Cornwall I Escaped to the Country


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Cornwall

Nicki Chapman visits Cornwall to be reunited with a teacher and a retired couple and find out what life is like in their new homes.


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Making the move from city to countryside

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is often a momentous step.

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Never in a million years,

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I would imagine I would be seeing a house like this.

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Never ever.

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But for many years,

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Escape To The Country has been supporting

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countless people on the hunt for their new home.

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What do we think of this?

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Oh, my! Chocolate box!

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We've travelled to the most picturesque pockets of Britain...

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Take a look at that killer view.

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That's amazing.

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..to showcase thousands of exquisite country properties...

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Oh! How pretty is that?

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..our buyers just couldn't resist.

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Jules!

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Seriously, get your cheque book out now.

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Join us as we catch up with those who bought their dream home...

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-Yay!

-Sold.

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..to find out how the move changed their lives

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when they Escaped To The Country.

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Today, I'm on Cornwall's south coast,

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and this is the busy fishing harbour of Newlyn.

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Now, some 600 boats still operate out of this historic harbour,

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although these days,

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it's monkfish rather than pilchards which are the biggest catch,

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netting the local economy around £4.5 million every year.

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So, where better place to start this special Cornish show?

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My mission, to catch up with some of our past house-hunters

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who ended up calling this area home.

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Cornwall has proved an extremely popular county for our escapees.

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Later on in the show, I'll be visiting Elaine and John,

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whom I first met in the autumn of 2014.

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They've moved from their Berkshire townhouse

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into a Cornish country property I showed them,

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and are now on top of the world.

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Do you know what? It's not where you start, it's where you end up.

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And it is.

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You couldn't have ended up in a better place.

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Have you ended up in Paradise.

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-We have.

-We have, yeah. We really have.

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But first, I'll be doing some revision with science teacher Helen,

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who, back in 2012, moved into a Cornish cottage we saw together.

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Her bold move to a completely different part of England

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has clearly lived up to her expectations.

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Yeah, I mean, you have a stressful day at school,

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and then just go for a blast along the beach and then...

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-Yeah.

-..all your troubles are behind you.

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You know what, Helen? I'm sold.

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I am truly sold.

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It all started back in the summer of 2012 for Helen,

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who was living and working

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in the town of Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire.

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After accepting

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a new secondary school teaching post

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in Helston, Cornwall,

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she had to spend her summer holidays finding a home quickly.

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Didn't think I'd get the job but I did,

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so I've sold my house,

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and I need somewhere to live by the start of September.

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To help her make the move from built-up Aylesbury

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to coastal Cornwall,

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Helen had asked along a friend she'd known since childhood, Ali.

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She was hoping her new life would involve both sea and socialising.

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I'm really looking forward to being able to just go to the beach

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at any time, just to sit and watch the waves.

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I'd love for friends to come down and stay

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and have enough room for them

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to relax and enjoy the countryside that I'm going to be living in.

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When we met on Cornish soil,

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Helen was in the throes of big life changes.

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You've accepted a position down here.

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-I have, yes.

-Yes, and it's a matter of weeks

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before you start this new job.

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Yes, I packed up my home two days ago,

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and we followed the removal van down here when we came down here.

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So, the pressure is on us.

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Yeah, no pressure. I need somewhere to live.

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With Helen's budget of £240,000,

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we were searching for a two-bedroom home with a study.

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She also wanted a small garden for entertaining,

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proximity to a community,

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and as cat Pickles was joining her on the move,

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it had to be feline friendly.

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We'd done our homework and started our journey

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about four miles from Helen's job

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in the village of Breage.

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This was a 16th century Grade II-listed cottage

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made from Cornish granite,

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thought to be the oldest house in the village.

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Here it is, right in front of us.

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It is this beautiful cottage.

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It's very cute, very lovely, I'm very surprised.

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You seem to have quite a lot of land,

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both at the front and at the back.

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So, yeah, it's lovely.

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A good start.

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-BOTH:

-It is.

-Girls, follow me.

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We started our tour in a rather charming reception room.

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-It's very sweet.

-It's a very low ceiling, isn't it?

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That's a bad first reaction, but it is.

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I love the burner.

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But it is very, very low.

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Behind us, you probably noticed, there's your dining area.

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-Oh, yeah.

-So, in actual fact, as cottages go, it's a fair size.

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It is, yeah.

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There was also a ground-floor bedroom

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that Helen could use as a study or for guests,

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since there was also a handy shower room.

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And the dimensions of this characterful cottage

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didn't seem to be a concern in the kitchen.

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So, here is your cottage kitchen.

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And it is very cottagey.

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It's very wee.

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Bijou. Bijou. Very bijou.

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So, how much time do you honestly spend in the kitchen,

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or is it opening the food for Pickles

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and putting it on a plate?

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-Be honest.

-It's, "Where's the wine and the glasses?" and that's it.

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I like you. I like you a lot.

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-Takeaways...

-Yeah.

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So, actually, then, this is going to be big enough, isn't it?

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-It's absolutely fine for me.

-If you are not a slave to the kitchen.

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No, no. Not at all.

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Upstairs provided generous accommodation,

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including a spacious bathroom and two further bedrooms, both bright,

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good-sized doubles.

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Enough, perhaps, to be awarded a gold star.

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And it is a really good-sized room, isn't it?

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-It is, not bad at all.

-And there's some very large furniture in here.

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Very good so far.

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You've done very well. You've done very well.

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What marks would I get, teacher?

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I'm thinking a B+, definitely, if not an A, I think.

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Oh.

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Outside, the low-maintenance garden had been designed

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with outdoor entertaining in mind.

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Top marks so far,

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but Helen still had to find out how it would square

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with her £240,000 budget.

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How much do you think this cottage is on the market for?

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I think about 250 or maybe even more.

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OK. Ali?

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I think about 225.

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Interesting.

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Well, the current asking price is...

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£249,950.

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-What did I say?

-Very good.

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So, you were very good.

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With room for manoeuvre on that asking price,

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it seemed our first cottage met

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Helen's brief.

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I think this one is just about perfect size for me.

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It's just me and the cat, so I think it's quite doable.

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Thank goodness that first house got us off to a strong start,

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as I knew the pressure was on,

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and Helen had literally a matter of weeks to move

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before the new term-time started.

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But we still had two more properties to see.

