Somerset Escape to the Country


Somerset

Property series. Jules Hudson helps a couple of self-confessed urbanites swap the big smoke for a country pile in Somerset with somewhere to put a swimming pool.


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Transcript


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It's not every day I wear a hard hat when visiting country houses

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but I'm standing on top of one of the most important country houses

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in the West of England and it's covered by this,

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the largest free-standing temporary roof structure

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currently up in the UK at the present time.

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So where are we? Well, stick around and I'll show you.

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Today, we're helping self-confessed urbanites

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swap the big smoke for a big country pile.

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And it's going to be a journey of self-discovery.

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I really dislike ponds.

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-Really?

-Yeah, I really...

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You didn't know this. I really dislike ponds.

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Oh, I think that's a great feature.

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We've got really hot properties...

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I've never had stairs up to a bed before.

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Stairway to heaven! I mean, come on!

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-And truly impressive plots.

-This is a wind-up.

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-Are you sure?

-I'm not winding you up.

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But will any of it be enough to lure them away from city life?

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Lurking behind this somewhat surreal structure is Tyntesfield House,

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on the edge of Bristol, here in the West of England.

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It's currently in the middle of a £4.5 million conservation project

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thanks to the work of the National Trust.

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Originally, the whole thing was built around 1863

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by the Gibbs family and they made their money

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trading guano, or bird droppings, from South America -

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very popular in late 18th century fertiliser.

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As you can see, they did pretty well at it,

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which confirms the old adage, where there's muck there's money.

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Once called Avonside, the area surrounding Bristol and Bath in

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West England is today made up of a number of different authorities,

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including Bath and North East Somerset,

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South Gloucestershire, Bristol and North Somerset.

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At its heart is England's sixth largest city, Bristol.

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Once the South West's most important seaport, today the shipping industry

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has all but shipped out, leaving in its wake a vibrant,

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bustling and increasingly trendy city.

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To the west is historic Bath, a World Heritage Site

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and without doubt one of the most beautiful cities in the UK.

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Straddling the River Avon, exemplary Georgian architecture,

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Roman baths and more than its fair share of boutique shops,

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cafes and gastro pubs keep it at the top of the popularity stakes,

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with around 3 million visitors dropping in each year.

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A stone's throw the from these cities is prime countryside.

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From the Mendip Hills to the Cheddar Gorge,

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farming is still the mainstay of the economy.

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If you're after a good mix of urban and country life,

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then this is the place to be.

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We've all come up against the property slump, but there are

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some quite interesting signs here in the West of England.

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In North Somerset, property prices, it's thought, are up by 1.4%

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so indeed it may be an area that could lead the way

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for the greater recovery in the months ahead.

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All good news if you want to buy and invest here and as ever,

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there are plenty of properties on offer.

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Take a look at some of these.

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If Victorian Gothic architecture is your bag,

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then this country house in the Mendips could be for you.

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Period splendour and contemporary styling

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are combined and with an impressive six bedrooms

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and four reception rooms, there's no lack of space.

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Outside, paddocks and a summer pavilion complete the package,

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but it'll set you back a rather regal £1.5 million.

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For barn conversion enthusiasts,

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we've found this four-bedroom stone granary

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in the sought-after village of Shepton Montague.

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The country kitchen comes complete with a must-have range

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and there are two sizable reception rooms.

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It's all set in a third of an acre with breathtaking rural views.

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However, the asking price of £550,000 shouldn't knock the wind out of you.

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And if your budget won't stretch that far, £300,000 will purchase

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this traditional four-bedroom stone cottage in Shepton Mallet.

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The two reception rooms are cosy and characterful and the lawn

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and patio garden is the perfect spot to soak up some Somerset sunshine.

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So as you can see, there is plenty on offer here to tempt you, some really pretty properties.

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Let's meet today's buyers, who are determined to make the West of England their home.

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John, an IT specialist, and Jenny, a reflexologist,

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have lived in a five-bedroom Edwardian home in Balham,

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for the last eight years, but a move to the country has been on the cards for a while.

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For one of them, at least.

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I've been looking for a very long time, but I've just been trying

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to convince John that a move out to the country would be a good idea.

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But I've been looking to move out to the country

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for a good five, six, years, perhaps.

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John's entertaining an urban escape and they've homed in on Somerset,

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but he's not quite ready to quit the city completely.

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Ideally, we'd buy a property that we'd like in the country,

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but also retain a small flat in London so that as part

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of my working life I can spend one or two nights a week in London.

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Good transport links into the capital will be key,

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but what else are they looking for in a location?

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We're looking for the best of both worlds

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in terms of we do want a bit of life, but more privacy and a bit more space.

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I still want to be close enough to

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a village which has got a pub, for example, or a couple of pubs,

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or close to Bristol where you'd be able to get into restaurants and so forth quite easily.

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These two obviously like the trappings of city living, so why the big move?

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Gardening is my main passion and I've only got a small garden here in London

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so I'm ready for a place that has got room for a veggie patch,

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a few fruit trees and hopefully even room for a couple of pigs.

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An absolute must for me would be land.

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We're not looking for a property that is done for us when we walk in,

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but by buying a property with land,

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we're able to maybe build some outbuildings,

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maybe look even building a swimming pool, something outrageous like that.

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So Jenny is hankering after the good life and John wants

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to be a landed gent, but what about the bricks and mortar?

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The ideal style of house for us is a period property.

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We definitely aren't looking for a new build.

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Something which is light and airy, so a tiny thatched cottage

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is not really what we're looking for, but perhaps a barn conversion.

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For would-be rock hero John,

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space and soundproofing are definitely going to come in handy.

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I've been playing the guitar for about 20 years now.

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Been in a couple of bands.

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Really looking from the new house to have

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a dedicated music room so I can play guitar.

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Rocking might be at the top of John's wish-list, but what are the priorities for Jenny?

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The kitchen is the most important room in the house for us.

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But for different reasons. I love cooking, so I spend most of my time doing that.

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And we've lots of parties and, for me, it's the social epicentre.

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So, looking at the new house, we're looking for somewhere that has

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the kitchen as the fulcrum of the main living space, really.

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Before we can home in on a new property,

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they need to know what price they'll get for the house they're in

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

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This is a fantastic Edwardian house.

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Five great-sized bedrooms. Great location.

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Hyde Farm is well sought-after.

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I'd value this house at £750,000.

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Bearing in mind they want to keep a flat in London,

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what's the final spend for Somerset?

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Our budget for the new property is £600,000 to £650,000.

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So despite their handsome budget of £650,000,

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I somehow think that whatever house we're able to find

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has to be pretty special to tempt John out of London,

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but they are agreed on wanting something

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with plenty of period charm,

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lots of space for entertaining and great big open-plan living.

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And they want somewhere for their friends to come and stay when they visit them.

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And all of that within 20 to 25 minutes of either Bath or Bristol.

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It's quite a list.

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So we've focused the property search around

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each of those cities, taking in South Gloucestershire and Somerset.

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We've lined up a fantastic array of period homes and gardens

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for them to view and as always, I'll be asking them to guess the price.

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Last but not least, we'll head to the mystery house,

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but will it be the rural dream or an urbanite's nightmare?

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-Good morning, Jenny, morning, John. How are you?

-Good.

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-This move, are you feeling a bit daunted, John?

-A little bit.

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I'm very used to London but moving out to the country,

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we're getting a bit older so work-life balance is something we're looking at.

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You both look very young! What are you talking about?

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And what are you really hoping to achieve in your new country life?

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Lots more outdoor living.

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I'm keen on gardening so that's my main drive.

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For me, bigger ground floor space,

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-cos in London you don't get that.

-You're right.

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And there's a lot of things I like to do. I play the guitar.

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I'd like to get a music room.

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So make lots of noise?

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And don't upset the neighbours.

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So much for the quiet, country life.

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There is going to be crash metal going on.

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-Well, we're near Glastonbury!

-Indeed.

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Remind me of how much you want to spend on this move?

