For almost 20 years, Mike Johnson had a vital role to play working on the RAF’s multi-million pound fighter jets.
It was a high pressure environment. He was a weapons engineer on Tornado aircraft and served all over the world.
That included the Second Gulf War where he survived attacks by Saddam Hussein’s Scud missiles amid rumours they were armed with chemical war-heads.
Now, together with his wife, Heidi, Mike has a slightly less dangerous mission.
The couple have just taken over a holiday cottage, high on the Lincolnshire Wolds near the village of Fulletby.
Instead of arming Tornados and Typhoons with the very latest technology, Mike will be making beds, hoovering and greeting guests...or rather his wife will.
Mike explained: “We stayed here ourselves a few years ago and fell in love with the place because we thought it was absolutely beautiful.
“It (the cottage) must offer some of the best views in the Wolds. We actually stayed during a week that included Bonfire Night. Whichever way we looked, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many fireworks.
“You can see 20 miles to the coast in one direction and 20-odd miles to Lincoln the other. It’s so quiet and tranquil - a bit different to what I and a lot of others went through in the Gulf War.”
The couple, who live in Horncastle, have been hard at work renovating the cottage in time for opening over the East Holidays. When he’s not been up to his eyeballs in plaster, paint and new carpets, Mike has been busy with his day job. He is an Information Management Executive with BAE Systems.
His role means he’s part of the team which supplies and maintains Tornado and Tyhpoon jets at several RAF bases, including Coningsby, Lossiemouth and Marham.
Mike was born in Lancashire and his wife in Suffolk, but they met when he was stationed at RAF Coningsby and she was a student nurse at Boston Pilgrim Hospital.
With Mike’s responsible role at BAE in mind, it’s hardly a surprise to discover Heidi will be taking charge of the holiday business.
Mike said: “I really enjoyed my 19 years with the RAF. There was a lot of responsibility - and more than a few hairy moments.
“However, we both felt we need a new challenge.
“Running a holiday cottage is different to anything we’ve done before.
“It has been hard work getting it up to the standard we wanted.
“However, it’s been well worth it and we just want people to have the chance to enjoy what we did a few years ago.”
n Details of the cottage are available on www.highbeaconcottage.co.uk.