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'We're halfway through our mission to reinvent Avebury Manor.'
Mind the plants. You can tread on anything else except the plants.
'We want to change the way we visit stately homes,
'so everything can be sat on...
'played with...and enjoyed by visitors.'
Is this before or after you've had dinner?!
'We're making things from scratch, with just a few antiques in the mix.
'This will be a National Trust property like no other.'
This one is all about complete interaction with people.
I'm not terribly good at this.
'..silk furnishings by royal appointment.
'Off to China to commission hand-painted wallpaper...'
This is just mind-blowing.
'..and a porcelain tea service.'
-I'm not happy with this design.
-'Passions run high about what's right...'
-Time and time again...
-'..and what's wrong.
'Coming face to face with the queen who came to Avebury.
'And a slimy invasion of the garden threatens to shut us down.'
At this late stage it's really not what we wanted.
'Will our Victorian kitchen garden ever open?'
I got him!
Sunrise over the hop fields of Worcestershire
and our head gardener, David Howard,
is here to sort out the beer for our garden opening day,
just six weeks away, if we're to beat the first frost.
I have to say, I haven't got up at 4am for a long, long time.
But it's wonderful being here, seeing the sunrise.
Truly special experience.
Hops first became popular in England under Henry VIII,
so it's a perfect plant for Tudor Avebury Manor.
It was my intention that I would put it on the walls of the garden,
on those wires that normally we'd reserve for fruit trees and roses.
And I'd like to have it on view, because there's an awful lot
of members of the public who've never actually seen a hop.
Who knows? Before long we could be brewing our own beer at Avebury.
For now we'll have to buy it in for opening day.
David's also got his eye on some empty beer barrels
for water butts in our organic garden.
Back at the manor, David and the volunteers face a hard day's graft.
It's time to get building.
Could you assist, please? We've got 25 minutes to put a shed up.
Mind the plants. You can tread on anything else except the plants.
David's donated his second-best shed to the garden.
There we are. Spot on.
-Just take our time, we'll be all right.
-There's a courgette.
You can go through the courgette bed, just don't step on the plants.
It may not be beautiful,
but you can't have a working garden without a potting shed.
And it's time for the Victorian glasshouse to go up,
replacing one lost years ago.
Our brick foundations will sit on exactly the same spot.
It will enable the growing of seedlings throughout the year.
We'll put the top on before we put it up,
then we'll put the top on the other end, then we can get the roof on.
Jo, up the ladder. OK?
Let me have one leg.
Steady. We don't want to lose a man.
One up, one to go.
Our west-facing Victorian glasshouse will retain
the heat of the afternoon long after the sun has set.
It was the Victorians who came up with the idea of pre-fabricated glasshouses.
Gardeners were no longer ruled by the unpredictability
of the British climate.
All it needs now is David's approval.
It's looking good.
I can see a 21st-century Victorian glasshouse.
It's looking fantastic.
The house is going to open a month after the garden, but we're still up against it.
In the Queen Anne bedroom,
we're designing our most ambitious piece of furniture,
a bed fit for a queen.
It's going to have an immense dome.
Designer Russell Sage has to get the measurements absolutely right.
So now show us the back of the bed kicked in underneath this cornice.
-We need to let the carpenter know the height of the bed.
Down, cos that's the measurement I can work with David quite easily.
It's tricky, because the bed must sit against the wall
but also fit neatly beneath the curve of the ceiling.
Getting the arc of the dome right is crucial.
-How high do you want this bit?
-Well, that's what we're determining now.
-If we take this over here...
-If we make the bedpost 250.
No, that that definitely has to fit under there,
because those bedposts will kick in underneath that.
8.7 foot. 2.6 metres.
Put it through and then tell me
how accurate it is above the dome to the ceiling.
The most worrying thing is, we won't really know if our calculations are correct
until the bed's put together, and in the room.
Just down the road in Chippenham, Arthur Cole's blacksmiths are already at work on the dome.
The steel frame will be six feet across,
and just under three feet high.
With everything riding on the measurements,
Russell's understandably nervous, so he's keeping a close eye on things.
-Is that really the right size?
-That is the right size.
-Oh, my God.
-Well, it's certainly going to be impressive.
-Made to your drawing.
I know, I know, I know, it's just kind of...
Well, as long as it fits it's going to be amazing.
Gosh, I'm really scared now it's not going to fit,
but I'm sure it is, we've done our maths, it's fine.
-You can use my tape measure if you like.
-No, I'm sure it's the right size, it just looks massive.
If it's not right, turn it upside down and use it as a hanging basket.