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We're looking at keeping a little bit back for a small property

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in London so we've got about £650,000 to spend in this area.

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That's not bad! And you're keeping some back, wow!

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-A little bit.

-A tiny bit.

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We've got some very interesting properties lined up for you.

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-Great.

-I hope we can persuade you that country life is the way forward.

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-Good.

-It's starting well.

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-Let's see what we can find you. Come on.

-Great.

-Cheers.

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Well, there's no denying John and Jenny have a healthy budget

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of up to £650,000, but they do have a hefty wish-list to go with it.

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They want:

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All this and they want to be somewhere to Bristol or Bath

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for nightlife and transport links.

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It's just as well these two aren't averse to doing some major DIY.

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How do you feel about the idea of a bit of border-hopping?

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We're struck upon Somerset because it is easy to get

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into London and also it has the right quality of life.

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I don't have an understanding of how good Gloucester or Wiltshire is,

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but happy to look at them.

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Well, that's good news, as we're kicking off today's property search

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in South Gloucestershire and heading for Pucklechurch,

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which at just eight miles from both Bath and Bristol,

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should be ideally situated.

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It's a thriving village with one shop,

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a post office and most importantly for John, I suspect, three pubs.

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The village green and community centre

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play host to many sporting events and social clubs.

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And there's no scarcity of period houses here,

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with 45 traditional 17th and 18th-century stone cottages lining the streets.

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However, our first property is even older.

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It's a 15th-century Grade II listed barn in the heart of the village.

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Let's start with this one, shall we?

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What do you think?

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-It is stunning.

-Very nice.

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-That is gorgeous.

-Very nice indeed.

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So we've got this, effectively, courtyard development, really.

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A gated courtyard development.

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You've got one, two, three neighbours, effectively,

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and then there's you, but you get the lion's share of it in this extraordinary building.

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This is very good start.

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-I love it. Yeah.

-Yeah?

-I do like it.

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Are we persuading you that country life might work for you, John?

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Moving in the right direction.

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Let's move in there. Come on.

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That's a good enough start for me and I have a feeling

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they're going to be equally bowled over by the interior.

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The barn was converted 2003 and it's appeared in more than one

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interior-design magazine, it's not lived in at the moment

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so it's somewhat lacking in furniture.

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Right, in you come.

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What do you think?

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That's beautiful.

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-As you can tell, it's empty.

-Yes.

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So you can, I hope, imagine what you'd do with this space

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without the clutter that one would normally see in a place like this.

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You wanted a big floor plan.

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-It goes on, look.

-I love this staircase as well.

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I hadn't noticed that when we first walked in.

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That's the thing that dominates the whole room!

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Again, you could go to town on how you furnish it. The sky is the limit.

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I particularly love the beams, I have to say.

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That's something that I keep being drawn to, the ceiling height

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and the beams with the glass making it contemporary.

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I can just imagine decorating it at Christmas time.

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What, with a long ladder?

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Jenny, I know you want a nice big kitchen/diner.

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-Yes, please.

-And you'd expect this place would have one.

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It's the one thing you'll have to really compromise on, OK?

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-I'm open to compromising.

-Let's see what you'd do with it.

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Come and have a look through here.

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OK, Jenny.

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-Right, so you were...

-Joking.

-Joking.

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LAUGHTER

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-I was joking.

-Yeah, that'll do.

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-It's all right, isn't it?

-It's all right(!)

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I'll compromise! This, the... Wow.

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-And the stove...

-Yep.

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Yes, this will do.

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-I can work with this.

-John?

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This is definitely not my domain so I don't know what to say.

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Space is definitely something this barn has plenty of.

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At the opposite end of the living room is the guest wing

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with two bedrooms on the ground floor

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and a bedroom and bathroom upstairs, accessed via its own staircase.

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But we're taking the main stairs to the mezzanine.

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-Look at this. It's great, isn't it?

-Yeah.

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Built in situ, this.

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-Made-to-measure.

-Absolutely lovely.

-It gets you up to here, which...

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I don't know what you'd do with this space, really. You tell me.

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-Guitars.

-Guitars?

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Oh, God, yes, guitars.

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-Music room.

-I was going to suggest perhaps, if you wanted to,

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we could use this as a study area, but guitars, equally.

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No, study would be good. It's nice and light.

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And it gives you a great view over to your guest wing, because this is all you here.

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-Oh, good grief.

-Have a look at this.

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Oh, brilliant.

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Oh! I thought this was going to be the bedroom.

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No, bathroom, yeah.

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-It's big, isn't it?

-Oh, goodness!

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-Oh, yes, this is lovely.

-Right then, last but not least, master bedroom.

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So you see, there's the back wall of the bathroom,

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these little skylights, little light wells chucking light

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into the corridor, leading on into this.

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Regal, I think is the word you are looking for.

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I've never had stairs up to a bed before.

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-Stairway to heaven.

-Come on!

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You can see this great big beam in front of us,

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-clearly that has to stay.

-Yeah.

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So the floor level, bed level, has to be at that height.

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There's no storage space either, is there?

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-There is in the corridor.

-There's some there? Oh, I missed that.

-Yeah.

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You've got hanging space in there.

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I mean, I imagine this is more of a dressing area,

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kind of thing as you, you know, descend from your regal bed.

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For me, it's working really well.

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I think it's safe to say the interior is a resounding success.

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Let's turn our attention to the outside space.

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It doesn't come with half an acre, but it's much bigger than their

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London garden, so could they make it work for them?

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Now, in terms of garden, what you see is what you get.

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I knew there would be a compromise, cos the house is stunning.

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The house... I mean, you've overdone yourself there. But this is...

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I mean, this is just one compromise too far for me.

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-Interesting.

-Yeah.

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I mean, that's the point, though,

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in terms of getting you close to vibrant cities

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like Bristol and Bath, we are pretty much in the middle of both of them -

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to give you this sort of floor space with this sort of design and spec,

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you know, you're going to trade down on the garden.

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-That's the rub.

-OK.

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Which probably brings us neatly round to thinking

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about the overall cost of this little lot.

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How does it stack up against your £650,000, do you think?

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I'm going to say 610.

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610? Oh, that's interesting.

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I know. I know - and hope.

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See, I thought it was lower.

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-575 for me.

-Really?

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That's... You are very optimistic, you two, aren't you?

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-Oh, God, here we go.

-What did you say, 5...

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-75.

-575.

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-Add on 100,000, my friend.

-675?!

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-SHE GASPS

-Yeah.

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We've got to move away from Bristol, then, cos...

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-No.

-675?

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OK, right.

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Well, now we know what we're dealing with.

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Exactly, that's the point. OK?

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Toe in the water - slightly cold water, I suspect.

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Or maybe hot water, I don't know.

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But, yeah, it gives you a good idea, a good yardstick

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-as we go through the rest of our house search.

-OK.

0:17:370:17:40

-All right.

-Go in explore that.

-Right.

0:17:400:17:42

And see what you get for £675,000.

0:17:420:17:45

-OK.

-Off you go, I'll catch you later.

0:17:450:17:47

Well, there you go.

0:17:480:17:50

675 is the price of this rather impressive period barn conversion,

0:17:500:17:55

although it has been on the market for 18 months

0:17:550:17:57

so there could be some bargaining room.

0:17:570:17:59

It obviously meets John and Jen's interior requirements,

0:17:590:18:03

with four bedrooms, a huge living space

0:18:030:18:05

and equally large kitchen diner.

0:18:050:18:07

But as nice as the lawn garden is,

0:18:070:18:09

it's just not big enough for our London escapees.

0:18:090:18:13

Sadly, though, that the compromise for a sought-after village location

0:18:130:18:18

so close to Bristol and Bath.

0:18:180:18:21

-I really, really like the living space.

-Best part of the house.

0:18:210:18:25

This is brilliant. And through into the kitchen, stunning.

0:18:250:18:30

But, I don't know, the garden...

0:18:300:18:32

It's a shame, cos first impressions are really good.

