Scottish Borders Escape to the Country


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Scottish Borders

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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HE PLAYS

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Hello, and welcome to a bonnie Escape to the Country, which today,

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as you've probably guessed, comes from Scotland.

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Now, stereotypes aside, there is a reason why I'm playing the bagpipes today.

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I'm in a county which was once an area where Scottish troops marched against the English

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whilst playing these atmospheric instruments.

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So can you guess where I am?

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Keep watching. All will be revealed.

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SHE PLAYS

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Cut! Excuse me.

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You're supposed to wait till I'm ready.

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-When I go like that, people at home will think I'm playing the bagpipes. All right?

-Got you.

-Let's go for it.

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SHE PLAYS

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Today, we'll be helping a couple escape the suburbs for some Scottish country living.

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-Ooh!

-You could have a medieval banquet in here!

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But will seeing be believing?

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-You're a bit red.

-That shocked me!

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And will they take the plunge with today's mystery house?

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See, I'm seeing you in that bath, Jan.

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Er, no, you're not, Aled.

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Today I'm in the Scottish Borders, a lowland county filled with beauty and history.

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It was across this very landscape

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that England and Scotland's battles took place throughout those centuries.

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And so powerful were the bagpipes in spurring the Scots into action

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that it's the only musical instrument that's ever been banned as a weapon of war.

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Mind you, it SHOULD be banned, the way I play it.

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But away from the fighting, this area of Scotland is now more sedate and prosperous,

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enticing people from both sides of Hadrian's Wall to come and find their wee bit of heaven.

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With Northumberland to the south, and Glasgow and Edinburgh to the north,

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the Scottish Borders take in around 1,800 square miles of unspoilt countryside -

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from the hills and the moorlands in the west to the agricultural plains in the east.

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But at the heart of the Borders is the mighty River Tweed.

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Running for 97 miles, it's ranked as one of the best salmon-fishing rivers in the world.

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Historic market towns have flourished on its banks,

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whilst its tributaries branch out into the expansive countryside.

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And it's along these shores you'll find pretty villages and hamlets

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with a vast array of period property on offer.

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As yet, home buyers escaping city life haven't headed here in their droves.

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And in a recent poll, it was voted the third-best rural region to live in Scotland.

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They used to say the further north you travelled, the cheaper the property got,

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but the days of absolute bargains, acres and acres of land for pennies, are well and truly over.

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But up here, you still do get value for money.

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A typical house will have a bigger garden, therefore more land,

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and inside, the rooms will be larger and there'll be more of them.

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Well, a detached house in Scotland will set you back around £240,000.

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If you want to be in the Borders,

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then you can expect to shell out about six percent more.

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So grab your sporrans and your kilts - here's what's currently on the market

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in and around the county for a variety of budgets.

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If you fancy being Laird of the Manor and have in excess of £925,000, then you could be,

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with this very grand seven-bedroom Victorian property near Jedburgh.

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Originally the home of a local sausage magnate, the house has "meaty" proportions,

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with no less than three reception rooms and exquisite period detailing.

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And if it's the outdoor life you're after, how does twelve acres sound?

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For the slightly more modest sum of £695,000,

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you won't have to downsize with this six-bedroom eighteenth-century farmhouse near Kelso.

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Inside, the property has character features galore

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and outside comes complete with a three-bedroomed lodge,

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generous grounds and stunning views over the Teviot Valley.

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If you'd prefer vistas of the Cheviot hills,

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how about this five-bedroom Georgian house near Berwick-on-Tweed?

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On the market for £415,000,

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it's been extensively renovated and extended to provide both very modern and very period living

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with plenty of space for all the family.

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There's more wheat than chaff here, that's for certain,

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so let's meet our escapees, who are eager to bound over that border.

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Today's couple, Barry and Jan, met seven years ago whilst working for the railway.

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They tied the knot in 2004. But with retirement on the horizon,

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they've decided to swap their four-bedroom house in a Yorkshire village

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for the good life in Scotland.

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We would love to live in a larger place.

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We just haven't got the scope here any more to do any more to this property.

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We have got three dogs, and they are an integral part of us.

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We would like more land.

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I'd like chickens, bees and fruit trees.

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We would like somewhere where Barry can raise his waterfowl.

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Yeah, naturally fed ponds would be a big plus, obviously, for the waterfowl aspect

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and it'd make the ambience nicer, too.

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Well, plenty of outdoor space is a fairly usual request, but ponds?

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That's specific. So no wonder, in eighteen months of looking for their dream home in the Borders,

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Barry and Jan have come up empty-handed.

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There's no half-measures.

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It's got to be perfect, because it is going to be the last move we make.

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It might be their last move, but it's also their first property purchase together,

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so the pressure is on.

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But what does Barry and Jan's perfect house actually look like?

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This house was built in around about 1962.

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Although it's rather nice, it hasn't got a lot of character.

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The next property, I would like to have with a few more features.

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Three double bedrooms will be essential in the new property, because I've got three children

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and my grandchildren and it's our intention for them to come and visit us regularly.

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I really like the size of this utility room.

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In the next property, I would like something similar.

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It's ideal for wet clothes and wet dogs.

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This is where they get fed, this is where they sleep, and it's just perfect.

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I would like, however, the potential to have a shower to clean the dogs after a dirty day out.

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The dogs are obviously going to be well catered for, but what about Barry and Jan's requirements?

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Actually, I'd quite like a separate dining room

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for Christmas and special holidays and a nice big kitchen with a range.

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But before they buy in the Borders, they need to know just how much they'll have to spend.

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So we've invited a local agent to come and value Barry's home.

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This is an excellent four-bedroom house with very good entertaining space in a popular commuter village.

