Having obtained a degree in Nuclear Engineering, Jeff Howell found himself unemployable and spent over 12 years as a full time brickie. In 1989 he started teaching part-time and became a lecturer at the South Bank Polytechnic. In 1997 he got the chance to write a weekly column in the Independent on Sunday. Two years later the column moved to the Sunday Telegraph and his 'Ask Jeff' letters page, and his website ask-jeff.co.uk , now attracts a fanatical following. He lives near Ipswich in Suffolk.