0:18:320:18:35

-Are you willing to move further from Bristol?

-Yeah.

0:18:350:18:38

OK, cos this is how much it'll cost.

0:18:380:18:40

Right, out you come.

0:18:430:18:46

-I think that was well worth a starting with.

-Yeah, good starting point.

0:18:460:18:50

-But I can see what you mean about getting further into the countryside.

-Mmm.

0:18:500:18:54

-Let's go and find some country.

-OK.

-Good stuff.

0:18:540:18:56

And, who knows, we may not need to move too far from Bristol

0:18:570:19:00

to find them what they are looking for.

0:19:000:19:03

Novices to country life, Jenny and John are keen to see as much

0:19:070:19:10

of the area before making that all-important decision to buy,

0:19:100:19:14

so, earlier in the week they decided to check out Frome -

0:19:140:19:17

one of Somerset's oldest and prettiest market towns.

0:19:170:19:20

Ex-Londoner John Burkett-Smith offered to show them around.

0:19:200:19:24

We're in Cheap Street and this is part of the old Saxon town street plan

0:19:240:19:30

because it's very near the centre of why Frome is where it is,

0:19:300:19:35

which is the spring and fountain just at the end of the street.

0:19:350:19:39

Frome's cobbled streets are home to over 500 listed buildings -

0:19:390:19:43

more than any other town in Somerset.

0:19:430:19:45

A lasting legacy of its standing as a powerhouse

0:19:450:19:48

of the 17th and 18th century wool and cloth trade.

0:19:480:19:51

Even today's tourist information centre is an old wool-drying house.

0:19:510:19:57

During the end of the 1600s Frome was actually one of the largest

0:19:570:20:01

towns in the area producing wool and cloth.

0:20:010:20:05

And people came from miles around to live and work in the town,

0:20:050:20:11

the town grew to a population of around 11,000 by the mid 1700s.

0:20:110:20:17

-Really?

-Bigger than Bath, biggest town in the area.

0:20:170:20:22

Well, Bath may win in the population stakes today,

0:20:220:20:25

but Frome isn't short on community spirit

0:20:250:20:27

with year-round food festivals, carnivals and social events.

0:20:270:20:31

Will it be enough to persuade John to move to the country though? Only time will tell.

0:20:310:20:36

For now, we'll try to impress him with properties.

0:20:360:20:39

So for our second viewing of the day, we're not giving up

0:20:410:20:44

on proximity to Bristol, or a house with land just yet.

0:20:440:20:47

We're heading to the busy village of Winterbourne,

0:20:470:20:49

just a 15-minute drive from Bristol city centre.

0:20:490:20:52

With a population of over 8,500, there's some debate

0:20:520:20:55

over whether Winterbourne should have town or village status.

0:20:550:20:59

It certainly has all the amenities you'd expect to find in any small town,

0:20:590:21:03

but surrounded by fields and woodland, most of which has public access,

0:21:030:21:07

escaping into the countryside is easy.

0:21:070:21:10

Our property is just a mile and a quarter down the road

0:21:100:21:13

in the hamlet of Winterbourne Down.

0:21:130:21:15

That's the house that we're thinking about for you.

0:21:170:21:20

-OK.

-Two cottages that have now been welded into one and in terms

0:21:200:21:25

of outside space, this does offer you quite a lot more.

0:21:250:21:29

We're still trying to get you something that has a sense of space about it, um, but again,

0:21:290:21:35

-I think this could be taken onto another level again.

-Good! Lots of potential!

-Yep.

0:21:350:21:41

I'm hoping this will be the solution for staying close to Bristol,

0:21:410:21:45

as well as having a house with land for the right price.

0:21:450:21:48

It also has real scope for Jen and John to put their own stamp on the place.

0:21:480:21:53

What do you think? I like it.

0:21:530:21:55

I love all the doors coming off it, it feeds well.

0:21:550:21:59

This is the 1850 bit, the rest of the house is much later.

0:21:590:22:01

This is interesting, look at this, you'll like this.

0:22:010:22:04

-This is a great size.

-Perfect size, isn't it? Yeah, I like this.

-Good!

0:22:040:22:09

-A really good size.

-It's a great addition

0:22:090:22:11

-and it makes the best of the garden.

-I like it. I think I almost like this more.

0:22:110:22:16

I am fickle, I'm sorry.

0:22:160:22:17

John, are you the voice of reason in all this? What are your thoughts?

0:22:170:22:21

First impressions are very good, I like it.

0:22:210:22:24

Let's check out the kitchen.

0:22:240:22:26

-Now then, Jenny, kitchen/diner which was on the list...

-Yeah. Um,

0:22:280:22:33

-I'm not instantly wowed.

-It's comparable to what we already have.

0:22:330:22:37

Yeah, it's similar to what we have already and I was hoping for something a bit bigger.

0:22:370:22:42

We were looking for a lot bigger - an island-type scenario.

0:22:420:22:46

Yeah, an island or a huge table

0:22:460:22:48

in the middle with room for a sofa at the back and perhaps

0:22:480:22:52

at the cost of another room we'd loose a room in order to have that size of kitchen.

0:22:520:22:59

What about the idea of developing something out that way?

0:22:590:23:02

-OK.

-You could go for a great big garden room that comes

0:23:020:23:05

right the way along which would give you a bit more floor space

0:23:050:23:09

to plan a much bigger kitchen/diner that you want.

0:23:090:23:12

That would definitely be an option. Definitely.

0:23:120:23:18

Well, there is another option.

0:23:180:23:20

They could potentially knock through to the snug

0:23:200:23:22

which was formerly a dining room.

0:23:220:23:24

-This is a lovely room.

-Very nice. This feels good.

0:23:240:23:27

Whether you were to keep this as a snug, or indeed reinstill it as a dining room, up to you really.

0:23:270:23:34

I really like this room. I'd keep it as it is.

0:23:340:23:37

OK.

0:23:370:23:38

John's not agreeing with you I don't think.

0:23:380:23:42

I like it, I'd have to look at it in context with the kitchen to be honest. That's how I see it.

0:23:420:23:49

I'd aim to go that way with the kitchen

0:23:490:23:52

-and keep this cos...

-A land-grab that way?

-Yeah, a land-grab that way,

0:23:520:23:56

-and I really like this room.

-Yeah.

-It's not bad.

0:23:560:23:58

I expect we'd be in here all the time.

0:23:580:24:00

Yeah, we'd end up using this more than we would the large one I think.

0:24:000:24:04

You'd end up using this more than the large one.

0:24:040:24:06

Ooh, separate rooms!

0:24:060:24:08

Suddenly the penny's dropped.

0:24:100:24:11

Oh, yes, you're next door watching the Grand Prix on something

0:24:110:24:15

the size of a cinema and you're in here relaxing.

0:24:150:24:19

-Yes.

-I like this snug.

0:24:190:24:20

From a difference of opinion to a problem solved in less than a minute - that's what I like to see!

0:24:200:24:26

But can we get them singing from the same hymn sheet upstairs?

0:24:260:24:30

They should be happy, there are five bedrooms in all,

0:24:300:24:33

including three doubles and a family bathroom.

0:24:330:24:37

So in terms of storage, Jenny...

0:24:370:24:40

Oh, good grief!

0:24:400:24:41

Wow!

0:24:410:24:43

Imelda Marcos has been in here.

0:24:430:24:45

-So this isn't giving up a bedroom, this is actually a...

-Nope, this is one of the five,

0:24:450:24:51

but I thought it was worth showing you

0:24:510:24:53

cos it's an interesting use of the space,

0:24:530:24:56

and, you're a girl, you must have loads of shoes!

0:24:560:24:59

I certainly don't need five bedrooms...

0:24:590:25:02

I'VE got loads of shoes?! He's got more!

0:25:020:25:06

I think this would work well, it could be a music room, a guitar room.

0:25:060:25:10

-That's not a bad idea.

-With five bedrooms you can pick and choose, you only really want two, don't you?

