West Sussex Escape to the Country


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West Sussex

Property series. Aled Jones helps a couple who have hardly lived together during 34 years of marriage to find a home in West Sussex, with an area for dog grooming.


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These historic buildings behind me are still standing because of one man's extraordinary vision

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and a care for conservation way ahead of its time.

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Brick by brick, these once endangered buildings were

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dismantled, relocated and painstakingly reconstructed...

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so which county inspired such architectural devotion?

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Find out, as we Escape To The Country.

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In today's show I'll be helping a couple who have hardly lived

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together during their 34 years of marriage find a home in the country

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where they can finally settle down together.

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Sometimes we take them by surprise...

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-I didn't expect this!

-It's certainly different!

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This is huge!

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Sometimes we take their breath away...

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-We're just speechless, I think, it's so...

-So right!

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And sometimes we send them spiralling out of control...

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I'm not keen on galley kitchens, to be honest, sorry!

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Hide the knives!

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Welcome to West Sussex.

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I'm at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum near Chichester.

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Opened in 1970, this unusual museum is home to around

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50 historic buildings dating from the 13th to the 19th century

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and it's all down to the extraordinary passion

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for conservation of one man, Roy Armstrong.

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Well, let's hope our tour of this county unearths

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properties as beautiful as that one!

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The South Coast county of West Sussex is bordered by Surrey

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to its north with Hampshire and East Sussex to either side.

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The chalky South Downs are its key geographical feature,

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parts of which have been designated a new National Park.

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The area's climate makes for good farming and many English wines

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are produced here and of course the sea is never far away.

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The county has a busy history, to which the many

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architectural styles, stately homes and castles bear witness.

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Arundel Castle, perhaps the most impressive, looks out across

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the county's fast-flowing river, the Arun. The Romans called

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the river The Trespasser, because of its tendency to flood.

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Well away from the flood plain, however, there are many lovely houses to be found.

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West Sussex offers beautiful countryside

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within easy reach of London but despite its commutability,

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this county has really managed to retain its sense of heritage,

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but being able to escape the rat race and step back in time means

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that property here really does come at a premium.

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The price of a detached house is 38% above national average,

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so with prices so high today's buyers are going to have to be

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realistic about what they want.

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This, though, is what you get for your money.

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Fancy riding around your own equestrian country estate in Horsham?

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It comprises a four bed family home with an orangery,

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an obligatory swimming pool, stable, yard and paddocks.

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I'm not horsing around when I say it's on the market for

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1.4 million pounds!

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For less cash and less animals,

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this charming cottage in Pulborough could be yours.

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Set within a beautiful landscaped garden,

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it has three bedrooms and a large drawing room with vaulted ceiling.

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It's being sold for £595,000.

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How would you like to own

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this two bedroom thatched cottage in Amberley?

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Throw £395,000 down its well, and your wish may come true!

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This Grade II Listed property with its exposed beams could be yours.

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Such lovely properties there,

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it really does bode well for today's househunters.

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Shall we meet them?

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Michael and Julie from Billingham in Teesside have been married

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for 34 years, yet for the majority of their marriage

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they've been forced to live apart because of Mike's job working

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all over the world within the oil industry.

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However, things are about to change as Mike

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has recently returned to these shores to start a new job

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in Staines where he currently rents this property.

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But although Mike will be permanently based here,

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Staines is 250 miles away from the family home,

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so Julie has decided to leave this, her four bed semi in Teesside,

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to make a new home together with Mike down south.

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This move will be harder for me because I live up North

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and my family are there, my grandchildren are there,

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but the time has come when really we need to spend more time together.

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There's no doubt it will be a wrench for Julie and her family.

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I can't deny I'm going miss my mum and dad but after 30 years

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of living apart I think it will be a great opportunity for them

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to spend some quality time together. I just hope there's room for me!

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But at least Julie will be taking

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her four beloved Cocker Spaniels for company.

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It will be great for the dogs and it will be great for us

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to be together, to go walking, just pursuing pastimes that we both enjoy.

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Considering that Mike and Julie will be living together full-time for the first time ever,

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it's essential the house meets their requirements, so, what are they looking for?

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In the next house I'm looking for a detached property

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in a semi-rural, or rural, area

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with a minimum of three bedrooms and a good sized garden...

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And possibly an outbuilding outside which is somewhere I could use

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as a grooming room for the dogs.

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And that's not all!

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Special features I'm looking for

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will probably be period with some character.

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Open fires.

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I would like a large kitchen, possibly kitchen diner.

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But how much have they got to spend on their new property?

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We're not selling the property up in Teesside, however, I have made

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other investments and we're going use them to finance the property.

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The budget for the new property is £450,000.

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However, if it ticked all the boxes, I'd be willing to go to £500,000.

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Hopefully that will be enough to find the perfect escape for Mike,

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Julie, Monty, Sasha, Ellie...

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and let's not forget, Paisley!

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Michael and Julie have had their fill of living separate lives

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and are desperately seeking a three bedroom period property

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with a couple of reception rooms and a decent size kitchen.

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Close to Julie's heart are her four Cocker Spaniels, so ideally she'd

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like a utility room or an outhouse to double-up as a grooming parlour.

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It all seems pretty reasonable. I think it's time we go walkies!

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We'll be stretching our legs around the western part

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of Michael and Julie's chosen county... West Sussex.

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Ideal for Julie's dogs with it being so close to the sea

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and handy for Mike, who won't have far to commute.

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In today's show we'll be viewing three fabulous country houses

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that meet their requirements, but as usual, I won't be revealing

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their price tags straightaway.

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The last of those three will be the Mystery House,

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which might make them think twice...

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-Welcome to West Sussex. Looking forward to this?

-Yes, we are.

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A massive move for you because you've never been away from Teesside.

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You've been everywhere for the last 30 years!

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How do you feel about that?

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Leaving the grandchildren will be the hardest thing.

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They're both only small at the moment but they can always come and visit!

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Now what about the budget? It was originally £500,000?

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We said £450,000 but obviously we've got the £500,000 if we can

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tick all the boxes and we can see that that's the right place for us.

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I have to say that you've chosen a pretty expensive area.

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-Are you adaptable?

-Certainly am!

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I knew you'd be adaptable, it's this one I'm worried about!