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Our next stop was in the village of Constantine,

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giving Helen a 20-minute commute to work.

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Here, the former quarry worker's cottage we'd come to see

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dated from the mid-19th century.

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It's called a cottage but I think it is more of a house.

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Yeah, definitely.

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I like all of the stones, and I like the fact it's in a nice terrace,

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a good solid house.

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Yeah. Right, come on, girls.

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So, a solid start,

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and the stone features continued into a generous reception room.

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It's a good-sized room.

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It feels so much more in proportion.

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Cornwall is famous for its granite.

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And it has such a strong look,

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but what I love is they've kept it exposed.

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They've actually painted it white to make it a feature.

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Upstairs, there were three bedrooms on offer,

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providing space for guests and a study,

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plus a spruce tiled family bathroom.

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But in the kitchen-breakfast room, Helen had reservations.

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It just seems really small.

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I wouldn't say it was small per se, I just think

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the way it's laid out doesn't do it justice for the space that it's got.

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Yeah. At the moment, I don't think it flows very well.

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She didn't seem completely won over by this one,

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but mindful of her budget,

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she and Ali still had to guess the price.

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I think I'd like to go with 225 again.

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You like that number, don't you?

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-I do.

-I'd say about 210.

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Well, you are both under.

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The asking price is...

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£237,500.

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I think that's just made a decision for me.

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With the pressure mounting to find

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Helen's perfect property,

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the Mystery House needed to be a strong contender.

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The compromise, though,

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was that it was out of her preferred search area,

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in the coastal town of Newlyn, meaning a half-hour drive to work.

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Just 200 yards from this atmospheric harbour,

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we found our mystery offering, tucked down a cobbled lane.

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It was a 50-year-old cottage on the former site of a fisherman's home.

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-Very nice.

-Yeah?

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I love the street.

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I love the cobbles.

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Coming from a working port

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and then just round the corner you're in this.

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-Yeah.

-It's very, very different from what we saw yesterday.

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-Yeah.

-I think we should start.

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-I think so.

-Our Mystery House, take it away.

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Our tour began in the sitting room.

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It's a good-sized room, it's all nice and neutral.

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Got the two windows

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which gives it a lot of light and makes it feel very spacious.

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It's a nice room. It's very pleasant.

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But it was in the kitchen

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where Helen seemed to feel overwhelmingly at home.

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Nice. Very nice.

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-Good. Good.

-It's excellent.

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-Even better.

-Gobsmacked.

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Yay!

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We've had varying degrees of reactions on kitchens.

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No, this is lovely.

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-Really good.

-There's even a cat flap for Pickles.

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HELEN SOBS

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It's good. It's good.

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It's good. And you haven't seen everything.

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This is lovely. I just really wasn't expecting this AT ALL.

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But also there's this whole bit that goes right through.

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-Yeah.

-So it takes your eye right through to the back.

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This is just spot on.

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The wine rack's empty.

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-It won't be for long.

-Has that upset you?

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It won't be for long.

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Well, perhaps this house would give her something to toast

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as our tour continued upstairs.

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Not only was there a single room that Helen could use as a study,

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but a family bathroom, a guest double,

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and another large bedroom, where it was clear

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just how close we were to the Cornish coast.

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You can actually glimpse the sea through the window.

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You can see the harbour and boats moving and everything.

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You can. That's not a sea glimpse, that's a sea view.

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-I'm amazed.

-I am.

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I am.

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So, a distinction for this cottage inside, and outdoors,

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a pretty courtyard garden completed the package.

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It seemed to have surpassed Helen's expectations,

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but would it come in under her £240,000 budget?

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When you had this dream of relocating to Cornwall,

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what did you have in your mind?

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-I think it's that.

-Really?

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I don't think I need to ask you anything else, do I?

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HELEN SOBS

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Are you all right?

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Can you bear to talk money with me?

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I'll try.

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I'm very worried now that I can't afford it.

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How much is this cottage on the market for?

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I'm hoping 250.

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And they'll take an offer.

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But I think it's a lot more.

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I think it's going to be 245.

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OK.

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It's £240,000.

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Good Lord!

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HELEN CRIES

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Deep breath.

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I can't believe that's that price.

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There are absolutely no negatives with this house

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that I can see so far.

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This house, I think, is as near perfect as you are going to find.

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I am absolutely amazed that you've found something so great.

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And I think it would be fair to say

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that it wasn't just Helen that got a little bit emotional.

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Ali and I had a bit of a tear, too.

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How fantastic.

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So, with the clock ticking before the school term started,

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which property did Helen finally settle on?

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Did she go for the first character cottage

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which gave her that very quick commute to work?

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But the second cottage did too,

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plus there were three bedrooms,

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so she would have space for guests and a study.

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Or would she agree to stray further than she originally planned

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to secure the Mystery House?

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All three of the properties we showed Helen

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were really lovely, but I think there were no prizes

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for guessing which one she fell in love with.

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And, oh, my goodness, what an emotional viewing it was.

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Once again, the Mystery House had worked its magic,

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so much so, that Helen is now the proud owner

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of this gorgeous cottage here in Newlyn.

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-Helen!

-Hello!

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Hi! How are you?

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So looking forward to catching up with you.

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It's been too long.

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-Come in.

-Thank you.

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Helen wasted no time in putting in her offer for this home,

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and, just two months later, she had moved in.

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Four years on, and it's clear she has really settled here.

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There's that lovely bedroom with a view to the sea.

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And the single bedroom is now Helen's study.

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But we are in the kitchen, where it all began.

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Oh, it's bringing back so many memories.

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-Isn't it?

-Now, this was the start of quite a teary tour.

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I seem to remember the kitchen is what started it.

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Yes, I haven't lived that one down yet.

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Brought it with me, just in case.

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It is such a divine cottage, it really is.

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The sun shining, blue skies today.

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-There's a bench just outside here.

-Yeah, there is.

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Shall we have a little seat and have a chat?

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You can tell me all about your new life.

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-Why not.

-Come on.

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Goodness, it is so gorgeous here!

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I think the sun always shines in Cornwall.

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-Would that be right?

-Yes. Absolutely.

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Did you think, when you asked us for help,

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that we were going to find you the house of your dreams?

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Not in a million years.

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I'd been looking for weeks and hadn't found anything.

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So, I was just desperate at that point.

