Nick Knowles heads to Aberystwyth where he attempts to turn a builder's house from a building site into a home, enlisting the help of his friends and family and local trades.
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Welcome to DIY SOS - The Big Build.
This week, coming to you from just outside Aberystwyth.
The boys are not only taking on the complete renovation of a house...
It's probably two weeks work, to be done in two days.
..but they're battling Arctic weather conditions too.
I've just spoke to the big company who's delivering all the building materials.
They won't send a lorry up here.
You may have heard the expression "it never rains but it pours",
but for the couple we're here to help,
it hasn't been so much a pour down as a deluge of bad luck.
I just want to be able to help Mum.
It is one of the biggest builds we've ever attempted.
We have ten days to do it, and it is bone-chillingly cold.
Can we do it? I tell you what, we'll give it a flipping good go.
Because this is DIY SOS - The Big Build!
When Mike and Lynn moved to their cottage in the Welsh hills,
they hoped for a quiet life with their animals.
Well, the original plan was we was going to move out here and retire - that was the original plan.
We're home people. A holiday is being at home.
And even though they haven't got much in the way of money, they share their home with several rescue dogs.
Just animal mad.
It doesn't really matter whether it's dogs... Dogs are my favourite.
I love cats, horses, chickens, anything that's got two legs, four legs, and with feathers or fur.
Four years ago, Lynn's son-in-law Rob got ill with MS and needed to use a wheelchair.
This meant Rob and Alyson had to move out of their house.
As Mike was a builder, he decided to construct them a disabled-access house next door,
so the family could be on hand to look after each other.
Mike worked like a Trojan on this house.
-12 hours a day. Seven days a week.
-Probably, and the rest sometimes.
Yeah. Not even one day did, you know, anybody help him.
He did it all himself.
They needed a helping hand, otherwise you don't know what...
where would they have gone?
Mike's back-breaking work over the next two years, building the extension for Rob and Alyson
meant his own house was turned into a building site.
It is a home, but it's not a home, you know.
We're sort of, we're part way there, but we're a long way from being finished.
We moved in in December,
and Mike then said he was going to have a month off before he went back
to start work on their own house, and then disaster struck.
Well, the headaches,
they started, oh,
about 18 months prior to
me being admitted to hospital.
You'd be going along, driving along, and you'd go down a hole in the road
and he would suddenly scream at me,
because obviously going down the hole made his head hurt,
but I didn't think anything of it,
I used to say, "Don't moan," kind of, but they got worse and worse and worse, and then...
Don't cry, Michael.
Go on. I'm all right.
It was two years ago that the doctors found a brain tumour.
The diagnosis is obviously it's cancer.
But you know, but where it is they've taken out as much as they can take.
There's not a lot they can tell me, and even
if I ask them they can't tell me, because they don't know themselves.
Mike's condition means paramedics are called regularly to help him, and they can't negotiate
the building site upstairs, so he's forced to sleep in the front hallway, behind a sheet.
It's cruelly ironic that a man who's built so many homes for people can't now sort out his own.
Like most builders, Mike was self-employed.
The brain tumour means no work, and that means no money.
Mike and Lynn have been left living in terrible conditions,
but Mike's not really one for giving up or complaining.
Rome wasn't built in a day.
You've got what you've got.
You know, it's no good sitting down and saying, "Oh well, I've got cancer, I'll pack in,"
you know, because that don't do anybody any good.
It's just been a hard time for us all.
I just want to be able to help Mum,
I want to give her something back.
I hope people can see how much they've done for us, and, you know, how it's changed our lives.
We're hoping that DIY SOS can change their lives.
I know they will. I do.
Right, Mike needs our help.
We've got a job to do here.
'I'm a little bit worried, because on the drive up here
'the weather around Aberystwyth has turned really, really nasty.' Hello?
'Let's have a look round.' Needs a bit doing to it, doesn't it?
-Just a little bit.
-Kitchen's a bit of a mess.
Bathroom's a bit of a mess back there. And this is...
well, this is the extension.
This is the extension to the extension of the extension, yes.
-Which you built, did you?
-Along with the house next door?
-So you've been busy. You've actually done quite a lot already.
Just the brain tumour that I didn't know I'd got,
and then that, that was found, and since then I've been able to do...
-Well, I haven't been able to do anything, as such, on the building work.
-It's difficult to know...
You work in the building trade and you've been a builder all your life,
which is a very active, physical way of making a living,
so it must come hard to you, that to suddenly find
yourself in this situation, where you can't get out and just do what you've done every day of your life.
Well, it's hard for me,
but it's more hard for Lynn, I think, because, you know,
touch wood, I won't, but if I was, was to drop dead, you know,
how would Lynn carry on with this?
You know, there's no way she could carry on and finish it off,
because she's not, she hasn't got the physical strength to do it.
'That's what we're here for, but the weather's turned bad.'
I mean, really bad. Remember this?
The earliest widespread snowfall for 17 years has begun to grip many parts of the UK.
First of all, the heavy snow's just started here in Caerphilly.
Across Wales, well, the worst of the snow initially was in North and West Wales.
It's going to be staying cold at least, I'd say, for the next ten
days, so with the cold persisting, get used to seeing more of these.
This is a severe weather warning.
The boys are already feeling the effects of the weather.
They're trying to do the two-mile drive up an icy hill to get the tools to the house.
This is a bit of a climb up. The roads are a bit icy.
I can get up here because I'm a four-wheel drive, but the boys are behind me in a van.