Yeah, exactly, the world's biggest hanging basket.
Hanging basket or dome? We'll see.
Now it's off to the carpenter to find out if it fits the bed frame.
On the journey, some easy listening, courtesy of none other than Penelope.
RADIO JINGLE PLAYS
The time now is exactly half past three. It's BBC Wiltshire.
I'm Sue Davies, and actress Penelope Keith joins us live in the studio this afternoon.
-It is...Penelope Keith! Welcome.
-Thank you very much. Thank you.
-What a lovely day.
-It is a lovely day, isn't it?
Tell us about your connection with Avebury Manor. What were your first impressions of it?
Well, first impression going in... It was totally empty.
The fascinating thing about it is,
we are transforming it for four definite periods.
There's Tudor, Georgian, pre-war and post-war.
I mean, pre-First World War.
And the important thing as well is,
you want people to get involved in this too,
and there's going to be, I think, a quite glamorously titled Pots and Pans Day.
It's a really good title, that, isn't it? Pots and Pans Day.
This is 3rd September, so explain what Pots and Pans Day actually is.
Well, there's this very large kitchen, and of course we need equipment from pre-1914.
Pots, pans, jelly moulds, baskets,
all those sorts of things that are pre-1914.
On the 3rd of September there's going to be a marquee in the grounds of Avebury
and from 10am to 5pm there will be people there to receive and look at all the equipment.
It'll also be filmed, so people could be on the television if they really wanted to.
-I'm thinking get dressed up for that.
-Wearing your best bib and tucker, because you will be on film.
And perhaps some make-up, in my case, is the best we can hope for.
-Oh, just a little.
-Thank you so much for joining us this afternoon.
Let's see what's happening on Wiltshire's roads now,
coming up after Fleetwood Mac.
# You can go your own way
# Go your own way... #
I hope that does the trick.
It's quite a tall order to ask people to bring us stuff for free,
but it's all hands on deck at the moment.
It's crunch time. Will it fit?
The frame has been made from old bedposts, while the rest is new wood,
and it won't matter a bit, because it'll all end up covered in silk.
It's enormous and weighs four stone,
but carpenter Dave has got Mrs Lyons in to do the heavy work.
Behind every strong man...
You go in the middle.
It's a good job we brought our chief technician.
-What happens when it all goes wrong and it slices...
..slices Dave into six?
-Are you all right to take the weight from it?
Shall I go behind you?
Steady on, steady on.
-I'm still all right to stand on this frame, aren't I?
-Don't stand on it.
-What do you mean?
That's nice faith in your husband's workmanship!
Here we go.
See, it's not reaching, is it?
Unscrew it from that end.
Just a bit, just a bit more...
Keep it on edge, because it'll buckle.
If we just turn it around so that bit is there...
-No, I don't know why it's not reaching either.
Just lay it down on its side now,
-and walk it down.
Are you sure? I'm a bit nervous.
Oh! There we go.
We're done. It's fine.
Fits a treat. Look at that.
Dave, get out from under it now.
So, with the bed frame complete, it's on to the silk weavers.
In Suffolk, Gainsborough make silk by royal appointment.
Where better to get our hangings for the Queen Anne bed?
This virgin silk is being dyed crimson
to give the bed its majestic look.
And who chose this colour?
That was me. And I love it. I do love it.
After dying, the silk must be stretched, untangled and smoothed.
-So you're responsible for these?
-Because it's been dyed, all the skeins have been tangled up.
-So what do you have to do?
-We call this a banger.
-Because you bang it?
-Because it bangs.
-That's very good.
Take it off and hold it at both ends.
-Because the silk's very static.
I understand. Gosh, well, I think I understand.
This green silk will make our dining room curtains.
Want to have a go?
So you lift that up.
I've caught it in a ring.
You've got your hand on the wrong side. You need it on this side.
-Right. Now I start banging?
-Get it to the middle.
And as you're springing it, keep pulling it towards you.
That's it. Lovely.
Look at that!
Oh! God, I'm cack-handed.
'Avebury will be furnished with 540 square yards of new silk.'
I'm not terribly good at this.
I haven't been doing it for very long, Sue. Don't laugh at me.
I've done it.
I've done it!
You're a winder.
I'm a winder at last!
In an artist's studio in trendy north London,
Thomasina Smith is painting a royal portrait.
Queen Anne may have been dead for 300 years,
but Thomasina is not deterred. Her pictures are known to millions.
They hang in the halls of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films.
Thomasina is using the triple-headed portrait
of Charles I by van Dyck.
The photocopy is really there as a drawing.
All that's there will be covered by paint eventually.
