Published: 16/06/2005, Volume II5, No. 5960 Page 43

Martha is assistant director of modernisation at a PCT. 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

Phew! This fitness thing will be the death of me. But ever since Teenager grudgingly admitted that my face looked as if it might once have contained cheekbones, I have been mysteriously more motivated to get on that treadmill and burn the fat. I now see the potential, future me - a cross between post-detox Carol Vorderman and Sigourney Weaver in the 'Alien' movies. With a small posse of suitors chasing after me, of course.

The rest of the PCT are also hard at it, increasingly focused on fat-busting as Roger's Outward Bound weekend looms ever nearer. Jenny, his deputy, has foresworn triple-choc doughnuts and Mars bars and Droopy Trudy has gone from quite thin to completely skeletal, and is now showing off her flesh-free assets in rib-cage hugging T-shirts.

And now, of course, Dr Armani has got wind of our little 'Get Fit, Work Smart' campaign, and has booked us an appearance on his little show on TV Local, in which our beloved PEC chair offers oily words of reassurance to the worried well. Roger is over the moon, of course.

'This just shows how the fitness ethic can help boost work performance, ' he panted as we ran round the park during our lunchtime team Jog. 'We'll be seen as a model of organisational efficiency and mind/body focus.' Jenny, red in the face, managed to say: 'do not you think TV Local's viewers will be more interested in whether our bums look big in our jogging pants?' Trudy, racing nippily in front of me, added: 'Television adds half a stone to your body, Roger. Look how much weight Dr Armani has lost since he saw himself on screen for the first time.' All too true - since becoming a minor TV celeb, the elegant doctor is nothing but skin, bone and Eau Sauvage.

But Roger is unstoppable. 'Well, there is clearly only one solution, in that case, ' he said. 'Jog smarter, ' and actually speeded up, nearly knocking a toddler off its tricycle.

Love Martha

Next week: skeleton staff