While I was away camelling in the desert my wife was in Boston presenting a paper at a scientific conference.
Whe she returned to work there was a letter on her desk from the University authorities confirming her appointment as a Professor.
J., or Professor J as I am now honoured to call her, was naturally delighted. She's a truly remarkable woman and this is the culmination of a life spent dedicated to teaching and research. The fact that she achieved promotion as a non-clinician in a clinical department, and despite the accident of birth that makes her a woman, made the eventual recognition of her talents all the sweeter.
I don't know anyone who works harder than the Prof. Her work is truly a vocation. Her students adore her. So do I. To say I'm proud of her is a gross understatement.
She's a pretty good wife and mother too. She has a bright, sunny disposition. We never argue. She never complains about anything, eschews gossip. She doesn't have a bad bone in her body. Oh, and she laughs at my jokes. She's also a brilliant cook. She's better read than I am. She adores Jane Austen. Enjoys Trollope, the Brontes, anything modern that's well written. For relaxation she reads Ian Rankin, le Carre and Wodehouse.
She's a classic beauty. She has a wide circle of friends. Her children love her deeply.
Okay, I can hear the question forming in your minds. What the hell does she see in me? I've asked her that a few times. We met as students. It was, she says, chemistry. Sexual chemistry. I was handsome, charming and witty. I had a string of girlfriends. I had a reputation. When I met her that all ended. I've often thought that in many ways I conned her into marrying me. Exchanging gold for glitter. I definitely got the best of the bargain.
Of course, as I've said before, being married to a saint isn't easy. In A Half Life of One the hero complains about "being trapped in a happy marriage". Her perfection has robbed me of so many plotlines it's untrue. How selfish is that?
Still, this time I forgive her. And tonight I'll be raising a glass of champagne to celebrate her success. She deserves it and more. Much, much more.