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We would recommend a guide price in the region of £499,000.

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I think the estate agent's valuation is fair.

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It's certainly in line with what we were expecting.

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Any less and we'd have to reconsider what we could afford to spend on the new property.

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But that being the case, we can go up to £600,000 on our new property.

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£600,000 is a healthy budget here in the Scottish Borders,

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especially as we're after a three-bedroom detached property

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and Jan wants enough space for her chickens and a room with a view.

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My only concern is with Barry.

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He wants not one, not two, not three, not four but five naturally-fed ponds.

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What's all that about?

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As frequent visitors to the Borders,

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Barry and Jan know and love the countryside

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around the towns of Kelso, Hawick and Jedburgh,

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so that's where we'll be focussing our search.

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In today's show we'll be viewing three stunning houses

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with lots of land and watery features.

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But, as always, I won't be revealing the prices until Barry and Jan have had a good look around.

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And the last of the three - the mystery house - will really put their wish list to the test.

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-Jan, Barry, good to meet you. How are you?

-Very well, thank you. And yourself?

-I'm not bad.

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Are you excited about this voyage of discovery?

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Very much so. We're very keen on the Scottish Borders, so it's going to be really great.

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You're beautifully co-ordinated. If only you were as co-ordinated in your property search,

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because I get the sense that you're after the house and you're after the five naturally-fed ponds.

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-What's all that about, Barry?

-Well, I've kept ducks in the past,

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-and it was a bit heavy going in a back garden, and I now want to do it properly.

-Why five?!

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Unfortunately, ducks interbreed, so I will need to keep certain ones away from each other

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so they don't interbreed, cos the idea is for them to be returned to the natural habitat, the rarer ones,

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and they've got to be perfect, genetically correct.

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So that's the piece behind it, really.

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But are we desperate for the five, or if we get you three, two...?

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Well, you can always split ponds.

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I'm sure we can be versatile in that respect.

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Where there's a will, there's a way.

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-Excellent. I'm glad you said that. Shall we get on with it?

-I think we ought to.

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So, for their budget of £600,000, Barry and Jan want:

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So far, so simple.

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But finding Barry his five duck ponds

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could take us into choppy waters.

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-So, are you nervous or excited about this first property purchase together?

-I'm very excited.

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I feel quite confident that we're going to find the ideal property in the Scottish Borders.

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I mean, just look at the scenery.

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We're kicking off today's property search

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in the Teviot Valley

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and countryside around the historic town of Hawick.

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Hawick started life as a small village in the 11th century but expanded rapidly in the 1700s

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with the explosion of the knitwear industry.

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There's a wealth of handsome Georgian and Victorian architecture to be found here,

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and a recent £10 million regeneration scheme

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has breathed cultural, social and economic life back into the town.

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Barry and Jan don't want to be right in the mix of it, though,

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so we've found them a property just a couple of miles away in a very rural setting.

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It's basically early 19th century.

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It was an old water mill and barn that's been fantastically converted and restored.

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So many quirky features in there.

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I'm just awestruck. It's everything and more that we're looking for.

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I mean, I just like the courtyard appearance. And is that a river?

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-It is, yeah, a little river running down there.

-I feel potential for that!

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A big smile on your face. But let's go inside. Come on.

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'I'd like to say that's what you call a very good start.'

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They don't do better than that in Hollywood.

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-Come on in!

-Blimey!

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This is something else, isn't it?

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-So, this is your hallway.

-This is only a hallway?

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-Yep.

-This is superb!

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-Oh, yes.

-I like the radiator.

-That's a good radiator, isn't it?

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That looks really good.

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That's a feature.

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'Jan and Barry did ask for period features, and if there's one thing this old water mill isn't short of,

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'it's character.'

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What do you think of this room?

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-Amazing!

-Crikey!

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The beams are fantastic.

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-Look at that!

-17th-century beams.

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-Good grief!

-A little minstrels' gallery.

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Yeah, you've got your Juliet gallery there and also the exposed brickwork.

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-That is nice.

-Wind stone.

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That is nice. That is really nice. And look at that, onto a... Is that a courtyard?

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It is. Your very own little courtyard.

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It's a very Mediterranean feel.

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Can you imagine yourself, then, using this living room?

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-Certainly can, yeah.

-I can imagine the pair of us sat on here with two of the dogs on the actual settee

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and the other one at our feet.

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-Yes, I'm sure they'll be at home, very much.

-Oh, yeah. Yes, it's nice.

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It's cosy and yet it's big enough.

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It's nice. It's a lovely size.

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-Let's hope you're saying that about the kitchen.

-Oh, right!

-Let's go and have a look, please.

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'Well, I'm not sure I'd describe this room as "cosy".

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'The kitchen, on the other hand, I probably would.

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'But it's got a lot of character to make up for its size.

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'And it has Jan's separate utility room.'

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Ooh! I like this!

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Sit here and have your breakfast...

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It seems so cosy and warm. Very nice.

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-The range is a big plus, because Jan's very keen to have a range.

-Yes.

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It's smaller than our current kitchen by quite a bit, but it fits in.

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It's ideal for this type of house.

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Well, if you thought the kitchen was maybe on the small side,

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you won't be saying that when you see this room.

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Cor, this is grandiose!

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You could have a medieval banquet in here!

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I'm speechless. I am speechless.

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And that's unusual.

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-Let's go and have a look at that courtyard.

-Let's do that.

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Well!

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It even looks Mediterranean.

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-Look at the sort of finish on the walls.

-Yeah.

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-I mean, you could imagine a grapevine in here, couldn't you?

-Absolutely.

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-It really is, it's gorgeous.