We've got two vans full of tools coming up behind us, and it's not looking very good,
and I've got to keep moving, because if I get stuck and they stop, they're not going to get up here at all.
Normally at this stage, I'd be asking you to leave and we'd get the team in and start building.
I'm going to have a chat with the lads and see what we think.
We don't want to disappoint you.
-By the same token we don't want to do half a job, so...
Our dilemma is that if we start bashing this house apart and the weather stops us finishing the job,
Mike and Lynn will be left with a home even less habitable.
We've got to decide if it's even possible to get the work done in these terrible conditions.
Well, I've just spoke to the big company who's delivering
the building materials, and they won't send a lorry up here.
If trades can't get up, materials can't be delivered, you know how tight it is when we do these anyway.
Here's someone that's come to help and he can't get up here either.
The weather's getting worse and closing in, it's making harder.
The trades are finding it harder to get up the hill. Some are making it, some aren't.
We're going to have to make a decision whether we're going to continue with this or not.
We know some of the trades can't join us
because they can't get out their own villages.
It's pretty rough out in the countryside, is it?
The main roads get gritted, the actual main road into
Aberystwyth gets gritted, but for the rest of the time, no.
The roads are so bad you've got to drive through Caerphilly.
'That's a terrible joke. We've got no time for jokes. We've got to make a decision.'
How much of the job can we do if we start?
If we can't get materials up here, you know,
and we can't get the trades here, we can only do half the job, can't we?
You might get three, four days into it and find out that you've bitten
off more that you can chew and you can't put it right.
This is just crazy, we cannot leave them with half a house.
What is the weather situation? You know, is it going in worse?
More snow towards the end of the week.
It's going to get colder.
We set out to achieve something and we're not going to do it, and that's letting us
-down and letting the family down.
-If we start now, we're here now.
If we start today, because we've got no materials, all we can do is start demolition.
Then let's start demolition. Mike and Lynn need the house sorted, so let's get on with it.
Me, Jules and Matt are taking that down to get at the doorway, to knock it through to widen it.
That's our plan.
We've packed Mike and Lynn off and we just have to hope that
the weather holds or improves, preferably, so we can get this done.
There's such a lot to do.
The two-storey cottage needs a complete overhaul.
Upstairs we need to create two bedrooms and give them a much-needed bathroom.
Downstairs the space needs to be completely redesigned and the floor levelled throughout.
-Shall we start at the front door?
-Are we changing that?
We're going to block this up and change it and put a new window in here.
-Where is the front door going to be?
-On the side of the house.
-Take this centre wall out here.
-Remove this original staircase.
We're going to have a new staircase round at the back.
This is going to be a huge living room once the dividing wall is down.
In here, in the bathroom, we're going to reconfigure that.
There's going to be a washing machine and tumble dryer and shower in there.
-MOCKING NORTHERN IRISH ACCENT:
-A shower? Is there going to be a mirror?
-A mirror and a shower?
-What was that?
Bill, what's happening?
-Has he started already?
-He's started. The electrics are on the go.
-And then this?
-On the other side of this there is a kitchen.
Which we're going to rip out and put a new kitchen in.
This floor's all lumpy. How are you going to do it?
A self-levelling compound?
No, we're going to put a sand and cement screed in, so the guys
are going to hand-mix it because we couldn't get anything
delivered, because the company that makes liquid screed had to close down because of the temperatures.
So now we're going to have to do it by hand.
All the changes we're having to make because of the weather and
transport actually are making everything slower.
What's the turnout this morning? Six or seven?
We've got six or seven. Not bad. We need 35.
But six or seven is a start.
You can only start with a start, can't you?
I hope there's a finish.
-Oh, this is lovely, isn't it?
-Nice, that, isn't it?
This wall, are we keeping that?
It was going to be dot and dab, but it's a nice feature, isn't it?
It is pretty. The top of it's ugly, but this is beautiful.
It would be nice to keep some of that, wouldn't it?
The top of you is ugly, and we've kept you.
And up there, just when Mike got ill, one of the last jobs he was doing was all these beams here.
They have to be bolted together. They've got to have a load of bolts put through them.
The rest of the building has to be insulated
-all the way through.
-It's huge, though, it goes way back.
You know, it's almost 1,000 square feet of insulation.
Even if we had a full complement of people, we'd be hard pushed to get this done in the next nine days.
But with something like this you just need to start and keep going.
Outside, Jules and Matt have cracked on demolishing the lean-to.
We need to knock it down to make room for the new front door.
-He's like a human JCB, isn't he?
How is it going to go from here?
-Bow the wall in, which will, in turn, drop the roof down.
-Then its own weight will bring it down.
-Can I ask you another question?
Are you wearing that hat correctly or is that the shape of your head?
That's the shape of my head. What's the matter with it?
You look like you've got a pointy head.
I had a policeman knock on the door the other day.
He said, "It looks like your wife's been in an accident."
I said, "Yeah, but she's got a lovely personality."
He's only joking - his other half's lovely!
This lean-to, on the other hand, is proving to be a bit more disagreeable.
Do you know what we could do now?
Go in the field with a lump of four-by-two and give that wall a push with a bit of wood.
It's not going to work.
Go on, son!
Ah! It turns out Mike's better at building things than we are at knocking them down.
That's just wedged.
From one old thing that goes on endlessly to another.
But he's got his hands full with this job and he wants us all to know about it.