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-Are you going be adaptable?

-Urm... if it's suitable for the dogs, yeah.

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-They're important to you?

-The dogs are my family now!

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Get rid of him!

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I get the impression that it's dogs and then maybe you?

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You're quite right, yes, I'm at the lower end!

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-The dogs come first!

-I'm looking forward to it.

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We've got some lovely properties to show you,

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-including the mystery property. Come on, follow me!

-Thank you.

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After 34 years of marriage,

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Michael and Julie are ready

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to start this new adventure together.

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With a budget of up to £500,000

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their wish list is achievable,

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so long as they compromise in certain areas.

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They're hoping to get a three bedroom period house

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with an area for grooming Julie's dogs.

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What they're willing to sacrifice, however,

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is up for grabs but something tells me

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her precious pets won't be going without!

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Mike, let me ask you, why did you concentrate on this area to move to,

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because it still gives you quite a bit of a commute, doesn't it?

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It's more concentrating on what we want to do in the future.

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We want an area where we're going to settle down eventually.

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We didn't want to be too close to London and this was the compromise.

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Doing the extra commuting gives us

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the availability to get to the beaches, etc.

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Our first house is in Cocking, a much sought-after village

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and a 46 mile commute to Mike's work in Staines.

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Named after Cocker, a Saxon warlord,

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Cocking is a quiet village within the South Downs.

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It has a post office, tea room,

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a church dating back to the 11th century and plenty of footpaths,

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ideal for Mike and Julie to walk their dogs along.

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The house I'm taking them to is in a prime spot within the conservation area of the village.

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It's a Grade II Listed Tudor cottage, bursting with character.

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Can you imagine walking the dogs up this nice country lane?

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Yes, a great possibility!

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Really sought-after, the properties here and I don't know why you're looking at me... that's the house!

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Right. It looks very nice.

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It's lovely.

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16th century, loads of period features, as you can imagine.

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This one, I think!

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-You've gone very quiet on me, straightaway!

-Yeah!

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What do you think?

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It is... it's absolutely gorgeous!

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It's fantastic, isn't it! It's a lovely looking building.

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One thing I should tell you right away is that you don't get

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the impression from standing here, but it is semidetached.

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-Oh, right.

-Right.

-Didn't realise that!

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Right! You got all 'sergeant-major' on me, then!

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-But you don't get that impression at all, do you?

-Well, no!

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It's the other side of the property so even when you're in there,

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you really don't get the impression that you're semi-detached.

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I've done enough talking out here. I think we should get in?

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-Yes, sure.

-Let's go!

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We're taking a bit of a risk with this house.

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It's not the detached property they were after, but there are lots

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of period features that they did want, so fingers crossed!

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Come on in.

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Close the door behind you.

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-So?

-That's certainly different!

-Little downstairs bathroom.

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-Lovely!

-The current owners are using it as a kind of utility room

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-as well because it's got a washer dryer there.

-OK.

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Let's not dwell in the hallway,

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because there's plenty of other rooms to show you that are fantastic,

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I think, anyway. Follow me, come on.

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Methinks you'll like this room.

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Oh, fantastic, yeah! I didn't expect this!

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-That is certainly different!

-This is huge!

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-So, kitchen diner/reception room?

-Yeah, reception room.

-All in one!

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It's Grade II Listed and this was added on in 2002,

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but if you're sympathetic with your extensions, you get away with it

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and I would say that this has been done really sympathetically.

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-Yeah, it has. Make a nice garden room.

-Yeah, that type of thing.

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Can you imagine yourself living here?

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-So far, yeah!

-I get the impression the dogs are part of the family

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-and can imagine them scampering around in here.

-This is ideal.

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They'd love it especially with the sofa here as well

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because from the sofa to the biscuit cupboard, not too far.

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So if the dogs are laying on that sofa, I'd better show you the sofa

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-that you're going be laying on.

-OK.

-Follow me. I'm going look after you!

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If it's a cosy sitting room you're after...

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Oh, I see what you mean!

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-This is lovely! Look at that fire!

-Yes, the sort of thing I like.

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-Inglenook, you've got a wood burner in there.

-Inglenook fire.

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I just wanted to check one thing.

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If you could stand there and you stand here.

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Oh, we're all right! You're not going bang your head!

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It is clear, is it?

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-You're fine!

-I'm fine, I'm fine.

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You do expect that with period properties,

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-so it wouldn't surprise me.

-I love this... it's cosy.

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You could just imagine this in the winter, couldn't you?

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This house is "majorly" growing on you!

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To be honest, it is.

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-It's lovely, it's quirky. It does have some lovely features.

-Yeah.

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We've ascertained that the dogs are going be very happy

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in the breakfast room with their biscuits on the sofa,

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-and they lounge here in front of the fire!

-They'll love that fire!

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-Shall we find out where they're going sleep?

-We shall!

-Come on!

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-There's three bedrooms for them.

-Oh, God!

-Wonderful!

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So far, so good, but will the dogs take the large bedroom,

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or will the master be left for the Master?

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-Lovely!

-You'd get four dogs on that bed!

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-That bed is lovely!

-It's huge, isn't it!

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-Plenty of room on there for four dogs!

-I'm surprised at that!

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-I was joking!

-I know, the dogs are no joke!

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These dogs are important, aren't they!

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Very, very, yes, certainly are!

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-What do you think of this room?

-I think it's lovely!

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It's surprising how big it is for a period property.

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I was very surprised. I wasn't expecting anything as big as this.

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You don't get the feeling that you're semidetached?

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-It doesn't give that feeling at all.

-Yeah, you're right.

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-I'm glad you like it!

-Yeah, we do.

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-Shall we have a look at the other bedroom?

-Yes.

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Come on, then. I'll lead the way.

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With the family bathroom on the ground floor, this shower room

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is perfectly placed between the two bedrooms and

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-the original beams continue in here.

-That's certainly got a slope on it!

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-It has, yeah!

-You'll be sleeping all over the place here!

-Yeah!

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I'm quite surprised by the light

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in this place because I expected it to be a lot darker.

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And there's more!

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Up a wooden stepladder is a converted loft space,

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perfect for the grandkids when they come to stay.

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It's time to head outside where there's plenty of room

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for Michael, Julie and their four legged friends to run around.