0:25:100:25:16

You and a spare, effectively, so this could be another dressing room,

0:25:160:25:20

walk in wardrobe, that sort of thing,

0:25:200:25:22

allowing you as much space as you want in the master.

0:25:220:25:25

-Ah, yes, that's a nice idea.

-Not bad.

0:25:250:25:29

Mind you, not that you need it, the master is enormous.

0:25:290:25:32

-Come and have a look at this.

-Sounds exciting!

0:25:320:25:35

So this is you, this is the master.

0:25:370:25:40

-Oh, I like this.

-Reasonably big?

-I do like this, actually.

0:25:400:25:44

I like the wardrobe space down there.

0:25:440:25:47

-And these great big windows, pouring light in which is quite nice.

-Yep.

0:25:470:25:51

I really like this room a lot, actually.

0:25:510:25:54

-And, of course, it's got the en suite. Look in there.

-Yeah.

0:25:540:25:56

Cor, this is a good size.

0:25:560:25:58

-It's big, isn't it?

-Yeah.

-Not bad at all.

0:25:580:26:01

Well, the spacious - and not to mention versatile -

0:26:010:26:04

interior seems to be doing the trick.

0:26:040:26:06

Now let's see if we can pull the proverbial rabbit out of the hat with the garden.

0:26:060:26:11

So as you can see, this is your patio area. That's the conservatory, right?

0:26:110:26:15

-This is a great size.

-It really is good.

0:26:150:26:19

You know, as a family garden, it's fantastic.

0:26:190:26:22

I think, you know, you could forego some of that space

0:26:220:26:24

if you were thinking about something that ran across.

0:26:240:26:27

-That would work.

-It'd fundamentally change it.

0:26:270:26:30

I think it would be a vast improvement.

0:26:300:26:32

Looking at the garden, this is looking special

0:26:320:26:35

and by adding that, that would give us most of the things we would be looking for.

0:26:350:26:39

Didn't you mention a swimming pool?

0:26:390:26:40

-Well...

-HE LAUGHS

0:26:400:26:42

I did, actually. I'm not sure where that's going to go.

0:26:420:26:44

-Well, let's see if we can find somewhere.

-Ooh!

-Ooh!

0:26:440:26:48

Yes, this house has one last surprise

0:26:480:26:50

but it will take a bit of work before they can dive in.

0:26:500:26:54

Now, this was the swimming pool.

0:26:540:26:57

Oh, was it?!

0:26:570:26:58

Not that you'd know now, but this bit...

0:26:580:27:02

should be water. It's been filled in. Yeah.

0:27:020:27:05

-This would be brilliant as a pool.

-Superb. It's really good.

-So...

0:27:050:27:09

-let's have a think about the money, then.

-Oh, God!

0:27:090:27:11

-Come on.

-We're still close to Bristol.

0:27:110:27:14

We are. Go on, John, you go first.

0:27:140:27:15

I'll go completely different this time and go for 650,000.

0:27:150:27:18

-650,000, yeah.

-I'm going to say 660,000.

0:27:180:27:21

660,000? Yeah.

0:27:210:27:23

OK. Well, it was on the market for 625,000.

0:27:230:27:26

But it's been reduced...

0:27:280:27:30

to 599,950.

0:27:300:27:32

Oh, right, so the extension...

0:27:340:27:37

-Yeah, it takes the budget.

-..could work.

0:27:370:27:39

£50,000 left over to transform the back of the house,

0:27:390:27:44

the kitchen and the bathrooms into what you want them to be.

0:27:440:27:47

-Food for thought.

-Yeah. Very much. Yeah.

-Good.

0:27:470:27:50

I can see we've piqued your interest!

0:27:500:27:53

Go and have a good look around

0:27:530:27:54

and have a think about the extension idea, see how it might work.

0:27:540:27:58

-I'll catch up with you later.

-Let's go and look.

-Off you go.

-Cheers.

0:27:580:28:02

I think that went down very well.

0:28:020:28:04

At just a smidge under £600,000,

0:28:040:28:06

this cottage is comfortably under budget,

0:28:060:28:09

so spare change to tackle any work.

0:28:090:28:11

It's already a very spacious home with five bedrooms,

0:28:110:28:14

two reception rooms, a kitchen/diner and a garden of nearly half a acre!

0:28:140:28:18

Plenty of room for a veggie patch

0:28:180:28:20

and they could even reinstate a swimming pool.

0:28:200:28:22

I wonder, could this be the package to persuade reluctant countryphile

0:28:220:28:27

John to say goodbye to his beloved London?

0:28:270:28:29

I'm really confused by this property,

0:28:290:28:31

because it wasn't necessarily what I was looking for at first.

0:28:310:28:35

And the more I've looked at it, the more I've liked it.

0:28:350:28:38

The garden is brilliant.

0:28:380:28:41

I can have a working garden hidden round the corner.

0:28:410:28:43

-The garden has surprised me in how much I like the garden.

-Yeah.

0:28:430:28:48

As long as we could make sure that we could do this,

0:28:480:28:50

that'll be interesting.

0:28:500:28:52

There's a big if on that, though.

0:28:520:28:53

Yeah, that's important to have that done.

0:28:530:28:56

As long as everybody's happy that could be done.

0:28:560:28:59

Right, guys, seen enough?

0:28:590:29:00

-Definitely.

-Good. Out you come.

-Thank you.

-And off we go.

0:29:000:29:03

After you.

0:29:030:29:04

Now, if you want to see, touch and feel

0:29:090:29:12

100 years of Britain's social history,

0:29:120:29:14

Tyntesfield House just outside Bristol is a must.

0:29:140:29:17

Currently being restored whilst open to the public,

0:29:170:29:20

I couldn't resist the opportunity to have a look around

0:29:200:29:23

this perfectly preserved Victorian time capsule,

0:29:230:29:26

and Laura Brown from the National Trust has kindly offered to give me a guided tour.

0:29:260:29:31

-Hello, Laura, very nice to see you.

-Nice to meet you, hi.

0:29:330:29:36

-What an extraordinary place.

-Fantastic, isn't it?

0:29:360:29:38

And what a project. This is... This is amazing, isn't it?

0:29:380:29:41

Yeah, yeah. It really is. It's a huge challenge, but it's very exciting.

0:29:410:29:45

When do you think it's going to be finished?

0:29:450:29:48

When will the scaffolding come down and will we see Tyntesfield as it was?

0:29:480:29:51

Well, the hope is that the whole project will be finished in 2012.

0:29:510:29:55

As I mentioned at the beginning of the show,

0:29:550:29:58

this house was built back in 1863 by the Gibb family

0:29:580:30:01

from the proceeds of their bird-muck importing business.

0:30:010:30:04

It was an opulent show of wealth

0:30:040:30:06

and marked the beginnings of the rise of the middle classes,

0:30:060:30:10

proving hard work and money could buy what the aristocracy had by birth.

0:30:100:30:14

The house remained in the family until 2001, and was sold intact

0:30:140:30:18

with all its preserved home furnishings, decor and objets d'art.

0:30:180:30:22

In fact, since 2004, almost 40,000 historic items have been catalogued.

0:30:220:30:29

So this is coming into the servants' part of the house.

0:30:290:30:32

-These are all original, all these ladders?

-Yes.

0:30:320:30:35

-Look at that.

-These are the bells.

0:30:350:30:37

-Look at that.

-So you can see how many rooms

0:30:370:30:39

are in the house with the amount of bells there are.

0:30:390:30:42

We have over 100 rooms.

0:30:420:30:44

I love that, "His Lordship's Dressing Room."

0:30:440:30:47

-Yeah.

-"The Oak Room, The Bath Room, oh, Billiard Room.

-Yes.

0:30:470:30:51

-Is that still here?

-It is indeed.

0:30:510:30:52

Oh, fantastic. Let's have a look at the billiard room, absolutely.

0:30:520:30:56

So this is the billiard room.

