Aled Jones helps a couple of wildfowl enthusiasts find a property with five acres of land, a large kitchen, three bedrooms and at least five naturally fed ponds.
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Hello, and welcome to a bonnie Escape to the Country, which today,
as you've probably guessed, comes from Scotland.
Now, stereotypes aside, there is a reason why I'm playing the bagpipes today.
I'm in a county which was once an area where Scottish troops marched against the English
whilst playing these atmospheric instruments.
So can you guess where I am?
Keep watching. All will be revealed.
Cut! Excuse me.
You're supposed to wait till I'm ready.
-When I go like that, people at home will think I'm playing the bagpipes. All right?
-Let's go for it.
Today, we'll be helping a couple escape the suburbs for some Scottish country living.
-You could have a medieval banquet in here!
But will seeing be believing?
-You're a bit red.
-That shocked me!
And will they take the plunge with today's mystery house?
See, I'm seeing you in that bath, Jan.
Er, no, you're not, Aled.
Today I'm in the Scottish Borders, a lowland county filled with beauty and history.
It was across this very landscape
that England and Scotland's battles took place throughout those centuries.
And so powerful were the bagpipes in spurring the Scots into action
that it's the only musical instrument that's ever been banned as a weapon of war.
Mind you, it SHOULD be banned, the way I play it.
But away from the fighting, this area of Scotland is now more sedate and prosperous,
enticing people from both sides of Hadrian's Wall to come and find their wee bit of heaven.
With Northumberland to the south, and Glasgow and Edinburgh to the north,
the Scottish Borders take in around 1,800 square miles of unspoilt countryside -
from the hills and the moorlands in the west to the agricultural plains in the east.
But at the heart of the Borders is the mighty River Tweed.
Running for 97 miles, it's ranked as one of the best salmon-fishing rivers in the world.
Historic market towns have flourished on its banks,
whilst its tributaries branch out into the expansive countryside.
And it's along these shores you'll find pretty villages and hamlets
with a vast array of period property on offer.
As yet, home buyers escaping city life haven't headed here in their droves.
And in a recent poll, it was voted the third-best rural region to live in Scotland.
They used to say the further north you travelled, the cheaper the property got,
but the days of absolute bargains, acres and acres of land for pennies, are well and truly over.
But up here, you still do get value for money.
A typical house will have a bigger garden, therefore more land,
and inside, the rooms will be larger and there'll be more of them.
Well, a detached house in Scotland will set you back around £240,000.
If you want to be in the Borders,
then you can expect to shell out about six percent more.
So grab your sporrans and your kilts - here's what's currently on the market
in and around the county for a variety of budgets.
If you fancy being Laird of the Manor and have in excess of £925,000, then you could be,
with this very grand seven-bedroom Victorian property near Jedburgh.
Originally the home of a local sausage magnate, the house has "meaty" proportions,
with no less than three reception rooms and exquisite period detailing.
And if it's the outdoor life you're after, how does twelve acres sound?
For the slightly more modest sum of £695,000,
you won't have to downsize with this six-bedroom eighteenth-century farmhouse near Kelso.
Inside, the property has character features galore
and outside comes complete with a three-bedroomed lodge,
generous grounds and stunning views over the Teviot Valley.
If you'd prefer vistas of the Cheviot hills,
how about this five-bedroom Georgian house near Berwick-on-Tweed?
On the market for £415,000,
it's been extensively renovated and extended to provide both very modern and very period living
with plenty of space for all the family.
There's more wheat than chaff here, that's for certain,
so let's meet our escapees, who are eager to bound over that border.
Today's couple, Barry and Jan, met seven years ago whilst working for the railway.
They tied the knot in 2004. But with retirement on the horizon,
they've decided to swap their four-bedroom house in a Yorkshire village
for the good life in Scotland.
We would love to live in a larger place.
We just haven't got the scope here any more to do any more to this property.
We have got three dogs, and they are an integral part of us.
We would like more land.
I'd like chickens, bees and fruit trees.
We would like somewhere where Barry can raise his waterfowl.