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But you found it for me.

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Well, I'm delighted I've managed to catch up with you properly

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cos, well, so much has happened, hasn't it?

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It was a bit frantic, wasn't it?

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It was. I remember your budget being £240,000,

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and part of the reason you were crying,

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I think it was just on that spot there, wasn't it,

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was that this was on the market for 240.

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What did you get it for in the end?

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-234.

-Oh, did you?

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-Yeah.

-That was very good, wasn't it?

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And with such changes happening in your life, with the new school,

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new friends, how has it been over the past four years?

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It's been brilliant. The school is lovely, over in Helston.

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Great kids, great staff working there.

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It's just been really good.

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Nice and settled.

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Helen is clearly loving her Cornish life,

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but there has been some sad news.

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Pickles the cat, who made the move with her, passed away last year,

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so now, Helen has a new feline companion.

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-Who is this?

-Colby.

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Colby is two and a bit now.

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She was about a year old when I got her from the re-homing...

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Cat Protection, that's the one, up in Truro.

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So, she's a rescue cat, is she?

0:16:370:16:39

-Yes.

-But is she quite happy here in the cottage?

0:16:390:16:41

Yes. She loves it. Rules the roost.

0:16:410:16:42

-Does she?

-Rules the roost.

-She's the mistress of the house.

0:16:420:16:46

-Absolutely.

-You wanted a complete change of life.

0:16:460:16:49

Have you achieved that here in Cornwall?

0:16:490:16:51

I think so. It's just a different pace.

0:16:510:16:53

No-one's in a hurry.

0:16:530:16:55

You just get where you're going, when you want to.

0:16:550:16:58

And you just take it at a different pace.

0:16:580:17:00

Every August, there's the fish festival literally down there,

0:17:000:17:03

so all the fish you can eat and lots of other stuff besides.

0:17:030:17:08

Although this is a thriving port,

0:17:080:17:10

it does have sort of a village feel about it, really, doesn't it?

0:17:100:17:13

It's great on a Saturday morning, with weather like this.

0:17:130:17:17

I wander around Marazion,

0:17:170:17:19

find somewhere lovely for lunch and sit and read a book.

0:17:190:17:22

Do you know what? I have never, ever been there.

0:17:220:17:25

-Well, I think it's time you did.

-Shall we?

0:17:250:17:26

-Absolutely.

-Right.

0:17:260:17:28

I'm coming with you.

0:17:280:17:29

The mile-long sandy beach of Marazion

0:17:310:17:33

is around an hour-and-a-half walk east

0:17:330:17:35

along the coast from Helen's home in Newlyn.

0:17:350:17:38

It offers spectacular views of St Michael's Mount,

0:17:380:17:41

a small tidal island, accessible on foot when the sea is out.

0:17:410:17:45

But as we are here at high tide,

0:17:450:17:47

we are heading to the jetty to be taken across by boat.

0:17:470:17:50

So how often have you walked across the causeway

0:17:520:17:54

and how often have you had to catch the boat?

0:17:540:17:56

Probably about 50-50.

0:17:560:17:57

Oh, is it? Have you ever gone over and then got cut off?

0:17:570:17:59

Yeah, definitely. The first time I went over,

0:17:590:18:01

-I completely forgot about the tide.

-Did you?

0:18:010:18:03

Fortunately, they have these lovely guys with boats

0:18:030:18:05

-that go backwards and forwards all day.

-It's incredible.

0:18:050:18:08

I mean, the view from here is just superb.

0:18:080:18:11

-It is.

-I'm like a tourist, aren't I?

0:18:110:18:14

It's amazing, isn't it?

0:18:140:18:16

Great having people come down to stay,

0:18:160:18:17

cos then I can take them all on the tourist trail

0:18:170:18:19

and I get to see everything again with fresh eyes.

0:18:190:18:21

-Yeah.

-It's really nice to have people down.

0:18:210:18:24

St Michael's Mount was given to the Benedictine religious order

0:18:240:18:28

by Edward the Confessor in the 11th century, but in the 18th century,

0:18:280:18:32

it was a busy port,

0:18:320:18:34

which then declined with the advent of the railways,

0:18:340:18:36

and the growth of Penzance.

0:18:360:18:39

Now in the care of the National Trust,

0:18:390:18:41

the island has played an important part

0:18:410:18:44

in Helen's personal link to Cornwall, too.

0:18:440:18:46

So, tell me, you know,

0:18:470:18:49

it can't be the sunshine that we've established

0:18:490:18:51

is nearly every day of the year,

0:18:510:18:53

it can't be the most beautiful beaches or the rugged coastline,

0:18:530:18:56

what brought you to Cornwall?

0:18:560:18:59

Well, it was this place, really.

0:18:590:19:01

I came down here on holiday in, I think it was about 2001.

0:19:010:19:04

And just came here and wandered across to the Mount

0:19:040:19:08

and had the most wonderful cream tea,

0:19:080:19:10

and I just thought, "This place is really gorgeous."

0:19:100:19:12

And then I saw an advert saying that there was a job in Cornwall

0:19:120:19:17

and I thought, "I could come and live here."

0:19:170:19:19

-So...

-Lovely.

0:19:190:19:21

I applied and got the job, and then you came in and found me the house.

0:19:210:19:25

It's just lovely. You just drive along the coast every morning,

0:19:250:19:29

and I see this every day. And it's just...

0:19:290:19:31

Is this your commute, literally?

0:19:310:19:32

-This is the view...

-Pretty much. Pretty much.

0:19:320:19:35

-..when you drive to school?

-Yeah.

0:19:350:19:36

Drive around the bay in Penzance and that's what I see.

0:19:360:19:38

So can't get better than that.

0:19:380:19:41

You can't, can you?

0:19:410:19:42

We talk about the work-life balance,

0:19:420:19:44

but I'm just here with you now, thinking,

0:19:440:19:48

"Not only have we found her, you know, her dream cottage,

0:19:480:19:51

"but also this life, this lifestyle, what it gives you."

0:19:510:19:56

Yeah, I mean, you have a stressful day at school

0:19:560:19:59

-and just go for a blast along the beach...

-Yeah.

0:19:590:20:01

..and all your troubles are behind you.

0:20:010:20:04

You know what, Helen? I'm sold.

0:20:040:20:06

I am truly sold.

0:20:060:20:08

-Are you coming down here?

