Essex Escape to the Country


Essex

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This may not be a masterpiece, but today's county

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inspired one of Britain's most famous Romantic painters.

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His works have been immortalised in pigment for 200 years

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and back in 1817, he painted this very scene.

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Find out where I am as we escape to the country.

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'In today's show, we help a couple escape the fast lanes of Enfield for a slice of the good life.'

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A vegetable patch. Hey!

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'We'll be checking out some beautiful character homes.'

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Wow, look at that!

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'But will the interiors even matter?'

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Where's my farm and the cows?

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'And could today's mystery house blow everything else out of the water?'

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Today I'm in Constable county, Essex.

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He spent his formative years here, painting wonderful scenes like this.

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Dedham Church features heavily in his work.

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He used to meet secretly with the love of his life here. How romantic.

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When you think Essex, you don't really think rural escape,

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but you'd be amazed just how much rustic charm this county has to offer.

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'Situated to the northeast of London, Essex is, in fact, mostly rural,

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'with a whopping 70 percent of its 1,500 square miles devoted to farmland.

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'Historic market towns, picturesque villages and endless pastoral views

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'make up the majority of the landscape. And to the east, the 350-mile coastline

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'is as much given over to nature as it is to classic seaside resorts.'

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'Although Saxon in origin, Essex was the first region the Romans made home,

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'following the conquest of AD43, so there's plenty to keep history buffs busy.

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'But if you're expecting the Colosseum, you might be disappointed.

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'What you will find are more traditional farmhouses and thatched cottages.

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'14,200 properties are listed here, accounting for nearly three percent of England's total.'

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So, what do you get for your money? Probably not a windmill,

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but £295,000 will get you that detached property,

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that's 18 percent above national average.

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And the further away from London that you travel, the cheaper it becomes.

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Agents say that for every minute of commute time,

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£1,000 comes off the price.

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Well, here's what's available for princes and paupers across the county.

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'If you won the lottery and had a cool £1.9 million going spare,

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'then this 1920s house near Epping could be yours.

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'It's been sympathetically restored and extended

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'to include five tranquil bedrooms and three opulent reception rooms.

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'But with five acres outside, you might need to hire a gardener.'

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'For the slightly more modest sum of £795,000,

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'how about this Grade II listed, six-bedroomed Georgian manor near Braintree?

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'Recently renovated to its former glory, the three reception rooms

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'are overflowing with period details.'

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'And the bespoke country kitchen is the ideal place to cook up a storm.

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'If downsizing is on the cards, then check out this three-bedroom

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'16th century thatched cottage in Debenham, just over the border in Suffolk.

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'For the price tag of £395,000,

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'you'll get 400 years worth of original features to enjoy.

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'The love of beams will be a must. Just watch your head on that ceiling.'

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When most people think of Essex, they think of the large, southern towns

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or maybe enjoying an ice cream at Southend-on-Sea.

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But today's property buyers are pushing northwards, past the kiss-me-quick booths,

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in order to find their dream country property. Let's meet them.

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'Malcolm, a court clerk, and Anne, a teaching assistant,

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'have lived in their four-bedroom semi in Enfield for 14 years.

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'Now their children have flown the nest, they share it with their cat, Molly.

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'But Welsh country girl Anne is keen to escape their busy main road for a rural lifestyle.'

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I want to move to the country because, as a child, that's where I was brought up

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and where I spent all my youth, and I long to get back.

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The area we're particularly looking at is the north Essex, south Suffolk area,

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with quite a few very pretty villages around there, a lot of open countryside,

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plus it's manageable to get to my workplace.

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My firm relocated me a couple of years ago.

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I've been doing a 90-mile round trip to and from work each day.

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'So, easy access to Malcolm's work in Witham will be key to the location.

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'What does their dream home look like?'

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Having some open countryside, quiet roads, looking across fields, that sort of thing, would be superb.

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I'm looking for a country cottagey type place with lots of character,

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maybe with beams, cos I love beams. But they've got to be high so he doesn't bump his head.

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-Well over six foot high.

-And I'd like a bigger garden

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and more space for relaxing in.

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-More for me to dig, I suppose.

-More for you to dig, yeah. To grow more vegetables.

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'So, the outside space will be just as important as the interiors for these two.'

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I love gardening, growing vegetables in particular. I've got a good batch of Brussels sprouts coming up.

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Come Christmas time, they'll be ready to put on the table. But I'd rather have a much larger area

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to grow even more stuff. I'd like cauliflowers and cabbages, as well. I don't have enough space here.

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Cake decorating is my main hobby. It's what I really love to do

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and I spend a lot of my time doing this, but as you can see, my kitchen is cramped.

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I haven't got enough room for any of this stuff. If I could have a larger kitchen, it would be magic.

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'And with plans to branch into a cake-baking business, that bigger kitchen will be a must.

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'But what other criteria do they have in mind?'

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This is my son's xylophone. He's a music student up in London.

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'We have a drum kit, a glockenspiel, a set of vibes, all similar sizes, we need somewhere for them.

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'And it's not just instruments that need to be housed.'

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We have three children, so enough space to put them up if they want to come for Christmas.

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I think the essential things will be the four bedrooms,

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the large kitchen, so you can do your bits and pieces.

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-Two bathrooms.

-Detached.

-And enough space to put up the family.

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'Before they can home in on a new country pad, they need to put their current house on the market,

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'so we've invited a local agent to give them a valuation.'

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A spacious four-bedroomed semi-detached family house

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in a popular residential road close to Enfield town

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and excellent links into the city.

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I value it at £400,000.

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We've been here 14 years. We paid £120,000 at that time.

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-So to go up to that figure, it's fairly reasonable, I think. Can't complain about that.

-Fair enough.

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'It's a sizeable sum, but will they want to spend all of it on their new home?'

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To move out to the country, our budget will be somewhere in the region of £390,000.

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Essentially, Malcolm and Anne are after the same thing. They want a detached four-bedroom cottage

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so that all of their friends and family can come and stay.

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They want a bigger garden with a vegetable patch and a place to find solace.

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Let's not forget the country kitchen for cake-crazy Anne.

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They want all of this away from the main road so that their cat, Molly,

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can roam around unhindered in the countryside.

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'And as Malcolm doesn't want to be situated any further than a 45-minute drive from Witham,

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'we'll be starting the search in the countryside around Braintree, North Essex.

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'We'll view some stunning period homes but, as always, I won't reveal the price tag until the end.

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'And finally, there's the mystery house, which always has the potential to shake things up.'

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-Hi, Malcolm, Anne. Welcome to Essex.

-Thank you very much.

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-In your case I should say...

-HE SPEAKS WELSH

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-SHE SPEAKS WELSH

-You're from a rural background, right?

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Yes, I used to live in South Wales at the seaside, in the countryside. Beautiful there.

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-So this is almost like coming home for you.

-Yes, definitely.

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-But not for you city boy.

-No, born and bred in London, so it'll be a real change for me.

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-Your house is on the market. You've had to lower the price, though.

-We originally had it valued at 400

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and it's now 380, so hopefully it won't go a lot lower.

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-Has the budget changed, then?

-Well, ideally, we'd like to be below 380,

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-but if the right house comes along, we might be persuaded to push it a little bit.

-I'll persuade him.

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-We'll both persuade him.

-Yeah.

-What's your limit?

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Probably 400-ish. We wouldn't want to go much above that.

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-Shall we get on with it?

-Yeah.

-Come on.

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'So, for a maximum budget of £400,000, Malcolm and Anne have a long wish-list.

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'They want a detached property with bags of character, rural views,

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'four bedrooms, two reception rooms,

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'a big country kitchen where Anne can get creative with cakes

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'and an equally big garden so Malcolm can upscale his veggie plot.