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For a property with sloping floors,

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you'd expect a garden that slopes as well, wouldn't you?

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Yeah, I'm quite impressed. It's well-established, isn't it?

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There's nothing to do and it's not overlooked.

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It's very private. You've got established apple trees,

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-you've got cherry trees, hazelnut.

-This is certainly private here.

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You don't get the impression that it's a semi at all.

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-You've got a little outbuilding there as well.

-Great! Grooming room!

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-Why not, if you fancy it!

-Yes, definitely!

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-OK, let's talk money.

-OK.

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Don't look like that!

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-I'm nervous, it's a habit.

-The fun bit... what do you think it's on the market for?

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With it being a semi,

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I'm going knock it down a little bit so I'm going to say 435.

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-£435,000?

-Yep.

-OK. How about you, Michael?

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It's the area that's probably the thing that's really going to pull this up,

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so I'm going to say 445.

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£445,000? Interesting!

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It's actually on the market for £499,500.

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-The area's playing into it a lot.

-Very close to the top of your budget.

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It was originally on for £550,000. Has that changed anything?

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It's not a "no" if I can see I can make some improvements,

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-so I've got to keep that in mind.

-No pressure to make your mind up just yet.

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Go and have another look around the house and garden.

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-I'll come and find you!

-OK.

-Thank you.

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Well, who'd have thought it!

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Hands up if you thought that Julie was going be the difficult one

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and actually she really loves the property!

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Michael sees the positive, but I think we need to work on him.

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We didn't think it was going be a walk in the park, did we?

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This 16th century property is at the top of Mike and Julie's budget

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but it does have the large kitchen and period features

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they were looking for and although it is semidetached,

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it has three bedrooms and a large garden

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with enough space for the grandkids and the dogs to let off steam.

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It certainly has potential to make into a nicer kitchen,

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you could make a breakfast bar around that side.

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It's got so much potential, such a large space,

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-It would be... you can do anything you want with it, can't you!

-Yeah.

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I really like this room. It's cosy, isn't it, and look at this fireplace!

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Yeah, that's absolutely gorgeous!

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You can imagine in the winter the heat this will actually give off

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and it's even got a bread oven in as well!

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I like the squareness of the room.

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You certainly get a good feel in there, it's...

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-It's a decent size, yet it's cosy.

-Yeah.

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I think this house could be a contender.

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The kitchen area is absolutely smashing.

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You could do anything you want with that.

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I'm not so keen on the upstairs, but the garden is ideal.

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It's at the top end of the bracket for me and there's certainly some

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work to do on the house to bring it up to where I would want it.

0:16:470:16:50

Aah, there you are. You're smiling, that's a good sign!

0:16:510:16:55

Come on, let's get on with it, plenty more to see!

0:16:550:16:58

Character features are always top of our escapees' wish lists

0:17:030:17:07

so it's a real privilege to come

0:17:070:17:08

to the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum

0:17:080:17:12

Set in 50 acres of beautiful Sussex countryside,

0:17:120:17:14

this former Museum of the Year is home to nearly 50 historic buildings

0:17:140:17:18

all rescued from destruction. The museum is the legacy

0:17:180:17:22

of historian and teacher, Roy Armstrong. In the 1960s,

0:17:220:17:26

Armstrong saw that the rush to redevelop was sweeping away

0:17:260:17:29

our knowledge of how to use local materials and building techniques

0:17:290:17:33

in order to preserve our architectural heritage.

0:17:330:17:36

I'm here to find out more from the museum's director, Richard Harris.

0:17:360:17:39

-Great to meet you, Richard.

-Nice to meet you, too.

0:17:390:17:42

Thanks for having us. What a fascinating place!

0:17:420:17:45

It's a really beautiful place. People love coming here.

0:17:450:17:48

It's open, free and fascinating to see the buildings, yeah.

0:17:480:17:51

Tell me a bit about the history of the place.

0:17:510:17:53

We opened in 1970 and it was really started by a group of enthusiasts

0:17:530:17:58

who were fed up with seeing medieval farmhouses being destroyed

0:17:580:18:03

in the urge for development after the War and so they thought that if they

0:18:030:18:07

were to dismantle them and rebuild them here,

0:18:070:18:10

a sort of a graveyard but also makes it interesting for people

0:18:100:18:13

to come and see how the buildings were.

0:18:130:18:15

We're trying to give people the opportunity to explore old buildings

0:18:150:18:20

-in a realistic context.

-Can we have a little wander?

0:18:200:18:23

-Yeah, let's have a look round.

-Come on.

0:18:230:18:26

The museum is recognised as being of national importance.

0:18:270:18:30

With its collection of market halls, schools and shops dating as far back

0:18:300:18:35

as the 13th century, 146,000 visitors wandered through

0:18:350:18:39

these ancient structures last year, experiencing a tangible sense

0:18:390:18:43

of what it was like to live in medieval England.

0:18:430:18:47

Aah, this is impressive!

0:18:510:18:52

This is one of our earliest and sort of flagship exhibits.

0:18:520:18:57

It's a very common type of good quality farmhouse in the Weald.

0:18:570:19:00

Dates to about 1500 and it has an open hall, that is,

0:19:000:19:03

the fire doesn't have a chimney. You've got a big window

0:19:030:19:06

at that end that lights the high table at the upper end of the hall.

0:19:060:19:09

You can smell the fire!

0:19:120:19:14

Yes. We burn a fire in here all through the winter and of course

0:19:140:19:17

there's no chimney so the smoke rises and blackens all the beams and

0:19:170:19:20

in order to introduce some element of light and colour, they used textiles

0:19:200:19:24

in front of the darkened walls,

0:19:240:19:26

that's common through all medieval houses. In the 17th century when

0:19:260:19:30

the fires were put underneath chimneys, then you could have whitewashed walls

0:19:300:19:34

so houses changed entirely in the 17th century from black to white.

0:19:340:19:37

Nowadays these buildings would almost certainly be listed

0:19:370:19:41

but in Armstrong's day their future was far from secure.

0:19:410:19:44

So if Roy Armstrong was around today and he had the vision

0:19:440:19:48

to set up this museum now, would it be possible with all the listings and everything?

0:19:480:19:52

Probably not. In a sense, we're victims of our own success.