Well, the three of us, cos I've got two good
sparks from Ed, what we're doing is stripping out all the cables in the old house.
So, yeah, we are going to be very busy in the next few days.
Are you surviving working with him?
-Seriously, tell me, because the people have a go at us for picking on him.
Tell people what he's like to work with. Honestly, go on.
-He's a good laugh.
-You're missing out.
-You should work more often with him, to be honest.
-I've had 11 years of working with him.
But you need to be an electrician to actually understand the same craic.
You've paid him, haven't you?
-You've paid him to say that.
-He hasn't slipped you any money?
-And you like him?
-Of course they like me, I'm a likeable person.
I'm the most likeablest person in these shoes.
No, really, he is likeable.
If you like that kind of thing.
Downstairs, the kitchen and day room are going to be made open-plan,
so the floor needs to be levelled.
In here Gareth is starting to lay the screed.
Pete's outside mixing this up, which is a screed, which is a coarse sand.
What we need, really, to work with any wet fluids with cement in it,
the temperature has to be two degrees and rising for stuff to set.
So basically, for that chemical reaction in the cement to work,
it has to be two degrees and rising through the day.
That's unfortunate, cos inside it's below two degrees and outside it's below freezing.
And they're having issues with the sand.
Our poor old screeders are struggling. That sand is frozen.
It's like concrete.
It's that cold and frozen.
What are we going to do? Because we need to get that down tonight
so it's got half a chance of going off in a few days.
A bit of Arctic weather is not going to stop us, though.
Luckily, inside the house we've got our own little Irish hot-air machine.
That's a good sign - two degrees and rising. 2.6. I'm happy with that.
It's roasting in here!
What you're seeing here is an epic battle - man versus wood.
The wood's winning.
-Well done, Matthew.
That worked all right, didn't it?
It's another day, a chance to make another dollar.
Not really, because we are doing it for free. But you get the drift.
We don't care about the cold because the road is clear, which means people can come to work.
And we've got some deliveries.
Though not without some difficulty.
It's still well below zero.
I'm nice and warm, all dressed up.
I've got my gloves, hat, coat, waterproofs on. I've got my long johns on as well.
Yeah. Do you want to see my long johns?
-No. No, we don't.
-They're very nice.
Don't! Don't unzip. I forbid you.
Don't! Oh, really!
That's the sort of gear you need when you're working out in these extreme conditions.
It's not the cold weather, by the way, that caused him to look like that.
The house is already giving us a headache,
but if there's one designer up to the challenge of soothing our fevered brows, it's Julia Kendall.
Julia's an old friend of DIY SOS, and no matter what we throw at her, she's almost never lost her cool.
I don't have any symbols for gas.
-I don't have the time.
-I say "almost never".
She's got a proven track record at transforming old country ruins into cosy cottage chic.
And she's a dab hand at turning the dilapidated into the desirable.
In fact, some people have said she's quite desirable herself.
So in here, obviously, this is our kitchen space.
The main thing is we're going to take this wall down
so that it's an open, flowing space, which will be lovely.
Lynn's big on practicality, so she doesn't want anything that she can't keep easily clean.
And again, with all the dogs in the house, it makes sense.
But she really likes traditional styling, so we're going to be using a lot of her old furniture.
We have arrived in Lynn's bedroom.
-Which is going to be a lovely room.
A nice big space up here.
-This is going to be Toile de Jouy in here.
-So where's the bed going to go?
-The bed's going to go on this wall here.
It's going to be very, very pretty-pretty in here.
Despite the fact that she's a very practical, down-to-earth girl
she likes really pretty sort of pink, flowery...
-I would never have said that.
-I know. It's funny, isn't it?
What does Toile de Jouy mean?
Toile is a fabric wallpaper from the Toile region of France, and it's quite intricate designs.
It goes back to about the 1800s or so.
And it's going to be really pretty. Very girly, very pink.
Nice. OK, that's lovely.
And then next door we've got Mike's bedroom.
Mike really loves his gardening.
He loves growing herbs and he's really into the whole botanical thing, so I've got
a botanical theme going in there, in a masculine way.
So Julia's got ten rooms to decorate from start to finish in only nine days. Right.
So there's a lot to do. It's huge.
Yeah, it is mammoth.
It is going to be a beautiful house when it's done.
Well, it's going to be a finished home.
And we'll just have to do the best that we can with it.
She's very good. You know, we need to swamp his house with people.
The trouble is the trades that have offered to help us
have been snowed in and can't get here.
It's minus four, and the roads have iced up again.
I'll tell you what this job is reminding me of a bit - the Marie Celeste.
That's what it's like.
To be helpful, I thought I'd start insulating.
So, you've just got to show me what we've got to do.
It can't be hard, can it, surely?
How do you move these things around?
-Mind that cable.
-You're doing well, mind.
-Oh, no, see, I've gone off track now.
Go on, go away.
-She's very good, you know.
-Oh, no, see, I'm miles out now.
She's not very good, you know.
Oh, come on!
Right, here we go. Oh, please fit.
Right, I take it all back. It clearly is rocket science.
There's a van. I can hear a van! I can hear a van!
-We've got a tradesman.
-Just in time, because Jules and Matt can smell a...
Yeah, I was going to say that.
Ready? Coming out? No.
There's a hole under there, so if they are going to be in there
they will be right in the middle, Jules.
I have a strong phobia of rats.
-It's a dead one.
-Eurgh, how could you pick it up?
Cos it's not living.
