My missus’ called Stella and, it being St Valentine’s day, I thought I’d say something about her.
We met, nearly 15 years ago, in Ronnie Scotts in Birmingham, she had just become Pension Director at BT, something I found hard to acknowledge, she being young, female and down to earth.
It has taken my 15 years to acknowledge that being male, high-falutin and a wee bit older does not make me better at the job.
We have lived together most of the time since, occasionally she’s kicked me out when I became too annoying and like any couple, we live on our nerves .
Me working on the sell side , she on the buy side, at first made for conflicts of interest, but that’s turning to a kind of creative tension.
Many of what I thought my best ideas have bitten the dust when Stella harpoons them with her wit and good sense. Many of her best ideas are in my blog.
My favourite pension story involves Stella, who- when asked by the pension minister- “what do you want to change” replied
“the only guarantee I want to give my members is the right to buy a guarantee”
which for someone who has managed four of Britain’s largest DB plans suggests an independence of thought and a concision of language which are as valuable as they are rare.
I hope the day will never come when we are apart, on my Valentine’s card to her are the words
You complete me
I would be a broken person without Stella, or “even less complete” as she put it when she opened the card.
Stella will probably not read my blog, she does anti-social media, like Corrie and Heat Magazine and Inspector-bloody-Morse.
She is happiest when she is shopping and happiest of all when she returns from the shop with ridiculously underpriced garments from TK Maxx and yellow-labelled bargains from Waitrose.
Her natural habitat is Poundland not Christian Dior though she could afford to buy the shop-out.
Today we are off to Ascot, as much because it is free to get in as that we love racing! Stella’s values come from her upbringing when every penny counts. But she is not mean, when she gives, which she does a lot, she gives big.
Anyone who has worked with her , will know her for her intelligence but also for her integrity. She may outwit you but she will not cheat you.
She can be withering in her criticism, not to make you small but to make you better. Those she does not like, she will not bother with – she in not vindictive, she is supportive – she carries many people, but not fools.
I hope that you can say good things of your loved one. I hope you can feel as proud as I to be with the person you are with.
If you are on your own this Valentines, I hope that you will find love as I have. Or, you find something that helps you, whether that consolation is spiritual or temporal.
Life’s a bit of shit, when you look at it, but through love we can make sense of it.