-Yeah, this is the life I want.

0:20:080:20:11

Well, Helen seized her opportunity and went with it,

0:20:150:20:19

and for people like me who are tempted to follow suit,

0:20:190:20:22

she has some wise words.

0:20:220:20:25

I'd say do it sooner rather than later

0:20:250:20:27

cos you don't regret what you did,

0:20:270:20:29

you always regret what you didn't do.

0:20:290:20:31

So, get out there, do it.

0:20:310:20:33

So true. So true.

0:20:330:20:35

You're living proof of that, aren't you?

0:20:350:20:37

-Absolutely.

-Wouldn't change a thing.

0:20:370:20:40

Right across the British countryside, I've seen house-buyers,

0:20:460:20:50

all with very different lifestyle ambitions,

0:20:500:20:53

fall in love with the properties we have shown them.

0:20:530:20:56

It's always fantastic to hear when they make that all-important offer

0:20:560:21:00

which goes on to be accepted.

0:21:000:21:02

Coming up, a couple of highlights

0:21:020:21:05

from our house-hunting success stories in Cornwall.

0:21:050:21:08

In the summer of 2015,

0:21:090:21:11

Jonnie Irwin was helping Sharon move away

0:21:110:21:14

from the busy Oxfordshire market town of Banbury.

0:21:140:21:17

As a mum of four,

0:21:170:21:18

she wanted to relocate the family close to the Cornish coast

0:21:180:21:21

for a new life.

0:21:210:21:23

Sharon's two horses were also part of the move.

0:21:230:21:26

Best friend Jill was on hand

0:21:260:21:29

to make sure Sharon's £450,000 budget was spent wisely.

0:21:290:21:34

We were in the hamlet of North Carnmarth

0:21:340:21:36

when the mystery property,

0:21:360:21:38

a farmhouse in a five-acre plot

0:21:380:21:39

with extensive views across the Cornish coast,

0:21:390:21:43

finally got the reaction we were looking for.

0:21:430:21:47

I love it.

0:21:470:21:48

Wow! The view is amazing.

0:21:480:21:49

-Stunning, isn't it?

-It is.

0:21:490:21:51

Looks bright, looks airy...

0:21:510:21:53

-Could you make this your home, Sharon, this sort of location?

-Yeah.

0:21:530:21:56

Inside, the living spaces

0:21:560:21:58

and four-bedroom accommodation also got a resounding thumbs up.

0:21:580:22:02

Very, very light.

0:22:020:22:04

Very bright. Stunning views over our shoulder.

0:22:040:22:06

Look out that window, it's brilliant.

0:22:060:22:08

It just has a warmth to it that makes it feel like a family home.

0:22:080:22:11

Yeah.

0:22:110:22:13

There was also good news regarding the horses.

0:22:130:22:16

Not only was there a large stable block, but an exercise arena.

0:22:160:22:20

With no fewer than three separate paddocks,

0:22:200:22:23

this one was pulling on the heartstrings.

0:22:230:22:26

Wow! I love it.

0:22:260:22:27

SHE SOBS

0:22:270:22:28

Oh, don't. Don't.

0:22:280:22:30

Don't. Don't. Don't.

0:22:300:22:31

I do, I love it.

0:22:330:22:35

This is the sort of thing that you move mountains for.

0:22:350:22:38

So, time to guess the price.

0:22:380:22:40

How much do you think this mystery property is on the market for?

0:22:400:22:43

I think this is over my budget.

0:22:430:22:45

I'm going to go 460.

0:22:450:22:47

-Jill?

-I'm going to say 455.

0:22:470:22:49

Not bad guesses.

0:22:490:22:51

This place is on the market for offers around...

0:22:510:22:53

£449,950.

0:22:530:22:56

It's great. It's fantastic.

0:22:560:22:58

-Happy, happy.

-Happy, happy, good.

0:22:580:23:01

This is everything I was looking for in coming to Cornwall.

0:23:010:23:05

I'm pleased to say Sharon went ahead and purchased that Mystery House

0:23:050:23:09

and is now enjoying life with her family in their new Cornish home.

0:23:090:23:14

Later that same year, Jules Hudson was on another Escape mission,

0:23:140:23:18

this time with a very specific requirement.

0:23:180:23:21

My wish is for a five-bar gate at the end of a drive.

0:23:210:23:24

Rosemary wanted to retire to the south-west,

0:23:250:23:28

where she had fond childhood memories,

0:23:280:23:30

so along with husband Bill and a £450,000 budget,

0:23:300:23:34

Jules took them to the hamlet of Menadue,

0:23:340:23:37

and showed them a late Victorian former dairy

0:23:370:23:39

which had something on the approach

0:23:390:23:41

that chimed perfectly with Rosemary's vision.

0:23:410:23:45

Come on in. There.

0:23:450:23:47

Wow! That's a wow.

0:23:470:23:48

Goodness gracious me.

0:23:480:23:50

-That's beautiful.

-Now, this is an interesting proposition.

0:23:500:23:52

It is at the end of its own drive, with its own five-bar gate.

0:23:520:23:57

I'm gobsmacked.

0:23:570:23:58

I am stunned.

0:23:580:24:00

I just want the numbers to be right.

0:24:000:24:02

Rosemary, I think, has already moved in, haven't you?

0:24:020:24:04

-I have.

-Come on, let's see what you think of inside.

0:24:040:24:07

-Now then.

-Oh, my goodness!

0:24:100:24:11

The space is...

0:24:120:24:14

is fantastic.

0:24:140:24:16

And, of course, next to the room is that, this huge conservatory.

0:24:160:24:21

It looks like a sun trap.

0:24:210:24:22

It's just absolutely fabulous.

0:24:220:24:24

I really get the sense, Rosemary,

0:24:240:24:26

that this one is stirring those emotions a little bit.

0:24:260:24:29

Just a tadge.

0:24:290:24:30

THEY LAUGH

0:24:300:24:33

As well as a glorious classic drawing room,

0:24:330:24:36

there was a bumper selection of four bedrooms,

0:24:360:24:38

including a master ensuite with countryside views.

0:24:380:24:41

You have surpassed yourself.

0:24:410:24:43

Ah!

0:24:430:24:45

After they'd seen the wraparound gardens and stunning surroundings,

0:24:450:24:49

it all seemed too good to be true for their £450,000.