Yeah, naturally fed ponds would be a big plus, obviously, for the waterfowl aspect
and it'd make the ambience nicer, too.
Well, plenty of outdoor space is a fairly usual request, but ponds?
That's specific. So no wonder, in eighteen months of looking for their dream home in the Borders,
Barry and Jan have come up empty-handed.
There's no half-measures.
It's got to be perfect, because it is going to be the last move we make.
It might be their last move, but it's also their first property purchase together,
so the pressure is on.
But what does Barry and Jan's perfect house actually look like?
This house was built in around about 1962.
Although it's rather nice, it hasn't got a lot of character.
The next property, I would like to have with a few more features.
Three double bedrooms will be essential in the new property, because I've got three children
and my grandchildren and it's our intention for them to come and visit us regularly.
I really like the size of this utility room.
In the next property, I would like something similar.
It's ideal for wet clothes and wet dogs.
This is where they get fed, this is where they sleep, and it's just perfect.
I would like, however, the potential to have a shower to clean the dogs after a dirty day out.
The dogs are obviously going to be well catered for, but what about Barry and Jan's requirements?
Actually, I'd quite like a separate dining room
for Christmas and special holidays and a nice big kitchen with a range.
But before they buy in the Borders, they need to know just how much they'll have to spend.
So we've invited a local agent to come and value Barry's home.
This is an excellent four-bedroom house with very good entertaining space in a popular commuter village.
We would recommend a guide price in the region of £499,000.
I think the estate agent's valuation is fair.
It's certainly in line with what we were expecting.
Any less and we'd have to reconsider what we could afford to spend on the new property.
But that being the case, we can go up to £600,000 on our new property.
£600,000 is a healthy budget here in the Scottish Borders,
especially as we're after a three-bedroom detached property
and Jan wants enough space for her chickens and a room with a view.
My only concern is with Barry.
He wants not one, not two, not three, not four but five naturally-fed ponds.
What's all that about?
As frequent visitors to the Borders,
Barry and Jan know and love the countryside
around the towns of Kelso, Hawick and Jedburgh,
so that's where we'll be focussing our search.
In today's show we'll be viewing three stunning houses
with lots of land and watery features.
But, as always, I won't be revealing the prices until Barry and Jan have had a good look around.
And the last of the three - the mystery house - will really put their wish list to the test.
-Jan, Barry, good to meet you. How are you?
-Very well, thank you. And yourself?
-I'm not bad.
Are you excited about this voyage of discovery?
Very much so. We're very keen on the Scottish Borders, so it's going to be really great.
You're beautifully co-ordinated. If only you were as co-ordinated in your property search,
because I get the sense that you're after the house and you're after the five naturally-fed ponds.
-What's all that about, Barry?
-Well, I've kept ducks in the past,
-and it was a bit heavy going in a back garden, and I now want to do it properly.
Unfortunately, ducks interbreed, so I will need to keep certain ones away from each other
so they don't interbreed, cos the idea is for them to be returned to the natural habitat, the rarer ones,
and they've got to be perfect, genetically correct.
So that's the piece behind it, really.
But are we desperate for the five, or if we get you three, two...?
Well, you can always split ponds.
I'm sure we can be versatile in that respect.
Where there's a will, there's a way.
-Excellent. I'm glad you said that. Shall we get on with it?
-I think we ought to.
So, for their budget of £600,000, Barry and Jan want:
So far, so simple.
But finding Barry his five duck ponds
could take us into choppy waters.
-So, are you nervous or excited about this first property purchase together?
-I'm very excited.
I feel quite confident that we're going to find the ideal property in the Scottish Borders.
I mean, just look at the scenery.
We're kicking off today's property search
in the Teviot Valley
and countryside around the historic town of Hawick.
Hawick started life as a small village in the 11th century but expanded rapidly in the 1700s
with the explosion of the knitwear industry.
There's a wealth of handsome Georgian and Victorian architecture to be found here,
and a recent £10 million regeneration scheme
has breathed cultural, social and economic life back into the town.
Barry and Jan don't want to be right in the mix of it, though,
so we've found them a property just a couple of miles away in a very rural setting.