So it's like a base drawing.
It's a technique that I sometimes use when I'm doing film design.
Obviously I don't have Queen Anne in front of me,
so it's useful that I'm using old paintings as a starting point.
I just need to get rid of this horrible white modern canvas!
Historically, I'm not painting it in the right order.
I'm just blocking this out so that then I can start to paint the faces.
The effect I want to get is the faces kind of coming out of the darkness.
I want the background to play, but not too strongly.
We've discussed just putting in a sort of van Dyck-type landscape.
So I'll work on that...
..probably towards the end as well, putting in the foliage and stuff.
The River Nene in Northamptonshire.
I've come to go punting with Russell,
but this is no leisurely day out.
We're about to start work on our Tudor rush matting.
We'll be in the capable hands of expert Felicity Irons.
-Can I introduce you to Felicity?
-What a lovely tan.
-I see we're dressed properly for it.
-I'm almost dressed properly for it.
Typical interior designer, that's all I can say. An artist.
'Felicity harvests bulrushes
'throughout the summer months, and her team is already hard at work.'
-What's your dog called?
-Her name's Molly.
I've only had her for three weeks, so it's all a bit new for her.
The dog may well jump on.
-What a beautiful dog.
-Yes, she is quite sweet. Molly!
Right, Felicity, you've got two attentive pupils here. Lesson one.
How do we cut the bulrushes? What are we going to use?
We have a two-to-three-foot-long blade,
on a very long handle,
because often, we're cutting four or five foot below the waterline.
So you cut as low as possible.
Yeah, you need to get the blade right on the river bed.
So if I just put the blade in and go round, you can feel the riverbed.
-And you make one cut, and then carefully drag in,
without cutting them again,
with the other side of the blade.
-So there's a dexterity and a skill involved, isn't there?
-OK, who's going to have a go?
What I want you to do is stand upright.
Use the full length of the handle,
get the blade right on the riverbed and pull.
You knew that was going to happen! Let's get some weight behind it.
It is not as easy as it looks, is it?
-Pull yourself in.
-Yeah, I was too far out.
OK, now try. That's better.
I was very disappointing with my cutting efforts there.
It was poor, wasn't it, Russell?
I'm just impressed that you actually did it, not me.
I just had the hot water bottle.
Once harvested, the bulrushes are put out to dry.
Now Felicity is about to weave her magic.
What a beautiful building.
It is fantastic, isn't it?
I call this my cathedral to rush, because by the end of harvest,
it is absolutely full.
Right, if you could hold on to that for me,
you always work from the outside edge in,
and you're always adding in,
so we need to add in rush straightaway
so that you keep this width.
Push in, and then you work in from the outside edge.
So it's over, under.
Over, under, and you're in the middle.
You're going over, under.
I couldn't do that. You make that look so easy.
Arriving at the house is painter extraordinaire Mark Sands.
He's going to bring
one of the smallest rooms in the house back to life.
It's just off the Queen Anne bedroom,
so it's getting a right royal makeover.
We are copying a wallpaper
of the early 1700s,
but we are going to stencil and paint
the design directly onto the walls.
The first task is to do what every teenager dreams of doing to their bedroom -
painting the walls black.
Don't worry, it's all part of the plan.
Mark practises the design first.
This is how it should look when it's finished.
There'll be some added extras.
Mark wants to include details
from our kitchen garden, as well as other parts of Avebury.
This is an old herb flower called borage.
Beautiful colour. Definitely would have been around
in the time period of this room.
Quite a nice form.
Not forgetting, of course, the Avebury Stones.
It's a very grand design for a small room.
Ever since it's been decided that this marvellous Georgian room
is going to be the Governor of Jamaica's dining room,
Russell has been rather excited. He wants to wow the visitors
and I'm sure he will.
This room is going to be a major player in the whole house.
His intention is to line all of these walls
with a handmade, bespoke Chinese wallpaper.
Back in Adam Williams' day, in the late 1700s,
there was nothing more fashionable, luxurious and exotic.
So, I've come to Shanghai in China, on my way
to see the paper Russell's commissioned.
Our wallpaper will be a mix of old and new -
images of ancient China, the Silk Route
and the trades of tea and porcelain.
Modern China has a very urban feel to it.
But you can find old China if you venture out beyond the big cities.
My journey brings me to Wuxi in the Xiang Su province.
I'm meeting up with Tim Butcher, whose Fromental studio
is making the hand-painted wallpaper for Avebury Manor,
using traditional Chinese methods.
I'm now where the magic really happens.
Gosh... And this is...
Hello. Ni hao. What's this chap...?