-Jules, this has actually got big teeth, this one.
-Do you like rats?
-I know what I would like.
-I'd like some tradesmen.
-Or labourers, anything. There's one person here today and it's day two of the job.
Normally, we'd have, how many today? We'd have 30 people.
-Today we've got one.
-It will be fine.
Just keep chipping away. They'll turn up.
I love it when you back me up and you're positive.
-We'll do it.
We need to do something about this.
There's sure to be lots of people round here who'd help if only they knew about it.
If you're in the area and you could give us a couple of days
to come down and help out, we would honestly appreciate it.
And we'll promise to feed you and make lots of tea for you, which is pretty much what all builders want.
Well, that and one other thing, but we can't provide that!
'Definitely. Thank you very much, Nick.
'If you want to help out on DIY SOS...'
And do you know what? It only worked!
Loads of them!
Them boys have just driven from Leicester to come and help their dad help us. How cool's that?
-Glad to have them here?
-Aye, it's good.
-A bit emotional?
-Yeah. Very tearful now.
Yeah, I'm not sure he's telling the truth there.
Upstairs it's looking more promising. Now Julia's got more help it's starting to take shape.
She's a happy bunny. She's got a gun in her hand and there's loads of men around.
What woman wouldn't be happy in that situation?
I'm having a lovely time this afternoon.
There's several lovely lads getting it all lidded up
and sorted out this afternoon.
The insulation is nearly done and, as you can see, it's starting to be transformed.
It's like a miracle, isn't it?
And the transformation is going on downstairs too.
Open-plan is the name of the game and watch it take place in front of your very eyes. Ready? Look at this.
Yep, the wall dividing the living room's down, and Julia's showing the boys how it's done.
She's started demolishing the dividing wall in the kitchen.
It's good fun. I do enjoy this bit. That's very good fun.
Do you want another cup of tea, Jules?
-That would be lovely.
-She's a big, strapping girl, that one, isn't she?
-No, she's tiny and svelte.
-They're being helpful, really. They've fitted the new front door.
From fascinating to weird.
Yeah, this morning, this is quite worrying.
It felt like a big hill to climb, but now we're getting there. It's good.
-And we've got half a chance of meeting our next deadline in the build.
The plasterers are here the day after tomorrow, and the way we are
going, I think a good day today and another day tomorrow, we'll pretty much be ready for them.
That's where we want to be, anyway.
There is a lot of plaster going in this house.
It's probably two weeks' work to be done in two days. Bottom line, Mike and Lynn need it.
They've had a right old rough time of it.
Let's get them in. Let's get them in.
Strolling through the blizzard are neighbours Colin and Jackie.
'They know how hard the last two years have been for Mike and Lynn.'
-How are you, darling?
-'They are worried for their future.'
If anything happens to Mike, Lynn's never going to be able to
finish it on her own. Never. And we've seen her struggle.
They've been doing the roof, and the tarpaulin blew off in the storm and she got water pouring in the kitchen.
-Lynn was up on the roof herself, wasn't she?
It seems a stupid question to ask, but if we actually do manage to sort
the cottage out for them, more of a weight off his mind really than...
Well, I think it's a weight off both of their minds, isn't it, really,
but I think Mike is worried if anything happens to him what he's going to leave Lynn with.
That's the biggest... I think for him to be able to be positive
and fight the battle, he's got to be at rest, mentally at rest.
So, no matter how hard the conditions, we'll keep going.
We'll just keep chipping away and hoping things improve.
Only they don't. They get worse.
The weather was looking lovely and it's just gone absolutely bananas.
And this all happened about an hour ago and it's lying really thick and fast.
We've got to get all the deliveries, all the plasterers, all the joiners, all the tools up here tomorrow.
We need them here tomorrow if we've got any chance of completing this job.
You can't make it tomorrow?
Two plasterers down.
Snowed in already.
It might be better in the morning.
This is probably the most monumental catastrophe that happened all week since we've been here.
We are stuck outside the tea shed.
The key and the lock have frozen.
We've got an urn in there bubbling away.
They've put the urn on a timer switch so I think it's definitely worked this morning.
Looks like a small fire.
Forget the snow, forget the ice,
-we can't get in and get a cup of tea.
Thank you very much.
-All right, strike that.
-Nothing else matters.
This isn't the biggest crisis we've had all week. Thank you, Nina.
It's funny with the British. Put a cup of tea inside them, they can take on the world.
And despite the freezing conditions, we've got 20 trades here today. 20!
Though they haven't had an easy time getting here, to be fair.
I heard you had a bit of a run-in?
I was coming down the hill and I put it into first gear cos it's
started sliding, so I just went into the side.
Stopped, got out, and then that the car behind me come down, crashed straight into me.
Wrote my car off.
But you were all right.
That's what counts. It's only a bit of metal on four wheels.
And so he walked here to lend us a hand.
Chris has got a football team's worth of help today.
Back through the rain.
Morning, gentlemen. Thank you very much for turning up.
We've got two days to make it OK. Go for it. Thank you very much.
Hardly Henry V, was it? Anyway, better get mixing.
We've got more than 5,000 square feet of walls to plaster.
Downstairs the living space has been opened up in both the front room and the kitchen.
Upstairs there are now two bedrooms, one bathroom
and an enormous hallway all in need of pink stuff on the walls.
Chris will do it with his team.
But next door in Alyson's house, Mark's found the latest victim of the weather.
There's no water. We could do with that working.