It's basically early 19th century.
It was an old water mill and barn that's been fantastically converted and restored.
So many quirky features in there.
I'm just awestruck. It's everything and more that we're looking for.
I mean, I just like the courtyard appearance. And is that a river?
-It is, yeah, a little river running down there.
-I feel potential for that!
A big smile on your face. But let's go inside. Come on.
'I'd like to say that's what you call a very good start.'
They don't do better than that in Hollywood.
-Come on in!
This is something else, isn't it?
-So, this is your hallway.
-This is only a hallway?
-This is superb!
-I like the radiator.
-That's a good radiator, isn't it?
That looks really good.
That's a feature.
'Jan and Barry did ask for period features, and if there's one thing this old water mill isn't short of,
What do you think of this room?
The beams are fantastic.
-Look at that!
-A little minstrels' gallery.
Yeah, you've got your Juliet gallery there and also the exposed brickwork.
-That is nice.
That is nice. That is really nice. And look at that, onto a... Is that a courtyard?
It is. Your very own little courtyard.
It's a very Mediterranean feel.
Can you imagine yourself, then, using this living room?
-Certainly can, yeah.
-I can imagine the pair of us sat on here with two of the dogs on the actual settee
and the other one at our feet.
-Yes, I'm sure they'll be at home, very much.
-Oh, yeah. Yes, it's nice.
It's cosy and yet it's big enough.
It's nice. It's a lovely size.
-Let's hope you're saying that about the kitchen.
-Let's go and have a look, please.
'Well, I'm not sure I'd describe this room as "cosy".
'The kitchen, on the other hand, I probably would.
'But it's got a lot of character to make up for its size.
'And it has Jan's separate utility room.'
Ooh! I like this!
Sit here and have your breakfast...
It seems so cosy and warm. Very nice.
-The range is a big plus, because Jan's very keen to have a range.
It's smaller than our current kitchen by quite a bit, but it fits in.
It's ideal for this type of house.
Well, if you thought the kitchen was maybe on the small side,
you won't be saying that when you see this room.
Cor, this is grandiose!
You could have a medieval banquet in here!
I'm speechless. I am speechless.
And that's unusual.
-Let's go and have a look at that courtyard.
-Let's do that.
It even looks Mediterranean.
-Look at the sort of finish on the walls.
-I mean, you could imagine a grapevine in here, couldn't you?
-It really is, it's gorgeous.
-Well, you know where we're going now.
-Upstairs, I hope.
-Do you know what? You're so bright! Come on, follow me.
'I think that's a definitive thumbs-up to the ground floor.
'Let's see if upstairs will prove just as breathtaking.'
Oh, this is lovely.
-Here on the landing.
And a bathroom.
Come on in.
Wow! This is a bathroom?
-Original, as well, Victorian.
So, we've got another little room in here. Have a quick peek.
Oh, that's nice. Light, airy.
And this is your master bedroom.
-Well! Look at this! Look at this! Look at the size!
-Yeah, I love that view.
Beautiful view of the Teviot.
In fact, I'd probably have to have the bed that way,
so that, when I wake up, I can see that view.
-OK. Well, there's nothing to stop you doing that.
There's certainly plenty of room. You could have that bed at any angle.
You could. It's gorgeous.
In fact, you could have this as your own private wing.
Use a small bedroom as a dressing room.
'That won't be a problem, as on the other side of the house - accessed by a separate staircase -
'are two further double bedrooms.
'But there's a lot more to Jan and Barry's dream house than bricks and mortar.'
'The outside space is just as important, so I'm hoping two acres will be enough.
So this is just one plot of land that comes with the property.
I dunno how you feel about becoming self-sufficient?
Moving to the country, growing your own vegetables, all that sort of business?
Certainly would. Looks to me like there's a vegetable plot over there.
Plenty of room for fruit trees...
Bees... You want bees?
Certainly... Oh, well, it's a bee paradise. Look at it.
Let's take you down to the river.
-Don't get too excited, now.
-You can't get too excited near a river.