He's just painting in the first layer.
You can see, we've marked out some of the figures
-and we're just starting to build up the first detail.
-Fluid brush strokes.
-You can see the precision.
Painting figures is a particular skill,
and he is one of our better artists of this type of work.
There's a lot of confidence in that brush stroke.
Absolutely. That comes from years of practice in craft.
The artist will work with two or three brushes at a time,
shifting from one colour to another or between the water and the paint.
The brush has to flow and go exactly where you want it to,
and you're in control and part of it.
And he is a true master of his genre, with years of experience.
A very, very talented chap.
-Would he mind if I had a go?
-Not at all.
-Come on. OK, maybe Paul can have a trial?
-Thank you very much.
-You only get one shot!
Shall I just carry on shading here?
Just underneath the hand there, and just filling in the pink.
You get an idea of the scale
of the project - this is one garment
of one figure of one panel, and this is just the first layer of paint.
'Layer upon layer of paint is built up on each of our 25 panels.
'Every painter specialises in a different aspect of the work.
'Some paint trees, others paint figures, and so on,
'until they have created an entire scene.'
Have you got a full drop, yet?
We can take a look at one which we, er, prepared earlier.
Oh, my gosh! This is the first time I've seen
our Avebury wallpaper!
I cannot believe how beautiful that is!
-I'm tingling inside! This is just one drop?
-Just one piece.
That would be about...80 hours of painting time.
You walk in and see the drama of the broader painting,
but then you walk up and you've got the secondary level of detail
in every face, every feature.
It's just so exciting.
There's so much vitality and life here.
In 100 years' time, I hope people
are still walking into the dining room at Avebury and gasping at its beauty.
The wallpaper is an exquisite piece of Chinese artistry,
and I can't wait to see it on the walls of our manor
back in rural Wiltshire.
In our Victorian kitchen garden,
David and his volunteers are hard at work
preparing for garden open day,
now only four weeks away.
It's time for our first harvest.
But there's one little helper in the garden David is missing...
..and I'm going to bring that helper back.
It's the most important insect for any garden,
and they're not exactly flourishing at the moment.
'I'm here to meet local bee expert,
It is lovely, isn't it?
-Yes, isn't it?
-Come down and see our bees.
So this is part of your domain, is it?
These are part of our club bees, yes.
Why are you so interested in bees?
Originally, because of the honey, I love honey,
and it's the only food source we get from insects,
but the more you get into it, the more you learn and the more fascinating they are.
Pollination is a big issue for us.
If we didn't have bees,
we wouldn't have as much interesting food as we have now.
Yes. Could I have a look in a hive?
Of course, yes, but I think we'll get you suited up, first.
'Well, I won't be winning any prizes for THIS ensemble.'
We lift it up... The hive is made up...
We've got a brood box,
where the queen bee lives and lays all her eggs.
-Look at them all!
How many bees in a hive?
At this time of year, easily 60,000
in a full colony.
How much honey can you get from one comb?
From a comb, you're looking at 2-3 lbs,
but each bee, in its lifetime,
will only collect about a twelfth of a teaspoon.
-When you put your honey on your toast...
-You must think...
-..a lot of bees went into making it.
-Yes, of course.
Wow! Isn't that wonderful?!
-These are all worker bees?
And how far would they fly?
Your hive will travel something like 90,000 miles,
three times round the world, in bee miles,
-to make a kilogram of honey.
We must appreciate honey more.
That's baby bees, in there, lava waiting to come out.
-She has been doing her job, Mrs Queen, hasn't she?
-Oh, she has.
There she is.
-Gosh, there she is!
-If we lose her,
we've got a problem.
-So we'd better put her back to sleep.
-Safely back in the hive.
We would like bees in our garden at Avebury.
Could you install a hive for us?
We could. We've got a couple of nucleus hives over there that we could use.
That would be lovely, to put them into Avebury.
'Excellent. We'll take them both.'
This is the Tudor parlour,
and a big challenge to get right. We want to reflect
the personality of Avebury Manor's first occupant,
William Dunch, a self-made man of the 1560s,
who rose from minor official
to royal courtier.
We need colour, and, let's be honest, a bit of Tudor bling.
The Church of St Peter's in Little Wittenham,
Oxfordshire, where Anna has come to look William Dunch in the face.
This brass is from the tomb of William Dunch, and it's really important
because it's the only surviving picture that we have of him and his family.
It's really great, because finally, I get to meet him, or at least see him.
We have Mary, his wife, here, kneeling in prayer,
and behind him, his two sons Edmund and Walter.
And this is William himself -
short hair, a big beard, a ruff,
all the rage in Tudor England.