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'No pressure, then.'

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So what are you like when you look round properties? Do you look with your head or your heart?

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Well, I look with my heart and he looks with his head.

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We're very different in that respect. I look how easy it's going to be to maintain

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and the cost of running it and where the radiators are

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and Anne just says, "This is lovely."

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-Still excited about it?

-Oh, yes. Very.

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'Our first property is on the outskirts of the village of Tiptree

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'near Colchester. At just seven and a half miles from Witham,

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'it's ideally situated for Malcolm's work.

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'This once rural hamlet is now a popular village with over 10,000 inhabitants.

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'The commercial centre of Tiptree originally grew up around the Church of St Luke's in the late 1800s.

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'But it's now home to all the amenities you'd expect to find in a much larger town,

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'so it won't be a culture shock for Malcolm, whilst still catering for Anne's countryside needs.'

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Well, it's very pretty.

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-16th century.

-Really? Wow.

-It was originally one thatched cottage and then it was split into two,

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-extended in the 1800s. Loads of charm and character, don't you think?

-It's lovely.

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I love the design on the wall.

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-And it is a very quiet road, isn't it?

-It is.

-Excited?

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-I can't wait!

-Good! Come on!

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'It's not detached, but that doesn't seem to be putting them off.

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'And inside, this cottage is crammed full of character.'

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Wow! Look at that!

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-Oh, what a beautiful fireplace!

-Isn't it just?

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This is the 16th century part of the house. Lovely touches. You can see where they sharpened the knives.

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Yeah. And the little bread oven.

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-So, first impressions? You like it?

-Yeah, it's a lovely warm, welcoming feeling as you come in.

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There's plenty more to see. Let me take you through here.

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'Great reactions. But Anne has baking of her own to do,

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'so let's check out the catering and dining area.'

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-Newish conservatory.

-Yeah, that's really nice.

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I'm wondering, when the family come, whether we'd fit them all in

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for a meal around here. Could be a bit tight.

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-If you took out the chairs, maybe, put a large dining table there.

-We have lots at Christmas.

-How many?

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-15, 16.

-Right.

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-Let's hope it's a really nice day and you can eat outside.

-Brr!

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-I know you're desperate to see that kitchen, so follow me.

-I will.

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Can't wait. Oh, yes, I like that.

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That is lovely. Beautifully fitted.

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It's just the sort of kitchen I like, but it feels too small.

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It's smaller than we've got now and I was hoping for something bigger.

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'Right, back through to the living room, and I think I can predict what they're going to say.'

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-It's very pretty, but it does feel a bit small.

-Right.

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-We'd never get our furniture in here.

-You're struggling already.

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-Quite a hunch.

-Yeah, I'm conscious of the height. It is much smaller than the room we have now.

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'Ah, there's that word small again. But this is the reality of traditional period cottages.

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'Will they be able to compromise on space for character?'

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Nice wide stairway.

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That's what I like about the property. You've got the 16th century side of it

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but also you've got the new side, 1800s.

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-As you say, you can stand up.

-It's a mix of wood, as well.

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Yeah, reclaimed timbers. They've tried to keep the theme going.

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Also, it is an old property. Even the new part of it is old.

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-But tastefully renovated and redecorated. Plenty of light.

-Very attractive.

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-Have a look at the family bathroom.

-Oh, that's nice.

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Yes, I like the tiles. It's very modern.

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It's quite attractively finished, but again, it's quite small, quite compact.

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'I'm going to use the word cosy instead.

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'And up here are two cosy bedrooms.

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'One is currently used as a study, but could be a little music room.'

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I love the fact that you walk down into your master bedroom.

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-Ooh. Look at the beams!

-Do you remember this?

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Oh, that's from the fireplace downstairs. The chimney breast.

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-And if you look around this room, you're not going to see a radiator anywhere. Come on in.

-OK.

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-Why do you reckon?

-If you have the fire on, the heat all comes from there.

-It comes from the bricks.

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-Nice.

-And I love the vaulted ceiling.

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The current owners have done this. It was originally there, but it had been blocked off.

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So they took the ceiling down and this is what was there. It doesn't end there. Follow me.

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Come on through. You've got another staircase here that leads to the sitting room and living area.

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And then come on through to Narnia.

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-Original door.

-Mm-hm.

-16th century.

-Duck, Malcolm.

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Duck and stretch.

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How agile are you, Malcolm?

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Yes, this'll be a test.

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-Oh, so it's a dressing room.

-At the moment, it is, but it could be a bedroom.

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-It's not an en suite. You've got the original...

-Oh, isn't that lovely? I like that.

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It's a shame to hide it away up here.

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-But how exciting for your guests to come through to this old room.

-Yes.

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-This would be my room.

-Oh, would it?

-Yes.

-Your dressing room?

-She'd probably need something this size.

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Once you got a bed in, there wouldn't be much room.

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But you've got to take into account, look at the size of this thing.

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-Massive!

-Two feet deep.

-Yeah.

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But if that wasn't in here, where would it go?

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-That's a point. You're going to be difficult to please, aren't you? I can tell.

-Sorry.

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I also don't know how you would get it out.

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-Presumably is was built in situ.

-How the hell did they get it in here?

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Through the window, maybe.

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How did they get the wardrobe in here?

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'Well, the wardrobe might be stuck,

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'but we need to get outside and check out the garden.'

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-That's a pretty little area, isn't it?

-It is.

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Nice glass of wine there in the evening.

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I like the archways.

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You've got honeysuckle and passionflower in the arch.

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-Oh, that's nice.

-It's like a little oasis, isn't it?

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-It's really pretty.

-When it comes out, you'll get a lovely scent.

-Yeah.

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Wow. You don't expect this to be down here.

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Much wider than you think, isn't it?

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-Neat little vegetable patch.

-Yes.

-Little.

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Yes, probably wouldn't feed us for very long, growing vegetables there.

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-You've got this huge double garage. How about that for your cake-making business?

-It's a possibility.

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'Maybe Anne will like this pretty summerhouse.

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'And for a true taste of the good life, how about a chicken coop?'

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-So, overall, you like the garden?

-Very pretty garden. But, again, small.

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Really? Even though you've got the space for three sheds, space for chickens?

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It's very long and narrow and quite overlooked and totally dominated by the hedge to this side,

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which perhaps is too big a feature for a garden this wide.

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So, I have to ask you the question now. What do you think it's worth?

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It's beautifully done, so that brings it up.

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Because it is absolutely spotless and nothing needs doing in there at all.

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-So I would guess 340.

-OK. How about you?

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I think that's a bit over the top. I'd go 315, 320.

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Cos it's semi-detached, in a fairly built-up area. I think that'll hold the price down.

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-She's bang on the money.

-I guessed she would be.

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Well done you!

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Excellent! How do you feel about it now?

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Also, take into account that you haven't seen the double garage yet.

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This could be the start of your new career, cake decorator of north Essex.

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-I think it's big enough. Go and have a look and I'll come and find you.

-OK.

-See you in a bit.

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'I'm beginning to think these two could be demanding customers.

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'On the market for £340,000, this property's a massive £60,000 under budget,

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'so there could be scope to convert the double garage.

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'This cottage delivers character over and above expectations.

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'It has three to four bedrooms, cosy reception rooms

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'and a very pretty garden.

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'But it will be a compromise on space.'

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Really large garage. Do you think you could do your cakes in here?

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If I had this converted, I could even maybe have the special ovens in here

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and just keep that for the family and do everything out here.