-I think you're gonna like this.
'This property may not come with five ponds but the garden does have its own river running through it.
'The question is, can Barry make that work for him?'
So, as you said, this was your domain.
I certainly did.
You've got the River Teviot there.
That's right. And although it's not pond or ponds, there's...
flexibility there to have pond or ponds.
How many pounds to buy the property, do you reckon?
Now, I'll hazard a guess.
I think it's at the top of our budget, personally.
It's a beautiful house and it's restored with love.
This river frontage, the land that goes with it...
I would say around about...
Well, I'm gonna go for 595.
That was the figure that sprung into my head. So...
-Let's see who's the closest.
-Neither of you are close, to be honest with you.
It's currently on the market for £445,000.
-You are joking?!
-Well, you better not tell the vendor what we...!
-That has really... Honestly, I'm not joking...
-You've gone a bit red.
That has shocked me.
I think that is... That is...
And I consider myself shrewd.
Can we go and have another look?
-I think you should go and have another look.
-Off you go.
Well, you can't ask for better reactions than that, can you?
At offers over £445,000, this could be a gobsmacking £155,000 under budget.
It meets nearly all of Jan and Barry's criteria...
They get a banqueting hall for a dining room,
and with two acres,
it has plenty of outside space.
I thought the lack of ponds might be a problem,
but Barry seems happy with the river -
so who am I to judge?
It was lovely. There's no two ways about it.
I like the exposed brickwork, love the beams.
There's not a pond here, but it's not the end of the world. Listen.
The only drawback for you would be the fact that this is a little on the small side?
I don't think it's a major problem.
When Aled told us the price of this house, I was absolutely floored.
The house is quirky, it's beautiful and we could certainly be happy here.
-Ah, you're back!
-We certainly are.
-Nice location, isn't it?
Don't bother showing us any more.
-Just crack open the bubbly, we'll sit here and take in this gorgeous view.
-Do you know what?
As tempting as that sounds, I've got plenty more to show you. I'm going to show you the other properties.
You might like them even more, you never know.
Come on, I'll lead the way.
Out of all the UK's countries,
I think it's fair to say Scotland has the strongest cultural identity -
and that's coming from a Welshman!
Think tartan, think whisky, think kilts, but there's nothing more iconic than the bagpipes.
And since Barry and Jan are so keen to get involved in the culture of their new home,
we've come to Floors Castle to meet championship piper Louise Marshall Millington
to get to grips with this ancient instrument.
Pleased to meet you. Hi there.
Listen, tell us a bit about the history. Scotland and bagpipes, what's it all about?
Pipes have been played for hundreds of years here.
Scottish people are so proud to play pipes. Part of our heritage, part of our culture.
Played in the armies, Gordon, Highlanders, for years and years.
It's just part of our tradition, really.
Well it's going to sound pretty awful when we have a go, but I think we should probably go for it.
-OK. Right, here we go. Your first ever practice chanter.
'It's on the chanter that you play the melody of the music, with a range of nine notes.'
-Reckon you'll get nine notes out of us? You'll be lucky to get one!
-You absolutely can.
So, first of all, low G, that's all of the holes covered. Are we ready?
'The stirring sound of the pipes may be quintessentially Scottish, but their origins are far from it.
'The first records date from Asia in 1000 BC.
'By the first century AD they were found in countries from India to England.'
Why are you two so good at it?!
I'm supposed to be a musician!
Once you can play five or six tunes on the chanter, it's time to move onto the pipes.
That's another ball game. Would you like me to show you?
'It's the pipes that produce the bellowing background noise which is called the drone.
'And in our case, I think it really will be.'
Barry's the man.
You put the pipes on the shoulder, OK?
You're going to blow into the blow stick, here.
OK? Now use this hand to squeeze the bag and push it underneath your...
If you take this hand off...
OK, just push it up a bit.
I think he's holding on with his life, there. Fantastic.
I think a big hand for Barry.
-I don't know the tune, though.
'When played properly, there are two types of bagpipe music -
'military marches, which were used to scare off the enemy -
'which, by the sounds Barry's making, he's quite good at -
'and the classical piobaireachd, which predates any known piano compositions.