This brass was commissioned towards the end of William's extraordinary life,
a life in which he'd managed to survive turbulent Tudor times,
and literally managed to keep his head when so many were losing theirs.
He would raise himself up from a position of obscurity
to one of wealth, power and status
in Tudor high society.
It was quite an achievement.
'For a style-conscious courtier,
'we're going to pull out all the stops.
'Fine tapestries were the most showy and expensive of possessions in the Tudor age.
'Where better to go than the home of Henry VIII?'
Hampton Court Palace houses the finest tapestries in Britain.
Owned by Her Majesty The Queen, the Abraham Tapestries
are part of the Royal Collection.
I don't think Anna is expecting to borrow these incredibly fragile tapestries,
but maybe there is a way Avebury can have a piece of them.
Kate, tell me what we've got here.
Glorious tapestry - what does it depict?
We've got six of a set of ten tapestries
-from the 1540s...
-..commissioned by Henry VIII
for this very great hall.
They depict the story of Abraham, which is the narrative that
Henry chose to cement his new role as head of the Church of England.
So these would have been in here...
-These would have been in here in...
-..in the 16th century.
..for special occasions - coronations,
weddings, births, etc.
Very special occasions.
They look gorgeous, however things are not exactly what they seem.
because they're in fact facsimiles of the famous Abraham tapestry set.
It's the ultimate photocopy.
-It's the ultimate photocopy printed onto linen.
-Why on earth...?
-But we have the originals?
-We have the originals behind.
And the reason we have these facsimiles is to protect
the tapestries for this ten-month period
when we're doing the building works.
Gosh. So who did you get to do this? How did they do it?
We approached a company called Zardi & Zardi
that specialises in creating modern prints of historic textiles.
And they took a photograph of each of the six tapestries.
They printed this photograph image onto linen to create these
-facsimiles of the original tapestry.
-So what do the visitors make of it?
-Are they fooled?
-Unexpectedly, they are fooled, I think.
It's amazing, it's a stunning impression and, you know,
if it's good enough for here, it's good enough for Avebury. Thank you.
So. off to Lancashire to get our very own Abraham tapestries.
Amazingly, high-resolution digital technology means, in some ways,
the copies will end up even better than the 500-year-old originals.
We've picked up a thread here on the screen.
We can take this out and hopefully be back to the original,
how the original was.
It's the moment heritage meets 21st-century technology -
perfect for Avebury.
We can make it as good as new.
When all the adjustments are done, the artwork is printed onto linen.
On the machine we've got six heads which allows us to use six colours.
From each of those nozzles we have 54,000 nozzles in-between there
so that that's how fine it is.
With the software we have two blues, a red, a yellow and a black,
and from there we have a colour book of 10,000 colours.
That allows us to print over 16 million colours on an image file,
such as the tapestries.
Originally, it was over eight years to do one of these tapestries
and we've narrowed that down with technology
and the speed of the machines, down to six weeks, which is amazing
if you think about that, what we can do today.
Amazing indeed. The wonders of modern technology.
Meanwhile at Avebury, it's back to good old-fashioned pencil and paper.
Grant is recreating the Dunche family coats of arms.
Rather than paint directly onto the walls - a no-no from the Trust -
he's using a matching piece of salvaged panelling.
So this is an ingenious solution.
Complementing our tapestries hanging on the walls
the heraldic panelling will sit above the fireplace,
proclaiming to the world that William Dunche has arrived.
Last thing on our Tudor parlour shopping list is the furniture.
In rural Herefordshire is the workshop of master carpenter,
Russell and Dan are here to commission chairs, benches,
stools and a table.
It will be the oldest-style furniture in the house
and all brand new.
The point being that it's really hard to get furniture of the 1560s,
the authentic stuff is rare, expensive, so...
And also if it was there, the public couldn't sit in it.
So the object is to make new in the spirit.
I think also it's to explore how it was made originally,
that's the most interesting thing for me.
Use people today who would have been doing
exactly the same crafts 500 years ago.
So it's material, means of construction and the ornamentation.
-Get that right.
-There we go.
-Guy, hi, how are you?
-Nice to see you again.
-This is Dan Cruickshank.
-Pleased to meet you.
-He's my historical expert.
Guy very helpfully sent me some images of pieces he liked
and that you were aware of that had some locality to Avebury.
This is really just the starting point to work from.
This is the blueprint.
What is intriguing is looking at to what degree you can reduce
the ornamentation without actually diminishing the whole thing.
Make it not a parody.
I've started with this one, and this has a very intricately carved, what
I think were called, Romayne work, which is typical of that period.