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It had a nice country feel to it. It was the sort of country cottage I'd imagined

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and I was really wowed by that fireplace in the hallway. That was a really unique feature.

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But it was a semi-detached and it looked small.

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Not much space upstairs in the bedroom and a little bit cramped, a bit took cosy for me downstairs.

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It was a very pretty house, really warm, homely feel to it, but the upstairs was just not big enough.

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Having family to stay with, really, one double and one single bedroom would be quite an issue for us.

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-Seen enough?

-Yes. Thank you.

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Right, come on, plenty more to see.

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'Despite having lived in London and Essex all of his life,

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'the northern reaches of the county are largely unknown territory for Malcolm.

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'He and Anne may not be moving a million miles away,

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'but they will be buying into a very different lifestyle, so they're exploring before they move.

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'First up is Braintree. This historic town has had a thriving market since 1199

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'and should be the perfect escape for city boy Malcolm

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'when country life gets a little bit too quiet.'

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-Very atmospheric.

-Superb. Little, individual shops.

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-There's some big shops up there and then we could have a cuppa here.

-Sit in the shade under the tree.

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'For country mouse Anne, Flitch Way is prime rambling territory.

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'A 16-mile walk from Braintree to Bishops Stortford,

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'this old rail route has now been reclaimed by Mother Nature.'

0:18:440:18:48

-I bet there's lots of wildlife around here.

-You can hear birds singing. There's a lot of nests.

0:18:480:18:54

It's really lovely just to hear birdsong instead of the traffic we're used to.

0:18:540:18:58

'Of course, Anne and Malcolm are keen on character properties,

0:18:580:19:01

'so the period splendour of Audley End House just outside Saffron Walden is a must see.'

0:19:010:19:08

-Amazing architecture. You see all the columns.

-This is beautiful. Look at those lovely stone window frames.

0:19:080:19:13

'Originally the site of Walden Abbey,

0:19:130:19:16

'the land was given to Sir Thomas Audley by Henry VIII during the dissolution of the monasteries

0:19:160:19:21

'and it took the family a whopping 11 years,

0:19:210:19:23

'from 1603 to 1614, to create this grand Jacobean mansion.'

0:19:230:19:29

-Wow. Incredible. Look at that.

-That's beautiful!

0:19:290:19:33

-I bet they've had some great banquets in here.

-Big table here, people all sitting round.

0:19:330:19:37

There could be a wedding. One of my cakes over there.

0:19:370:19:41

All the people, all in their finery, all dressed up.

0:19:410:19:44

'But it's the land outside that I think will be of more interest to Malcolm.'

0:19:440:19:48

-Here you are, Malcolm. How's that for a vegetable patch?

-This is right up my street.

0:19:480:19:53

Think of the Brussels sprouts I could grow here! Would keep us going for years.

0:19:530:19:57

Never mind your Brussels. I'll have some nice flowerbeds, I think.

0:19:570:20:01

-Climbers up the wall.

-Plenty of apple trees, as well. Lots of fresh fruit.

0:20:010:20:05

Yeah, that's good.

0:20:050:20:07

'Well, it looks like this little taste of the region has whetted their appetite.

0:20:070:20:11

'I just hope they're not expecting us to find them quite such a grand property as this one.

0:20:110:20:16

'For the next house, we're heading north into true rural Essex and the hamlet of Cornish End.

0:20:210:20:26

'Despite being just 19 miles from Witham,

0:20:260:20:29

'the winding country lanes mean Malcolm's journey time to work will just be short of an hour.

0:20:290:20:34

'I'm hoping the idyllic countryside setting will win them both over.

0:20:340:20:38

'The hamlet itself consists of little more than fields and farmhouses.

0:20:380:20:43

'But just a five-minute drive away is the beautiful village of Finchingfield,

0:20:430:20:48

'complete with shops, restaurants and pubs.

0:20:480:20:50

'The words picture postcard perfect could've been coined for Finchingfield.

0:20:500:20:54

'In fact, it's considered to be the most photographed village in the county.

0:20:540:20:58

'With its 18th century windmill, abundant thatched cottages, pretty pond and green,

0:20:580:21:03

'there are plenty of vistas to point a viewfinder at.'

0:21:030:21:07

I hope this is rural enough for you, this lovely country lane.

0:21:090:21:12

-It's lovely.

-Miles from anywhere.

-This is the property.

0:21:120:21:15

-It's really pretty.

-Superb.

-Beautiful.

0:21:150:21:18

-Half weatherboarding, as you can see. It's semi-detached.

-Oh.

0:21:180:21:23

-We might be prepared to compromise.

-Ooh! I didn't expect that. I'm glad you said that.

0:21:230:21:28

It used to be the original farm-workers' cottages.

0:21:280:21:31

It's also been extended in the 80s.

0:21:310:21:34

-Shall I stop talking about it and shall we go and see it?

-Yes. It looks exciting.

0:21:340:21:39

'That's what I like to hear. They won't have to compromise on character

0:21:390:21:43

'or space inside the Grade II listed cottage.'

0:21:430:21:45

-So, we're in the 80s part of the house.

-Wonderful fireplace.

0:21:470:21:50

I like the fireplace. Multi-fuel. Yeah. I like that.

0:21:500:21:55

I love the view. I love that view.

0:21:550:21:58

-That is amazing.

-It's pretty spectacular, isn't it?

-Just what I wanted, a view like that.

0:21:580:22:02

-I like the beams. Gives you height.

-Even though it's the 80s bit,

0:22:020:22:06

-they've tried to make it feel an old style, as well, and they've succeeded.

-Yeah.

0:22:060:22:12

OK, let's go and have a look at the rest of the house.

0:22:120:22:15

'Of course, at the top of Anne's list is a big kitchen,

0:22:150:22:18

'and with this cottage, she gets two for the price of one.'

0:22:180:22:21

-You've got the range here. Quarry tiles.

-Yeah.

0:22:220:22:27

-So this is your smaller kitchen. Small but fully functional.

-This could be my cake kitchen.

0:22:270:22:33

-Ah, you think?

-Maybe.

0:22:330:22:36

We have his and hers kitchens, so if we have a bit of a disagreement...

0:22:360:22:39

-What do you do in the kitchen?

-Wash up and...

0:22:390:22:44

-Now is not the time for a domestic.

-THEY LAUGH

0:22:440:22:47

-His and hers kitchens.

-And you probably can't see washing machine

0:22:470:22:50

-or dishwasher or anything here.

-Tumble dryer. Fridge.

-Where are those?

0:22:500:22:54

Do you know why? Cos I'm going to take you through to what could be kitchen number three now.

0:22:540:22:59

Wow. This gets better.

0:22:590:23:01

-OK, so it is a conservatory.

-Yes.

-But...

0:23:070:23:11

-Oh, dead clever!

-That's a sink. It's got electricity.

0:23:120:23:18

So how about extending this and making this your cake-making area?

0:23:180:23:24

-What else have we got?

-Have a look. You've got plumbing for everything here.

0:23:240:23:28

-Dishwasher.

-Dishwasher, washing machine. It's a neat idea, isn't it?

-It is. I like that.

0:23:280:23:34

It is a lovely room. I like this. I do like it as it is.

0:23:340:23:38

Back through the kitchen and there's yet more living space.

0:23:410:23:44

A separate dining room.

0:23:440:23:46

-Another fireplace.

-That's really pretty.

0:23:460:23:49

-Dining room or music room.

-You could knock through that wall and make it one big space.

0:23:490:23:54

-Mm.

-This downstairs area.

0:23:540:23:57

Having a separate dining room is useful.

0:23:570:23:59

-You're thinking musical instruments in here.

-You can put the piano in here

0:23:590:24:03

With these quarry tiles, great acoustics.