0:24:490:24:54

I don't think that the money that we brought out here

0:24:540:24:56

will be enough for this property.

0:24:560:24:58

I think it's an asking price of £475,000.

0:24:580:25:04

475? Yeah? Rosemary?

0:25:040:25:06

I would say between 460, 470.

0:25:060:25:11

I'm afraid it's not 475 and it's not 460.

0:25:110:25:14

It's five something.

0:25:140:25:15

There is a five in it.

0:25:170:25:18

-It's 395.

-No!

0:25:190:25:21

-My goodness!

-No!

-My goodness!

0:25:210:25:25

You see?

0:25:250:25:26

My goodness!

0:25:260:25:27

JULES LAUGHS

0:25:270:25:29

Finding their dream house £55,000 below budget,

0:25:290:25:33

Bill and Rosemary, of course, put in an offer,

0:25:330:25:36

and it was accepted.

0:25:360:25:37

-Here's to you.

-Cheers.

-Thank you very much.

-Cheers.

0:25:370:25:40

Thank you very much.

0:25:400:25:42

Some memorable moments, there.

0:25:420:25:44

So, what happened next for John and Elaine?

0:25:440:25:47

For many of our house-buyers,

0:25:490:25:51

moving from a town or a city to the countryside

0:25:510:25:54

can mean a complete change in lifestyle.

0:25:540:25:57

And that was certainly the case for John and Elaine,

0:25:570:26:01

who really wanted to get away from it all,

0:26:010:26:04

asking for no near neighbours on their original wish list.

0:26:040:26:08

In the autumn of 2014,

0:26:100:26:12

retirees Elaine and John had both made the bold decision

0:26:120:26:16

to leave behind their lifelong base of Reading in Berkshire

0:26:160:26:19

and head to the Cornish countryside.

0:26:190:26:22

John's already retired two years ago.

0:26:220:26:24

We're just looking forward to a totally different way of life,

0:26:240:26:27

and it will be different.

0:26:270:26:29

I think, for me, the move

0:26:290:26:31

is going to be all about us being able to spend time together.

0:26:310:26:35

We can follow our dreams.

0:26:350:26:37

Another driving factor was to give their beloved Westies,

0:26:370:26:41

Bobby and Harry, the kind of dog-walking terrain they needed.

0:26:410:26:45

We love our dogs, they both have problems walking,

0:26:450:26:49

so now we have to take them around in a pram

0:26:490:26:52

when we take them for a walk.

0:26:520:26:53

-They are our life in a lot of ways, aren't they?

-Yeah.

0:26:530:26:55

-That's right.

-And a lot does revolve around Bobby and Harry,

0:26:550:26:58

and so will the new property.

0:26:580:27:00

So, for a budget of £460,000 with some wiggle room,

0:27:010:27:06

a garden for the dogs to play around in was a must.

0:27:060:27:09

Being detached was too.

0:27:090:27:11

With no near neighbours.

0:27:110:27:13

Quite an ask, but this was the home

0:27:130:27:16

they hoped to live out their retirement in.

0:27:160:27:19

I'm guessing this is an exciting new chapter.

0:27:190:27:22

It is. We are really excited.

0:27:220:27:24

-Are you?

-We hope you are going to find us something lovely.

0:27:240:27:27

In a bid to give them that remote location,

0:27:270:27:30

our search began in the open countryside

0:27:300:27:33

of the parish of Quethiock.

0:27:330:27:35

The property we had come to see was an old Victorian Smithy.

0:27:350:27:39

-Yeah.

-Looks very interesting.

0:27:390:27:40

Yeah. I like it so far.

0:27:400:27:42

-Do you?

-Yeah.

-First impressions are good.

0:27:420:27:44

-Yeah.

-Good. Just have a little look over your shoulder...

0:27:440:27:48

Wow! That's gorgeous.

0:27:480:27:51

That's fantastic, isn't it?

0:27:510:27:52

-That really is.

-That's fantastic.

0:27:520:27:54

And that's what you were after, wasn't it?

0:27:540:27:56

That's what we are looking for, really.

0:27:560:27:58

We'd started well, but there were lessons to learn,

0:27:580:28:01

as we reached what I felt was an impressive vaulted kitchen.

0:28:010:28:05

It's not quite as modern as I would have perhaps liked.

0:28:050:28:08

-OK.

-Sort of darker than...

0:28:080:28:11

I like bright and airy.

0:28:110:28:13

And I feel this probably isn't bright and airy.

0:28:130:28:16

And the country character continued in the generous sitting room.

0:28:170:28:22

It's definitely a farmhouse feel.

0:28:220:28:25

Not sure if a farmhouse is actually something that we'd be looking for.

0:28:250:28:29

We are more contemporary.

0:28:290:28:30

There was also a study and a dedicated room for the dogs.

0:28:320:28:35

Plus a total of four bedrooms,

0:28:350:28:38

served by a family bathroom.

0:28:380:28:40

Bearing in mind they were keen to get away from it all,

0:28:400:28:43

the view from the master bedroom showed just how rural we were.

0:28:430:28:48

-Look at that.

-It's lovely, isn't it?

0:28:480:28:50

-That is...

-Really nice.

-..amazing.

0:28:500:28:52

-That's lovely, that.

-Who wants to wake up looking at a view like that?

0:28:520:28:56

-I do.

-Oh, we do.

-Yeah?

0:28:560:28:58

-We definitely do.

-Yeah.

0:28:580:29:00

That is the best part, that's for sure.

0:29:000:29:02

The generous garden was surrounded with dog-proof fencing

0:29:020:29:05

to suit their two Westies.

0:29:050:29:08

But how would it measure up to their £460,000 budget?

0:29:080:29:13

I think it's about 390,000.

0:29:130:29:16

-OK. John?

-I think it would be a bit more than that.

0:29:160:29:19

I would have said nearer 410,000.

0:29:190:29:23

Split the difference and that's the asking price.

0:29:230:29:25

-OK.

-£400,000.

0:29:250:29:28

-Ah, yeah.

-OK.

0:29:280:29:30

The first character property was considerably under budget

0:29:340:29:37

and did deliver that view and sense of isolation they were after.

0:29:370:29:42

But we still had two properties to see, and for the second house,

0:29:420:29:46

we were majoring on light and space.

