Published: 17/11/2005 Volume 115 No. 5982 Page 37

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

For some time I've suspected that Jenny is a lot more effective than the mighty Rog and, like a lot of deputies, she's desperate to take over the hot seat. Now that Roger has disappeared on longterm sick leave/exotic honeymoon, I find my intuition was correct. Jenny is kicking bottom in her quest for improved efficiency and excellence, and Droopy Trudy, our hippy head of communications, has joined forces with me in a sort of enforced sisterhood.

Last Monday, there was no sign of Jenny when I arrived at work. 'Phew, ' I said to Trudy. 'What a relief knowing that Rog is not in his lair, cooking up some new management torture for us.' 'Thank Gaia, ' said Trudy. 'I'll be able to sip my soyachino in peace.' Then, lo and behold, who should come sashaying out of the inner sanctum but Jenny, flip chart in hand. She'd obviously been in there for hours. 'Brainstorming, ' she said, crisply. 'We need to road test some low flying fruit before lunchtime. Martha - over to you for an off-the-top-of-yourhead SWOT analysis.' I stared at her in horror. 'You what?' She looked at me sternly. 'Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats. Do you have a problem with that model?' I was struggling. 'Is this something to do with Kate Moss?' I asked. Jenny rolled her eyes, set up the flip chart and handed me a marker. Just as I attempted to write 'Strengths' on the board, I felt my back ping. 'Aaaggghh!' I screamed.

Then something strange happened.

There was a knock on the door and Kevin the osteopath appeared, looking twice as hunky as Russell Crowe. 'Am I early?' he asked, apologetically. 'Early for what?' asked Jenny. 'I've come in to do a spot check of your office ergonomics.' He looked at me, frozen in agony with one arm in mid air. 'That doesn't look good, ' he said. Kevin approached me from behind and did something osteo that restored feeling to my arm.

I turned to look at him, smiling like a total idiot. Strange to say, he was smiling at me in exactly the same way.

Love Martha

Next week: Give my love to Kevin