0:24:030:24:05

-Yeah.

-It's very bright, isn't it?

-It is.

-Right, come back through.

0:24:050:24:09

'I think we're hitting the right note. Upstairs shouldn't disappoint, either.

0:24:090:24:14

'There are four bedrooms in total. First off, a single, which is currently used as a study,

0:24:140:24:19

'and a double guest room.'

0:24:190:24:21

Have a look.

0:24:210:24:23

Oh, I like the light blue.

0:24:240:24:27

It's like a boarded sort of finish. It's good.

0:24:270:24:30

-The only thing I'd say, guys, is that this is the only bathroom.

-Not a major problem.

0:24:300:24:36

-Good, good. Master bedroom beckons.

-Good, good. Let's have a look.

0:24:360:24:40

And you can probably tell by the floorboards that we're going from old to new.

0:24:400:24:45

-Guest bedroom there.

-Yeah, that's good. Double bed.

0:24:450:24:49

And this is the master bedroom.

0:24:490:24:52

-Is it Malcolm and Anne's master bedroom?

-Yes, I think it could be.

0:24:530:24:57

Wake up and look straight out onto that, which is lovely.

0:24:570:25:00

-Doesn't get much better, does it?

-No. Beautiful.

0:25:000:25:03

And if you do get bored of that, you can look through...

0:25:030:25:06

-Have a different one out that way.

-Wait till you see the garden. You'll love it.

0:25:060:25:10

-I'm confident.

-Can't wait for that.

-Come on, then.

0:25:100:25:13

'I know the outside space is vital for Malcolm and Anne,

0:25:170:25:20

'and this cottage comes with a quarter of an acre.'

0:25:200:25:22

-Oh, yes. So lovely, That's beautiful.

-You've been itching to get out here.

0:25:260:25:31

I have. I love the outdoors and it's right there, the countryside is right on our doorstep.

0:25:310:25:36

-You touch it, don't you?

-Yeah. That's beautiful.

-Follow me.

0:25:360:25:39

'And this garden just keeps on going.'

0:25:400:25:43

Oh, this is nice. I like this. This garden works really well for me

0:25:430:25:47

because it's got lovely flowerbeds that I could work on,

0:25:470:25:50

lawned areas, there's a couple of seating areas

0:25:500:25:54

and with that view, very attractive little garden, this.

0:25:540:25:58

-So serene. So quiet.

-Quiet and peaceful. No traffic.

0:25:580:26:03

This is farmland, but the farmer is known to sell his land, so you could probably buy a plot if you fancied.

0:26:030:26:08

-But I don't know if you need it.

-There's quite a bit of land here.

-It's a lovely big garden.

0:26:080:26:13

-We're only halfway there.

-Greenhouse.

-This is really good.

0:26:130:26:16

-Come through this lovely little arch.

-Lots of different areas.

0:26:160:26:20

More seating areas through here.

0:26:200:26:23

-And then we come to...

-The vegetable patch. Hey!

0:26:230:26:27

That's good. It's been well looked after, looking at the soil.

0:26:270:26:31

-I could see you extending that, but there's plenty of room.

-Big enough to do what we want, but not too big

0:26:310:26:36

to be unmanageable when we're both working full-time. It's good.

0:26:360:26:39

-A lot of pluses in the garden. Like it. Well done.

-Let's go back towards the house.

0:26:390:26:44

'Well, now I know what it takes to impress these two.

0:26:440:26:46

'But what will they make of the price?'

0:26:460:26:49

So, you've seen the house, the garden, the vegetable patch and the lovely view.

0:26:510:26:56

-What's it on the market for?

-It's really hard to guess, because it's a nice house in a nice location.

0:26:560:27:01

I don't know.

0:27:010:27:04

380, 390, probably.

0:27:040:27:07

I was going to go a bit higher than that, because I think it's got a lot to offer.

0:27:070:27:11

Lovely grounds, it's Grade II listed,

0:27:110:27:15

it's mostly got character. There are bits I would like to change.

0:27:150:27:18

So I'll go for 400.

0:27:180:27:21

It's currently on the market, this house with this garden, with that view,

0:27:210:27:26

-for £385,000.

-Ah. So you win.

-I was closer this time.

0:27:260:27:30

-That's good.

-Go and have a good look around and I'll catch up with you later.

-OK.

0:27:300:27:36

-Thank you.

-Cheers.

0:27:360:27:38

Well, if only the property was Victorian throughout,

0:27:380:27:41

I think Malcolm and Anne would've blown the budget straight away.

0:27:410:27:45

It's just the 80s add-on they're not really keen on.

0:27:450:27:48

But what do they want, a slightly imperfect house or a perfect view?

0:27:480:27:53

'And this cottage is £15,000 under-budget.

0:27:580:28:01

'There'd be spare change to make any improvements they want.

0:28:010:28:04

'It's got Anne's farmhouse kitchen, four good-sized bedrooms,

0:28:040:28:08

'potential for music rooms and a quarter of an acre of garden

0:28:080:28:12

'with an established vegetable plot. So, will it come up smelling of roses?'

0:28:120:28:16

This house, it's grown on me as we've gone round.

0:28:160:28:20

I do actually really like it. I love the garden.

0:28:200:28:23

I love the views. It's just that first room that we went into that perhaps holds me back.

0:28:230:28:28

-This wasn't what we expected at all. You walk in and it doesn't seem to match the outside.

-Mm.

0:28:280:28:34

There's quite a different feel about it.

0:28:340:28:36

But the rest of the house has got more charm, which I think is more appealing.

0:28:360:28:41

It's got a lot of character, it's in a wonderful location,

0:28:410:28:44

conservatory was brilliant, I really liked that,

0:28:440:28:47

and the garden was to die for. I could really do a lot with that.

0:28:470:28:51

But I do have reservations about the kitchen being in three different rooms.

0:28:510:28:56

Things won't all be to hand and I think that will lead to frustration.

0:28:560:29:00

Ah, you're smiling.

0:29:020:29:04

Don't tell me what you've decided. There are more houses to see. Come on.

0:29:040:29:08

'Now, both Anne and Malcolm are wildlife enthusiasts.

0:29:160:29:20

'But for Anne, there's one animal she's been longing to see in its natural habitat all of her life.

0:29:200:29:25

'It's the badger. So, to try and make her dream come true,

0:29:250:29:28

'we've come to the Badger Watch Centre in the woodlands just outside of Braintree to meet Rene Byam.'

0:29:280:29:34

-Desperate, they are, to see some badgers.

-Oh, well, let's hope they do. Fingers crossed.

0:29:350:29:40

I always thought they came out after dark. The sun is going down.

0:29:400:29:44

We need to get in position before the badgers come out, well before they come out,

0:29:440:29:48

because they've got a very good sense of smell and also hearing.

0:29:480:29:53

'The priority of the Northeast Essex Badger Group

0:29:530:29:56

'is the protection and conservation of these beautiful nocturnal creatures.'

0:29:560:30:00

So where are you taking us now?

0:30:000:30:02

We're going to go and look at a sett before the badgers come out,

0:30:020:30:06

cos we can't really go traipsing round all over the sett when the badgers are out,

0:30:060:30:11

otherwise we stand no chance at all of seeing a badger.

0:30:110:30:15

'I hope the badgers will grace us with their presence tonight.

0:30:160:30:19

'But even if Anne isn't lucky this time round, the group are always in need of volunteers

0:30:190:30:24

'and their most important task is monitoring the badger setts.'

0:30:240:30:28

This has been freshly excavated.

0:30:280:30:31

-A badger probably did that last night.

-That's one sett?