0:29:460:29:48

It took us to the edge of the village of Menheniot.

0:29:490:29:52

Here, I was hoping a 300-year-old property with a modern wing

0:29:520:29:57

would offer more of the up-to-date styling they were after.

0:29:570:30:00

Is this contemporary enough?

0:30:020:30:03

I think so.

0:30:030:30:05

Good.

0:30:050:30:07

The home also offered three further receptions,

0:30:070:30:10

a large living room flooded with light,

0:30:100:30:13

a bright dedicated dining room,

0:30:130:30:15

but it was in the sitting room where they realised

0:30:150:30:17

the challenges their wish list presented.

0:30:170:30:19

It's older than perhaps I would have liked but...

0:30:190:30:22

Is it the furniture that's giving that impression?

0:30:220:30:25

-It could be.

-Because I think the room, actually, is quite neutral.

0:30:250:30:29

I think I agree with John that, again,

0:30:290:30:32

we are getting an olde worlde feel of a property,

0:30:320:30:37

which is difficult because we want the setting

0:30:370:30:40

which you wouldn't really get if you had totally modern.

0:30:400:30:43

Upstairs, the house offered a total of four double bedrooms

0:30:440:30:48

and two family bathrooms with contemporary fittings.

0:30:480:30:51

But the accommodation on offer

0:30:530:30:54

wasn't distracting Elaine from the view.

0:30:540:30:57

I can see rooftops, loads of them.

0:30:570:30:59

-Yeah.

-Do you know what?

0:30:590:31:01

You said it was all in the curtain test, and I was thinking,

0:31:010:31:04

"I might draw those curtains."

0:31:040:31:06

I was thinking, "I wonder if she'll notice."

0:31:060:31:08

Yes, she has.

0:31:080:31:10

It was clear this was going to be a tough one,

0:31:100:31:13

and we still had to put a price on the property.

0:31:130:31:16

What amount do you think it is on the market for?

0:31:160:31:18

About 430,000?

0:31:180:31:20

Right. Elaine?

0:31:200:31:21

I think it's about 410.

0:31:210:31:24

The asking price is £400,000.

0:31:240:31:27

-Ah.

-Was it? OK.

0:31:270:31:28

So it's interesting, isn't it?

0:31:280:31:30

-Yeah.

-Again, way under your budget.

0:31:300:31:33

60,000 under.

0:31:330:31:34

-It is indeed.

-Yes.

0:31:340:31:36

Yeah.

0:31:360:31:37

That house was fairly contemporary and attractively under budget,

0:31:370:31:41

however, we still had one life left

0:31:410:31:44

with the mystery offering located

0:31:440:31:46

close to the village of St Dominic.

0:31:460:31:48

I crossed my fingers that its Victorian origins

0:31:490:31:52

would not put them off,

0:31:520:31:53

and that wasn't the only concern.

0:31:530:31:56

This was semidetached.

0:31:560:31:58

This is your Mystery House.

0:31:580:32:00

-Oh, gosh!

-Wow!

0:32:000:32:03

That is something. I love that.

0:32:030:32:05

This old sort of working farmhouse, as it was...

0:32:050:32:08

-Yeah.

-..is the Mystery House.

0:32:080:32:09

-Right.

-The part here to my left,

0:32:090:32:12

they have windows and everything on the other side.

0:32:120:32:14

So the idea is this is your drive, then they use the other side.

0:32:140:32:18

-So it's private.

-OK.

0:32:180:32:21

Surprisingly, they didn't seem worried

0:32:210:32:24

by the idea of adjoining neighbours.

0:32:240:32:26

And the interior made a positive impact from the outset.

0:32:260:32:29

So we are going to start off our tour with this kitchen.

0:32:320:32:35

-Wow!

-This is lovely.

0:32:350:32:37

-Yeah?

-Really nice, this is.

0:32:370:32:39

It looks just so light and airy.

0:32:390:32:41

Yeah. Light and airy.

0:32:410:32:43

That's what we wanted.

0:32:430:32:44

Absolutely delighted. It is a wonderful kitchen.

0:32:440:32:48

Both the dining room and sitting room

0:32:480:32:50

had lovely bay windows and an extra renovated reception area

0:32:500:32:54

gave them a very up-to-date space.

0:32:540:32:56

It's contemporary.

0:32:580:32:59

-It's ten years old.

-Fantastic.

0:32:590:33:00

-Yes.

-It's absolutely amazing.

0:33:000:33:02

-It's fantastic.

-Yeah, it's lovely.

0:33:020:33:03

Yeah, very nice.

0:33:030:33:05

-Really like it.

-Love the floor.

0:33:050:33:06

Everything. Yeah, love the stone floor.

0:33:060:33:09

Underfloor heating in this part of the property.

0:33:090:33:12

-Yeah.

-Wonderful.

0:33:120:33:13

You are liking it, aren't you, John?

0:33:130:33:15

-Yeah.

-You are liking it.

0:33:150:33:17

Just at the back is a conservatory to die for.

0:33:170:33:20

You are going to lose your hearts in there.

0:33:200:33:22

I think we are putting it off already, but...

0:33:220:33:25

Don't get me too excited.

0:33:250:33:28

There were three bedrooms upstairs,

0:33:280:33:30

each one with its own ensuite bathroom.

0:33:300:33:33

It was looking good, but I still had to get approval for the view.

0:33:330:33:37

The curtain test.

0:33:370:33:39

-Off you go.

-Fantastic.

0:33:390:33:40

This is where I open the curtains and...

0:33:400:33:43

Oh, my word!

0:33:430:33:45

The garden included plenty of places for the dogs to explore

0:33:450:33:48

and a deck to enjoy those far-reaching rural views.

0:33:480:33:52

The only concern was whether John and Elaine's £460,000

0:33:520:33:57

would stretch far enough.

0:33:570:33:59

I think it's going to be a bit over our budget, unfortunately.

0:34:000:34:03

I think it's going to be about 480,000.

0:34:030:34:05

I think it's going to be 460 because it is a semidetached.

0:34:060:34:11

The asking price is...

0:34:120:34:14

..under your budget.

0:34:150:34:17

£455,000.

0:34:170:34:19

-Yay!

-Sold!

0:34:190:34:20

Are you serious?

0:34:220:34:23

-I'm serious.

-Absolutely.

0:34:230:34:25

Ohhhh!