I've taken that away,
but kept this construction pretty much the same
and just replaced the panelling at the back with a raised field panel,
which I've found in chairs of hat period.
You'll make these things come to life
through your joy in making them, joy in labour.
If you love making it, then it lives.
If it's a merely slavish copy and boring, then it won't.
But you feel that you will...?
I want to make them look as authentic as possible for the period
partly but I also want them to be beautiful things.
-I don't want them to look right but be...
-They'll be made with love.
I can do it, no problem.
On the other side of the world,
Paul's continuing his quest for Oriental treasures.
My trip to China is not over yet.
I'm heading further south to the Yangtze province in search
of more exotic luxuries to bring back to Avebury Manor.
This time my journey takes me to what the Chinese call the Porcelain City.
This is Jingdezhen, and they've been making porcelain here
for 1,000 years. Basically ever since it was invented.
It's known in China and throughout the world as the Porcelain capital
and now I'm here I understand why. I'm surrounded by it.
It's on sale everywhere, from period pieces to modern-day pieces.
There are even handcarts moving around this busy corner, transporting it.
In fact, even the street lamps are made of porcelain.
It wasn't until the middle of the 18th century that the British
discovered the secret of making porcelain,
and even today there's nothing quite like the real thing from China.
I'm heading for one of the many porcelain workshops
in the old part of the town to commission
a tea service for Avebury's Adam Williamson.
Over here you can see Mr Wang carving your Avebury sugar bowl.
Wonderful, absolutely wonderful.
Turning it down to the exact shape that would be
typical of a 1790s piece.
-Getting it down to that thinness.
-And the right shape.
-Hello, Mr Wang. Hello.
I don't want to disturb him, I might put him off.
It takes a lot of skill, this.
Mr Wang actually owns this workshop and has been in the porcelain
trade, starting with sculpture, for almost 30 years now.
Wow. And you can tell, look at that. And all of this is just done by feel.
Feel and sound and occasionally he pick it up and tap it to see
if he's got the right thickness.
-Would you like to give it a try?
-If Mr Wang doesn't mind.
THEY SPEAK CHINESE
He says that's fine. Give it a whirl.
Will you tell him it would be an honour, I'd love to have a go?
I really would.
HE EXPLAINS IN CHINESE
Yes? Can I sit on your little chair?
Thank you. CLATTERING
That's a good start, I fall over everything!
OK. At least I didn't fall on this!
Do you need a hand?
No, I'm fine, thanks, Ben.
This feels marvellous.
It really does. With what feels like that blade
of an old sword rubbing against the side of my cheek.
How's that? Good? Thank you. Thank you very much.
Mr Wang, you are a genius.
-He does it everyday.
It'll be at least a month before the Chinese wallpaper
and the porcelain are ready to ship home.
Let's hope it arrives in time, fingers crossed,
or as they say here... HE SPEAKS CHINESE
Back in Avebury,
our Victorian kitchen garden is once again a battlefield.
The rabbits are back and David is on the warpath.
Where is the furry fellow?
He's in there! Get him out! Get him out!
Get him out! There he goes.
He's back in here.
Oh, here he is.
-Where is it now?
He's right in front of you.
Wait, wait, wait, wait.
Be careful, run for it.
Oh, now treat him gently.
-Not necessary, I've got him!
I've got him! I've got him!
He's not happy.
I'm not sure what its name is, but it's going out of the garden.
We're going to give it a new life, so let's go and put it out in the field.
Ah, no, you stay there! You're not going anywhere!
So, little rabbit, new lease of life.
Off we go.
-He'll be back.
Up and down the country,
craftsmen and women are working round the clock for Avebury Manor.
In Gloucester, Amir is well ahead with our Tudor furniture.
Felicity is weaving and stitching our rush matting.
In Somerset, Dave is working on the mouldings for the top
of our Queen Anne bed.
And the dome is fitting nicely.
In London, Thomasina is putting the final touches
to the Queen Anne portrait.
And there are new residents in our kitchen garden.
It's fantastic, getting bees back.
It's all part of the harmony that exists here in the garden.
It's all part of the organic approach,
and I look forward to the honey!
At last, it's Pots And Pans Day. How exciting.
We've called in an antiques A-Team.
Penny Brittain from Antiques Roadshow is here.
Ivan Day, food historian extraordinaire.
And our very own kitchen-range restorer, Neville Griffiths.
There's just one problem.
Nobody's here, not one person. But it's early days!
This could be slightly worrying!
Wahey! An hour and a half in, and someone's turned up!
-Chris, you're first in the queue.