0:30:560:30:58

It most certainly is, look at that!

0:30:580:31:00

-He's seen a few games, hasn't he?

-Yeah, absolutely.

-The poor old moose.

0:31:000:31:04

My goodness me. I mean, this is...

0:31:040:31:06

It's like a film set, isn't it?

0:31:060:31:08

It's a kind of Agatha Christie film set, it's amazing.

0:31:080:31:11

It gives a real atmosphere, actually, to how this room was used.

0:31:110:31:15

This is no ordinary billiard table, by the looks of it?

0:31:150:31:18

No, it's a heated billiard table.

0:31:180:31:20

-Heated?

-Yes. Yeah.

0:31:200:31:23

We think it's for the ease of the balls moving across the table.

0:31:230:31:26

So it's all kind of built-in?

0:31:260:31:28

-And the balls are original?

-Yes, they are.

0:31:280:31:30

-Are these buttons?

-They are.

0:31:300:31:33

They're an electronic scoring system, so when you scored,

0:31:330:31:36

you would have pressed a button and it would have come up on the board.

0:31:360:31:40

-That's amazing. When was this made?

-This was made in 1850.

0:31:400:31:45

1850? And they had heated billiard tables in 1850 with, effectively,

0:31:450:31:50

-an electronic scoring system?

-Yes, yes.

0:31:500:31:54

I'm absolutely amazed by that.

0:31:540:31:56

Not all of the house is in quite such good condition, though.

0:31:560:31:59

As well as needing a whole new roof, it hasn't been rewired or replumbed

0:31:590:32:03

in over 50 years, and that's a huge job.

0:32:030:32:07

But what makes this unique is that all the work is being carried out

0:32:070:32:10

in full view of the public eye.

0:32:100:32:12

We can all drop in and see how it's done.

0:32:120:32:15

However, there's one particular interior here

0:32:150:32:18

that I can't wait to see.

0:32:180:32:19

So this is the chapel,

0:32:210:32:23

used by the family as their private chapel,

0:32:230:32:25

and for the estate workers as well.

0:32:250:32:27

This is incredible! This would grace any provincial town as a church!

0:32:270:32:31

-Absolutely.

-To think it's just simply attached to the house.

0:32:310:32:34

-Yeah, a really awesome space, beautiful.

-I've had a wonderful time looking round.

0:32:340:32:39

-Thank you very much, Laura.

-Thank you.

-Now, how do we get out?

-I'll show you out!

0:32:390:32:44

With the evening drawing in over Somerset,

0:32:470:32:50

John and Jenny head back to base

0:32:500:32:51

so they can mull over the day's properties.

0:32:510:32:54

What did you think about the barn today?

0:32:540:32:56

I loved the living area, the party room.

0:32:560:33:00

-A good place for a party.

-Don't you think?

-Just for basic living, too.

0:33:000:33:04

-Yeah, for you and me.

-It's disappointing about the garden.

0:33:040:33:07

The outside space was indifferent, wasn't it?

0:33:070:33:09

I think it's a reasonable size, it's just not big enough for what we're looking for.

0:33:090:33:13

And what's really nice is I can now say "we"

0:33:130:33:15

because you've realised that the garden is quite important as well.

0:33:150:33:19

-What did you think of the house by the river?

-It's not our taste and it needs a bit of work

0:33:190:33:23

and I think we agreed,

0:33:230:33:25

-if we were to take it on, we'd need an extension at the back. But the garden was fantastic.

-Yeah.

0:33:250:33:30

You know, with the bonus of a swimming pool there.

0:33:300:33:33

How often does that happen?

0:33:330:33:34

-Well, a swimming pool in the making!

-Well, a bit of digging to be done.

0:33:340:33:37

-Yeah!

-But it was really good

0:33:370:33:41

and it's so good having something so close to Bristol,

0:33:410:33:44

so it is food for thought.

0:33:440:33:46

Jenny has spent the last six years trying to convince John

0:33:540:33:58

to swap London living for the rural good life.

0:33:580:34:02

Reluctantly, methinks, he's finally given in,

0:34:020:34:04

but still wants to be close to a city - Bristol or Bath.

0:34:040:34:07

We've already shown them some fantastic pads for their £650,000

0:34:070:34:11

but if we're going to persuade John, we need to pull out all the stops.

0:34:110:34:16

Oh, God, it's even bigger!

0:34:160:34:18

-Look at this, look at this, outbuildings.

-Outbuildings!

-Oh, yes, the music room's coming.

0:34:180:34:23

-Or will today's mystery house be the country idyll?

-It is just a field.

0:34:230:34:27

-It's pretty amazing, I must admit.

-It's brilliant.

0:34:270:34:31

There's nothing like a good, strong cup of coffee to kick off any day's house hunt,

0:34:340:34:38

and here in the West of England our final day is no exception.

0:34:380:34:41

Now, yesterday I think Jenny and John were persuaded

0:34:410:34:44

that although we did try to get them within half an hour

0:34:440:34:47

of either Bristol or Bath, if we move further South,

0:34:470:34:50

we could get a lot more value for money, so that's where we're going.

0:34:500:34:53

In fact, we are travelling South-East

0:34:540:34:57

to the Somerset/Wiltshire border,

0:34:570:34:59

to the small hamlet of Hawkeridge, just 14 miles from Bath.

0:34:590:35:03

For amenities, they will need to head to nearby Rode.

0:35:030:35:07

Formerly a busy market town which prospered during the wool boom of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries,

0:35:070:35:12

today the mills and shops are being converted into fine period homes

0:35:120:35:16

and the only trading going on is in the village store and few pubs.

0:35:160:35:20

Our property is a couple of minutes' drive away, and we're taking a bit of a gamble on this one

0:35:220:35:27

as thatched cottages weren't exactly at the top of Jen and John's wish list.

0:35:270:35:31

But when we came across this one, with its very spacious proportions,

0:35:310:35:34

inside and especially out, well, we just had to show it to them.

0:35:340:35:37

There, what about that, then?

0:35:390:35:42

-I think you like it.

-I love it.

0:35:460:35:48

-Very impressive.

-Very good.

0:35:480:35:50

It's gorgeous. The garden is...is...

0:35:500:35:54

-Well, this is the small bit.

-Is it? This is the front garden?!

0:35:540:35:58

The property itself, at its core, 16th century.

0:35:580:36:00

-Right.

-Believe it or not, the bit to the right is a modern extension.

0:36:000:36:06

-God, that's really well done.

-Very impressive, yeah.

0:36:060:36:09

-The whole thing is about 10 years old in terms of thatch.

-Oh, that's good.

0:36:090:36:12

-So there's another 20 years on that.

-Right. Brilliant.

0:36:120:36:15

I'm sure it ticks lots of your boxes, doesn't it?

0:36:150:36:18

Yeah! I'm just...

0:36:180:36:19

I'm trying to remain calm.

0:36:190:36:22

Good. Well, let's get you excited, come and have a look.

0:36:220:36:24

That's a really positive start!

0:36:240:36:27

Fingers crossed the interior gets the same reaction.

0:36:270:36:31

OK, Jenny, is this what you had in mind?

0:36:320:36:34

Yes, it's lovely. The floor is just gorgeous.

0:36:340:36:41

Well this, I think, goes to the heart of the sort of detailing that makes this extension

0:36:410:36:45

-feel part of the rest of the house.

-This is the extension?

-Yeah.

0:36:450:36:48

-Oh, that's... Wow!

-They've done it very well.

0:36:480:36:51

-Very well.

-And it's created a really interesting kitchen/diner,

0:36:510:36:55

in here, which I think really is country-country.

0:36:550:36:59

-It's lovely.

-It's a little bit small.

0:36:590:37:01

Yeah, I know, that's my...

0:37:010:37:03

initial thought, was that it was a little bit small.

0:37:030:37:06

To be fair, this is as big as it will get in terms of the kitchen.

0:37:060:37:09

I think it's very nice, you know?

0:37:090:37:11

I just think... I know you were after a very big kitchen.