-Well, you know where we're going now.

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-Upstairs, I hope.

-The boudoirs.

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-Do you know what? You're so bright! Come on, follow me.

-OK.

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'I think that's a definitive thumbs-up to the ground floor.

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'Let's see if upstairs will prove just as breathtaking.'

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Oh, this is lovely.

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-Here on the landing.

-Beautiful.

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And a bathroom.

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Come on in.

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Wow! This is a bathroom?

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-Aye.

-Roll-top bath.

-Fantastic.

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-Original, as well, Victorian.

-Fantastic!

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Follow me.

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So, we've got another little room in here. Have a quick peek.

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Oh, that's nice. Light, airy.

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-And functional.

-Like that.

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And this is your master bedroom.

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-Wow.

-Well! Look at this! Look at this! Look at the size!

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-Lovely view.

-Yeah, I love that view.

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Beautiful view of the Teviot.

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In fact, I'd probably have to have the bed that way,

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so that, when I wake up, I can see that view.

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-OK. Well, there's nothing to stop you doing that.

-I know!

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There's certainly plenty of room. You could have that bed at any angle.

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You could. It's gorgeous.

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In fact, you could have this as your own private wing.

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Use a small bedroom as a dressing room.

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'That won't be a problem, as on the other side of the house - accessed by a separate staircase -

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'are two further double bedrooms.

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'But there's a lot more to Jan and Barry's dream house than bricks and mortar.'

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'The outside space is just as important, so I'm hoping two acres will be enough.

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So this is just one plot of land that comes with the property.

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Lovely.

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I dunno how you feel about becoming self-sufficient?

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Moving to the country, growing your own vegetables, all that sort of business?

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Certainly would. Looks to me like there's a vegetable plot over there.

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Plenty of room for fruit trees...

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Bees... You want bees?

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Certainly... Oh, well, it's a bee paradise. Look at it.

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Let's take you down to the river.

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-Very good.

-Yes please.

-Don't get too excited, now.

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-You can't get too excited near a river.

-I think you're gonna like this.

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'This property may not come with five ponds but the garden does have its own river running through it.

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'The question is, can Barry make that work for him?'

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So, as you said, this was your domain.

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I certainly did.

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You've got the River Teviot there.

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That's right. And although it's not pond or ponds, there's...

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flexibility there to have pond or ponds.

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How many pounds to buy the property, do you reckon?

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Now, I'll hazard a guess.

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I think it's at the top of our budget, personally.

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It's a beautiful house and it's restored with love.

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This river frontage, the land that goes with it...

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I would say around about...

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640,000.

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640,000, OK.

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Well, I'm gonna go for 595.

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That was the figure that sprung into my head. So...

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-Let's see who's the closest.

-Oh!

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-Neither of you are close, to be honest with you.

-Oh, no.

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It's currently on the market for £445,000.

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-You are joking?!

-Well, you better not tell the vendor what we...!

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-That has really... Honestly, I'm not joking...

-You've gone a bit red.

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That has shocked me.

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I think that is... That is...

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And I consider myself shrewd.

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Can we go and have another look?

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-I think you should go and have another look.

-Smashing.

-Perfect.

-Off you go.

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Well, you can't ask for better reactions than that, can you?

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At offers over £445,000, this could be a gobsmacking £155,000 under budget.

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It meets nearly all of Jan and Barry's criteria...

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They get a banqueting hall for a dining room,

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and with two acres,

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it has plenty of outside space.

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I thought the lack of ponds might be a problem,

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but Barry seems happy with the river -

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so who am I to judge?

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It was lovely. There's no two ways about it.

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I like the exposed brickwork, love the beams.

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There's not a pond here, but it's not the end of the world. Listen.

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The only drawback for you would be the fact that this is a little on the small side?

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I don't think it's a major problem.

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When Aled told us the price of this house, I was absolutely floored.

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The house is quirky, it's beautiful and we could certainly be happy here.

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-Ah, you're back!

-We certainly are.

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-Nice location, isn't it?

-Beautiful.

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Don't bother showing us any more.

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-Just crack open the bubbly, we'll sit here and take in this gorgeous view.

-Do you know what?

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As tempting as that sounds, I've got plenty more to show you. I'm going to show you the other properties.

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You might like them even more, you never know.

0:18:350:18:37

Come on, I'll lead the way.

0:18:370:18:39

Out of all the UK's countries,

0:18:490:18:50

I think it's fair to say Scotland has the strongest cultural identity -

0:18:500:18:54

and that's coming from a Welshman!

0:18:540:18:56

Think tartan, think whisky, think kilts, but there's nothing more iconic than the bagpipes.

0:18:560:19:01

And since Barry and Jan are so keen to get involved in the culture of their new home,

0:19:010:19:05

we've come to Floors Castle to meet championship piper Louise Marshall Millington

0:19:050:19:10

to get to grips with this ancient instrument.

0:19:100:19:12

Pleased to meet you. Hi there.

0:19:120:19:14

Listen, tell us a bit about the history. Scotland and bagpipes, what's it all about?

0:19:140:19:18

Pipes have been played for hundreds of years here.

0:19:180:19:20

Scottish people are so proud to play pipes. Part of our heritage, part of our culture.

0:19:200:19:24

Played in the armies, Gordon, Highlanders, for years and years.

0:19:240:19:27

It's just part of our tradition, really.

0:19:270:19:29

Well it's going to sound pretty awful when we have a go, but I think we should probably go for it.

0:19:290:19:34

-OK. Right, here we go. Your first ever practice chanter.

-Thank you.

0:19:340:19:37

'It's on the chanter that you play the melody of the music, with a range of nine notes.'

