Meet Paul, your new BBO messenger!

I’m sure you’ve noticed that a new name has crept in as the author of your BBO blog posts. A name that reminds us of his English origins. His story reminds us above all, that despite these rather strange times, we always have a chance to meet wonderful new people.

Take time to meet my new colleague, Paul Sutton. Find out about his passions, his family and why he joined our team here in France!

Paul, you joined BBO during this unprecedented period where everyone’s working from home. How do you feel about having started this experience working remotely?

Fortunately, when I started the role we were in a period where we could work in the office. I’m grateful for this time as I’ve been able to meet some of my colleagues – at least the people who are based here in Lille. They’re a very welcoming bunch. I couldn’t wish for a warmer welcome. For the last few weeks more of us have been working from home again, which makes me thankful for at least having the luxury of learning from them in person for a month or so! We’re going into proper lockdown again, so we’ll see how things are after this second phase.

How do you organise your day? Is it more difficult to work without sharing a work environment with the team?

I’m don’t mind working from home really. In fact, for the last ten years I’ve been in roles where homeworking has either been tolerated or even actively promoted. I actually find I’m more productive. It makes sense, there are fewer distractions. But, yes, I do miss face to face contact with my colleagues. Having a balance of home and office works best.

Can you explain what you do in simple terms?

My job involves writing and planning in equal measure. We’re a small, hands on team and collaborate closely. Three or four of us often have a hand in creating the articles we produce. Fortunately, we have tools that allow us to work on the same thing at the same time from different places. My day can be made up of working on the marketing strategy, writing an article for an event and engaging with players on social media. It’s a varied role and I’m loving working in the world of Bridge. It’s a fascinating game and I’m really enjoying learning to play.

What would your perfect week look like?

My perfect week would involve spending time with my family, riding my bike, running, going for walks, eating good food and drinking nice wine. I love to read and play games – I particularly like playing Catan; so, a game or two of that would be great. I’d also find time to practice Bridge and meditate. Watching a good film at the end of the day would be the cherry on the cake!     

What about travelling? If it wasn’t for travel restrictions where would you visit?

I love travelling. I’ve spent much of my life travelling, living in Australia, the UK and France. Having said that there are many places I would love to travel to. I have never been to Africa, or South America and would love to visit them in the future. My favourite places in the countries where I’ve lived in are:

Are you a music lover and do you play an instrument?

I love music and am learning the piano and the bass guitar. I’ve been learning the piano for 35 years now so really need to knuckle down and start improving! I’m much better at listening to music than playing it though!

Sadie, Thalie and Ula

Let’s talk about your family. Could you tell BBO’s reader something about them? Any kids?

I’m married to Thalie and have two children – Sadie and Ula. Here’s a photo of them from earlier in the year. Sadie and Ula are in college (secondary school) and Thalie works for a charity. Thalie works from home too which really helps stave off the sense of isolation while we’re in lockdown! 

Tell us about your origins, as we know you are an Englishman. Why did you decide to move to France and what do you enjoy most about France?

I’m originally from Garstang – a small market town between Preston and Lancaster in Lancashire. My mum, brother and 103 year old grandfather still live there, and I love to visit them – although it’s not possible for obvious reasons right now. I miss my friends too. Especially now that I can’t see them. Usually we would all get together for a cycling / walking weekend in the Yorkshire Dales, but that’s not been possible this year – and I’ve really missed it! I know my friends have too. Hopefully we will get our chance in 2021.

I moved to France because my wife is French and we love it here. Lille is a fantastic city, with lovely people, beautiful architecture and amazing food. Being a cycling fan and living in Flanders is pretty special too! Although, like many others I was disappointed that our local race, Paris Roubaix was cancelled this year – hopefully it’ll return in April 2021.