'But I think we'll leave it to Louise, so we can indulge in another Scottish tradition -
'the Highland fling. You've been warned.'
With the sun setting over the Scottish borders, the first day of property hunting is at an end.
Barry and Jan are looking to retire to the Scottish borders.
They want a three-bedroomed character house with a whole lot of land
so Barry can have five - oh, yes - five duck ponds.
They went quackers for our first property.
Don't bother showing us any more.
But there's plenty to come.
This is some living room.
And today's mystery house will be a real test for their mettle.
Will they sacrifice ponds for an immaculate home?
Ideal, isn't it?
For our first property today, we're staying in the Teviot Valley,
heading to the village of Denholm,
equidistant between Barry and Jan's favourite towns of Jedburgh and Hawick.
So location wise, it should be spot on.
It's a beautiful little village that's grown up around its 17th-century green.
The first hamlet was destroyed by English raiders in the 1600s.
Our English invaders, however, want to integrate themselves into the community,
and they shouldn't have any problems here.
They are just 350 households, two pubs, a butcher and a baker,
although the candlestick maker is long gone.
Our property is 1.5 miles away, on the grounds of an old manor house.
Well, Jan, I heard you say that you were a bit worried that this little lane led to a large estate.
In a way, it does, but it leads to your estate.
-That is... That's some house.
-Something else. Good grief!
You've got the River Teviot just there, which you can hear.
-And a couple of burns leading off it.
Burns, burns. What do burns make?
Crystal-clear Scottish spring water.
-That's what I need.
-Let's get up close and personal.
-I think we need to, yes.
'Just in case you're not up on your Scots lingo, a burn is a small brook.
'Let's hope the house gets Barry and Jan just as excited.
'Built in the 19th century, it was originally the coach house to the nearby manor.
'It's been extended over the years, and the layout is on the quirky side,
'which I think Barry and Jan will find quite appealing.'
Come on in. Little hallway.
This is nice.
One of three entrances into the property, by the way.
-Little TV room.
This is really nice. Cottagey, but there's windows on three sides.
Barry's spotted something.
That's more than a greenhouse, that's an industrial-size nursery.
It is. How do you feel about having a greenhouse running off your living room?
-Novel. You'd never get wet going out there.
I'll take you out.
The door doesn't open fully.
No, it doesn't open fully.
Come on out.
Is this what I think it is?
It is, yeah. Your own vine.
You could have garden furniture here, make a feature of this, you know?
When it's a really hot summer's day, you'll feel as if you're in the Mediterranean.
Come on, there's plenty more to show you.
'It's an unusual feature, but ideal if Barry and Jan want to go the whole hog on self-sufficiency.'
Oh! Now this is some living room.
It's your formal living space.
-You're not kidding.
-Nice feel to this room, isn't there?
-It's a large room and yet it's cosy.
You can imagine all the weather outside doing its thing, but you could be in here as warm as toast.
I'm glad you like it. Onward.
'I love Jan's use of the word cosy.
'This living room is 30 foot long.
'Time to check out the east wing of the house, I think.'
I'm showing you a rather disconnected bathroom, cos it's away from everything, really.
-I actually don't mind that.
Those tiles, they're not in your face. They're fine.
The good news is, this is one of three bathrooms in the property.
The bad news is that there isn't a dining room or a kitchen.
-You eat outside, then?
She believes anything I tell her!
Of course there is, come on.
'I jest, but this is one area of the house that could do with a bit of work.'
This is nice. Window seats...
Look at the thick walls again.
-Of course, linked to the kitchen. Come on through.
-Lovely, yes. Can see the kitchen through there.
-Beautiful view of the courtyard.
-I like these doors.
I like these doors. Very nice.
What do you think of the size of the kitchen?
-It works for me.
-You look slightly disappointed about the kitchen.
It's... The house itself is a puzzle.
I mean, you open a door onto something that you're not quite expecting.
Again, it's an adequate space.
It needs updating, but, you know, I could work with this. I could live here.