If we can't mix plasters and stuff, this could be a bit of a disaster.
There is a spring, apparently,
which is used to feed the animals and chickens.
I hear water.
Oh, look! There you go.
So that hasn't frozen up. We have to mix up with the spring water.
-It's not that funny.
In fact, it's not funny at all. Do you know how many buckets of water we're going to have to collect?
Well, it will be fresh. It might just have a bit of cow manure,
a few dead rats maybe. All that will be in it, but it will be fine.
Just make sure you wash your hands before you have something to eat.
Er, what's he going to wash his hands with, Jules?
I'm working with idiots, really!
Luckily, a shed load of more sensible builders are here to help
and we're hoping we're doing the house the way Mike would have if he hadn't have got ill.
That's the thing about Mike cos he's been a builder or his life, built houses for everybody else,
including his daughter and son-in-law, and he's just got to the point where, after all
the years of promising, he's finally going to do up his own place. Starts on it then he's struck down.
He's built for all these people all his life.
Just wants to give something back to his missus, who's put up
with him never being there, always working on other people's property.
Makes you think about your about own place. You know, getting stuff done for yourself.
All right, mate, ease up. The missus will be watching this.
Well, that's what I'm saying. Claire, have a word.
Yeah, no, I must get round to that, skimming that ceiling.
Well, I've been building for 30 years.
It's nice to give somebody something that's life-changing.
Why not give a couple of days? It's for a great cause.
I hope he's happy with what we've done today.
This is Vicky from the electricians' company.
-Yes. That's right.
-Providing all the electricians, yeah?
-Yes, we have, yeah. We only live in the next village down.
-Oh, do you?
-Cos you've had a load of guys in here working really hard already. So why did you decide to join in?
Every now and again you get an opportunity to step forward, Nick, and help somebody.
We obviously heard about the situation these people were in
-and we wanted to make a difference to their lives.
-I feel like I should give you a hug.
She smells nicer than most builders, you see.
Also, nice to see the house turning pink.
How many plasterers does it take to plaster a cottage in just two days?
Exactly the number we've got in here, because you couldn't fit another one in.
The plastering is done.
I'm a few miles away in Aberystwyth, to pick up Lynn from the school where works as a dinner lady.
And I'm learning some practical Welsh whilst I'm here.
Hang on, can we broadcast that?
How's it hanging?
-All right, actually, thanks very much.
-Are you sure?
Do you want me to check?
They're very rude, aren't they? I think they've outdone me.
Lynn spends all her time looking after Mike, her daughter and her dogs
and she's had to do all that without a proper home for the past two years.
How do you function day to day in conditions like that?
How do you get by?
You learn to live with it.
I've lived with a tarpaulin and plastic bags on the roof with buckets catching the water.
You just learn to live with it.
I'm that sort of person that I can cope with most things.
You do get down, but you soon pick yourself back up.
Have you thought that maybe taking on all these stray dogs,
and giving them a home, might just be one thing too many?
No, cos they are what keep me going.
I think if I hadn't got the dogs I'd have probably given up by now.
Something you can turn to. You can just say, I'm going out.
Say to one, two, three of them, come on, we're going,
and go off for a walk up the mountain and lose yourself.
So, looking forward, what do you see?
If we get the house finished for you and you have a house
with walls, floors, ceilings, electrics, heating, plumbing, things you haven't had -
how would life change?
I'll be running around like an idiot!
I don't know. It'll be brilliant to think
that it's done.
And with Mike's illness, for him?
It will make a difference for him, I'm sure it will.
The fact that he will have a bedroom and somewhere proper to sleep instead of behind that sheet.
-Maybe this is where your luck changes.
Don't think of that.
Just wait and see what happens.
Sometimes you look at people and think they deserve a change of luck.
We need to make this happen.
We've got four days left and there's a Welsh mountain to climb.
And as if there wasn't enough to do in the house, Mark has lined up more work outside.
We've got the digger here, dig a hole in the ground there so we can pour a concrete pad.
We are going to build a set of dog kennels on it.
It's just a little bit something extra because Lynn has got a lot of
rescue dogs she looks after and puts a lot of energy into.
It's a pastime, something nice for her to do.
It's not just any kennels, is it?
It's a nine-dog, five-star, heated doggy hotel.
The ground is frozen solid.
That should be all right, a two-and-a-half ton digger should be able to cut through that all right.
-Yeah, as soon as they can unlock the digger.
-The lock has frozen.
Don't worry - order some concrete for the kennel base then.
So basically all the ready-mix companies
are frozen and they can't mix concrete.
Oh, for God's sake, it's all frozen!
Don't worry, at least we can start digging out the foundations.
That's not good, is it?
Plan B, Mark?
That's hard, isn't it?
Usually, that would chomp through that.
Inside the house it's a little bit warmer.
We've crammed it with heaters to dry all that plaster out.
The plaster has gone off incredibly well overnight, despite being minus eight last night.
What a result.
And our very own Billy's adding some hot air - just don't give him anything to light.
This is a multi-fuel stove, so you can use coal or wood.
Are they really economical?
Yeah, they are very efficient.
Most wood-burning stoves, they start at about 65% up to about 83% efficient.
-So really it's an updated open fire, isn't it?
On an open fire every £100 worth of fuel you'd put on there, £85 of that goes straight up the chimney.
-It comes out.
You get about 20% from the chimney.
-Does every house have to have one of these?
Assuming Billy doesn't burn it down, and despite everything the weather
has thrown at us this week, we've got the shell of a house.