0:19:370:19:41

-Reckon you'll get nine notes out of us? You'll be lucky to get one!

-You absolutely can.

0:19:410:19:46

So, first of all, low G, that's all of the holes covered. Are we ready?

0:19:460:19:49

'The stirring sound of the pipes may be quintessentially Scottish, but their origins are far from it.

0:19:510:19:57

'The first records date from Asia in 1000 BC.

0:19:570:20:00

'By the first century AD they were found in countries from India to England.'

0:20:000:20:04

Why are you two so good at it?!

0:20:040:20:07

I'm supposed to be a musician!

0:20:070:20:10

Once you can play five or six tunes on the chanter, it's time to move onto the pipes.

0:20:100:20:14

That's another ball game. Would you like me to show you?

0:20:140:20:17

Yeah, OK.

0:20:170:20:18

'It's the pipes that produce the bellowing background noise which is called the drone.

0:20:180:20:22

'And in our case, I think it really will be.'

0:20:220:20:24

Barry's the man.

0:20:240:20:26

You put the pipes on the shoulder, OK?

0:20:260:20:28

You're going to blow into the blow stick, here.

0:20:280:20:30

OK? Now use this hand to squeeze the bag and push it underneath your...

0:20:300:20:34

If you take this hand off...

0:20:340:20:36

OK, just push it up a bit.

0:20:360:20:40

I think he's holding on with his life, there. Fantastic.

0:20:400:20:45

I think a big hand for Barry.

0:20:450:20:47

-Well done.

-I don't know the tune, though.

0:20:470:20:50

'When played properly, there are two types of bagpipe music -

0:20:500:20:53

'military marches, which were used to scare off the enemy -

0:20:530:20:56

'which, by the sounds Barry's making, he's quite good at -

0:20:560:20:59

'and the classical piobaireachd, which predates any known piano compositions.

0:20:590:21:03

'But I think we'll leave it to Louise, so we can indulge in another Scottish tradition -

0:21:030:21:07

'the Highland fling. You've been warned.'

0:21:070:21:10

With the sun setting over the Scottish borders, the first day of property hunting is at an end.

0:21:200:21:25

Barry and Jan are looking to retire to the Scottish borders.

0:21:310:21:34

They want a three-bedroomed character house with a whole lot of land

0:21:340:21:37

so Barry can have five - oh, yes - five duck ponds.

0:21:370:21:41

They went quackers for our first property.

0:21:410:21:44

Don't bother showing us any more.

0:21:440:21:46

But there's plenty to come.

0:21:460:21:48

This is some living room.

0:21:480:21:51

And today's mystery house will be a real test for their mettle.

0:21:510:21:54

Will they sacrifice ponds for an immaculate home?

0:21:540:21:58

Ideal, isn't it?

0:21:580:21:59

For our first property today, we're staying in the Teviot Valley,

0:22:040:22:07

heading to the village of Denholm,

0:22:070:22:09

equidistant between Barry and Jan's favourite towns of Jedburgh and Hawick.

0:22:090:22:13

So location wise, it should be spot on.

0:22:130:22:16

It's a beautiful little village that's grown up around its 17th-century green.

0:22:180:22:22

The first hamlet was destroyed by English raiders in the 1600s.

0:22:220:22:27

Our English invaders, however, want to integrate themselves into the community,

0:22:270:22:31

and they shouldn't have any problems here.

0:22:310:22:34

They are just 350 households, two pubs, a butcher and a baker,

0:22:340:22:36

although the candlestick maker is long gone.

0:22:360:22:41

Our property is 1.5 miles away, on the grounds of an old manor house.

0:22:410:22:46

Well, Jan, I heard you say that you were a bit worried that this little lane led to a large estate.

0:22:460:22:52

In a way, it does, but it leads to your estate.

0:22:520:22:57

-That is... That's some house.

-Something else. Good grief!

0:22:570:23:02

You've got the River Teviot just there, which you can hear.

0:23:020:23:05

-Really?

-And a couple of burns leading off it.

0:23:050:23:09

Burns, burns. What do burns make?

0:23:090:23:12

Crystal-clear Scottish spring water.

0:23:120:23:15

-That's what I need.

-Let's get up close and personal.

0:23:150:23:18

-Come on.

-I think we need to, yes.

0:23:180:23:21

'Just in case you're not up on your Scots lingo, a burn is a small brook.

0:23:210:23:26

'Let's hope the house gets Barry and Jan just as excited.

0:23:260:23:30

'Built in the 19th century, it was originally the coach house to the nearby manor.

0:23:300:23:34

'It's been extended over the years, and the layout is on the quirky side,

0:23:340:23:38

'which I think Barry and Jan will find quite appealing.'

0:23:380:23:41

Come on in. Little hallway.

0:23:440:23:46

This is nice.

0:23:460:23:47

One of three entrances into the property, by the way.

0:23:470:23:50

Fantastic.

0:23:500:23:52

-Little TV room.

-Wow.

0:23:520:23:54

This is really nice. Cottagey, but there's windows on three sides.

0:23:540:24:01

Barry's spotted something.

0:24:010:24:02

Lovely greenhouse.

0:24:020:24:05

That's more than a greenhouse, that's an industrial-size nursery.

0:24:050:24:11

It is. How do you feel about having a greenhouse running off your living room?

0:24:110:24:15

-No problem.

-Novel. You'd never get wet going out there.

0:24:150:24:19

I'll take you out.

0:24:190:24:20

The door doesn't open fully.

0:24:240:24:27

No, it doesn't open fully.

0:24:270:24:28

Come on out.

0:24:280:24:31

Is this what I think it is?

0:24:310:24:33

It is, yeah. Your own vine.