0:37:110:37:14

-Yeah.

-Because that's where you spend most of your time, and so...

0:37:140:37:17

But I suppose that's the compromise you make with a cottage, isn't it?

0:37:170:37:21

-Yeah.

-I don't think any room's going to be the sort of big, open space we were looking for.

0:37:210:37:25

Exactly. And I do love it.

0:37:250:37:26

It's just getting my head around the fact that it's completely different to what we were initially...

0:37:260:37:31

-Dreaming of.

-Exactly, had in our mind's eye.

0:37:310:37:34

-But it's beautiful.

-So far, so good.

0:37:340:37:38

Let's see what they make of the original part of the cottage.

0:37:380:37:42

This is your main living room,

0:37:420:37:44

and I think this is very charming, very cosy.

0:37:440:37:47

-I like this.

-Oh, look at the fireplace.

0:37:470:37:49

-Yeah, this is very nice.

-It's compact...

0:37:490:37:52

Mmm-hmm.

0:37:520:37:54

But it's lovely. Absolutely lovely.

0:37:540:37:56

-It feels nice, doesn't it?

-Yes. Yeah.

0:37:560:37:58

It's a bit smaller than I would hope for but, again,

0:37:580:38:01

this goes back to the conversation we had, that's the natural size of the room.

0:38:010:38:05

-I feel it's a very nice house.

-I do as well. I'm surprised at how much I like it.

0:38:050:38:09

It's really sort of taking away the sort of preconceptions that we had

0:38:090:38:13

-and saying, "Does this work for us?"

-Yeah.

0:38:130:38:16

It looks like they're both falling for the charms

0:38:160:38:19

of this cottage, and whilst, yes, unarguably dimensions are cosier,

0:38:190:38:23

it's certainly big enough.

0:38:230:38:25

Across the hallway is a functional study and a sizable dining room.

0:38:250:38:28

Silence. I'm met with silence. What are you thinking?

0:38:310:38:34

Lovely, inglenook.

0:38:340:38:36

-You love those, don't you?

-I do.

0:38:360:38:38

The ultimate question is,

0:38:380:38:39

are you going to use a dining room as a dining room?

0:38:390:38:42

Well, this is one of my big issues.

0:38:420:38:44

Every house I've ever been in with a dining room,

0:38:440:38:47

we've used on high days and holidays.

0:38:470:38:49

And I always feel it's a bit of a waste of space.

0:38:490:38:51

-It would make a great snug.

-Yes, it would.

-I like that idea, actually.

0:38:510:38:56

Well, it goes on upstairs, through here. There we are, follow me.

0:38:560:39:01

And there's plenty of scope

0:39:010:39:02

to rethink how they'd use the space up here, with four bedrooms in all.

0:39:020:39:06

Two doubles means there's space for guests and John's guitars,

0:39:060:39:10

and there's also a single bedroom and a shared shower room.

0:39:100:39:13

So this is the master, how about that?

0:39:130:39:16

-Oh, it's lovely.

-Yeah.

0:39:160:39:19

-Oh, I like this a lot.

-Yeah?

-Yeah.

0:39:190:39:21

Complete with beams, which hopefully you won't bump into in the middle of the night.

0:39:210:39:26

It's a really, really good size, this. How about an en suite?

0:39:260:39:30

Oh, really? Is there?

0:39:300:39:32

-Oh! Oh, wow!

-Yeah?

0:39:330:39:36

Oh, this works. This is just...

0:39:360:39:40

-This is just great.

-Very impressive, isn't it?

0:39:400:39:42

It's fabulous. This works.

0:39:420:39:44

I can see through that window that it is tipping down with rain,

0:39:440:39:48

-so let's go and brave the weather and explore the garden.

-OK.

0:39:480:39:51

Even in the rain, the garden is the piece de resistance of this house,

0:39:510:39:56

and at three-quarters of an acre, it's the biggest we've seen so far.

0:39:560:40:00

Out you come. Now, what have we got for you?

0:40:000:40:04

Quite a nice little formal garden, as you can see, patio seating area there under the gazebo.

0:40:040:40:09

-Yes, yeah.

-Great big pond over there.

-I know, it's huge.

0:40:090:40:13

-It's very nice.

-I love the garden and I hate the pond.

0:40:130:40:16

-I really dislike ponds.

-Really?

0:40:180:40:21

Yeah. You didn't know this, did you? I really dislike ponds.

0:40:210:40:24

-That's a great feature, and the well's good...

-No, it's going.

0:40:240:40:27

-So there'll be fish for supper, then, if you move in?

-Yes!

0:40:270:40:32

But in terms of vegetables and a bit of space and that sort of thing...

0:40:320:40:36

-It's a great site. So it goes on round there?

-Yes, it does, look at this. Come and have a look.

0:40:360:40:40

-You get all of this as well.

-Oh, my goodness!

0:40:400:40:44

-Oh, God, it's even bigger!

-Yeah.

0:40:440:40:46

Look at this, outbuildings.

0:40:460:40:48

-The music room is coming!

-Yeah, you see? I like it.

0:40:480:40:52

-Fruit trees!

-You've got loads of outside storage space.

0:40:520:40:55

Wow, this is brilliant.

0:40:550:40:57

I really wasn't expecting this size.

0:40:570:40:59

-I think the garden really adds, doesn't it?

-The garden is fantastic. I love it.

0:40:590:41:04

OK. So, how much is it going to cost you to love it even more?

0:41:040:41:07

-I wonder.

-I think we are looking at 640.

0:41:070:41:10

640. John?

0:41:100:41:13

625.

0:41:130:41:15

I wish it were. It is bang on the budget.

0:41:150:41:17

-£650,000.

-That is not bad.

0:41:170:41:19

-I am not surprised.

-That is not an unfair price at all, I don't think.

0:41:190:41:24

-No. I think you were just being cheeky, weren't you?

-Of course.

0:41:240:41:27

Well, go and explore. Go and fall in love with some period charm.

0:41:270:41:31

Thank you.

0:41:310:41:32

Well, could our gamble have paid off?

0:41:340:41:37

With its asking price of £650,000,

0:41:370:41:39

this 16th-century thatch is right on the money.

0:41:390:41:43

It's a big cottage with a kitchen/diner, two reception rooms,

0:41:430:41:47

a study and four bedrooms.

0:41:470:41:49

So, plenty of room inside

0:41:490:41:50

for entertaining and John's musical ambitions.

0:41:500:41:53

The three-quarters of an acre garden with outbuildings

0:41:530:41:56

is obviously a winner, but even though they have been charmed

0:41:560:41:59

by the interior space,

0:41:590:42:00

can Jenny and John really see themselves living here?

0:42:000:42:03

I am really surprised at how much I like the property.

0:42:030:42:06

Not that it is not likeable, it is a beautiful, beautiful period cottage.

0:42:060:42:12

But we weren't after a period cottage,

0:42:120:42:14

so it has left me feeling really confused.

0:42:140:42:17

I had in my head of this idea of a certain type of property.

0:42:170:42:22

It is not that.

0:42:220:42:23

But I am now trying to work internally with myself to say, well,

0:42:230:42:27

"Are you being stupid?" Because it's a lovely property.

0:42:270:42:30

Right, out you come.

0:42:320:42:33

Look, it has stopped raining, just!

0:42:330:42:36

-Good grief.

-We don't need these any more.

0:42:360:42:38

Have you seen enough in there?

0:42:380:42:40

-Yes.

-I think so. It has been a very interesting house to look at, this.

0:42:400:42:44

-Well, there is more to come. Come on.

-OK.

0:42:440:42:47

As Jenny loves cooking and both she and John are self-confessed foodies,

0:42:530:42:57

we thought we'd send them to one of the county's more unusual food producers -

0:42:570:43:01

Somerset's only smokery.

0:43:010:43:03

Jessie Pattison is the owner of this family-run business

0:43:030:43:07

and he's going to give them a lesson in smoking.