0:34:250:34:26

I didn't think... I didn't think this moment was going to happen.

0:34:260:34:29

No, neither did we.

0:34:290:34:31

-Do you love it?

-Absolutely.

0:34:310:34:32

It's wonderful. It's...

0:34:320:34:34

Yeah. We're excited.

0:34:340:34:36

You are getting all emotional, aren't you, John?

0:34:360:34:39

I am.

0:34:390:34:40

But after the house-hunting high had settled,

0:34:400:34:43

would they ultimately go back to their original brief?

0:34:430:34:46

After all, property one was detached

0:34:460:34:49

and surrounded by glorious countryside.

0:34:490:34:52

Furthermore, house number two, which was also detached,

0:34:520:34:55

gave them the contemporary interior they had asked for.

0:34:550:34:59

Surely our mystery wild card,

0:34:590:35:01

being close to neighbours and semidetached,

0:35:010:35:05

would never be a serious player.

0:35:050:35:06

It was a bit of a risk showing John and Elaine an attached property,

0:35:080:35:13

but I'm pleased to say the gamble paid off.

0:35:130:35:16

Now, they moved in about two years ago,

0:35:160:35:19

so I'm very keen to find out and see what they've done to the place.

0:35:190:35:23

-Nicki...

-Hello.

0:35:310:35:34

So good to see you!

0:35:340:35:36

Thank you for dropping by.

0:35:360:35:38

Oh, I had to. I had to.

0:35:380:35:39

Didn't I? How are you both?

0:35:390:35:42

-Fantastic.

-Wonderful, thanks.

0:35:420:35:43

Yeah? Has it been everything...?

0:35:430:35:45

And more. And more.

0:35:450:35:46

-Really?

-So happy.

0:35:460:35:47

We have been so happy since we got here.

0:35:470:35:49

-Have you?

-I can't tell you how happy we are.

0:35:490:35:51

It has changed, but it hasn't changed.

0:35:510:35:54

Come on, first thing that I see is...

0:35:540:35:56

Yeah, the garage. Yeah.

0:35:560:35:57

The garage.

0:35:570:35:59

There have been other changes.

0:35:590:36:01

Bobby, one of John and Elaine's beloved Westies,

0:36:010:36:04

who was such a big part of the move, has sadly passed away.

0:36:040:36:08

So, now a new Westie, Sam, has joined Harry.

0:36:080:36:11

Come on, then. Come and say hello.

0:36:110:36:13

This is the new one. This is Sam.

0:36:130:36:15

-This is Sam.

-And this is, of course, Harry.

0:36:150:36:17

Boys, are we going to go inside so I can have a look around?

0:36:170:36:19

-Yes.

-Let's turn the tables, and I'll let you two do the guided tour.

0:36:190:36:23

-Yeah.

-Shall we go in, then, boys?

0:36:230:36:24

-Come on.

-Come in, please.

0:36:240:36:26

Come on, boys.

0:36:260:36:27

Two years ago, I was keeping my fingers crossed

0:36:310:36:34

this Mystery House would do the job,

0:36:340:36:36

so it's wonderful to be back now as their guest.

0:36:360:36:39

-Here you are.

-Do you remember this?

0:36:400:36:42

-I do.

-Look.

0:36:420:36:44

Our lovely kitchen.

0:36:440:36:45

We loved this kitchen, didn't we?

0:36:450:36:47

It's a wonderful kitchen.

0:36:470:36:49

We've had the floor redone.

0:36:490:36:51

That's been sanded down and redone.

0:36:510:36:53

Apart from that, the kitchen really hasn't changed.

0:36:530:36:55

It was lovely, anyway.

0:36:550:36:56

It didn't need to change, to be honest with you. It's so practical.

0:36:560:36:59

We would never have found this on our own, I'm sure.

0:36:590:37:01

Maybe because we said we wanted a detached,

0:37:010:37:04

definitely detached, nothing else. This is a perfect country retreat.

0:37:040:37:09

It is such a wonderful location.

0:37:090:37:11

-Yes.

-You know, it's so peaceful.

0:37:110:37:15

You know, there's nothing comes down the lane, really.

0:37:150:37:18

And the dogs absolutely love it.

0:37:180:37:20

At the other end of the lane, there's neighbours with their dogs,

0:37:200:37:23

and so they always like to meet up.

0:37:230:37:25

Loads of places around to go with the dogs later on in the day.

0:37:250:37:30

I'm presuming it's a very different life that you lead now.

0:37:300:37:33

-Yeah, it is.

-It's completely different.

0:37:330:37:35

You need a torch when you walk anywhere.

0:37:350:37:38

-In a bag by the bed.

-Yeah, it's very dark at night,

0:37:380:37:42

as you'd expect. But that's...

0:37:420:37:44

But actually, it just works for us.

0:37:440:37:47

Everything... It's perfect.

0:37:470:37:49

I just can't... We couldn't be happier.

0:37:490:37:51

So no regrets, no changes?

0:37:510:37:53

-No.

-No regrets at all.

0:37:530:37:55

We've stopped doing the lottery now

0:37:550:37:57

because we've won it.

0:37:570:37:59

This is it.

0:37:590:38:00

What a testament to their new life here.

0:38:010:38:04

Their Cornish home has also given them space to get creative.

0:38:040:38:09

The new garage has given John a workshop

0:38:090:38:11

where he's crafted a log store,

0:38:110:38:13

as well as nest boxes for the local birdlife.

0:38:130:38:17

And Elaine has enjoyed putting her mark on the reception room

0:38:170:38:20

in the converted barn.

0:38:200:38:21

So, you might find this has changed a bit.

0:38:230:38:26

Oh, yeah. Transformed,

0:38:260:38:27

I think is the word.

0:38:270:38:29

-Yeah.

-Oh, it's lovely.

0:38:290:38:31

It's a nice family room now.

0:38:310:38:33

John was happy with how it was...

0:38:330:38:36

..but I just did this...

0:38:380:38:40

We just fell in love with the property

0:38:400:38:42

and we would have accepted it as it was,

0:38:420:38:44

that's for sure, but you know, it's been great for us, you know,

0:38:440:38:47

to be able to come in and put our own little mark on it, I suppose.

0:38:470:38:51

So, what's your favourite room?

0:38:510:38:53

I love what we call the garden room.

0:38:530:38:55

-Yes.