0:30:310:30:35

-That's one entrance of this sett.

-Will they know we're on top of them?

0:30:350:30:39

Yeah, they can probably feel the vibration as we walk across.

0:30:390:30:43

-So we have to try not to disturb them too much.

-OK.

-Be nice and quiet.

0:30:430:30:48

'Right, let's get into that hide sharpish, then.'

0:30:480:30:51

So now you've got us in here, what do we do?

0:30:540:30:58

Just wait. Sit and wait.

0:30:580:31:01

-And keep your fingers crossed.

-OK.

0:31:010:31:04

I don't think I've ever been this quiet in my life.

0:31:080:31:11

There's one.

0:31:110:31:13

-I can see one.

-There's a badger.

-Yes, I can see one.

0:31:130:31:17

Beautiful.

0:31:170:31:20

You've seen your badger.

0:31:200:31:24

I can't believe that we've only been here 20 minutes

0:31:290:31:32

-and I've seen a badger.

-Wonderful, isn't it?

0:31:320:31:35

-I'm so excited!

-I am, too.

0:31:350:31:39

It's brilliant.

0:31:390:31:41

-I think that Anne's actually found her ideal home.

-I have.

0:31:410:31:45

-Here.

-You're going to move into the hide.

0:31:450:31:47

-That was magical. Thank you so much.

-It's fabulous, isn't it?

0:31:470:31:51

-It was well worth coming out.

-I'm glad you enjoyed it.

0:31:510:31:55

'With the night drawing to a close, Anne and Malcolm have a chance to discuss

0:31:590:32:03

'the two houses they've already seen.'

0:32:030:32:06

What do you think of the property in Tiptree, the 16th century cottage?

0:32:080:32:12

I thought it was beautiful. It had every bit of the character

0:32:120:32:16

and charm that I think we're looking for

0:32:160:32:19

and a really pretty little garden, but I felt it was too small for our needs.

0:32:190:32:23

The rooms were a bit small, the kitchen wasn't big enough really for what I wanted to do

0:32:230:32:28

-cake-decorating wise.

-My biggest concern was the bedrooms.

0:32:280:32:32

There was one double bedroom, one single bedroom and the other rooms weren't that big.

0:32:320:32:37

For the family to come and stay, it just wouldn't work, we couldn't fit them all in.

0:32:370:32:41

What about the Victorian cottage that was near Finchingfield?

0:32:410:32:44

That had a lot more going for it. It was a much larger property and we could get people in.

0:32:440:32:50

The bit that really hit the buttons for me was the gardens.

0:32:500:32:53

I could really do what I want to do with the vegetables. The garden was really what I wanted.

0:32:530:32:58

What do you think about it? The kitchen, in particular. That was quite unusual.

0:32:580:33:02

I liked the character of it, that it was in three parts, but there were bits I could've improved.

0:33:020:33:08

I think what was a bit of a problem for me was when we first walked into that living room,

0:33:080:33:13

I was disappointed. It was so pretty outside and I was expecting a bit more charm and character in there.

0:33:130:33:20

-It didn't really match, did it?

-But, overall, I liked it, and I loved the setting.

0:33:200:33:25

-And now I'm just excited about tomorrow.

-If it's another day like today, it'll be brilliant.

0:33:250:33:31

'So, the search continues to find Anne and Malcolm their dream character cottage

0:33:370:33:42

'in the north Essex countryside. For a maximum budget of £400,000, they're after quite a lot,

0:33:420:33:47

-'including a big kitchen, big garden and great views.'

-That is amazing.

0:33:470:33:52

-'But there's plenty more to come.'

-I can see cows. I'll never get out of bed.

0:33:520:33:56

'Or will it be today's mystery house that has them signing on the dotted line?'

0:33:560:34:00

She's not buying the house, she's buying the view.

0:34:000:34:03

So, it's a new day and our search continues to find Malcolm and Anne their dream property

0:34:050:34:10

here in rural Essex.

0:34:100:34:12

For country-born Anne, this is like coming home, and she's whole- heartedly embracing the experience.

0:34:120:34:18

But for city boy Malcolm, this is a journey into the unknown,

0:34:180:34:21

and I'm not sure he wants to be too remote.

0:34:210:34:24

How far will they escape to the country?

0:34:240:34:28

Malcolm, we've been driving around the countryside quite a lot.

0:34:290:34:33

Is this too remote for you?

0:34:330:34:35

Probably not too remote. I think, when you're in the middle of nowhere

0:34:350:34:39

and there's not another house within half a mile, that's probably too remote,

0:34:390:34:43

but if there's a few buildings, a bit of community, I'll cope.

0:34:430:34:47

But for you, Anne, there's no such thing as too remote.

0:34:470:34:51

-No. And the nearer to a farm, the better.

-Really? Why is that?

0:34:510:34:54

Because I grew up with farms all around me and I just loved it.

0:34:540:34:58

I spent most of my time just in the farms with the animals. Loved it.

0:34:580:35:03

-So you're looking for a return to your childhood, really.

-I am, yes.

0:35:030:35:07

And this has made me realise that, actually.

0:35:070:35:10

-Really? Already?

-Yes.

-Malcolm's got a worried look on his face.

0:35:100:35:14

'Well, I'm confident Anne will love the location of our next property.

0:35:140:35:18

'It's just over the Suffolk border and in the extensive farming region surrounding Great Waldingfield.

0:35:180:35:24

'But at just three miles from the thriving market town of Sudbury and a 45-minute drive to Witham,

0:35:240:35:29

'it shouldn't scare off Malcolm, either.

0:35:290:35:31

'Set in traditional Suffolk countryside with origins dating back to the Bronze Age,

0:35:310:35:36

'Great Waldingfield is a sleepy little place with a population of 2,000 people and just one pub.

0:35:360:35:41

'So our Enfield escapees shouldn't have any difficulties getting to know their potential neighbours.

0:35:420:35:48

'And character homes aren't in short supply.

0:35:480:35:51

'Many of the thatches and farmhouses around here are over 400 years old.

0:35:510:35:56

'Our property isn't quite that old. It's this Victorian farmhouse.

0:35:580:36:02

'Although no longer a working farm, there is one next door, so it should be right up Anne's street.'

0:36:020:36:07

-It's beautiful. Look at that. That is so nice.

-What do you think?

0:36:070:36:11

I think it's really lovely. It's just perfect from the outside.

0:36:110:36:15

It was refurbished eight years ago by the current owner,

0:36:150:36:18

-so a mixture of old and new.

-Lovely. That sounds just right.

0:36:180:36:21

-Shall we go in?

-Mm.

-Come on.

0:36:210:36:23

Come on in out of the cold.

0:36:330:36:35

-So, cloakroom. Very handy.

-Yes, that's useful, that.

0:36:350:36:39

This is your hallway.

0:36:390:36:42

Oh, that's a nice hallway. I like the exposed brickwork.

0:36:420:36:46

-And the wood. I love wood.

-They've used reclaimed beams.

0:36:460:36:49

-Have they?

-Listen, I can't take the pressure any longer. I've got to show you this country kitchen.

0:36:490:36:55

-I'd love to see it.

-To see if it's up to scratch.

0:36:550:36:57

-Wish me luck.

-Go for it.

0:36:570:37:00

-Oh, that's really nice.

-Plenty of room, isn't there?

-Yeah. Love it.

0:37:050:37:10

-There's potential, maybe, to put an island.

-Or a big table in.

0:37:100:37:14

-Yes, indeed.

-Conservatory running off the kitchen. A door out to the garden.

0:37:140:37:19

And in front of you, your view is onto the working farm and beyond.

