Published: 05/05/2005, Volume II5, No. 5954 Page 29

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

How are you? Teenager was asking yesterday. She's getting cosmic as well as grungy, and is reading this incredibly boring book called The Songlines, all about walking in Australia, or something. She's clinging to the idea of heading off into the outback. She's also started wearing an Eco Warrior headband. Can't imagine what's got into her - normally all she does is lie down and listen to Nirvana.

Everyone at work is still reeling from director of modernisation Rog coming to work with bootylicious mountaineering Helga on Bring Your Friend To Work Day.

Can scrambling up rock formations or dangling from bits of rope really be such an aphrodisiac? And what can a six-foot blonde see in small, bearded Rog? I closed my eyes and imagined him in a kagool. It didn't do it for me.

'Maybe he looks better against granite, ' said his deputy Jenny, reading my thoughts. 'He might look better with some granite in front of him, ' I countered, trying to get comfy on the office floor cushion. 'Or the Himalayas.' Whatever the secret of his sexual allure, Rog has gone into orbit now. He's churning out vision statements every day, and his average breakfast meeting is so early that There is no point going home at night. 'Haven't you got a calming herbal remedy?' I asked Trudy, our droopy counter-culture head of communications. 'Or some deadly nightshade?' asked Jenny, sourly.

But Trudy was unable to oblige. 'The worst thing is that We are coming up to Passion Month now, ' she said, looking at her wall planner. 'One of your ideas, is not it, Jenny?' Not strictly fair. The idea is a Rog special inspired by him misunderstanding Jenny. But team spirit is not exactly to the fore.

'If he produces Helga for Bring a Friend to Work Day, what on earth can he have up his sleeve for Passion Month?' asked Jenny. 'Beyoncé Knowles laying on an office lapdance?' I sighed heavily. All I feel passionate about these days is getting my desk back.

Love, Martha

Next week: Quote me happy