0:43:070:43:09

Starting with our eels...

0:43:110:43:13

There's a couple here, Jen, if you want to grab hold of the hooks there.

0:43:130:43:16

These are eels that we've brought off the Test River.

0:43:160:43:19

Our eels are from chalk-stream rivers - the Test, Stour and Avon.

0:43:190:43:23

What we do is we've already gutted these

0:43:230:43:25

and if you can pop them into the brine, which is just a saltwater solution,

0:43:250:43:28

-we'll pop them in there for three hours.

-Three hours? Oh, OK.

-OK?

0:43:280:43:31

Eels have long been part of the European diet.

0:43:310:43:35

Evidence suggests we've been consuming them since the sixth century.

0:43:350:43:39

In fact, Dante placed Pope Martin IV among the sinners in purgatory

0:43:390:43:43

for his gluttonous weakness for eels cooking in wine.

0:43:430:43:46

And our very own King John once ordered 1,000 of them

0:43:460:43:49

for a Christmas feast.

0:43:490:43:51

However, it was the Vikings that brought smoking to Britain.

0:43:510:43:54

For the process to work, any fish or meat has to be cured first.

0:43:540:43:57

That's quite simply adding salt, either via a brine or a salt rub.

0:43:570:44:01

It's the salt that enables the smoke to be sucked into the product.

0:44:010:44:05

Today, the eels are being hot smoked.

0:44:060:44:08

So you can see we've got a decent fire in the bottom.

0:44:100:44:13

-What are you burning in there?

-Burning purely oak.

0:44:130:44:16

We'll roast these products.

0:44:160:44:17

We're hot smoking them, so we'll cook them over that fire and then

0:44:170:44:21

when we're happy they're cooked, we kill the fire back using dust.

0:44:210:44:24

Oak dust or beech dust in the case of eels.

0:44:240:44:27

-How long do you leave them in for?

-Er, well, for the eels, they'll stay in for about quarter of an hour,

0:44:270:44:34

till we're happy they're cooked.

0:44:340:44:36

It's a big, hot, probably 190 to 250-degree fire.

0:44:360:44:40

And then kill the fire back and smoke them for about an hour and three quarters.

0:44:400:44:45

Once the products have been chilled, the enjoyment can begin.

0:44:450:44:48

The tasting.

0:44:480:44:50

It's pretty good, that.

0:44:500:44:52

It's all right?

0:44:520:44:53

It's really nice!

0:44:530:44:54

I think that unique taste of Somerset has definitely hit the spot.

0:44:540:44:59

Let's hope they have an appetite for our mystery house.

0:44:590:45:02

Well, our final offering is nearly upon us.

0:45:070:45:10

A little bit of a drive, to the mystery house.

0:45:100:45:13

What you think we have got in store for you?

0:45:130:45:15

Absolutely no idea whatsoever.

0:45:150:45:18

Everything you've shown us has been so incredibly different.

0:45:180:45:22

Because we are moving a little bit further out, there's going to be more land

0:45:220:45:26

and more opportunity to put our own footprint on it.

0:45:260:45:29

But then again, I have been wrong on everything else so far!

0:45:290:45:32

Well, John is not completely off the mark, and he will find out why

0:45:330:45:37

very shortly, as we are making our way deep into Somerset

0:45:370:45:41

to the outskirts of the small village of Wookey,

0:45:410:45:43

famed for its prehistoric caves, Wookey Hole.

0:45:430:45:46

Sheltering under the Mendip Hills,

0:45:460:45:48

the village is set in premium countryside.

0:45:480:45:51

With fields as far as the eye can see, the lapping waters of the River Axe nearby,

0:45:510:45:55

and a 13th century church, I am sure all of this will appeal to Jenny,

0:45:550:45:59

and there are even a couple of pubs for self-confessed urbanite John to get to grips with.

0:45:590:46:04

At 45 minutes from both Bath and Bristol,

0:46:040:46:07

it is that much further from direct rail links to London,

0:46:070:46:11

but it means we can really - and I do mean REALLY - up the ante on the land.

0:46:110:46:16

OK, the mystery house.

0:46:160:46:18

In here.

0:46:180:46:20

-Look at this.

-It is just a field.

0:46:210:46:24

This could be your field.

0:46:240:46:26

This is the mystery house...field.

0:46:260:46:30

But there is no... Are you sure?

0:46:300:46:33

This is what you get with the mystery house,

0:46:330:46:36

which is one of the reasons why it is the mystery house,

0:46:360:46:39

because you get these three glorious acres.

0:46:390:46:42

Good grief. So literally as far as that hedge line is?

0:46:420:46:46

Yes, the post-and-rail and back here.

0:46:460:46:49

That's brilliant. We could get sheep as well as pigs.

0:46:490:46:53

-Ha! John?

-We could have a whole menagerie.

0:46:540:46:57

This is the uber-end of the rural idyll

0:46:570:47:02

that I think you are chasing.

0:47:020:47:04

-Particularly you.

-Yes, with the onus on me.

0:47:040:47:07

John, what do you think?

0:47:070:47:09

-It is pretty amazing, I must admit.

-It is brilliant.

0:47:090:47:12

I'm so relieved you don't want us to build our own house, though!

0:47:120:47:15

No. There is a house thrown in with it, along with that.

0:47:150:47:21

-No way!

-That purpose-built studio comes with it as well.

0:47:210:47:26

Oh, my God, that's brilliant.

0:47:260:47:30

Or perhaps it is more likely John will claim it as his music studio,

0:47:310:47:35

since Jenny seems to be getting a whole farmyard.

0:47:350:47:39

But they still need somewhere to live themselves.

0:47:390:47:42

-There you are.

-That's nice.

0:47:420:47:44

That's lovely, isn't it?

0:47:440:47:47

So you can see, everything is separated by this little lane,

0:47:470:47:50

but it is really quiet.

0:47:500:47:51

It feels just like you have the whole area.

0:47:510:47:54

I like it a lot.

0:47:540:47:57

Great reactions from John,

0:47:570:47:59

but will the interior live up to such high expectations?

0:47:590:48:02

There is only one way to find out.

0:48:020:48:04

What do you think?

0:48:040:48:06

-It's very cute.

-Yeah?

-Very cosy.

0:48:060:48:09

-Open-plan enough?

-Yeah, I think so.

-While still remaining cosy.

0:48:090:48:13

It's long and thin, isn't it? But it's nice. It's OK.

0:48:130:48:17

And everything sort of leads off it.

0:48:170:48:20

Smiles From Jenny. John? Because you're the one we've got to work on

0:48:200:48:24

because this is more rural than anything else we have shown you.

0:48:240:48:27

It's not bad. It's nice. I'd like to see the rest of the house.

0:48:270:48:30

OK. This is really nice. Have a look at this.

0:48:300:48:33

This sounds good.

0:48:330:48:35

Now, John, I'm thinking this would be perfect for you.

0:48:350:48:39

This is a great sized office.

0:48:390:48:42

-It's ideal.

-And you could get a telly in here.

0:48:420:48:44

-I like it.

-Oh, God!

0:48:440:48:46

-Relaxation is very important!

-Yes!

0:48:470:48:50

-It's not all work, you know.

-It helps my creativity. Absolutely.

0:48:500:48:54

-Beer fridge.

-Beer fridge!

-I should be more than lucid!

0:48:540:49:00

Talking of fridges and lucidity - the kitchen!

0:49:000:49:04

Have a look at this.

0:49:040:49:06

To suit John and Jen's personal taste,

0:49:060:49:08

they might want to make some changes.

0:49:080:49:11

But I'm hoping, with its adjoining dining room, it will be big enough.

0:49:110:49:14

-I like this.

-Yeah?

-I really like this, actually.

0:49:140:49:17

I am surprised. Personally, this is what we already have.

0:49:170:49:22

From a functional standpoint,

0:49:220:49:25

you would have the same challenges you have today. Exactly the same.

0:49:250:49:28

-I was thinking more about the fact that people could be down in that room.