Three bedrooms in the property, two of them downstairs, so there is one rather large bedroom upstairs.
I'm not sure how you'd feel about that.
-You can tell me.
-Let's go and see.
'Well, there are other options. The west wing of the house is actually the old stable block
'and is crying out for renovation.
'It'd make a superb kitchen/diner if Barry and Jan are up to the job.
'But for now, we are concentrating on the east wing.
'And in that east wing there are two double bedrooms on the ground floor and a lovely sun room.'
-So many nooks and crannies in this property.
-Now, I could just see myself in there, set up the easel
-and I could be painting in there.
-Upstairs to the bedroom?
-Superb, that. Absolutely lovely space.
So you've got your own bathroom up here, as well.
-This is nice.
-Little space in there.
-You can actually see the Teviot...
-over there as well. That's lovely.
-All comes back to the water, Barry.
It does indeed.
'Well, I know Barry is itching to get outside, and this house really has some land attached to it -
'a whopping ten acres.'
That's nice. That is nice.
Good grief, yes.
-I like that.
-Already a productive vegetable plot.
-You could convert that into raised beds with no problem at all.
-It's a fantastic plot, really, really wonderful, but it also needs a little bit of TLC.
Two years ago, severe flooding here.
-Didn't affect the house at all but, as you can see, this riverbank needs to be shored up again.
Costs quite a bit of money.
Just get some beavers, I'm sure they'd do the job.
-Yes, they might.
-And the other thing about it is that's the raw materials for dry-stone walls down there.
You're very positive people.
Well, you know, there's an answer to almost everything.
Yeah. Nothing is insurmountable.
'Well, that's what I like to hear.
'But there's so much more to see, and this property comes with a couple of features
'that will make Barry very, very happy.'
Is that a pond or is that a pond?
-It's a naturally-fed pond.
-Is it? By Jove.
-Yeah, it is.
I think that might tick all my boxes.
That's two, let's look for the other three.
I can't promise you three, but I can promise you another one.
-I can. I can.
-Is it gonna be lake style like this?
-Come and have a look.
With 10 acres to cover, pond number two is a bit of a hike.
And this is still on the property?
-All of this?
-It is, Jan.
Can't quite believe our luck, here.
I can't. I just can't. It goes on and on and on.
So, Barry, the more natural-looking pond.
Very much so. It's ideal teal and shoveler country, this.
I could see birds of that type being very much at home here.
The potential is limitless, I think.
I think five ponds might be the minimum I end up with.
It's a fantastic property, amazing grounds.
What do you think it's worth?
I would say, with 10 acres, all this land, the lovely property,
I would say 600,000.
-I would hope.
I can tell you that the amazing coach house, 10 acres of land, is on the market for...
-That is, well...
75,000 to mess about with.
Well, look, go and have a look at your little estate, and I'll come and find you.
Lovely, thank you very much. Yes.
Yes, ha-ha, indeed.
If ever there was a property that blends incredibly with its amazing surroundings,
then this is the property for you.
And the good news is that Barry and Jan are willing to give it the TLC -
the tender loving care - that it requires.
Is it too big a project for them to take on?
I don't think so. I think this could well be their escape to the country.
On the market for offers over £525,000, this could be a massive £75,000 under budget.
So plenty of spare change to make any alterations.
It has three bedrooms, ample living space, and potential for a huge kitchen/diner.
But it's the 10 acres and two ponds
that make this a real stand-out.
I think this property could work for us.
There's a lot of work to do, and I think we'd enjoy this as a project.
It's begging to be transformed.
That's right. With a lovely keyhole window. That would be a feature.
I was pretty blown away by the house.
There's plenty of it. The gardens are immaculate. There are two ponds, currently.
Even if we were to enlarge them, they'd become lakes, almost.
As far as I'm concerned, it's a very big contender.
You know what, this property and the surrounding area really does suit you two.
It certainly ticks all the boxes for us, yes.
Listen, there's more to see. Let's get going.
Well, can't be bad.
The journey to find Barry and Jan their perfect country retreat, on the whole, has gone very well.