0:24:330:24:35

You could have garden furniture here, make a feature of this, you know?

0:24:350:24:39

When it's a really hot summer's day, you'll feel as if you're in the Mediterranean.

0:24:390:24:43

Come on, there's plenty more to show you.

0:24:430:24:46

'It's an unusual feature, but ideal if Barry and Jan want to go the whole hog on self-sufficiency.'

0:24:460:24:52

Oh! Now this is some living room.

0:24:560:25:01

It's your formal living space.

0:25:010:25:04

-You're not kidding.

-Nice feel to this room, isn't there?

0:25:040:25:07

-It's a large room and yet it's cosy.

-Mm-hm.

0:25:070:25:09

You can imagine all the weather outside doing its thing, but you could be in here as warm as toast.

0:25:090:25:17

I'm glad you like it. Onward.

0:25:170:25:19

'I love Jan's use of the word cosy.

0:25:190:25:22

'This living room is 30 foot long.

0:25:220:25:24

'Time to check out the east wing of the house, I think.'

0:25:240:25:27

I'm showing you a rather disconnected bathroom, cos it's away from everything, really.

0:25:270:25:32

-Yeah, yeah.

-Sixties themed...

0:25:320:25:35

-Yes.

-I actually don't mind that.

0:25:350:25:38

Those tiles, they're not in your face. They're fine.

0:25:380:25:42

The good news is, this is one of three bathrooms in the property.

0:25:420:25:47

The bad news is that there isn't a dining room or a kitchen.

0:25:470:25:50

-Oh, dear!

-You eat outside, then?

0:25:500:25:52

She believes anything I tell her!

0:25:520:25:53

Of course there is, come on.

0:25:530:25:55

'I jest, but this is one area of the house that could do with a bit of work.'

0:25:560:26:01

Ah. Now...

0:26:030:26:05

This is nice. Window seats...

0:26:050:26:07

Look at the thick walls again.

0:26:070:26:10

-Of course, linked to the kitchen. Come on through.

-Lovely, yes. Can see the kitchen through there.

0:26:100:26:16

-Beautiful view of the courtyard.

-I like these doors.

0:26:160:26:18

I like these doors. Very nice.

0:26:180:26:21

What do you think of the size of the kitchen?

0:26:210:26:24

-Fine.

-Yeah.

-It works.

0:26:240:26:26

-It works for me.

-You look slightly disappointed about the kitchen.

-Um...

0:26:260:26:31

It's... The house itself is a puzzle.

0:26:310:26:34

I mean, you open a door onto something that you're not quite expecting.

0:26:340:26:39

-Yeah.

-That's right.

-This is...

0:26:390:26:41

Again, it's an adequate space.

0:26:410:26:44

It needs updating, but, you know, I could work with this. I could live here.

0:26:440:26:49

Three bedrooms in the property, two of them downstairs, so there is one rather large bedroom upstairs.

0:26:490:26:54

I'm not sure how you'd feel about that.

0:26:540:26:56

-You can tell me.

-Let's go and see.

0:26:560:26:59

'Well, there are other options. The west wing of the house is actually the old stable block

0:26:590:27:04

'and is crying out for renovation.

0:27:040:27:06

'It'd make a superb kitchen/diner if Barry and Jan are up to the job.

0:27:060:27:10

'But for now, we are concentrating on the east wing.

0:27:100:27:13

'And in that east wing there are two double bedrooms on the ground floor and a lovely sun room.'

0:27:130:27:19

-So many nooks and crannies in this property.

-Now, I could just see myself in there, set up the easel

0:27:190:27:24

-and I could be painting in there.

-Ideal?

0:27:240:27:26

Fantastic.

0:27:260:27:28

-Upstairs to the bedroom?

-Superb, that. Absolutely lovely space.

0:27:280:27:32

So you've got your own bathroom up here, as well.

0:27:340:27:36

-This is nice.

-Little space in there.

0:27:360:27:39

That's lovely.

0:27:390:27:40

-Ah, yes.

-You can actually see the Teviot...

0:27:430:27:45

-over there as well. That's lovely.

-All comes back to the water, Barry.

0:27:450:27:49

It does indeed.

0:27:490:27:51

'Well, I know Barry is itching to get outside, and this house really has some land attached to it -

0:27:510:27:56

'a whopping ten acres.'

0:27:560:27:59

That's nice. That is nice.

0:27:590:28:03

Good grief, yes.

0:28:030:28:05

-I like that.

-Already a productive vegetable plot.

0:28:050:28:10

-Yes?

-You could convert that into raised beds with no problem at all.

0:28:100:28:14

-It's a fantastic plot, really, really wonderful, but it also needs a little bit of TLC.

-Yes.

0:28:140:28:20

Two years ago, severe flooding here.

0:28:200:28:23

-Didn't affect the house at all but, as you can see, this riverbank needs to be shored up again.

-Yeah.

0:28:230:28:29

Costs quite a bit of money.

0:28:290:28:31

Just get some beavers, I'm sure they'd do the job.

0:28:310:28:34

-Yes, they might.

-And the other thing about it is that's the raw materials for dry-stone walls down there.

0:28:340:28:39

You're very positive people.

0:28:390:28:41

Well, you know, there's an answer to almost everything.

0:28:410:28:43

Yeah. Nothing is insurmountable.

0:28:430:28:46

'Well, that's what I like to hear.

0:28:460:28:48

'But there's so much more to see, and this property comes with a couple of features

0:28:480:28:52

'that will make Barry very, very happy.'

0:28:520:28:55

Oh-ho-ho!

0:28:560:28:58

Is that a pond or is that a pond?

0:28:580:29:00

-It's a naturally-fed pond.

