Monitor's uncanny ability to foretell the future - despite the odd cock-up, such as when Mo Mowlam didn't become health secretary - tempts a new prophecy: the Tories, unable to stomach the prospect of 'Shagger Norris' as their candidate for mayoral office in London, will eventually select the squeaky-clean and ever-fragrant Virginia Bottomley. And what's more, after one final throw of the tea leaves, Monitor asserts that she will go on to battle it out with Dobbo. Who, after all, could resist the lure of a battle between the woman who wanted to shut Bart's and the man who claimed to have saved it? Happy times ahead.

Speaking of Bart's, the ever-literary Monitor recalls that it was in the hospital library there that Sherlock Holmes first met Dr Watson.

Leaving aside what the great sleuth and his sidekick might have had to say about the Mystery of the Disappearing Apostrophe, which has occupied Monitor so much of late, this momentous event is the only possible explanation for the website address of the Sherlock Holmes Museum at 221b Baker Street - www.nhsnet.co.uk.

Sticking with literary tales of derring do, Monitor is indebted to boffins' trade union MSF for its The 29 Steps guide to the things ministers have told NHS employers they must do by 1 April next year.

Not that Monitor had forgotten all these useful initiatives, it's just that without the section titled 'how to use this handbook', all would have been lost. 'We suggest you start at the back by reading appendix 1, ' it advises. 'You should then read chapter 5. . . together with appendix 4. . .

After that you should read chapters 13 and 14. . . Any part of this booklet may be photocopied, amended and reproduced.' And stapled together in an order which allows readers to start at the front and work through to the back?

And finally, fans of The League of Gentlemen (that's Friday nights on BBC2) will understand Monitor's delight at Bassetlaw Hospital and Community Services trust's mission statement: 'Local services for local people'. Very Royston Vasey.