0:19:520:19:55

We very, very rarely get offered buildings of any quality.

0:19:550:19:58

This unique collection is a lasting and fascinating tribute

0:19:580:20:03

to the passion and dedication of one man,

0:20:030:20:06

but I must drag myself back into the 21st century and continue our hunt

0:20:060:20:09

for a period home a little more suitable for Mike and Julie.

0:20:090:20:13

As afternoon turns into evening,

0:20:160:20:18

our first day of property hunting is over.

0:20:180:20:22

Michael, Julie and her four dogs from Teesside are all looking

0:20:290:20:33

for a new home in West Sussex. So far they've seen one house

0:20:330:20:37

and coming up, we get their tails a-wagging!

0:20:370:20:40

-Ho-ho-ho!

-I don't believe it!

0:20:400:20:41

Oh, this is absolutely gorgeous, it really is!

0:20:410:20:44

But the mystery house has Julie totally barking up the wrong tree.

0:20:440:20:48

It looks like a pub!

0:20:480:20:51

Looks like a pub?!

0:20:510:20:52

So, it's a new day in the search to find Michael and Julie their

0:20:550:20:58

dream property here in West Sussex.

0:20:580:21:01

How silly of me! It's a new day in the search to find Michael, Julie

0:21:010:21:05

and their four Cocker Spaniels their dream property here in West Sussex.

0:21:050:21:09

They want a three bedroom house with plenty of character

0:21:090:21:12

and as we saw yesterday, that's totally achievable,

0:21:120:21:14

but they don't do small rooms, they want lots of space!

0:21:140:21:17

I'm afraid space plus their budget

0:21:170:21:19

is a sum that doesn't add up in this county!

0:21:190:21:22

Our next house is in Felpham,

0:21:240:21:25

a coastal village with a population of around 10,000.

0:21:250:21:30

Felpham was once home to the poet William Blake

0:21:300:21:32

who described the village as "the sweetest spot on earth".

0:21:320:21:36

It's right on the coast, perfect for walking the dogs and

0:21:360:21:39

taking a dip. The house we're taking them to see is Grade II Listed.

0:21:390:21:43

It's a 17th century thatched cottage.

0:21:430:21:46

Well, they did ask for a period property!

0:21:460:21:50

You're here to see this.

0:21:520:21:53

-Oh, wow!

-Wow!

-That is spectacular!

-That's something else, isn't it!

0:21:530:21:57

Yes, oh, I like that!

0:21:570:22:00

-Do you like it?

-Yes!

-I love it!

0:22:000:22:01

What about the fact that it is on a road? Not a really busy road.

0:22:010:22:04

-I would say that's a minus.

-But inside you'll see

0:22:040:22:07

it's a perfect marriage of old and new, it really is.

0:22:070:22:10

-Shall we get in there?

-Yes, I'd love to.

-Come on, then.

-Excellent!

0:22:100:22:14

Yeah!

0:22:140:22:15

It seems like love at first sight!

0:22:150:22:17

Fingers crossed their passion won't wane as I show them around.

0:22:170:22:21

Come on in.

0:22:210:22:24

-Little hallway.

-Lovely!

0:22:240:22:25

The current owners have it as an office, open fire.

0:22:250:22:31

This is really nice, yeah.

0:22:310:22:32

And you're clearing your beams, just about, which is good.

0:22:320:22:35

-That's right.

-Come on through to the snug.

0:22:350:22:38

-Oh, this is great, isn't it!

-Yes.

-Gobsmacked!

0:22:380:22:41

Really, really nice.

0:22:410:22:43

Hey, this is a good reaction! You like it?

0:22:430:22:45

Yeah, I do like it, lovely. Nothing not to like, is there?

0:22:450:22:48

It's absolutely gorgeous!

0:22:480:22:49

-Lovely fireplace there as well.

-Gorgeous!

-Oh, yes.

0:22:490:22:52

-Would you keep this as a snug?

-Yeah.

0:22:520:22:54

And keep it away from the dogs, let them play elsewhere

0:22:540:22:57

and we can come out of the way. This is lovely!

0:22:570:23:00

You're telling me there's a room

0:23:000:23:02

-that the dogs aren't allowed to go into?

-Well...

0:23:020:23:04

-It's more that...

-It won't work, no!

0:23:040:23:07

It won't work! Scrap the idea, she says! You've gone a bit quiet!

0:23:070:23:11

I'm just amazed, actually, I'm speechless! It's lovely!

0:23:110:23:15

Oh, good. If you like the snug, you're going to love the sitting room!

0:23:150:23:20

Fantastic!

0:23:240:23:26

-This is absolutely gorgeous! Look at that!

-I'm a bit worried

0:23:260:23:29

-that fireplace isn't big enough for you!

-That's big enough

0:23:290:23:32

-for all four dogs!

-Oh, this is tremendous!

0:23:320:23:34

You can almost feel history in this house?

0:23:340:23:36

You can feel the history in this house.

0:23:360:23:38

Those doors make such a difference,

0:23:380:23:40

-the doors leading onto the garden, they let so much light in.

-Yeah.

0:23:400:23:45

It's not gloomy.

0:23:450:23:46

It really was a vision that I had,

0:23:460:23:49

yeah, yeah. This is what I was looking at.

0:23:490:23:52

I think I'm going to cry! I thought he was going make a speech then!

0:23:520:23:55

I'm really pleased!

0:23:550:23:57

You can imagine yourself here, then?

0:23:570:23:59

-Yes.

-Yes, I could as well. It's lovely.

0:23:590:24:02

Sorry, what was that?

0:24:020:24:03

Yeah, I could!

0:24:030:24:05

-She could!

-Yeah!

-Lovely.

0:24:050:24:06

We've only seen two rooms. Shall we carry on with the tour?

0:24:060:24:10

-Yes, that would be good.

-Come on, then, follow me.

-Great.

0:24:100:24:14

Julie seems lost for words!

0:24:140:24:15

Things are going well, and there's more to see.

0:24:150:24:18

If I remember rightly, you wanted a farmhouse country kitchen?

0:24:180:24:23

-You've found one!

-Tick! it's good, isn't it!

-Yeah!

0:24:230:24:26

I like these flagstones.

0:24:260:24:27

These flagstones are fantastic and they'll be great

0:24:270:24:31

for the dogs as well, coming in from the garden.