-Is it? By Jove.

-Yeah, it is.

0:29:000:29:04

-Good grief!

-Wow.

0:29:040:29:07

I think that might tick all my boxes.

0:29:070:29:11

That's two, let's look for the other three.

0:29:110:29:13

I can't promise you three, but I can promise you another one.

0:29:130:29:16

-Can you?!

-I can. I can.

0:29:160:29:19

-Is it gonna be lake style like this?

-Come and have a look.

0:29:190:29:22

Lovely.

0:29:220:29:24

With 10 acres to cover, pond number two is a bit of a hike.

0:29:240:29:28

And this is still on the property?

0:29:300:29:34

-It is.

-All of this?

-It is, Jan.

0:29:340:29:37

Can't quite believe our luck, here.

0:29:370:29:38

I can't. I just can't. It goes on and on and on.

0:29:380:29:42

So, Barry, the more natural-looking pond.

0:29:460:29:50

Very much so. It's ideal teal and shoveler country, this.

0:29:500:29:54

I could see birds of that type being very much at home here.

0:29:540:29:59

The potential is limitless, I think.

0:29:590:30:01

I think five ponds might be the minimum I end up with.

0:30:010:30:05

It's a fantastic property, amazing grounds.

0:30:050:30:08

What do you think it's worth?

0:30:080:30:10

I would say, with 10 acres, all this land, the lovely property,

0:30:120:30:19

I would say 600,000.

0:30:190:30:21

Perhaps 650,000.

0:30:210:30:24

Barry?

0:30:240:30:27

545,000?

0:30:270:30:29

-I would hope.

-£545,000.

0:30:290:30:32

I can tell you that the amazing coach house, 10 acres of land, is on the market for...

0:30:320:30:39

£525,000.

0:30:390:30:41

525? Blimey.

0:30:410:30:44

-Well...

-525...

-That is, well...

0:30:440:30:48

75,000 to mess about with.

0:30:480:30:51

Well, look, go and have a look at your little estate, and I'll come and find you.

0:30:510:30:56

Lovely, thank you very much. Yes.

0:30:560:30:58

Yes, ha-ha, indeed.

0:30:590:31:01

If ever there was a property that blends incredibly with its amazing surroundings,

0:31:010:31:07

then this is the property for you.

0:31:070:31:10

And the good news is that Barry and Jan are willing to give it the TLC -

0:31:100:31:14

the tender loving care - that it requires.

0:31:140:31:16

Is it too big a project for them to take on?

0:31:160:31:19

I don't think so. I think this could well be their escape to the country.

0:31:190:31:24

On the market for offers over £525,000, this could be a massive £75,000 under budget.

0:31:240:31:32

So plenty of spare change to make any alterations.

0:31:320:31:35

It has three bedrooms, ample living space, and potential for a huge kitchen/diner.

0:31:350:31:41

But it's the 10 acres and two ponds

0:31:410:31:43

that make this a real stand-out.

0:31:430:31:46

I think this property could work for us.

0:31:460:31:48

There's a lot of work to do, and I think we'd enjoy this as a project.

0:31:480:31:53

It's begging to be transformed.

0:31:530:31:56

That's right. With a lovely keyhole window. That would be a feature.

0:31:560:32:00

I was pretty blown away by the house.

0:32:000:32:01

There's plenty of it. The gardens are immaculate. There are two ponds, currently.

0:32:010:32:06

Even if we were to enlarge them, they'd become lakes, almost.

0:32:060:32:10

As far as I'm concerned, it's a very big contender.

0:32:100:32:12

You know what, this property and the surrounding area really does suit you two.

0:32:130:32:17

It certainly ticks all the boxes for us, yes.

0:32:170:32:19

Listen, there's more to see. Let's get going.

0:32:190:32:21

Well, can't be bad.

0:32:210:32:23

The journey to find Barry and Jan their perfect country retreat, on the whole, has gone very well.

0:32:300:32:35

They've loved being in the open space, but quite frankly, who wouldn't?

0:32:350:32:39

But I also think I've managed to turn Barry's attention away from the garden and his five ponds,

0:32:390:32:45

and he's concentrating more now on the property itself. Or is he?

0:32:450:32:49

The mystery house will reveal all.

0:32:490:32:51

With no ponds whatsoever, we're really taking a gamble with today's mystery house.

0:32:540:32:58

It's situated on the outskirts of Galashiels -

0:32:580:33:01

the Borders' second-biggest town.

0:33:010:33:04

Located on the banks of the River Tweed in the very heart of the Borders,

0:33:040:33:08

Gala, as it's known to the locals, has a rich history in the textile industry, dating back to the 1500s.

0:33:080:33:15

Today the mills mix in with modern service industries.

0:33:150:33:19

There are plenty of amenities to cater for the 12,000 residents of this thriving community town.

0:33:190:33:25

The mystery house is located on the quieter outer fringes of Galashiels.

0:33:250:33:29

It's not a location Barry and Jan have considered before,

0:33:290:33:33

but, if this is to be their last move, in the coming years they may appreciate

0:33:330:33:37

having a town's amenities right on their doorstep.

0:33:370:33:39

So that's why we've chosen to show them this house.

0:33:390:33:42

-So, you're probably wondering why I've brought you to the outskirts of Galashiels.

-Yes, we are.

0:33:440:33:50

Well, I know that you like properties with loads of character.

0:33:500:33:54

You're not going to find a property with more character than this one, let me tell you.

0:33:540:33:58

It was the original house of a prominent tweed manufacturer.

0:33:580:34:01

It's Victorian.

0:34:010:34:04

It is enormous.

0:34:040:34:06

-It's a stately home!

