John Burgess is a man with a vision, huge determination and a fearless grasp of DIY. I met him earlier today in the foothills of the Downs near Washington, where he was standing on top of the shell of a house, trowel in one hand, breeze block in the other. The house is his - and he started building it from scratch, two years ago.
Well, not completely his. He has an unusual arrangement whereby he is permitted to build the house and live in it, rent free, for life - on the understanding that when he passes away, the house will fall into the ownership of the Estate on which it stands.
John is supported by his good friend, Jim but otherwise has taken on the project single handed. After winning the approval of the Estate owners, he gained planning permission for the venture (an extraordinary achievement in itself), demolished the ruins of an old farmhouse and began to build. He works on his firewood business in the mornings and builds in the afternoons.
John plans to be eating his Christmas dinner in his new home this year. It seemed to me he's already there on the inside - but it's clear he is also enjoying today. I've no doubt that the turkey will taste particularly good on 25th December 2017.