-Is that because you're working here today?
-It is, yes!
-Look at this! Lovely.
It's rather heavy. It's not full of toffees,
-but it says "Toffees" on the outside.
Ooh, look at that!
-Is that a mincer?
-It is a mincer, yeah.
I've brought it in on behalf of Ro Smith,
one of the volunteers I work with here.
"Chops every kind of meat, raw or cooked, vegetables, fruit and nuts."
-At last, we're up and running.
-Where did you find that?
-From the local antique shop.
-It's not a family heirloom?
You didn't have a housekeeper or a butler in the family?
No, I'm more below stairs, myself.
One thing I would say, it's in very, very good condition, isn't it?
Yes, it has been used quite a lot.
-And you used to put your beans into this?
-A bean slicer?
You've looked after it really well,
apart from the spider that's trapped inside.
-Those are some scales with imperial weights.
-With imperial weights!
-Bought in the village 30 years ago.
Really? Oh, do come through.
I remember my son finding some of mine.
He and his friend were playing ping-pong with them!
-Fabulous. Isn't it pretty?
-Yes, fond of,
but they're just sitting around at home and nobody sees them.
I like this bucket very much.
'I've persuaded my family to bring along a rather fine fire bucket,
'just in case the range goes up in flames.'
If there was a fire, you'd put the water in the bucket
and put the fire out.
The basic bucket dates from the late 18th century.
-It's perfect for our house here!
-It's perfect for the house.
-I want to go home!
-He wants to go home!
Oh, well! It's quality, not quantity!
And we've got some lovely pieces, for which we're very grateful.
Well, Paul shouldn't be surprised, should he?
Don't you think that programmes like yours make people think
about how much items are worth?
I do think that today, looking at what we've got...
-..we have got away with it.
Things are going a lot better for David.
We will see hops in the garden. The Victorians would have loved that.
And there's a delivery for garden opening day, just a week away.
-Some beer on the back.
-That sounds interesting! Hello!
But, as everything seems to be coming together,
there's a major setback.
There's something in here.
Now, that's interesting.
Work has stopped here on the glasshouse for the moment.
We can't put the floor in the glasshouse,
we can't put the paving down, because we have newts.
We're not quite sure yet what will happen next.
We're waiting for advice.
This close to the completion of the garden,
it's really not what we wanted.
The big question is, are they common newts
or the protected crested newts?
If they're crested, they will shut us down,
and garden opening day is off.
So, it's down tools till we find out the identity
of our slimy, uninvited guests.
In the house, Grant is working late on the Tudor heraldry.
It's half ten, and I don't have to be working this late really, but...
..I'd just rather get on top of it.
Try and hit the deadline.
We've got other things to do after this.
And time's ticking a little bit.
Just blocking some of the main shapes, and then varnish it all,
ready to possibly do some lining in the morning.
Touch up some of these dodgy bits on the wood, before I varnish it.
See what the wood will look like.
And in the small room, Mark is also trying to catch up.
The stencilling is intense work.
Here we are, little doodle.
This process would be a lot quicker and easier nowadays
if we just had a spray can.
Sprayed it, within a few strokes we could have this all done.
But because we're trying to keep authentic to the period,
we're using the more traditional techniques.
Once they've dried and we've glazed them,
we can bring in some quite stronger colours
that would have been used in those days, over the top.
It gives them a nice luminosity. OK.
OK. So, we can see it's quite a crude stencil,
but it does the effect.
It looks as though the boys are in for a long night.
Senior ecologist Gina Reynolds is here to identify our visitors.
Yeah, we've found a great crested newt, female.
You can tell it's a great crested newt
by the size and also by the colour.
Great crested newts also have very orange underbellies, as you can see,
and these lovely orange painted toenails.
I'm going to pop it back where we found it,
and we're going to contact the regulators, Natural England,
to find out how we need to proceed, legally, with the works.
It's disastrous news.
Our only hope now is to prove to the regulators
the newts are only in the glasshouse and not the rest of the garden.
With only days to go until opening, we'll be forced to delay.
In Denham, in Buckinghamshire, Russell has brought
the top of the Queen Anne bed to show Dan.
They disagree on the details of the moulding.
Dan wants to be historically precise
while Russell prefers a theatrical interpretation.
The problem is that the cornice is not quite right...
But it doesn't matter.
-It doesn't matter because...
You know, it's an interesting discussion cos, to me,
we've done everything we can...
-There's a problem with language, Russell...
..which means we need to add a moulding or two to our design.
-We've done our research...
-You just didn't get it right, Russell.
I totally agree, but we've done all our research and actually,
we've got to a point where...