-Because I just love to see the views and from there,

0:38:550:38:58

you can see right the way across to Dartmoor.

0:38:580:39:00

I could spend ages in there,

0:39:000:39:02

just looking at the views and everything else.

0:39:020:39:04

-Could you really?

-But the house is...

0:39:040:39:05

-Yeah.

-It's fantastic.

0:39:050:39:07

We just love living in the house.

0:39:070:39:09

It's wonderful to get up in the morning...

0:39:090:39:12

-Yeah.

-What's that famous saying?

0:39:120:39:13

Home is where the heart is.

0:39:130:39:15

-Yeah.

-Yeah, I suppose that's very true.

0:39:150:39:17

-Yeah.

-And our heart is certainly here,

0:39:170:39:19

-that's for sure.

-I'm so delighted.

0:39:190:39:22

-Yeah.

-Do you think the dogs are ready for a little walk...

0:39:220:39:24

-Yeah.

-..a little jaunt outside?

0:39:240:39:26

Let's explore, shall we, one of their favourite walks...

0:39:260:39:29

-Yeah.

-..while I'm here, if you don't mind.

0:39:290:39:32

John and Elaine's neighbours, Mike and Rita,

0:39:320:39:34

were the former owners and occupants of the mystery property.

0:39:340:39:38

Having sold the farm house, they now live next door.

0:39:380:39:41

The neighbours.

0:39:410:39:42

Lovely to meet you both.

0:39:440:39:45

I think I have to thank them, don't I?

0:39:450:39:47

-Yeah. Yeah.

-If it wasn't for the two of you,

0:39:470:39:49

selling it and moving next door, I mean, it wouldn't have happened.

0:39:490:39:53

A chain of events.

0:39:530:39:54

Yeah. It's been lovely. I mean, great neighbours,

0:39:540:39:57

and it happened at a great time for us, really.

0:39:570:39:59

We wanted to move, and we've ended up moving close to where we live.

0:39:590:40:03

Just as well you all got on.

0:40:040:40:06

Yes.

0:40:060:40:07

I've never seen such a happy chap.

0:40:080:40:10

-Awww!

-He loves it.

0:40:100:40:12

May it continue.

0:40:120:40:13

-Yes.

-Yes, I'm sure it will.

0:40:130:40:15

-Enjoy the views up there, it's nice.

-Bye.

0:40:150:40:16

Bye. See you later.

0:40:160:40:18

-Bye-bye. See you.

-Bye.

0:40:180:40:20

Come on, boys.

0:40:200:40:21

Kit Hill and the Country Park were gifted to the people of Cornwall

0:40:230:40:26

by Prince Charles to mark the birth of his son, Prince William, in 1985.

0:40:260:40:32

It's one of John and Elaine's favourite places

0:40:320:40:35

to bring their Westies for a little roam.

0:40:350:40:38

Well, I know one of them's got a poorly hip...

0:40:380:40:41

-Yeah.

-But Harry is very happy today.

0:40:410:40:44

He hasn't needed his little pram.

0:40:440:40:46

He can walk for quite a bit,

0:40:460:40:48

but then all of a sudden, he will suddenly start limping...

0:40:480:40:50

And have enough.

0:40:500:40:52

-And you pop him in here.

-Yeah.

-If he has a limp, we just pop him in.

0:40:520:40:55

He looks good to me.

0:40:550:40:57

What a remarkable spot.

0:40:580:41:00

Isn't it fantastic? I mean, you can see the sea from here.

0:41:000:41:02

-Yeah.

-And across there, you can see Plymouth.

0:41:020:41:06

You can see the Tamar River going down and across.

0:41:080:41:12

-It's gorgeous.

-It's beautiful views, they really are.

0:41:120:41:15

You can, well, just about see from here just where we live...

0:41:150:41:18

-It is...

-It's a little bit...

-Amongst the fields.

0:41:180:41:20

-Yeah.

-It is like a patchwork quilt.

0:41:200:41:23

-It is.

-People say that about the countryside,

0:41:230:41:25

but look at that, just...

0:41:250:41:27

I know. And that's where we live!

0:41:270:41:29

Do you know what? It's not where you start, it's where you end up.

0:41:290:41:33

And it is.

0:41:330:41:35

We couldn't have ended up in a better place.

0:41:350:41:36

Have you ended up in paradise?

0:41:360:41:38

-We have.

-We have, yeah.

0:41:380:41:39

-Really have.

-What more is there to want?

0:41:390:41:42

We wouldn't want to go anywhere else now.

0:41:420:41:44

Don't tell too many people.

0:41:440:41:46

No, we don't want them all moving here.

0:41:460:41:47

THEY LAUGH

0:41:470:41:51

I am so pleased you are both so happy.

0:41:510:41:54

Yeah, thank you. Oh, we are.

0:41:540:41:56

We are really grateful to Escape To The Country,

0:41:560:41:58

that's for sure.

0:41:580:42:00

-Yeah.

-It was our pleasure.

0:42:000:42:02

Right, we'd better keep walking before we get emotional.

0:42:020:42:04

It's going to rain. And the rain.

0:42:040:42:06

For Helen, as well as both John and Elaine,

0:42:160:42:20

this move has been so much more than just swapping one house for another.

0:42:200:42:25

Living here in Cornwall has changed their lives completely

0:42:250:42:29

for the better, and I must admit,

0:42:290:42:31

after spending time with each of them,

0:42:310:42:34

I'm rather envious of what they have now.

0:42:340:42:37

I think Elaine summed it up beautifully when she said,

0:42:370:42:41

"It's not where you start, it's where you finish."

0:42:410:42:45

And they've truly finished on top.

0:42:450:42:47

If you dream of escaping to the country in Wales, Scotland, England,

0:42:490:42:54

or Northern Ireland, and would also like our help, why not apply online?

0:42:540:42:58

Nicki Chapman visits Cornwall to be reunited with a teacher she first met a few years ago, when the clock was ticking to find a perfect home before the new school term started. Nicki hears how she is loving life in the cottage they first saw together and explores the local beauty spots she enjoys after a busy school day.

Nicki also visits a retired couple she helped find a Cornish retreat after they made surprise changes to their property wishlist. Nicki sees how they have added their own personal touch to their new home, which gives them beautiful countryside on the doorstep for walks with their beloved dogs.