0:37:190:37:24

It's really nice. I think this'll do perfectly.

0:37:240:37:27

-You can even get your cake tools hidden away somewhere.

-I could. There's plenty of room for that.

0:37:270:37:32

-I would move in here very easily.

-OK, let's move on. I'm so happy!

0:37:320:37:37

'The kitchen is obviously to both Anne and Malcolm's taste.

0:37:370:37:40

'And there's more space just next door.'

0:37:400:37:43

Oh. And what room's this?

0:37:440:37:46

-This is actually the dining room.

-Oh, right.

-It's being used as a bedroom.

0:37:460:37:50

It could perhaps become a music room. We could get the piano in there

0:37:500:37:55

-and some of the musical instruments. It'd be quite good for that.

-OK.

0:37:550:37:59

Follow me.

0:37:590:38:01

'And if the orchestra grows, this study could be used for yet more storage.

0:38:010:38:05

Oh, yeah, I like this. Oh, yes. I like the brick wall with the beams in there.

0:38:120:38:18

-Is this the old part of the building?

-This isn't the original wall,

0:38:180:38:22

but it's in the same style, but it's the old part of the building.

0:38:220:38:26

-I want to bring you slightly this way.

-OK.

0:38:260:38:28

-Keep looking.

-Oh, there's my farm with the cows!

0:38:280:38:33

Oh! I love being in amongst the farms, like where I grew up. Lovely.

0:38:330:38:40

'Well, you can almost touch the cows. You can definitely smell them.

0:38:400:38:44

'And with four bedrooms, I can't see upstairs being a let-down.'

0:38:440:38:48

-Guest room?

-Yeah.

-It's a good size, isn't it?

0:38:520:38:54

While they've got a single bed in here, you could probably get a double bed in.

0:38:540:38:59

-You would, yeah.

-It's not a huge space but...

-Big enough for a double bed.

0:38:590:39:03

-Adequate. Yeah. I like it.

-Adequate is good. We like that.

0:39:030:39:07

'And I think the two single bedrooms next door should be adequate, too.

0:39:070:39:12

'And the family bathroom is definitely functional.' Welcome to your master bedroom.

0:39:120:39:16

-Wow.

-This is a nice sized room. Big.

0:39:160:39:20

-It's pretty, isn't it?

-It is.

-Malcolm, she likes the room so much,

0:39:200:39:24

-but she hasn't even noticed the view yet.

-Give it a chance.

0:39:240:39:28

-She's heading that way. Heading towards those cows again.

-Cows!

0:39:280:39:31

Oh, bless them. If I can see the cows through the window, I'll never get out of bed.

0:39:310:39:36

Just look to your left.

0:39:360:39:39

-Hey! En suite!

-HE LAUGHS

0:39:390:39:41

Who's a happy girl now then, eh? You've got an en suite, as well.

0:39:410:39:46

-Very useful. We've got our en suite here.

-Good size shower.

-Yeah.

0:39:460:39:51

It's really useful when you have guests to have a separate facility like this.

0:39:510:39:55

-Give them theirs and we've got ours.

-Yes, you've got your en suite.

0:39:550:39:59

-Well done.

-She's a happy bunny now.

0:39:590:40:01

Come back through here. Let's have a look at that outside space.

0:40:010:40:05

'I know these two are itching to get outside

0:40:070:40:09

'and this garden is the biggest we're seeing, a third of an acre.'

0:40:090:40:13

Anne, I'm glad I could tear you away from those cows.

0:40:130:40:16

-What do you think of it?

-I love it.

0:40:160:40:19

Yes, it's just the right amount of land for what we need.

0:40:190:40:24

It's got everything you want, but can you afford it?

0:40:240:40:28

-That could be a problem.

-What do you reckon it's on the market for?

0:40:280:40:31

Well, I think it's going to be over our budget.

0:40:310:40:35

It's further out, so you get more for your money,

0:40:350:40:38

but considering all that it's got, the land, the position, I'm going to go 430.

0:40:380:40:44

-430, OK.

-I think it'll be even more than that.

0:40:440:40:48

It's quite close to Sudbury, with the shops and railway, so I think another 5,000 or 10,000 on top of that.

0:40:480:40:54

So probably 435, 440, for this location.

0:40:540:40:57

It's been on the market for just over a year.

0:40:570:41:01

-It's had two drops in price.

-Mm-hm.

0:41:010:41:03

The current owners are taking offers in excess of £400,000.

0:41:030:41:08

-Right.

-So it's the top end of your budget.

-Yeah.

0:41:080:41:11

-But it doesn't push it totally out of limits, does it?

-No.

-I thought it would be more than that.

0:41:110:41:16

-Ooh.

-Look at you! Ooh!

-THEY LAUGH

0:41:160:41:20

-Got to do some sums now.

-Well, go do some sums, have a look around and I'll catch up with you later.

0:41:200:41:26

'Well, Anne is obviously very taken with this farmhouse and its countryside setting.

0:41:260:41:31

'Although it's on the market for offers over £400,000, it's been up for sale for some time,

0:41:310:41:35

'so they should be able to make an offer in budget and it needs no work whatsoever.

0:41:350:41:40

'The kitchen is ideal. It has the four bedrooms they want

0:41:400:41:44

'and there's ample room for growing sprouts in the garden.'

0:41:440:41:48

This is superb. It's exactly what we're after.

0:41:480:41:51

The journey from Witham might be a bit longer than I would've liked,

0:41:510:41:55

but I'll have to test it out.

0:41:550:41:57

But apart from that, wonderful. It is exactly what we need.

0:41:570:42:00

I can imagine, when the sun's shining in the afternoon, having the doors open into the conservatory.

0:42:000:42:05

-The light would come through and the heat.

-It's a really nice family area.

0:42:050:42:10

I really love the house. I love the way I looks, the way it feels when you go in,

0:42:100:42:14

the use of space inside, love it being right in the middle of a farm, a working farm.

0:42:140:42:21

It'd be hard for me to fault anything with it, to be honest.

0:42:210:42:25

It's just how I pictured my dream house to be.

0:42:250:42:28

You're just too late. I've just executed my perfect back flip.

0:42:290:42:33

Shall we move on? Why you looking at me like that? You don't believe me, do you?

0:42:330:42:38

'Now, no trip to Essex would be complete without a visit to historic Colchester.

0:42:480:42:52

'It was here in 43AD that the Roman invaders decided to set up home,

0:42:520:42:57

'making it Britain's first ever city.

0:42:570:42:59

'2,000 years of history are in evidence just about everywhere you look

0:43:010:43:05

'and no building is considered to have more historical importance than Colchester Castle.

0:43:050:43:10

'Not only is it the largest surviving example of a Norman keep in Europe,

0:43:120:43:16

'its foundations are built on the remains of the most significant Roman building in Britain,

0:43:160:43:21

'the Temple of Claudius.

0:43:210:43:24

'In 60AD, the temple was all but destroyed by native Britons, led by the legendary Queen Boudica,

0:43:240:43:30

'but two days and 30,000 lives later,

0:43:300:43:33

'the Romans emerged triumphant to rebuild their city.

0:43:330:43:36

'Some of the finest visual examples of the Roman occupation are housed in Colchester Castle,

0:43:360:43:41

'and perhaps none more well-preserved than the mosaics to be found here.

0:43:410:43:46

'So, to inspire Malcolm and Anne with some Roman home decor,

0:43:480:43:52

'we've sent them along to meet local mosaic expert Anne Schwegmann-Fielding.'

0:43:520:43:56

We've got a lot of Roman mosaics here

0:43:560:43:59

and mosaics would be used to adorn floors and walls and vaults in Roman times.