-It's semi-detached.

0:34:060:34:09

-It's still enormous.

-Huge.

0:34:090:34:12

When it comes to both space and period detail, this impressive semi will take some beating.

0:34:120:34:17

But will it win Barry and Jan over enough

0:34:170:34:19

to persuade them to consider an alternative to remote country living?

0:34:190:34:24

So how do you fancy a mosaic-tiled floor?

0:34:260:34:29

That is perfect.

0:34:290:34:32

Come on through.

0:34:320:34:33

It is absolutely super.

0:34:330:34:35

As you say, stained glass everywhere.

0:34:370:34:41

Look at this. Look at the ceiling.

0:34:410:34:44

-Original pine floor.

-That's a big plus.

0:34:440:34:48

-It's lovely.

-It's recently been refurbished, as you can tell.

0:34:480:34:52

But so many original features in every single room.

0:34:520:34:57

Check this out.

0:34:570:34:59

I love this so much.

0:34:590:35:01

A very neat touch.

0:35:010:35:03

Take a listen.

0:35:030:35:05

A sound system?

0:35:050:35:07

Big speakers anywhere?

0:35:070:35:09

No.

0:35:090:35:10

-How unobtrusive is that?

-That's the speaker?

0:35:110:35:13

Anyway, boys' gadgets aside, come and have a look at the room itself.

0:35:130:35:19

-That's nice. I like the bay window.

-The window's wonderful, isn't it?

0:35:190:35:23

Fantastic fire.

0:35:230:35:26

Working fireplace.

0:35:260:35:28

-Really?

-Immaculate, isn't it?

-It is absolutely pristine.

0:35:280:35:32

The colour scheme's nice.

0:35:320:35:35

There are plenty of rooms to show you, so come on. Let's get on with it.

0:35:350:35:39

-What I love is the height of these ceilings.

-Fantastic.

0:35:420:35:45

It gives you a feeling of space.

0:35:450:35:47

-Kitchen through there. We'll go there later.

-OK.

0:35:470:35:51

This is the formal dining room.

0:35:510:35:53

-Fantastic.

-Very nice.

0:35:540:35:57

Look at this. Another fireplace, look.

0:35:570:36:00

This is gorgeous.

0:36:000:36:02

'Great reaction so far.

0:36:020:36:04

'Our gamble could be paying off.

0:36:040:36:06

'Next door is a second living room, complete with more character trimmings.'

0:36:060:36:11

Come on through. This is your...

0:36:110:36:13

-casual eating area.

-It's nice.

0:36:130:36:16

This bit was added on in the 1930s, and the kitchen through there.

0:36:160:36:21

Because basically your next-door neighbour's got the kitchen.

0:36:210:36:23

Oh, right. So if we need to eat, we just knock on their door?

0:36:230:36:29

-If you get to know them well enough, yes.

-Very good.

0:36:290:36:32

This is your kitchen.

0:36:320:36:33

This is lovely.

0:36:330:36:35

-Good enough size for you?

-Yeah.

0:36:350:36:37

-You could work in here, you've got everything you need.

-This is ideal.

0:36:370:36:41

-This is OK. It's a kitchen, it works.

-Shall we go upstairs?

-Yes.

-Please.

0:36:410:36:46

'Ideal? Nice?

0:36:480:36:50

'Fantastic? This is music to my ears.

0:36:500:36:52

'This house really could offer them a luxurious retirement.

0:36:520:36:56

'And, upstairs, the splendour continues with three double bedrooms,

0:36:560:36:59

'a single, and a rather sumptuous bathroom.'

0:36:590:37:02

As you'd imagine, the bathroom is amazing.

0:37:020:37:08

I think the word in-keeping springs to mind.

0:37:090:37:13

This is lovely.

0:37:130:37:15

-So I'm seeing you in that bath, I have to say.

-No, you're not, Aled!

0:37:150:37:18

-You may have a point there.

-The door will be locked.

-OK!

0:37:200:37:25

A bit red in the cheeks there.

0:37:250:37:27

It is lovely. I like it.

0:37:270:37:30

How do you feel about this being your master bedroom?

0:37:360:37:38

Good heavens. This is lovely.

0:37:380:37:45

-Again, original floor.

-Yes.

-Original fireplace here.

0:37:450:37:48

I can see that.

0:37:480:37:50

And the sash windows as well.

0:37:500:37:53

Not overlooked by anything, really, is it?

0:37:530:37:55

Nope.

0:37:550:37:56

Ideal, isn't it?

0:37:560:37:58

Everywhere you look, there's another surprise.

0:37:580:38:00

There's nothing would need to be done to this house at all.

0:38:000:38:04

-Absolutely pristine.

-Come on, follow me.

0:38:040:38:06

'If ever there was a house with wow factor, then this is it.

0:38:060:38:09

'And outside is equally impressive.

0:38:090:38:12

'It comes with two acres of land, but most of that is woodland, so alas, no potential for ponds.

0:38:120:38:18

'It's a risky strategy.

0:38:180:38:21

'But will this stunning character house convince Barry to give up his water?'

0:38:210:38:25

-Come on out, guys.

-This is nice.

0:38:250:38:29

I like this garden.

0:38:290:38:31

It's two acres in all, as I say. Most of that is facing us now.

0:38:310:38:35

-It's a woodland.

-Oh, look!

0:38:350:38:37

A nice eating area out here.

0:38:370:38:39

-Oh, that's very Mediterranean.

-It's pretty, isn't it?

-That's nice.

0:38:390:38:44

'Time to bite the bullet and confess all.'

0:38:440:38:46

Barry, there isn't a pond.

0:38:460:38:48

-Right.

-But I'm just trying to push you to see...