0:24:310:24:33

There's nothing you would want to change even, is there? It's spot-on.

0:24:330:24:38

You've gone a little bit quiet on me, come on, tell me how you feel?

0:24:380:24:42

I think we're just speechless, I think, it's so...

0:24:420:24:44

So right, it is...

0:24:440:24:47

It's beautiful, it's totally amazing, it really is!

0:24:470:24:50

Even doing your washing up, look at the view out of that window

0:24:500:24:53

-into your garden! You've moved in already, I think!

-I have, I have!

0:24:530:24:57

I think we have, yeah.

0:24:570:24:59

-OK. Onward. You wanted a utility, didn't you?

-There we are.

0:24:590:25:02

I don't know whether we need one now, but!

0:25:020:25:04

Well, whether you need one or not, you're going get one!

0:25:040:25:07

Brilliant!

0:25:090:25:11

Aah, yeah! And it's so in line with...

0:25:110:25:13

Very good size this is as well, isn't it!

0:25:130:25:16

You've got a downstairs toilet there as well, wash basin.

0:25:160:25:19

This would make a great dog room!

0:25:190:25:20

-Good, good. You've seen downstairs.

-Yeah.

-Time to go upstairs.

0:25:200:25:24

Can it possibly get any better for Michael and Julie?

0:25:240:25:28

Upstairs there's a beautiful shower room.

0:25:280:25:30

Slate tiles complement the ancient beams and modern fittings just perfectly.

0:25:300:25:34

There's a double bedroom encased with more original timbers

0:25:340:25:39

and I can't wait for them to see the spectacular master bedroom!

0:25:390:25:43

Wow!

0:25:430:25:45

I don't believe it!

0:25:450:25:46

Oh, this is absolutely gorgeous, it really is!

0:25:460:25:49

-Stunning, isn't it!

-That is, yes.

-Absolutely stunning!

-Yes!

0:25:490:25:52

-What's the matter, Julie?

-I can't get over it! It's lovely!

0:25:520:25:56

So you can imagine this as your master bedroom?

0:25:560:25:58

It's fantastic, isn't it?

0:25:580:25:59

This property is in the heart of the village.

0:25:590:26:01

Yeah. I noticed it doesn't have the rural aspect to it.

0:26:010:26:04

Where it is located

0:26:040:26:06

is a compromise overall but it's a compromise I'd go for.

0:26:060:26:11

And also, you know, you are on the road, but there's a gate,

0:26:110:26:15

so the dogs can't just leave the property and get onto the main road.

0:26:150:26:18

-That is the most important factor.

-You're loving this, then?

-Yeah!

0:26:180:26:22

The only thing this room could do with, if you asked me,

0:26:220:26:25

would be an ensuite...

0:26:250:26:26

lucky it's got one, eh?

0:26:260:26:28

That is an ensuite!

0:26:330:26:35

-That is an ensuite and a half, isn't it?

-Yes.

0:26:350:26:37

It's perfect, isn't it? You wouldn't have to change anything.

0:26:370:26:40

Nothing, no.

0:26:400:26:42

-This is a Jack 'n' Jill bathroom.

-OK.

-D'you know why?

0:26:420:26:44

-Yeah.

-There's another bedroom!

-Bedroom three through there.

-Great!

0:26:440:26:49

This is your third bedroom and actually it's got its own staircase.

0:26:490:26:53

It's really a double room, isn't it?

0:26:530:26:55

Yep. We've seen the inside of the house and I'm guessing

0:26:550:26:58

from the smiles and the "oohs" and the "aahs" that you like it...

0:26:580:27:02

We do, yes.

0:27:020:27:03

But I also know that the outside space is important to you.

0:27:030:27:06

Yeah. The outside space is crucial.

0:27:060:27:08

-Crucial! You're putting a lot of pressure on me now!

-I am!

0:27:080:27:11

-That's fine. The outside space is lovely. I'll show you.

-Right.

0:27:110:27:15

-It's handy having these little stairs.

-This really is unique.

0:27:150:27:19

There's plenty to get their pulses racing here but before

0:27:190:27:22

Mike and Julie take a breather, I want to take them back through

0:27:220:27:25

the big kitchen to show them the equally big garden.

0:27:250:27:29

Lovely little seating area here.

0:27:320:27:33

That's a lovely little suntrap as well, isn't it?

0:27:330:27:36

-It is, isn't it!

-Wow!

0:27:360:27:38

-This is your garden.

-Right.

-Fantastic!

0:27:380:27:40

Couldn't ask for anything more than that, plenty big enough.

0:27:400:27:44

This really works. This gives us plenty of room,

0:27:440:27:47

nice and secluded, excellent.

0:27:470:27:48

Double garage.

0:27:480:27:49

There's plenty of room in there to do the grooming as well.

0:27:490:27:53

That's what I thought, and there's loads of storage as well.

0:27:530:27:56

There's two floors, really,

0:27:560:27:57

you can store all your junk in the first floor.

0:27:570:28:00

That's excellent, very, very good.

0:28:000:28:02

What do you think it's on the market for?

0:28:020:28:05

I think it's going be way past our budget, to be honest.

0:28:050:28:08

-OK. I'll go for 510.

-I'll go for...

0:28:080:28:11

-510? £510,000?

-Yes.

-I'd go with more than that.

0:28:110:28:14

-Go on, then.

-570?

-570?

-Mmm.

0:28:140:28:16

-I can't believe how much you like it!

-I love it, it's great!

0:28:160:28:19

You love it, OK. Will you still love it when I tell you that

0:28:190:28:23

it's currently on the market for £525,000, slightly over your budget.

0:28:230:28:27

I was expecting it was going be in that region.

0:28:270:28:29

Is it worth that extra 25 grand?

0:28:290:28:32

Yes, I can see it being.

0:28:320:28:33

If we could try and find that bit extra,

0:28:330:28:35

then it would be definitely be worth a shot, this one.

0:28:350:28:38

Certainly worth putting an offer in and see what comes of it.

0:28:380:28:41

If you're thinking about making offers, I think you should

0:28:410:28:44

-go and have another look round.

-OK.

0:28:440:28:46

-Enjoy the house. Imagine yourself in it.

-OK, thanks.

-Thanks.