0:43:590:44:04

Would it be a gang of people working on it?

0:44:040:44:07

Yeah, there'd be a real workshop of people.

0:44:070:44:10

In Italy, they'd be a lot more elaborate. In Britain, they're slightly more simple designs.

0:44:100:44:15

But this is quite a good one. We have got some special ones here.

0:44:150:44:20

'The Berryfield Mosaic was discovered in 1923 by gardeners digging a hole for their compost.

0:44:200:44:25

'It's believed to date from the second century AD

0:44:250:44:28

'and would've adorned the floor of a prestigious Roman townhouse inside the city walls.

0:44:280:44:33

'A more recent find is the Middlesbrough Mosaic, uncovered at a local dig in 1979.

0:44:330:44:39

'Both are fine examples of this ancient art form, which is still alive and kicking today.

0:44:390:44:44

'Anne's been creating individual pieces for both properties and gardens for the last 14 years.

0:44:440:44:50

'And if you think mosaics are just for walking on, then think again.'

0:44:500:44:53

Striking a balance when it comes to location seems to be the key for Malcolm and Anne.

0:44:580:45:04

So for the mystery property, we've come up with a wonderful solution.

0:45:040:45:08

A house with a great commute for him and solitude and quiet for her.

0:45:080:45:13

And it wouldn't be the mystery property without a twist, would it?

0:45:130:45:17

Do you want to know what the twist is? It's a house on an island.

0:45:170:45:21

'Yes, we're heading just half a mile offshore to the hidden gem of Mersea Island

0:45:210:45:25

'and in particular the little village of East Mersea.

0:45:250:45:29

'The island sits in the estuary of the rivers Blackwater and Colne

0:45:290:45:32

'and is the most easterly inhabited island of England.

0:45:320:45:35

'Linked to the mainland by a half-mile Anglo-Saxon causeway,

0:45:350:45:39

'its five square miles consist largely of farmland.

0:45:390:45:42

'And the entire coastline is designated an area of outstanding natural beauty,

0:45:420:45:47

'a haven for wildlife lovers like Malcolm and Anne.

0:45:470:45:51

'And if they get stranded at high tide, they needn't worry.

0:45:540:45:57

'East Mersea has a shop, a pub and a pick-your-own-fruit farm.

0:45:570:46:03

'And just a stone's throw from the water is our mystery house.

0:46:030:46:06

'Dating from the 1920s, it still packs a period punch.'

0:46:060:46:10

Oh, that's nice!

0:46:100:46:13

-That is really beautiful, isn't it?

-Can you tell that all these properties are almost identical?

0:46:130:46:18

They were originally owned by the golf club and anyone who had a bit of money in the 1920s

0:46:180:46:22

-would come over for a round of golf and they'd put them up in these cottages.

-Very nice.

0:46:220:46:27

-I like it.

-It looks in really good order, doesn't it?

0:46:270:46:30

'And if Anne thought the views have been good so far, wait until she sees what this house has in store.'

0:46:320:46:38

Come on in. Don't be shy. It's not like you.

0:46:400:46:43

-SHE LAUGHS

-Ah, you know me well.

0:46:430:46:45

A typical 1920s property. Let me show you the sitting room first.

0:46:450:46:50

-Oh, this is a lovely room. I like this.

-Good proportions.

0:46:530:46:57

That's a nice feature, the plate trail up there.

0:46:570:47:00

-It is. And I love the original fireplace.

-Gorgeous.

-It's working.

-That's nice.

0:47:000:47:05

-A real coal fire.

-Yeah, I love that.

0:47:050:47:08

The bay window, typical of the date of the property.

0:47:080:47:11

-Yeah. It's really pretty. Nice warm, sunny room.

-Through to the dining room.

0:47:110:47:17

'The dining room is opposite, but it's the kitchen I really want Anne to see.'

0:47:170:47:21

-Ooh! Oh, yes!

-It's bigger than I expected.

0:47:250:47:30

-Oh, fabulous.

-It's nice, isn't it?

-Yes.

-It's very you.

0:47:300:47:34

-Love the cooker.

-Electric range. No gas on the island.

0:47:340:47:38

-That's OK.

-But when you live on an island, you put up with that sort of thing.

0:47:380:47:42

-I like this very much.

-One thing you haven't noticed is, if you look out the window...

-Look at that!

0:47:420:47:49

-Oh, my goodness!

-Across the water.

-It's just beautiful.

-Let's move on.

0:47:490:47:53

'Downstairs, this house just keeps on giving.'

0:47:530:47:57

-Another impressive room, isn't it?

-Oh, another reception. Oh, I like that fireplace.

0:48:000:48:05

-Yeah, that's not 1920s.

-I like the wood.

0:48:050:48:10

-Will your furniture fit in here?

-I think it would.

-Plenty of room.

0:48:100:48:13

-And you've got that out there.

-You have. Come on.

0:48:130:48:16

That view. That is just magnificent, isn't it?

0:48:190:48:22

-Yeah.

-If I had a pound for every time you've said that to me.

-Sorry.

-No, it's good!

0:48:220:48:27

She's not buying the house, she's buying the view.

0:48:270:48:29

I think that's the case. You're buying the house and you're buying the view.

0:48:290:48:33

-The outside is just as important to me.

-The view might be cheaper.

0:48:330:48:37

-Shall we go upstairs?

-OK.

-Sounds good.

0:48:370:48:40

'Well, I'm glad those views have Anne sold, because upstairs isn't quite so spacious.

0:48:400:48:45

'First off, the small guest room.'

0:48:450:48:47

-A nice bedroom. It goes round the corner.

-There's a lovely little seat in the window.

-Very nice bedroom.

0:48:470:48:54

'Next door is a weenie study which could accommodate a few recorders

0:48:540:48:58

'and the family bathroom is quite basic.'

0:48:580:49:01

And I've saved one of the nicest rooms till last.

0:49:010:49:04

-Wow. It's superb, isn't it?

-It's an excellent room.

0:49:040:49:08

What I'm worried about in this room is storage, cos you've only got that door, that door, that door.

0:49:080:49:14

-Wardrobes?

-His and hers.

-So it'll be hers and hers and a little bit of his.

0:49:140:49:20

-I was thinking maybe yours could go under the bed.

-Yep.

0:49:200:49:23

And I've left the final room till last.

0:49:230:49:26

-A room that's very important to you, Anne.

-An en suite!

-It is!

0:49:260:49:30

-Go on, then, go and see.

-Oh, what a beautiful one!

0:49:300:49:34

That's really lovely. And that view! Ohh!

0:49:340:49:40

That is really nice, Aled. It's lovely.

0:49:400:49:43

'Let's get out into that garden and take a closer look at the view.'

0:49:430:49:47

-Is this patio large enough for you?

-It's massive.

-Huge.

0:49:500:49:54

-You could fit a few people on here.

-Very beautiful.

0:49:540:49:57

It just seems to go on beyond the garden, into the fields. It's like it's one continuous piece.

0:49:570:50:03

-You're probably wondering about your vegetables.

-Yeah. There's a lot of land.

0:50:030:50:07

It's a very wide plot, but it's all used at the moment.

0:50:070:50:10

It's whether we can create a space without it spoiling the prettiness of it.

0:50:100:50:14

-Shall we go and have a look if we can create a space?

-Yeah.

0:50:140:50:17

-Have you got your pitchfork?

-Get stuck in.

0:50:170:50:21

'At 80 feet, it's a bit of a hike to the end of this garden.'

0:50:210:50:25

-It's not a bad view, is it?

-It's beautiful.

0:50:270:50:30

-I'm glad you think I'm right, Aled.