They've loved being in the open space, but quite frankly, who wouldn't?
But I also think I've managed to turn Barry's attention away from the garden and his five ponds,
and he's concentrating more now on the property itself. Or is he?
The mystery house will reveal all.
With no ponds whatsoever, we're really taking a gamble with today's mystery house.
It's situated on the outskirts of Galashiels -
the Borders' second-biggest town.
Located on the banks of the River Tweed in the very heart of the Borders,
Gala, as it's known to the locals, has a rich history in the textile industry, dating back to the 1500s.
Today the mills mix in with modern service industries.
There are plenty of amenities to cater for the 12,000 residents of this thriving community town.
The mystery house is located on the quieter outer fringes of Galashiels.
It's not a location Barry and Jan have considered before,
but, if this is to be their last move, in the coming years they may appreciate
having a town's amenities right on their doorstep.
So that's why we've chosen to show them this house.
-So, you're probably wondering why I've brought you to the outskirts of Galashiels.
-Yes, we are.
Well, I know that you like properties with loads of character.
You're not going to find a property with more character than this one, let me tell you.
It was the original house of a prominent tweed manufacturer.
It is enormous.
-It's a stately home!
-It's still enormous.
When it comes to both space and period detail, this impressive semi will take some beating.
But will it win Barry and Jan over enough
to persuade them to consider an alternative to remote country living?
So how do you fancy a mosaic-tiled floor?
That is perfect.
Come on through.
It is absolutely super.
As you say, stained glass everywhere.
Look at this. Look at the ceiling.
-Original pine floor.
-That's a big plus.
-It's recently been refurbished, as you can tell.
But so many original features in every single room.
Check this out.
I love this so much.
A very neat touch.
Take a listen.
A sound system?
Big speakers anywhere?
-How unobtrusive is that?
-That's the speaker?
Anyway, boys' gadgets aside, come and have a look at the room itself.
-That's nice. I like the bay window.
-The window's wonderful, isn't it?
-Immaculate, isn't it?
-It is absolutely pristine.
The colour scheme's nice.
There are plenty of rooms to show you, so come on. Let's get on with it.
-What I love is the height of these ceilings.
It gives you a feeling of space.
-Kitchen through there. We'll go there later.
This is the formal dining room.
Look at this. Another fireplace, look.
This is gorgeous.
'Great reaction so far.
'Our gamble could be paying off.
'Next door is a second living room, complete with more character trimmings.'
Come on through. This is your...
-casual eating area.
This bit was added on in the 1930s, and the kitchen through there.
Because basically your next-door neighbour's got the kitchen.
Oh, right. So if we need to eat, we just knock on their door?
-If you get to know them well enough, yes.
This is your kitchen.
This is lovely.
-Good enough size for you?
-You could work in here, you've got everything you need.
-This is ideal.
-This is OK. It's a kitchen, it works.
-Shall we go upstairs?
'Fantastic? This is music to my ears.
'This house really could offer them a luxurious retirement.
'And, upstairs, the splendour continues with three double bedrooms,
'a single, and a rather sumptuous bathroom.'
As you'd imagine, the bathroom is amazing.
I think the word in-keeping springs to mind.
This is lovely.
-So I'm seeing you in that bath, I have to say.
-No, you're not, Aled!
-You may have a point there.
-The door will be locked.
A bit red in the cheeks there.
It is lovely. I like it.
How do you feel about this being your master bedroom?
Good heavens. This is lovely.
-Again, original floor.
-Original fireplace here.
I can see that.
And the sash windows as well.
Not overlooked by anything, really, is it?
Ideal, isn't it?
Everywhere you look, there's another surprise.
There's nothing would need to be done to this house at all.
-Come on, follow me.
'If ever there was a house with wow factor, then this is it.
'And outside is equally impressive.
'It comes with two acres of land, but most of that is woodland, so alas, no potential for ponds.
'It's a risky strategy.
'But will this stunning character house convince Barry to give up his water?'
-Come on out, guys.
-This is nice.
I like this garden.
