Nurses' union boss Christine Hancock modestly confides to Monitor the story of a visit to a jazz club when she was 'shoved forward' to take care of a man who had a fit. It's a long time since she practised, so she was relieved to find some 'real nurses' already looking after the patient. But she discovered she does have some marketable skills. When the 'real nurses' asked friends of the stricken man, 'Is he on medication?', they were met with blank stares. But when Christine asked, 'Does he take pills?' they said, 'Oh, yes, he's an epileptic.' With straight talking like that, Monitor wonders why the RCN hasn't yet got what it wants for nurses.

Meanwhile, on the medical front, Primary Care Group Alliance supremo Michael Dixon has been in touch to recount the latest woes in his house saga. Things, he says, have gone 'from bad to worse' since an exploding firework factory blew up half his home. Monitor's favourite doctor has only recently discovered how close he came to disaster. Apparently the factory contained only a quarter of its usual explosive content at the time of the incident. There is, alas, no room here for Doc Dixon's full account of the saga. Suffice to say it includes medieval jerry-builders, a king chopped off at the knees, a miracle and thoughts of assassination. Full story next week.

Back to former NHS management trainee Sarah Carr who, you'll recall from last week, once worked with Sporty Spice's mum, Joan 'Tina Turner' O'Neill. 'I had a placement at Halton community unit (as it was then) in 1990. I was striving hard to be 'simply the best' against the hurdle of a steep learning curve of Scouse-speak,' she admits. 'Following a holiday in the sun, Momma Spice asked (pale-skinned) me why I hadn't brought a 'bronzie' back with me. I was too embarrassed to ask what it meant and took it to mean 'olive-skinned man', replying with something most embarrassing about finding English men more attractive. I got some very odd looks. Only later did I discover 'bronzie' is Liverpudlian for suntan.'

A Monitor reader e-mails to remind us that last Monday was Dobbo's birthday. And also the Ides of March. What can it portend?