HAS the Sussex Express discovered the oldest paper boy in the county? Grandad Paul Myles surely beats his rivals by decades.
At an age and at a time in the morning when most men would rather stick their nose under the duvet than out of the door, Paul is up at the crack of dawn in all weathers.
Ironically, his paper round is the same one he did as a schoolboy in the 1960s, making sure the residents of the Ouse valley have the news on their breakfast tables.
It might seem a strange occupation for perhaps the world’s leading authority on Lewes’s 18th century writer and revolutionary Tom Paine, but Paul could not be happier.
The 58-year-old academic, of Hill Road, Lewes, doesn’t do it for the money but for the sheer pleasure of being out in the fresh air.
He said: “As I now mostly research, write and service our accommodation business, the sedentary nature of my occupation led me to think about how to regularly exercise in a disciplined way that did not intrude on my working day. I had tried the gym but this was not for me.”
He thought back to the paper rounds of his teenage years: “I yearned for the simplicity, the exercise and being out early in the countryside, with all the sights and smells of the working farm villages.”
Paul tentatively approached John Aitken, who runs the newsagents at Lewes Railway Station – and was delighted to be given a round. He’s back on familiar territory, delivering papers in Swanborough, Iford, Northease, Rodmell and Southease.
The alarm clock goes off at 5.25am exactly, Monday to Friday, and Paul tumbles out of bed and gets to work. He is usually home by 7.45am.
“I’ve been doing it for three months now and feel so much better,” he said.
There’s an extra benefit to his job. “The morning exercise helps me with thinking,” he said. “I am a non-alcoholic Trustee of Alcoholics Anonymous and the jobs I’m entrusted with are easier with this lone thinking time, the endorphins provide clarity.”
He no longer rides a bike, like in the old days, because of the sheer volume and speed of traffic on the Newhaven road. “But when you get off the road in the villages, very little has changed. Happy days!”
Paul’s busiest morning of the week is Friday. He has twice as many papers to deliver because it’s publication day of the Sussex Express. “Most people take it who I deliver to and some take no other papers except the local,” he said.