primary care trust. At the end of a busy week, she collapses in front of her PC to e-mail Mary, a former colleague, who has escaped Down Under.

Hi Mary

You know We have been trying to soothe the nerves of Roger, our beloved head of modernisation. We tried to make him happy by buying him a personalised mug. Jenny, his deputy, found one that said 'The Boss' on one side and had a picture of Bruce Springsteen on the other. Not sure Roger knows who Bruce Springsteen is. He doesn't do popular culture and relaxes by hill walking. All the photos in his office are of rocks.

'It is back to plan A and finding a way to ruffle PEC chair Dr Armani's feathers so that Roger has to rescue him, ' I said.

Head of communications Droopy Trudy agreed: 'It would show Roger that we need his wonderful leadership.' You should have seen Jenny's reaction. She has certain views about what Roger can do with his leadership but she is a pragmatist.

So she said she had a plan. 'We plant my Auntie Maureen in the audience for Dr Armani's next slot on TV Local for the worried well, and she asks a question he can't answer about Avian flu.' PEC chair Dr Armani lives for these TV appearances - after Jenny told him he'd put on weight a few weeks ago he went on the Atkins, South Beach and Zone diets all at the same time. Two weeks later he was a nothing but skin, bone and Eau Sauvage.

'So after that Roger gives him the information he needs and his reputation is restored next time he appears?' Jenny beamed: 'Correct. Auntie Maureen has been in the audience before so she knows the ropes. You turn up an hour before the broadcast and queue up. They like a few cheery OAPs.' So we put the plan into action - Auntie Maureen looks like a dear little old lady, but has a mind like a man-trap.

After half an hour with Jenny, she knew more about Avian flu than Sir Liam Donaldson. The following day we tuned into TV Local with baited breath.

I'll fill you in on the outcome next time. The twins - so advanced for five! - are playing Animal Hospital with the cat, and It is not pretty.

Love Martha

Next week: The trap fails