Now we are looking for the filling.
-Morning, fellas, have you got a kitchen for me?
-We certainly have.
-Big excitement! Big excitement!
-Big '70s dance as well.
-It's starting to get a bit concerning.
Despite the fact we are making ridiculously good progress, we have still only got... Where are we today?
Tuesday... Three days before we need to start getting furniture in.
What's she talking about - there's hardly anything left to do!
All you've got to do is paint and decorate everything.
Put skirting boards and doors into every room.
We've got to fit the whole kitchen in three days.
Oh, yeah, and we've got to fill in the old front door
using original stone, so you can't see where it joins.
But on the upside we've made a breakthrough with the kennels.
These problems with the frost and stuff and not being able
to get any concrete, I spoke to the kennel people and they said they are quite happy that we lay it on flags.
-We just make a level surface for them.
Hardcore it. Blind it with sand.
-Drop the flag straight on to it. They're happy.
But like everything on this job, it's two steps forward, one step back.
You see, the sand we need for the kennels isn't looking very sandy.
Rock solid. And it's not because it's stone,
it's just sand that's frozen and we can't break it up.
On you go. Thanks.
We've got to collect the four tonnes of hard core we need from half a mile away.
The dogs had better like these kennels - it's turning into a marathon job!
Everywhere else we are making real progress.
At the front of the house the guys have turned up to fit the new window.
Look at the stonework around the side, it's really clever.
Look at the window here, they've got the stonework, the stonework is the same round here.
They've cut it off here, look, so it goes into the stonework and it looks exactly the same.
You'd never know there had been a door here.
Craftsmanship that is. It's a beautiful job all over the house.
I'll get some floorboards in.
So the floor is going in and we are starting to get a bit of paint on the walls.
This is the bit I love. Pulling it back, pulling it back.
He is available for pantomime, you know.
Only one of these guys is actually a decorator.
With the weather so bad, the local community is
rallying to help, and we've got an amazing mix of people in here.
Look at all our decorators.
And the local postman.
Hello, mate. How are you?
-Not too bad.
-What's your name?
Hugh came to deliver letters yesterday and realised what we were up to, so he volunteered.
I notice you've got the old
B Team T-shirt. The other team.
When did you get this?
In 2002 they came round to my father's house. I thought, what goes around comes around.
I've got a day off today,
so here I am.
It's a great thing for anybody who's in Mike's situation to have something done for him.
I think it's brilliant.
We've all come today to help Mike and his family.
How come we've got you guys in here, how come you have volunteered?
We both work for the National Trust and fair do's to the National Trust,
they let us come for four days, five days?
That's really lovely, thanks, guys.
This is the skirting board factory in here as well.
160 metres of skirting board in this house.
As you can see, we've got a production line. Alan over there.
-Yeah, 140 metres to go!
The kitchen fitter is doing a stellar job all by himself. I just wanted to give you...
-On behalf of the whole team, give you a group hug.
I tell you what's been rough, it's been a rough few days, but it is starting to look the part now.
Once you've got all the wet trays done and someone is starting to
build a kitchen, it's starting to look like a house, isn't it?
It has definitely got that feeling of home about it, hasn't it? And the finishing line, which is good.
We are not there yet, though.
That pad for the kennel is taking forever.
But these guys really know how to work.
Jules is dotting the i's and crossing the t's on the new stairs,
which is surprising, because he can't spell!
Explain what you are doing, cos that's really nice.
Instead of filling it, what you do...
When you drill the hole,
you drill out a little crack-sized wooden plug, pop in...
Tap that in, let it go off for a bit.
Knock the tops off, plane it and sand it.
So what it looks like, although you've used wooden screws
to screw the top piece of wood in,
-what it looks like is that you've dowelled it in.
And you can get...
When you buy your drill bit you can...
That makes the hole that you put your screw into,
you can buy an attachment that it goes on to,
which you can then drill into the wood and it will drill you a little hole.
-I'll show you the little block of plugs.
-Pop one out,
-there's your plug.
-Do you want that as a memento?
Can I keep that?
I'll put it on the mantelpiece in a glass display case.
That was like a proper tip, wasn't it?
But enough of this, there's still tons to do and we are going to have to plug away into the night.
It's unbelievably dark out in the Welsh countryside here.
It's minus five, minus six now, but
the team are still here in the freezing cold, in the dark, and they've all but finished this.
This lady normally works in a lovely warm, comfortable showroom.
She's now out in the freezing cold. You must be cold now.
-Are you not?
It's a different world really, isn't it?
They breed a different type of person out here.
-So you are basically saying we are all a bunch of softies.
-Thanks very much.
It's going to be a heck of a day tomorrow.
We've got 24 hours to finish this whole house.
Morning. Look at this - the pad for the kennels is finished.
The guys were out here in the freezing cold last night,
freezing their bits off, but they've got it finished.
And we've had another break - the weather is a positively tropical five degrees this morning.
The heat is on in the house, too, cos this needs to be finished today.
-Cue the designer.
-Finally, finally - wallpapering day!
Only about three days late. So wallpapering!
Which wall are you doing, Julia?
This is our absolutely beautiful wallpaper in here.
This is Mike's bedroom.
Pay attention, here comes the science bit.
When you've got quite a strong pattern, having one feature wall is really good idea.
Where you've got either a very warm colour or a very saturated colour or
a busy pattern, when you put that on one surface it has the effect of bringing that surface towards you.