-Here I'm thinking maybe his vegetable plot.

0:50:300:50:34

We could create space which wouldn't look too unpleasant from the house. This would be good.

0:50:340:50:39

And if you don't say anything, listen.

0:50:390:50:41

BIRDS CHIRP

0:50:410:50:44

-That's magic, isn't it?

-I know. I would sit here,

0:50:440:50:47

-look at that view and listen to that.

-You know what I'm going to ask. What's it on the market for?

0:50:470:50:52

A good location, good views,

0:50:520:50:55

edge of Colchester, which is not too far away from big shops,

0:50:550:51:00

-it's probably around 400, perhaps a tad below. I'll go 395.

-OK.

0:51:000:51:06

I was going to go a bit more than that, because it's in a very special area here,

0:51:060:51:11

on the island, magnificent views,

0:51:110:51:14

it's a lovely house in excellent condition, although it is only three bedrooms.

0:51:140:51:19

I would say 415,000.

0:51:190:51:21

Was on the market for £475,000.

0:51:230:51:26

-I'm not surprised.

-Really?

-It's been on the market for a couple of years, though.

0:51:260:51:30

-Yeah, go on.

-£400,000.

0:51:300:51:33

-Oh. Spot on, then.

-Pretty well, yeah.

0:51:330:51:37

You both smiled in a way that you thought, "Ooh, that's good."

0:51:370:51:40

It could've been a lot more. Probably the location being just out of town on the island reduces it a bit.

0:51:400:51:47

Have a look around, have a look around your vegetable plot, garden.

0:51:470:51:50

-There's no rush at all. And I'll come and find you.

-OK.

-Thank you.

0:51:500:51:54

'So, the mystery house is bang on budget at £400,000.

0:51:540:52:00

'Whilst it only has three bedrooms, and one of those is tiny,

0:52:000:52:04

'it does have three good-size reception rooms,

0:52:040:52:07

'so one could be used as an occasional guest room.

0:52:070:52:10

'Both the kitchen and garden are spacious,

0:52:100:52:13

'and this bungalow has something none of the other houses do - stunning sea views.

0:52:130:52:17

'But will this island idyll be the one for Anne and Malcolm?'

0:52:170:52:20

The idea of being on a island is quite fun.

0:52:200:52:22

The house itself is a very pretty house, very well maintained,

0:52:220:52:27

you could walk straight in and live here without doing work, but there's only two proper bedrooms.

0:52:270:52:32

It's too small, really, to use as a bedroom. You would get a bed in here but you wouldn't get much else.

0:52:320:52:38

It's a nice office but, as you say, not really a third bedroom for what we would want. It's a shame.

0:52:380:52:44

I can't fault the position, on the island here with the views, and the location is just tremendous.

0:52:440:52:49

The thing that's lacking for me are period features and character.

0:52:490:52:54

Well, that's it. You've seen all the properties we've got to offer here in north Essex.

0:52:560:53:01

Don't rush the decision. Go away and think about it.

0:53:010:53:05

-Don't argue about views or fixtures and fittings. You promise me?

-We'll do our best.

0:53:050:53:09

-I'm glad. I've found a lovely spot to meet up and have a chat later.

-OK, brilliant.

0:53:090:53:14

'Our property search in north Essex is nearly at an end.

0:53:230:53:26

'Malcolm and Anne have viewed all four houses, three of which could be contenders.

0:53:260:53:30

'So will it be Anne's heart or Malcolm's head that sways their decision?'

0:53:300:53:35

Well, I think it's rather apt that we end our journey here with this rather beautiful view.

0:53:420:53:48

-It's been the word of the last two days, hasn't it?

-Very much so.

0:53:480:53:52

Let's talk about all the properties. Quite different.

0:53:520:53:55

We'll start with the one with that very impressive inglenook fireplace.

0:53:550:53:59

-You liked it.

-I loved that, yes.

0:53:590:54:01

Beautiful character to it, lovely warm, welcoming feel.

0:54:010:54:05

All the period features I'm looking for. Very pretty throughout. But, really, it was just a bit small.

0:54:050:54:12

I don't know where we'd have fitted all our furniture downstairs.

0:54:120:54:16

And the kitchen was too small and there wasn't enough space for me to make my cakes

0:54:160:54:21

-and have them in their various stages of decoration.

-A lot of houses around it,

0:54:210:54:25

which made it feel very enclosed, which is not something we were after.

0:54:250:54:30

So I took you to the Victorian semi-detached property with three kitchens.

0:54:300:54:35

I thought the kitchens could be used for what I need it to be used for.

0:54:350:54:42

It had the perfect garden and the views. The location was spot on.

0:54:420:54:46

It probably is a bit too remote. I'd like to have a pub or a church or a shop

0:54:460:54:50

or something within easy walking distance,

0:54:500:54:53

and this was so remote, you couldn't see any other building for miles.

0:54:530:54:57

Great for what Anne is after, but it could easily lead to some marital discord there

0:54:570:55:02

if it was too remote. THEY LAUGH

0:55:020:55:05

We also saw a huge smile on your face when I showed you the farmhouse

0:55:050:55:09

-with the cows almost at touching distance.

-That, for me, was my dream house. I thought it was perfect

0:55:090:55:16

and I just fell in love with it more and more.

0:55:160:55:19

Yet again, this is your dream house and maybe not yours.

0:55:190:55:25

I think the house was. When we walked up the driveway and saw it,

0:55:250:55:28

I thought, "Wow, this is the house." It just looked so right.

0:55:280:55:31

The journey time to Witham could've been an issue. I'll have to work out exactly how long it would take

0:55:310:55:36

to get from that house into Witham. But that's not insurmountable. That could be resolved.

0:55:360:55:42

And then we ended up here, the house on the island.

0:55:420:55:46

And the house was a lovely property.

0:55:460:55:48

It didn't have the period features that I liked,

0:55:480:55:51

but because it had such a nice, bright feel to it, I could've overlooked that.

0:55:510:55:56

What stopped me going for that property was the lack of bedroom space,

0:55:560:56:01

because I felt there were really only two useable bedrooms in that house.

0:56:010:56:07

It was very 1920s, which isn't a bad thing,

0:56:070:56:09

but it isn't really what we're looking for. We want a few beams, inglenook fireplace,

0:56:090:56:15

-something with a bit more character from an older era.

-Can I ask you, are you going to follow up on them?

0:56:150:56:21

No, I don't think so. I think all the houses had good points and bad points

0:56:220:56:27

but I don't think the good points were enough in number

0:56:270:56:30

for me to really want to go for one whole-heartedly.

0:56:300:56:33

Well, as the sun's setting here, I really do wish you luck as you continue your search

0:56:330:56:39

and it's been a pleasure showing you round the properties. So good luck.

0:56:390:56:43

Well, we didn't manage to find Malcolm and Anne their dream property,

0:56:450:56:50

but with Anne's passion for the rural landscape and the remoteness of it all,

0:56:500:56:54

I don't think it'll be that long until she drags Malcolm to the country. Till next time, goodbye.

0:56:540:57:00

'If you'd like to escape to the country and would like our help,

0:57:000:57:04

'please apply online at:

0:57:040:57:07

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:57:090:57:13

E-mail [email protected]

0:57:130:57:17

.

0:57:170:57:17

Series in which prospective buyers are helped to find their dream home in the country.

Aled Jones helps a couple escape suburban Enfield for a slice of the good life in rural Essex. With a maximum budget of 400,000 pounds, the couple have a long wish list. They are seeking a detached property with bags of character, rural views, a big country kitchen and an equally big garden to create a veggie plot. Can they achieve all this within budget so close to the capital?


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