It's two acres in all, as I say. Most of that is facing us now.
-It's a woodland.
A nice eating area out here.
-Oh, that's very Mediterranean.
-It's pretty, isn't it?
'Time to bite the bullet and confess all.'
Barry, there isn't a pond.
-But I'm just trying to push you to see...
You know, if the house is immaculate, if the house is fantastic,
if I could sway you the other way.
No, you wouldn't be able to.
It's an integral part of what we want, isn't it?
How much do you think this property and the two acres is on the market for?
I would say it's well over budget, in the region of about 700,000.
I'm going to go lower, because it's semi-detached.
I'm going to go for 625,000.
625,000. It's on the market for a fixed price...
-Well within your budget.
-You are joking?
That amazes me.
I'm stuck for words.
-Honestly, I really am.
-Go and have another look around.
I'll be waiting by the front door.
'You win some, you lose some.'
What a shame, because this property is immaculate.
And with an asking price of £550,000, it's £50,000 under budget.
It has period features and then some.
Three reception rooms.
Five bedrooms, and it comes with two acres of land.
Sadly, it doesn't have the ponds Barry's set his heart on.
I thought we might be able to sway him,
but he's a man who knows what he wants, and he's not budging.
The house was divine. You know, the colour schemes. It was a house to die for.
But I'm afraid, Barry and I, we need somewhere with a lot more land.
Look at this. This is gorgeous. I mean, look at this.
I was absolutely blown away by the magnitude of the house.
But in the current state, we wouldn't be here for the simple reason that we want land.
It isn't for us, at the moment.
Well, the mystery house may be dead in the water, but the other two properties are still in the running.
So it's back to base for some thinking time.
Well, that's it for our property tour of the Borders.
By my reckoning, we have a couple of contenders.
So all Barry and Jan have to do is work out
which will be the best option for their new country lifestyle.
-I think we've had a pretty eventful time here on the Scottish Borders, don't you?
We have seen some very interesting properties.
To start with, the old converted water mill. What did you make of it?
Quirky, loved the different rooms.
That dining room - it was sensational.
The potential for that property was just never-ending.
-Limitless really, yeah.
-Obviously the river frontage, that was perfect.
I'm sure Barry could do something with that.
You weren't expecting a river running at the bottom of your house.
I certainly was not, no.
-That was a major bonus.
-OK. So let me take you back to the coach house.
That was lovely. There was a lot of potential.
A lot of land.
And even better, there was...
-I mean, it did need a lot of work doing to it, but we could see past that.
I think I'd like to see the original bit back to almost all bedrooms.
So have it like a bedroom wing.
OK, let's talk about the mystery property. And it really was immaculate, wasn't it?
It was like walking into Narnia. I don't think I have ever seen a house that was so beautifully presented.
The stained-glass windows, the cornices were pristine.
But the biggest draw for us moving to the Borders
is to have some land, so we can be sort of semi self-sufficient. I'd like to have my ducks once again.
And sadly, although it had a woodland walk, there was no scope for that if we're honest about it.
I've shown you a variety of properties. Do you think you will move up here?
Absolutely certain. We are certainly going to re-look at one of the properties - the coach house.
Right. Sounds really positive.
-We can see ourselves there, yes.
-It's been an absolute pleasure.
I really do hope that you make it up here,
and whether it's the coach house or not, I hope you'll be an integral part of that community,
cos I think they'll be very, very lucky to have you. Nice to meet you.
Barry and Jan just love the Scottish Borders.
They were born to live here.
They've so enjoyed exploring the houses and the land
that would give them the opportunity of being at one with nature.
What I've really admired is the fact that they're positive.
They don't dwell on the negative.
Surely that's a quality you need when you're house hunting.
Until next time, goodbye.
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Series in which prospective buyers are helped to find their dream home in the country. Aled Jones takes on a 'mission impossible' as he sets out to the Scottish Borders to find a property with at least five naturally fed ponds for a couple of wildfowl enthusiasts. Together with the ponds, they need five acres of land, a large kitchen diner and three bedrooms - all this for a maximum of 600,000 pounds.