-Cheers!

0:28:460:28:51

You see, that's one thing I really can do...

0:28:510:28:54

I can imagine them in that property, two very happy customers.

0:28:540:28:58

Even when I told them it was 25 grand over their budget,

0:28:580:29:02

they were still kind of smiling!

0:29:020:29:04

I think we've got a winner in this one!

0:29:040:29:07

It is £25,000 over their budget of £500,000

0:29:070:29:10

but Mike and Julie are still keen.

0:29:100:29:13

It offers just about everything

0:29:130:29:15

they've asked for.

0:29:150:29:17

A detached property with

0:29:170:29:19

a large kitchen, period features

0:29:190:29:21

and three bedrooms.

0:29:210:29:22

The utility room would make

0:29:220:29:24

the perfect space for dog grooming

0:29:240:29:25

and the garden is big enough for

0:29:250:29:27

all four of them to run around in.

0:29:270:29:29

I must admit, I'm very, very impressed.

0:29:290:29:31

Yeah, I can see us here.

0:29:310:29:33

This really is the vision that I had.

0:29:330:29:36

It's a fabulous house.

0:29:360:29:37

There's nothing really in it to do, there's nothing to change,

0:29:370:29:41

it's completely to my taste, anyway, and I'm sure it is to Mike's as well.

0:29:410:29:45

It would be fantastic for the dogs.

0:29:450:29:47

This room's definitely got the wow factor for me!

0:29:470:29:50

Yeah, I agree with that... it certainly is lovely.

0:29:500:29:52

Airy rooms, light, you've got everything in here.

0:29:520:29:56

I love them windows as well!

0:29:560:29:58

This house is great.

0:29:580:29:59

There are a couple of downsides, one of them being the road outside.

0:29:590:30:02

It's got so many plus points and it has tremendous gardens

0:30:020:30:06

out the back, good size garage for meeting all our expectations.

0:30:060:30:10

Come on, you two. I know you wanna stay in there.

0:30:130:30:17

To be fair, the wish list for this house wasn't that unrealistic

0:30:200:30:24

so we've been able to show our couple properties with bags of character and history

0:30:240:30:28

and their reactions have been quite favourable.

0:30:280:30:31

Let's shake things up a little, shall we?

0:30:310:30:33

Let's see if Michael and Julie do modern.

0:30:330:30:36

So we're off to the mystery property.

0:30:360:30:38

Looking forward to it?

0:30:380:30:39

-Yes.

-Certainly am.

-Michael, what would you like it to be?

0:30:390:30:42

Well, certainly a barn conversion would be the type of thing

0:30:420:30:46

I would have expected it to be and that would quite appeal to me.

0:30:460:30:50

What would you really, really hate it to be?

0:30:500:30:52

So long as it's got potential there

0:30:520:30:54

to do something with it, I'd consider anything.

0:30:540:30:56

-Except a tent!

-Except a tent! Oops!

0:30:560:31:00

We're nearly there.

0:31:000:31:02

Our mystery house is in the hamlet of Lyminster,

0:31:030:31:07

just south of the village of Burpham.

0:31:070:31:10

Burpham is a former Saxon village whose name derives from

0:31:100:31:14

the Anglo-Saxon word "burp" or "fortification".

0:31:140:31:17

It has stunning views across the West Sussex countryside

0:31:170:31:20

and its magnificent church dates back over 800 years.

0:31:200:31:25

Slightly younger is the century-old cricket pitch on which

0:31:250:31:28

the legendary WG Grace has played.

0:31:280:31:31

I'm taking Mike and Julie to see something that might

0:31:310:31:34

just be out of their comfort zone. It's a 100 year old detached

0:31:340:31:37

chalet-style property with a surprising interior.

0:31:370:31:41

I'll tell you what, I've noticed that you're walking a bit slower to the mystery property!

0:31:410:31:46

Yeah, we're a bit worried about this one!

0:31:460:31:48

You said it might be a barn conversion...

0:31:480:31:51

-Yeah.

-It ain't!

-OK.

0:31:510:31:53

-This is your mystery property.

-OK.

0:31:530:31:55

It looks like a pub!

0:31:550:31:58

Looks like a pub! Is that what pubs look like in Teesside!

0:31:580:32:01

-Or a tea room, then!

-A tea room!

-I'd go with that.

-I can see that.

0:32:010:32:06

It's the mystery property because...

0:32:060:32:10

-it's really modern inside.

-Is it?

-Yeah.

-Oh, right.

0:32:100:32:13

Current owners have totally refurbished it eight years ago

0:32:130:32:16

and then added another extension on in 2002.

0:32:160:32:19

-Got to keep an open mind.

-Yeah, exactly.

0:32:190:32:21

Good for the dogs, nice and rural so far?

0:32:210:32:23

Yeah, very good for the dogs.

0:32:230:32:25

Okey-doke. Shall we go in?

0:32:250:32:27

Yeah.

0:32:270:32:28

Julie might not have been won over by our mystery home's exterior,

0:32:280:32:31

but hopefully she'll be pleasantly surprised by its modern interior.

0:32:310:32:35

Come on into your modern house in the country.

0:32:350:32:38

Right.

0:32:380:32:39

So, what do you think?

0:32:390:32:41

It's very, very modern, isn't it?

0:32:410:32:43

It is.

0:32:430:32:45

-It's certainly different.

-It is different.

0:32:450:32:47

-Good different, bad different?

-Good.

0:32:470:32:50

Reasonable.

0:32:500:32:52

-Good from you and reasonable from you?

-Yes, it is.

0:32:520:32:55

I'm sorry, it's got competition!

0:32:550:32:57

-Yeah, OK. We're talking about the last property we saw?

-Yeah.

0:32:570:33:01

-The last property we saw, yeah, but...

-Do you like this?

0:33:010:33:05

I like this, yes, I think it is lovely.

0:33:050:33:07

-Let me show the kitchen first of all.

-OK.

0:33:070:33:10

You've got Welsh slate here.

0:33:100:33:12

This is your galley kitchen.

0:33:140:33:16

-It's a galley kitchen.

-How do you feel about that?

0:33:160:33:19

I'm not keen on galley kitchens, to be honest, sorry!

0:33:190:33:23

Hide the knives!

0:33:230:33:25

Why don't you like galley kitchens?

