Whilst unsure of the precise components, Paul was convinced that the perfect woman was out there somewhere. She wouldn’t be waiting for him of course - after thirty years in Claims Adjustments he knew the true value of romance - but she would exist. It was an actuarial inevitability.
Locating her would be the only problem. Recognising her, he assumed, would be an instinctual process. The perfect woman for him would somehow make this known. Whether through spiritual waves or pheromones, he had no idea. It hadn’t happened yet.
He did however have a plan of campaign. His father had given him one useful piece of advice in adolescence when yet another micro-skirted blonde had sent him packing with hoots of derision. He had pointed out that if it were the Middle Ages and Paul lived in Bristol and never left it, he would have found a woman, decided she was the love of his life, married her, bred and died. And of course, the same would apply if it he had been born in Worcester. Ergo, there were as many perfect loves for him as there were towns in the atlas.
Paul drew up a list of English towns, ruling out conurbations simply on logistical grounds. Whilst one of his perfect women no doubt existed in Greater Manchester, he felt he had a greater chance of spotting her in say Derby or Stroud. He ruled out Wales for culinary reasons and Scotland because he had once stayed in Edinburgh and hated it.
Then every Saturday, armed with a thermos and maps printed off the internet, Paul would make his way to one of England’s smaller towns – usually by rail but on his scooter if the distances were not too challenging - and walk the regional streets looking for love.