So if you've got a slightly sort of difficult-shaped room, you can use it
to reproportion or to draw attention to that one space in the room.
So it's quite a good little trick, that.
Not just a pretty gorgeous face, our Julia.
The kennel's arrived by the way, but that leaves us with a canine conundrum.
I've been all round the house and all round the building site, I can't
-find Mark Miller any where.
-I don't know where he is.
-Do you not?
I've been looking for you, you fool!
Trying to find out which way we're going to point it. I say we ought to point the entrance up that way.
We've just been talking about it.
We made the pad five metres this way, so that the dogs had a view.
So the dogs had a view?
-Dogs don't care about a view!
You'd actually sacrifice the warmth for the sake of the view, would you?
-Listen. If it's cold...
-And to be fair, you're an idiot.
Some of these dogs are quite intelligent.
Honest to God, if I woke up in the morning and I saw that, I'd be such a happy puppy.
Is this the right shape, the pad that we've done, to point it in that direction?
-It is, yes.
-Then ignore him, he's talking rubbish. Point it in that direction, if you don't mind.
Yeah? Well, you're a lot bigger than him, so I'd probably go with you.
-Yeah, but he's nastier.
-Yeah, that doesn't worry me.
-Does it not?
-You ever seen a Jack Russell have a go at an Alsatian?
So while the kennel goes up,
inside the house the uphill battle has turned into a downhill sprint.
Look at this room, all papered out. Carpet already down.
Pretty much ready.
That's posh, that, isn't it? Posh cleaners.
We're just grateful these guys turn up and stick with us, because we could never do it on our own.
-Thank you very much for all your work.
Little Welsh army, they are.
And because of them, we've got a house to give back to a couple that richly deserve it.
Ten days ago, this house was a wreck and a burden on Mike and Lynn.
Just when they should have been focusing on getting Mike better
from his brain tumour, they were trapped in a nightmare, with no way out.
Our lives are on hold because we're getting to the age where really we should be slowing down,
and it'd just be lovely to have a nice home.
Nobody's ever done anything for us in all the years we've been together,
and to actually have somebody come in
and do, you know, work that I should be doing,
I know I can't do it, but even so, it's...
It just doesn't seem real.
It was almost the job too far for the DIY SOS team.
If we can't get materials up here, you know, and we can't get the trades here,
we can only do half the job, can't we?
But with some incredible and selfless help from the community of Aberystwyth...
and a lot of Welsh determination...
..this house has been turned into a haven of peace for Mike and Lynn.
The living room space has been doubled.
Julia's created a relaxing and calm room, with tranquil colours,
and given them a touch of home, using Lynn's own antique furniture.
Gone is the hallway where Mike was sleeping.
Now it's a place where he and Lynn can entertain and unwind.
The kitchen has been transformed from dark and dingy, to bright and new.
The soft, sunny colours hark to the beautiful Welsh countryside,
and the room has been opened into the new welcoming day room.
We've given them a stable door, so Lynn can have the kitchen to herself,
while the dogs curl up by the real wood fire.
The gloomy 1960s bathroom is gone, replaced with a modern and practical shower room.
Upstairs, we have taken an empty space under the rafters,
and made a luxurious, serene bathroom.
A peaceful place, to soak away the troubles of the day.
We've made a sumptuous and cosy bedroom for Lynn, a lavish and inviting room
where she can shut the door and be as girly as she likes.
And still have a space for one of her beloved dogs.
Mike's finally got his own bedroom,
a masculine and peaceful space.
Julia's brought Mike's love of nature inside,
and he's got somewhere he can completely relax and focus on getting better.
And Lynn's four-legged friends haven't been left out.
They've got a weather-proof, heated kennel to come home to.
This house is now a place where Mike and Lynn can focus
on being happy together and look forward to the future.
What do you hope for?
A living room that's proper.
One big room, that's what we was after.
Right. Well, we hope we've given you
what you had in your mind's eye and you hoped for.
Open your eyes.
Oh, my God!
Flipping heck! Look at that mirror!
(Oh, look at the logs!)
(Oh, isn't it lovely?)
-Don't seem the same room, does it?
-And it's warm in here.
The fire's going. Oh, my God!
-It was... Was it what you sort of envisaged?
Better. And I love the colour.
-It's just too much, isn't it?
I love that mirror.
Where did you find that mirror?
-Well, that's Julia's genius.
Oh, it's lovely, that is.
Oh, and my pictures are up.
Oh, my gum!
As a builder yourself, you'd have been a little bit worried about what we were going to do with the place.
Have we done all right?
Absolutely couldn't ask for anything more.
No. Even I couldn't have got it up to this standard.
I'm so glad that front door's gone.
-Doesn't that look fantastic, now that three window aspect along that side?
It's a fantastic room, isn't it. Isn't it the most wonderful room?
So you're happy with this, are you?
-More than happy!
-So if we'd come here and sorted this out for you, just this...
-That would have been...
-That'd have been... I could have,
yes, because I could have gone out there, done it and then come back into normality in here, couldn't I?
Yeah? Well, there is a little bathroom, because you wanted a bathroom downstairs, didn't you?
-Little bathroom downstairs. You were really worried about the state of the bathroom.
Oh, God, it was awful. Oh! Flipping heck, Michael!
Look at that! Oh, isn't it lovely?
Happy with it?
-Downstairs loo, lamps, basin and a beautiful shower.
Doesn't look like the same place, does it?
But we haven't stopped there.
