Thirty years in a clerical job, counting money in the early years, granting mortgages in middle years, and latterly doing weird things with spreadsheets. That lifestyle ensures you end up with nice soft hands, perfect for some things but not the kind of skin needed for outdoor work.
I'm driving a golf cart laden with painting supplies and tools; a far cry from shining a desk with pin-striped sleeves but I am enjoying the difference. The tourist resort of Cavendish is a forty-two kilometer drive north through rolling countryside. I see fields which only a few weeks ago were under feet of snow, now red and neatly ploughed. Distant glimpses of the sea over every hill crest then sweeping down to bridges across sparkling harbours. A very different commute from my British experiences fifteen years ago.
I spend my days lifting, carrying, mending and painting; digging, lopping, trimming and cutting; cleaning, building and dumping. I go home hot tired and sore. My jeans and t shirts are smothered in paint, I stink of paint thinner and bug spray, I have a hole in my palm where I jabbed a screwdriver; a dent in my nail where I folded a step ladder on it; and sunburned legs - yes calves like lobsters.
This is Paul 2.0 and although I ache in places where I didn't even know I had places, I am enjoying summer outdoors: howling winds that whip the paint right off your brush and into your face; cold rain that numbs your fingers, giving way to scorching sun that dries your eyes and burns your neck; mosquitoes which settle around you in a black cloud, zing in your ear and pierce your soft skin.
Susan calls me a rough, tough, cream puff. She's about right.