0:33:250:33:27

I just don't like the narrowness of them. I prefer a square kitchen where

0:33:270:33:31

you can actually put a table and it does have a breakfast bar

0:33:310:33:35

-but it's just not the same. It doesn't have the same appeal.

-OK.

0:33:350:33:38

But we've only seen this, so let's see what the rest of it is like

0:33:380:33:42

and there's always potential to do things with it.

0:33:420:33:44

This is the Mike I'm used to - positive!

0:33:440:33:47

Let's go upstairs, shall we?

0:33:470:33:49

OK, yeah.

0:33:490:33:50

Mike's thankfully keeping his options open but I'm afraid

0:33:500:33:55

we're facing an uphill task with this one!

0:33:550:33:57

So upstairs for your master bedroom.

0:33:580:34:01

-Right, OK.

-This is different, isn't it?

0:34:010:34:03

Tell you what I do like about this.

0:34:030:34:05

-What's that?

-The dogs will have a job getting up here!

0:34:050:34:08

Oh, really! Yeah, I think they would a bit!

0:34:080:34:11

You've found a positive... well done!

0:34:110:34:13

I think they would have a bit of trouble climbing up. I did!

0:34:130:34:16

However, the howling might kill us off!

0:34:160:34:18

-What do you think?

-The stained glass window is absolutely... that's lovely!

0:34:180:34:22

-You've got a little en-suite.

-Yeah.

-It's quaint, it's quirky.

-Yeah.

0:34:220:34:26

-But overall, can you imagine this being your master bedroom?

-No.

-No? OK.

0:34:260:34:31

I'd be struggling with that, to be quite honest. There are some nice features here but overall...

0:34:310:34:36

-It's not what we're looking for, is it?

-OK. Do you want to look at the bedrooms?

-Yep.

0:34:360:34:43

So,

0:34:500:34:51

you've got a good size family bathroom through there,

0:34:510:34:55

-free-standing bath, again the Welsh slates on the floor.

0:34:550:34:58

Off the main living area, there are two further bedrooms...

0:34:580:35:02

a single overlooking the garden

0:35:020:35:03

and a double which shares a bathroom with the fourth and final bedroom.

0:35:030:35:09

-And you come through to a good sized double.

-This is nice, this is lovely.

-It is, isn't it?

0:35:090:35:14

-This is quite pleasant, this.

-Yes, very pleasant.

-I like the French doors, so...

0:35:140:35:19

-It's really nice.

-I'll be quite honest with you,

0:35:190:35:22

-I would prefer to be in this room than the one upstairs.

-OK.

0:35:220:35:24

If you make this your master bedroom, you'll like what's behind this door.

0:35:240:35:28

-It's a wet room.

-Brilliant!

-It's seriously impressive, that, isn't it?

0:35:280:35:33

-That's good, yeah.

-Really nice shower, Welsh slate again.

0:35:330:35:37

-Brilliant!

-That works OK.

0:35:370:35:39

You're probably wondering where you could put your plasma screen?

0:35:390:35:42

-That would be interesting!

-I'll show you.

-OK.

0:35:420:35:45

All right... I see what you mean!

0:35:490:35:51

-This is different!

-That would certainly suit that!

-This is a huge family room, isn't it!

0:35:510:35:55

-It is, isn't it!

-Yes, I like this.

-Why not make this your kitchen?

-We could do!

0:35:550:35:59

There's nothing to say that that's got to be your kitchen.

0:35:590:36:02

if this was your kitchen, it would be a pretty impressive one!

0:36:020:36:06

It would be impressive, yeah. It is a nice room this, isn't it?

0:36:060:36:10

-Can you imagine yourself here?

-I don't think I could imagine myself here all the time.

0:36:100:36:13

It does give you the feeling of being a holiday-type place... it doesn't feel like a home.

0:36:130:36:19

No, it doesn't.

0:36:190:36:20

OK. Well, shall we go outside?

0:36:200:36:21

-Love to!

-The garden's lovely and plenty of space for dog-grooming.

0:36:210:36:26

Right.

0:36:260:36:26

-Right!

-I knew that would put a smile on your face! Come on!

0:36:260:36:29

-You've got to like this, haven't you?

-Yeah. This is very nice, isn't it? It's a good size.

0:36:360:36:40

What I love is that there are so many hidden pockets in this garden.

0:36:400:36:44

-You've got a gorgeous barbecue area. What I want to show you is that outbuilding.

-Aah!

0:36:440:36:49

-Ideal for doggie grooming.

-Ideal, it's just the perfect size.

0:36:490:36:52

-Looking back at the house here, it looks fantastic, doesn't it?

-It does!

0:36:520:36:56

Let's get down to the nitty-gritty. What do you think it's on the market for?

0:36:560:37:00

-450.

-Do you want to have a think about that?

0:37:000:37:04

This place is not for you at all, is it!

0:37:050:37:07

You just don't want to even linger!

0:37:070:37:09

No.

0:37:090:37:10

OK, well, I've taken into consideration where it is.

0:37:100:37:13

I think it'll probably fetch a bit more than that. I'd say 465.

0:37:130:37:17

£465,000, OK.

0:37:170:37:20

Are you sure about that?

0:37:200:37:22

-I think it's going to be more.

-You think it's going to be more?

-Yeah, it's going to be more.

0:37:220:37:26

Well, I can tell you that you're both wrong... it is more.

0:37:260:37:29

It's currently on the market for £499,000.

0:37:290:37:34

So we were quite way off there, weren't we!

0:37:340:37:36

-Well, you've got more exploring to do, so have a look around and I'll catch up with you later.

-OK.

0:37:360:37:41

With an asking price of just under

0:37:430:37:45

half a million, this ultra-modern house slips in just under budget.

0:37:450:37:49

What it lacks in character features,

0:37:490:37:51

it more than makes up for with its light, spacious and hi-spec interior,

0:37:510:37:55

not always found in older properties.

0:37:550:37:58

Many people would yearn

0:38:060:38:08

for such a stylish house in a rural location,

0:38:080:38:10

but it's obvious that Mike and Julie only do period...

0:38:100:38:13

period.

0:38:130:38:15

I would certainly have preferred it be a lot wider.