As we stand, this isn't a classical profile for a Queen Anne bed.
How much does it matter?
-It matters 100%...
To...the house, to history.
OK, we're not recreating anything in this house truly authentically
because we can't afford to.
Our standard, you have to adhere to.
-We've done everything we were asked to do.
-I've checked with National Trust and they're happy.
-They are happy.
-They can't be happy...
-I worked with Lucy yesterday.
-They can't be happy!
I showed her and she's happy because they're not expecting anything authentic.
-Well, I'm not happy with this design.
-Therefore, we're saying...
Illiterate is not a classical...
Are we saying Queen Anne beds that don't adhere to your idea...
-It's the language...
-It's a classical language.
-I need to check what you're saying.
-Russell, this is not the classical language.
-It doesn't matter!
-It doesn't matter because these things don't matter.
We're trying to create the atmosphere.
-OK, humour me.
-We're trying to create the atmosphere
of a Queen Anne room.
It's important to you and I'm trying to respect it
-and I will do as you ask me to do.
That is fine but something will have to go to pay for it.
Relations on the team have never been so tense,
but Russell agrees to go with Dan's knowledge and work starts again.
It's decision day in the garden.
Will the newts mean the opening is cancelled?
Gina is back to break the news to David.
We spoke to the regulators
and they agree that we can continue with the paving at the front here.
-That's on the basis that newts are unlikely to be present
on such hard, compacted ground.
In order to legally proceed, we need to create them
-an alternative site to spend the winter.
So the alternative site could be anywhere in the garden?
Yeah, and we can create a nice refuge
for them using the rubble that you've already got here
and perhaps covering it in topsoil,
and make a nice place for newts and other amphibians and reptiles too.
OK. Well, thank you.
Garden opening can go ahead. Laying the brick path can continue
and the volunteers have to pick up the pace to make up for lost time.
The central bed is dug over and laid to lawn.
The fruit trees arrive, wicker boards to contain out compost
and the last of the plants are going in.
Next time, I'll buy someone a drink!
Over the last six months, the volunteers have put in
over 6,00 work hours and more than 3,000 plants.
Nearly there. Not many to go now.
Working up towards a cup of tea.
And finally, the last pot goes down.
It's the evening before opening day and for David,
it's time for a moment of reflection.
When I walked in here, I thought it was a bit of a disaster zone
because the garden hadn't been looked after.
It was a bit of a wilderness and to even think about transforming it
into a walled garden within six months was a very, very tall order.
But we've done it. We've done it.
Sleep well, David because tomorrow the public will deliver its verdict.
It's six months since I first set foot in the garden.
It was overgrown, uncared for, looked fairly disastrous really
and we've had the most amazing summer.
Dry in April then rain, hardly any sun and now,
the most beautiful day, a heat wave.
However, David and his band of trusty volunteers have been working
throughout the so-called summer
and I can't wait to see the finished result.
Villagers and visitors have turned out in their hundreds,
all impatient to get their first glimpse
of our Victorian kitchen garden.
I'm going to hand the honours to Jan from the National Trust.
So here we are, after six months,
the first stage complete - the garden.
-So we're handing it back to you!
-Thank you so much.
You can only do it once.
Bravo! Let's go!
I'm looking for the absolute wilderness that it was
to what it is now.
We hope so. We hope you're impressed.
-I'm very impressed by the grass.
-Yes, I wish mine was that green.
It's come on a lot.
The finishing touches have come together really nicely.
It's a feast for the eyes as well as a feast for the plate.
The food is going down well and so is the green hop beer.
-Have you tried it?
-I haven't tried it yet.
Thank you. Cheers.
-What do you think? What do you think?
Well, I think it's remarkable, the way it's been transformed.
It's very impressive.
-Is that what it was like?
-That's what it was like.
-You see there's the house there...
..and your mum was digging there. It's extraordinary, isn't it?
-It is amazing.
-How much work you've done.
-..within a really short space of time.
The hope is that the garden will provide fruit and veg
to the manor as it would have in Victorian times.
Let's hope it flourishes for the next 100 years.
Well, this is a great success, the garden.
Wonderful, but we have five weeks to go till we open the house.
Let's hope we get the same reaction.
Next time on The Manor Reborn...
'Running out of time.'
It's taking twice as long as it should.
'The crust get tetchy.'
I am starting to get really quite anxious now.
'The beds go up...
'but will everything come together?'
It's touch and go whether that's going to go through the front door!
Can you see where you're going, Ivor?!
'Working through the night.'
'Tears and laughter.'
'But we will ever get finished on time?!'
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