Here we go. You don't have to keep your eyes closed.
Go on. Have a look.
Oh, my God.
Oh, my giddy aunt.
Oh. It's a different oven!
Yeah, I thought you'd notice.
Oh, Michael, it's lovely.
A beautiful sink, where you can, if you're standing at the sink you can look out over the view.
Plenty of storage space, plenty of work space.
New hob, new extractor, new oven.
-They all work?
Oh, isn't it lovely?
-You like it.
-Yeah, love the colour.
Oh, somebody's taken all the time to sand these beams down.
Yeah. Hey, listen, you remember the other thing that you said, you wanted to make sure there was...
Dog free! Look, and I've got a dog...
So you can lock that while you're doing the cooking and just keep the dogs in there, if you want.
They're banned from here! They're banned. I think they're banned from everywhere!
-Oh, my gum.
-And do you remember when you said, when we were in here on that first day when I came up here,
when the snow was coming down, and I chatted to you in here and you said that you wanted
-a middle wall taking down, because it's going to look beautiful looking back.
What do you think of the view now?
I think it does.
I don't think you could get better.
I mean, you've been waiting such a long time for this, haven't you?
Oh, yeah. Yeah.
It's been a good few years since we,
since we started this.
-What's it like to be stood here in it now?
As though it's not ours!
It's a bit overwhelming, to be honest.
You know, I knew we would get something nice, but not as...
..not as nice as what it is now.
This is what you expect to see on the TV.
It's not what you expect to see in your own house!
See this thing on my right?
-Yeah, that's the TV!
I'm sorry, but I've just cocked it all up, I know that!
No, not at all, it's perfectly fine!
-I'm glad you like it, I'm really glad you like it.
-Shall we take a look upstairs, then?
Do you want to lead ahead?
Look at that for a bath!
-That's what you call a bath.
So, space is tight upstairs, so what we decided to do is
go with a bath upstairs, you've got the shower downstairs.
Isn't it lovely?
-And Lynn, this is your room.
-Oh, my God!
Flipping heck, I can't wait to get in here!
I can't wait to get in it!
Two weeks on a lilo!
A warm bed!
Oh, it's beautiful.
And the wallpaper. I love it.
It's hot in here!
I shall have to turn the radiator off, I'm not used to heat!
So has Julia got this right for you?
She has got it right, definitely.
-A bit of decadence for you.
Oh, it's lovely.
It's so warm in here.
Do you want to come and see yours?
-Do you want to stay here, do you want to come and see his?
-I want to see his, what they've done.
You've got the fish tank!
-I'm lost for words!
Yeah. I really am.
I'm basically speechless.
So, as a builder yourself, you'll know
what it's taken to do this.
In ten days, oh, yeah.
We can't thank them enough, we really can't.
What they've done for us here...
..it's beyond our belief, anyway.
There's one last person to show.
It was daughter Alison who wrote to us for help.
Even I'm speechless, and that doesn't happen very often, I can tell you now, Nick!
It doesn't happen at all!
I don't know what to say. I just don't know what to say.
It's just out of this world.
Just seriously for a moment, I know that you were very worried about the future
for Lynn, weren't you?
Has this put your mind to rest?
-Takes the pressure off a bit, don't it?
Takes the pressure off a hell of a lot.
Right, one last thing. Mind yourself on the muddy floor.
Have a look up.
Oh, look! Real kennels for them!
-Brilliant! And they can't dig their way out either!
Some of the people that have been here for the last ten days,
working themselves to death in freezing conditions,
are currently freezing out the front.
-Would you like to come and say hello?
This is absolutely fantastic.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
-Thank you ever so much!
It's been the most amazing response from this lot.
Thank you ever so much.
It's not like a house now, it's a proper home.
She's lived in a barn, basically, for the last 18 months.
As I said before, it was all because of us that they were in the mess they were in,
so that's why it's so important that she's got a house now she can live in.
You may or may not know that Mike is a builder himself, and has done many homes over the years
for many people, so what do you think of what the guys have done?
Can't thank you enough.
Couldn't have done better myself, let's put it that way!
I can't believe what you've all done for us.
I never expected it to be a house, to ever get done. I didn't.
This man here, John, oh, man,
he's been an absolute trooper, he's been here right from day one.
And he's taught me how to plaster walls as well, no less!
-There you go!
-So if I find a wonky one...!
-It wasn't me, no!
-I'll know who to blame then, won't I?!
You're welcome. I'm really happy for you.
-Thank you. It's lovely, thank you.
I helped lay the pavements outside the kennels.
Brilliant, thank you ever so much!
I love my kennels!
I'm all right, Mam, yeah.
We arrived in a blizzard and we've ended, at least metaphorically, in the sunshine.
When we arrived and saw this house in the middle of nowhere,
we thought, "Where's the community here to help out?"
They are here, tucked away in the valleys
and hills and round the corners, and they all came out to help.
Proper working-class heroes.
Warms the cockles of your heart, doesn't it?
Even in this weather.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Nick Knowles and the team enlist the help of the local community in Aberystwyth to renovate a home for a builder with a brain tumour. Michael Saunders built an extension onto his house when his son- in-law's MS meant he had to start using a wheelchair. When Michael discovered he had cancer, he was unable to finish his own home and he and his partner were left living in a cold and draughty shell of a house. Battling against terrible weather conditions, Nick and the team head to West Wales to rally friends, family and local trades to help turn Michael's house from a building site into a comfortable home.