Want to know about 'Ann's secret passion', as Monitor's favourite magazine headlines its exclusive two-page spread on our dear friend Ann Widdecombe? Let Cat World's November issue reveal all. 'Animals have always played a large part in my life,' says the woman who shares the Tory front bench with the likes of Peter Lilley and John Redwood. And yes, she does have a 'passion' for cats - though, um, no she doesn't actually have one as such. Phew, wouldn't want anyone to think she was just after a bit of easy publicity - as Monitor knows all too well, her number two, Alan Duncan, disapproves of 'trivia' in the media. More from Cat World next week if space permits.
Monitor was mightily impressed by Newcastle Royal Victoria Infirmary's hefty annual report. Or was, until the Freeman Hospital's offering arrived. It weighs in at an arm-wrenching 700gm - twice that of the RVI's effort. These were the trusts' last annual reports before merger, so it is with trepidation that Monitor looks forward to next year's publication. Can it top the kilogramme mark? Has any trust ever published a bulkier annual report?
If all this talk of grammes and kilogrammes leaves you wondering what it amounts to in old money, then the prize won by Thameside Community Healthcare trust for a National Condom Week competition will gladden your heart. Its entry (if that's the word) won it 20 gross of the product in question. (For the benefit of younger readers, that's about three kilo- condoms).
Slight problems on the out-with-the-old, in-with-the-new front in the House of Lords, too, where Lord Avebury rises to complain that the DoH's shiny new IT strategy is neither in the peers' library nor in the rather literally named printed paper office. Oops, admits junior health minister Baroness Hayman, she'll get it sorted immediately. And so the high-level exchanges go on - until the aged Lord Cledwyn of Penrhos rises to his feet. 'My Lords,' he begins, 'is my noble friend aware of the general view that hospitals would be far more effective if we brought back matrons?' And to think some people want to abolish this most sophisticated of revising and debating chambers.
Thanks to Monitor reader Philip Shields for pointing out HSJ's recent silly mistake. As he rightly says, we must have mixed up our pictures of actor John Thaw and former ombudsman Sir Idwal Pugh (left). Daft really, as we all used to watch The Sweeney. Remember how Sir Idwal would leap across the bonnet of his 1974 Ford Granada shouting, 'Freeze, you slags'? Now there was a man to strike terror into the hearts of town clerks.
Finally, Monitor moved to plush new offices this week, and is intrigued to discover that the local MP is none other than... Frank Dobson. Naturally, a close eye will be kept on Dobbo's constituency activities in the weeks and months to come.