Published: 16/12/2004, Volume II4, No. 5936 Page 33
Martha has just started a new job as assistant director of modernisation at a primary care trust. At the end of her fifth week, she collapses in front of her PC to e-mail a former colleague, who has escaped Down Under.
Hi Mary, Lucky you, getting ready for a fantastic Australian summer when we are all hunkering down for a winter of freezing rain and avian flu! Trudy, our ditsy head of communications, is the world's worst hypochondriac: she needs counselling if anyone sneezes, so imagine her delight when I arrived at work last week with the twins coughing away.
My adorable five-year-olds were off school with croup, so they had to come to work with me. I couldn't risk staying at home, as it was Dumpster Day, another of Roger's new ideas from the US. I didn't trust Trudy not to throw away some of my files in an effort to disinfect her working environment.
I tried to convince her that croup sounds worse than it actually is - but had to admit it was an impressive sound.
Jenny, Roger's long-suffering number two, rushed by me, breaking chocolate into small pieces and administering it to the twins with an expert hand. 'Roger alert, ' she said. She opened the coat cupboard and started hurling case files into it. 'Anything you value, stuff it in here, ' she gasped. 'Remember he only believes in virtual filing. A4 brings him out in hives.' We managed to close the cupboard, groaning with illicit paper, just as Rog walked in. But as soon as he saw the twins, he shrieked and backed out again. He waved the bin liner round the door, crying: 'Anything you do not want?
The office will be 43 per cent more productive if we ditch the paperwork.' Jenny said, straight-faced: 'I am not sure if Martha's taking this a bit literally, Roger. She's dumped all her files to make enough space for her kids.' At which there was a barrage of cries from the twins, demanding to move in right away.
We have heard nothing about Dumpster Day since, and Roger keeps giving me a nervous smile. The twins were thrilled, and are desperate to come and live in my office.
Next week: Dr Armani on TV