0:38:480:38:51

You know, if the house is immaculate, if the house is fantastic,

0:38:510:38:54

if I could sway you the other way.

0:38:540:38:56

No, you wouldn't be able to.

0:38:560:38:57

It's an integral part of what we want, isn't it?

0:38:570:39:01

How much do you think this property and the two acres is on the market for?

0:39:010:39:06

I would say it's well over budget, in the region of about 700,000.

0:39:060:39:12

OK. 700,000.

0:39:120:39:14

I'm going to go lower, because it's semi-detached.

0:39:140:39:18

I'm going to go for 625,000.

0:39:180:39:20

625,000. It's on the market for a fixed price...

0:39:200:39:24

of £550,000.

0:39:240:39:27

-Well within your budget.

-You are joking?

0:39:270:39:30

That amazes me.

0:39:300:39:32

I'm stuck for words.

0:39:320:39:34

-Honestly, I really am.

-Go and have another look around.

-OK.

0:39:340:39:36

I'll be waiting by the front door.

0:39:360:39:38

Thank you.

0:39:380:39:40

'You win some, you lose some.'

0:39:410:39:42

What a shame, because this property is immaculate.

0:39:420:39:45

And with an asking price of £550,000, it's £50,000 under budget.

0:39:450:39:50

It has period features and then some.

0:39:500:39:53

Three reception rooms.

0:39:530:39:54

Five bedrooms, and it comes with two acres of land.

0:39:540:39:57

Sadly, it doesn't have the ponds Barry's set his heart on.

0:39:570:40:01

I thought we might be able to sway him,

0:40:010:40:03

but he's a man who knows what he wants, and he's not budging.

0:40:030:40:06

The house was divine. You know, the colour schemes. It was a house to die for.

0:40:080:40:13

But I'm afraid, Barry and I, we need somewhere with a lot more land.

0:40:130:40:18

Look at this. This is gorgeous. I mean, look at this.

0:40:180:40:22

I was absolutely blown away by the magnitude of the house.

0:40:220:40:27

But in the current state, we wouldn't be here for the simple reason that we want land.

0:40:270:40:33

It isn't for us, at the moment.

0:40:330:40:35

Well, the mystery house may be dead in the water, but the other two properties are still in the running.

0:40:350:40:40

So it's back to base for some thinking time.

0:40:400:40:43

Well, that's it for our property tour of the Borders.

0:40:520:40:55

By my reckoning, we have a couple of contenders.

0:40:550:40:57

So all Barry and Jan have to do is work out

0:40:570:41:00

which will be the best option for their new country lifestyle.

0:41:000:41:03

-I think we've had a pretty eventful time here on the Scottish Borders, don't you?

-Certainly have.

0:41:100:41:15

We have seen some very interesting properties.

0:41:150:41:18

To start with, the old converted water mill. What did you make of it?

0:41:180:41:21

Quirky, loved the different rooms.

0:41:210:41:25

That dining room - it was sensational.

0:41:250:41:28

The potential for that property was just never-ending.

0:41:280:41:32

-Limitless really, yeah.

-Obviously the river frontage, that was perfect.

0:41:320:41:36

I'm sure Barry could do something with that.

0:41:360:41:39

You weren't expecting a river running at the bottom of your house.

0:41:390:41:42

I certainly was not, no.

0:41:420:41:43

-That was a major bonus.

-OK. So let me take you back to the coach house.

0:41:430:41:47

That was lovely. There was a lot of potential.

0:41:470:41:50

A lot of land.

0:41:500:41:52

And even better, there was...

0:41:520:41:56

two ponds.

0:41:560:41:57

-That's right.

-I mean, it did need a lot of work doing to it, but we could see past that.

0:41:570:42:03

I think I'd like to see the original bit back to almost all bedrooms.

0:42:030:42:07

So have it like a bedroom wing.

0:42:070:42:09

OK, let's talk about the mystery property. And it really was immaculate, wasn't it?

0:42:090:42:13

It was like walking into Narnia. I don't think I have ever seen a house that was so beautifully presented.

0:42:130:42:19

The stained-glass windows, the cornices were pristine.

0:42:190:42:23

But the biggest draw for us moving to the Borders

0:42:230:42:27

is to have some land, so we can be sort of semi self-sufficient. I'd like to have my ducks once again.

0:42:270:42:32

And sadly, although it had a woodland walk, there was no scope for that if we're honest about it.

0:42:320:42:38

I've shown you a variety of properties. Do you think you will move up here?

0:42:380:42:41

Absolutely certain. We are certainly going to re-look at one of the properties - the coach house.

0:42:410:42:48

Right. Sounds really positive.

0:42:480:42:50

-We can see ourselves there, yes.

-It's been an absolute pleasure.

0:42:500:42:53

I really do hope that you make it up here,

0:42:530:42:55

and whether it's the coach house or not, I hope you'll be an integral part of that community,

0:42:550:43:00

cos I think they'll be very, very lucky to have you. Nice to meet you.

0:43:000:43:03

Barry and Jan just love the Scottish Borders.

0:43:060:43:10

They were born to live here.

0:43:100:43:11

They've so enjoyed exploring the houses and the land

0:43:110:43:14

that would give them the opportunity of being at one with nature.

0:43:140:43:17

What I've really admired is the fact that they're positive.

0:43:170:43:21

They don't dwell on the negative.

0:43:210:43:22

Surely that's a quality you need when you're house hunting.

0:43:220:43:25

Until next time, goodbye.

0:43:250:43:27

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

0:43:270:43:31

please apply online at...

0:43:310:43:33

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:43:540:43:57

E-mail [email protected]

0:43:570:44:00

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.