0:38:150:38:19

Yeah, I prefer the country kitchen style, which would be a lot squarer,

0:38:190:38:22

to be able to put a table in the middle.

0:38:220:38:24

Yeah, that would make sense.

0:38:240:38:26

The kitchen is far too small as a galley. I'd certainly need it double the size of that.

0:38:260:38:31

We're more into the farmhouse, certainly with it being a rural area,

0:38:310:38:35

and also it appears to me to be more like a holiday home.

0:38:350:38:38

The house has been tastefully modernised and it's bang up to date.

0:38:380:38:42

We were looking more for a countryside period property which this obviously isn't.

0:38:420:38:49

Stay! Sit! Stay!

0:38:490:38:52

What an obedient dog!

0:38:520:38:53

-It certainly looks it!

-It must be trained by you!

-It must have been!

0:38:530:38:56

Seen enough?

0:38:560:38:57

Yes.

0:38:570:38:58

You've seen all the properties, so it's decision time. Don't look so worried.

0:38:580:39:01

Shall we find somewhere to have a chat?

0:39:010:39:03

-Yeah.

-Come on!

0:39:030:39:05

Michael and Julie's house tour is finally over

0:39:090:39:12

and there's plenty to think about.

0:39:120:39:16

Well, it's decision time. It's going to be very interesting to hear what Michael and Julie have to say.

0:39:160:39:21

They seem to like the area, they seem to like some of the properties,

0:39:210:39:25

but do they like it all enough to want to Escape To The Country?

0:39:250:39:29

Let's find out.

0:39:290:39:30

What a beautiful way to end a beautiful house hunt. Here we are in the South Downs.

0:39:360:39:40

Let's talk about the properties.

0:39:400:39:42

-Start with the 16th century one. What did you make of that?

-I like that.

0:39:420:39:46

When we first saw that one, I thought it was going to be far too small but it was quite Tardis-like inside.

0:39:460:39:51

However, it does need some work doing to it to bring it up to

0:39:510:39:55

what we want it to be but on the whole, I think that was a very nice house.

0:39:550:39:59

You weren't sure to start with if you were going to move down from Teesside.

0:39:590:40:03

-That's true!

-And this house was the start of your transformation process, I think, really?

0:40:030:40:09

-Yeah.

-Because you were quite surprised by the size of the rooms.

-Yes, I was.

0:40:090:40:13

-But you weren't?

-I thought it was all right, that property.

0:40:130:40:16

There were a couple of things we didn't like and the fact that it was semi-detached.

0:40:160:40:21

I appreciate the fact that when you're in it, you couldn't actually tell that

0:40:210:40:25

but you do know that you've got them neighbours about.

0:40:250:40:28

The good things about was it was access to the South Downs was good

0:40:280:40:32

and you were in the right area.

0:40:320:40:34

-You were really conscious that you might make a noise with the dogs.

-Yeah.

0:40:340:40:37

That is a big issue because we would hate to find a property that we love,

0:40:370:40:41

only to find we have neighbours that don't like dogs and then we're back to square one again.

0:40:410:40:46

But you know, was the 16th-century house a contender for you?

0:40:460:40:50

-I wouldn't rule it out.

-OK.

-I think I was more taken with it than what Michael was.

0:40:500:40:55

-OK. Let's move on to the thatched house.

-That was good.

-The smile's back!

0:40:550:41:02

The thatched house is a dream house.

0:41:020:41:05

It totally was a dream house. I mean, that everything that you could ever possibly want.

0:41:050:41:10

The only thing I could say against that was that it was on the road,

0:41:100:41:15

which was something I wasn't really looking for

0:41:150:41:18

with having the dogs but we wouldn't rule it out because of that,

0:41:180:41:22

because I think we could make it safe so that the dogs were fine.

0:41:220:41:26

What about the house itself? You were bowled over?

0:41:260:41:28

That's it... that was my dream, so I was really happy with it.

0:41:280:41:33

It's over budget. Is that going to be an issue?

0:41:330:41:36

I would be willing to stretch if I needed to, to go that extra mile.

0:41:360:41:40

It really meant that much to me, that one.

0:41:400:41:43

-You probably can't say that for the mystery property?

-No.

0:41:430:41:47

The problem was, although there were some nice features,

0:41:470:41:50

I would class that as a holiday home and that's not what we're looking for.

0:41:500:41:54

It did have a nice room at the back, the staircase was absolutely lovely.

0:41:540:42:00

-It was a bit quirky up the stairs. It didn't appeal to me.

-It was just too modern, wasn't it?

0:42:000:42:05

If I was gonna push you, then, are you gonna go for one?

0:42:050:42:08

What we'd like to do is actually go back to the area and have a look more round the area...

0:42:080:42:13

Where the thatched one was.

0:42:130:42:15

We've been very lucky with the weather - it's been glorious.

0:42:150:42:18

It's about to pour down, I think, so we should fold up our blanket and finish these drinks inside.

0:42:180:42:24

-Good idea.

-It's been fantastic meeting you.

-And you.

0:42:240:42:27

-Good luck with your move, and I hope you make it down.

-Cheers.

-You're lovely people.

-Thank you.

0:42:270:42:32

When I first met Michael and Julie, I don't know about you

0:42:320:42:36

but I got the impression this was a move for Michael and Julie was along for the ride.

0:42:360:42:40

I don't think she was considering moving from Teesside,

0:42:400:42:43

but what a difference it's made to her actually being here,

0:42:430:42:46

so much so that they're thinking of increasing their budget, so with that sort of commitment

0:42:460:42:51

and adaptability, it's only a matter of time until they're here enjoying the country life of West Sussex.

0:42:510:42:56

Until next time, goodbye.

0:42:560:42:58

Great news! Mike and Julie have put in an offer on the thatched cottage which has been accepted,

0:43:000:43:05

and they're looking forward to finally moving in together for good after 34 years of marriage!

0:43:050:43:10

If you'd like to Escape To The Country and would like our help,

0:43:100:43:13

please apply online -

0:43:130:43:15

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

Aled Jones helps a couple who have hardly lived together during their 34 years of marriage find a home together in the country. They have chosen to settle down in West Sussex, and with a budget of £500,000, they hope to find a three-bedroom period house with an area for grooming the dogs. Their wish list is achievable, as long as they compromise in certain areas.