-Yeah.

0:49:280:49:32

Let's have a look at that room.

0:49:320:49:34

I think it's because it adjoins to this room.

0:49:340:49:38

It's a relatively recent addition but it makes a big difference.

0:49:380:49:41

This was what I was looking at.

0:49:410:49:43

When I was up in the kitchen, I think it was more the fact

0:49:430:49:45

that I could see through here and I counted this as part of it.

0:49:450:49:48

This is the part I really like.

0:49:480:49:50

No, see, I'm struggling with that. I really am.

0:49:500:49:54

Because that's exactly what we have at this moment in time.

0:49:540:49:58

I'm not seeing enough, am I?

0:49:580:49:59

Even though it's not the prescribed plan and layout,

0:49:590:50:04

I would be tempted to trust your initial instincts,

0:50:040:50:08

which were, "I rather like this."

0:50:080:50:11

It may not be what you had come in search of, but,

0:50:110:50:15

you know, it seems to me that it has struck a chord somewhere?

0:50:150:50:18

-Jenny?

-I don't know now!

0:50:230:50:24

Mull it over. We've got the upstairs to go, yet.

0:50:270:50:30

Come on, follow me.

0:50:300:50:32

It looks to me like we have a case of heart versus head -

0:50:330:50:36

Jenny's heart and John's head.

0:50:360:50:38

And I get the feeling John might be the more persuasive of the two.

0:50:380:50:41

Let's see if we can change his mind upstairs.

0:50:410:50:43

There's certainly plenty of options with five bedrooms in all.

0:50:430:50:47

Two doubles, a box room and a single.

0:50:470:50:50

This is the master, last but not least.

0:50:500:50:54

I love the lookout onto the garden. That is really nice.

0:50:540:50:57

Yeah, and you can look up to your field, actually.

0:50:570:51:02

-Oh, right. Survey from the bed.

-This is master of all you survey, isn't it?

0:51:020:51:05

Literally. You can just lie there and take it all in. It's great.

0:51:050:51:09

It is a nicely-proportioned room, isn't it?

0:51:090:51:12

I think the views from this room are brilliant.

0:51:120:51:15

The thing you haven't got is an en suite but you have got a separate shower next door

0:51:150:51:20

and a family bathroom and so forth.

0:51:200:51:22

Is there any more to show you, I wonder? We have got, of course, a field, studio, house.

0:51:220:51:27

There's a bit more garden. Let's have a look outside.

0:51:280:51:32

Come here, then, and we'll finish off our tour of the mystery house.

0:51:340:51:39

With this little cottage garden, well, I say little...

0:51:390:51:43

It's actually a good size.

0:51:430:51:45

-It's not bad, is it?

-Yeah. I like this.

0:51:450:51:47

I really like the outside of this place. I really do.

0:51:470:51:50

Let's have a think about the money, shall we?

0:51:500:51:53

I think it's quite small.

0:51:530:51:54

I'm going to go for a cheeky 595.

0:51:540:51:57

That would be cheeky. Yes! John?

0:51:570:52:00

I think it's going to be around 625 again.

0:52:000:52:05

It's on the market for £635,000.

0:52:050:52:10

I think 635 is all right, actually. That's fine, I was being cheeky.

0:52:100:52:14

Yeah, that's reasonable.

0:52:140:52:17

There's an awful lot that we have covered. Go back up there and have another look at the paddock.

0:52:170:52:22

Go on. Go and enjoy the views.

0:52:220:52:25

So, very mixed reactions to the mystery house.

0:52:250:52:28

On the market for £635,000, there is a lot of it.

0:52:280:52:33

The house itself has a kitchen/diner, a study,

0:52:330:52:35

a living room and five bedrooms upstairs.

0:52:350:52:38

But the real reason for bringing John and Jenny here are the added extras.

0:52:380:52:42

Three acres of paddock and the converted barn.

0:52:420:52:45

It all started so well, and although Jenny

0:52:450:52:48

seems rather taken with it,

0:52:480:52:50

I'm not so sure she'll be able to convince John

0:52:500:52:52

it could be a contender.

0:52:520:52:53

Just leading up to the front door,

0:52:530:52:55

I was so excited and I just thought, "This could be the property."

0:52:550:53:01

I kept wanting it to work.

0:53:010:53:02

I was trying to convince myself all the way around that it was fine.

0:53:020:53:06

And, um... Yeah. So...yeah.

0:53:060:53:09

I probably still am, to a certain extent!

0:53:090:53:12

There is an office which is extremely good and I thought I could work in there.

0:53:120:53:15

But based on the fact that you've got just two other rooms

0:53:150:53:18

on the ground floor, I felt it's a little bit small.

0:53:180:53:21

-It's lovely out here, isn't it?

-It's gorgeous, I just feel so peaceful.

0:53:210:53:25

-I know what you mean about the country.

-Do you really? Do you get it now?

0:53:250:53:28

Yeah, it's very peaceful.

0:53:280:53:30

-Are you winning?

-Yes!

0:53:300:53:32

On a day like this, look at it.

0:53:320:53:34

The sun setting over a gorgeous autumn landscape. Come on.

0:53:340:53:40

This is a huge move for our city-loving couple

0:53:430:53:46

so the property has to be spot-on.

0:53:460:53:48

We've had lots of pluses but, equally, plenty of negatives, too.

0:53:480:53:52

So have we managed to find the house that will convince John

0:53:520:53:55

to up sticks to West England?

0:53:550:53:56

It's time to find out.

0:53:560:53:58

-Hi, chaps. How are you doing?

-Good.

0:53:590:54:02

Have you had time to have a good old think about everything?

0:54:020:54:05

-We've been pondering.

-A lot!

0:54:050:54:08

That's a good sign.

0:54:080:54:10

Let's take a little trip down memory lane and think about where we went.

0:54:100:54:13

It started with the barn conversion, which was all about you, John.

0:54:130:54:16

Agreed. Totally. I think from a living space, having the very large

0:54:160:54:21

living room, dining room area, that was really what I was looking for.

0:54:210:54:26

I think also feeding into the very large kitchen, it felt great.

0:54:260:54:29

The kitchen was just absolutely perfect.

0:54:290:54:32

I couldn't have found a better one.

0:54:320:54:33

The challenge was, and a surprise to me, was the lack of garden.

0:54:330:54:38

I felt that has become more of a priority that I wasn't anticipating.

0:54:380:54:41

Let's have a think about the house by the river.

0:54:410:54:44

It was a curious place, actually. It was good in many ways -

0:54:440:54:47

the garden was by far the big selling point there for me.

0:54:470:54:51

We could extend it

0:54:510:54:53

and make it absolutely the house of our dreams, I think.

0:54:530:54:57

I'm surprised at how much I liked that one.

0:54:570:54:59

We let you sleep on it and woke you for a final day's house-hunting,

0:54:590:55:02

which I think started with a bang

0:55:020:55:04

with an extraordinary 16th century thatched building.

0:55:040:55:07

Yeah, "wow" factor in bucket loads.

0:55:070:55:10

I didn't want thatch, I didn't want 16th century

0:55:100:55:14

-and that's what you gave us and it was stunning.

-You see?

0:55:140:55:17

Sometimes it's worth trusting us!

0:55:170:55:20

John, I think you were moved by that, too?

0:55:200:55:22

I thought it was an excellent house, I really liked all parts of it.

0:55:220:55:26

I just don't understand why I'm not getting the "wow" factor.

0:55:260:55:29

Because it has everything we asked for.

0:55:290:55:31

Let's come back to this idea a little bit later.

0:55:310:55:34

Let's finish off with a quick run-through of our mystery property.

0:55:340:55:37

What did you make of that one?

0:55:370:55:40

I've just been on a real roller-coaster of emotion

0:55:400:55:43

because we started off with the paddock.

0:55:430:55:46

Wow. Went to the studio, more wow.

0:55:460:55:50

The outside of the property, fantastic.

0:55:500:55:53

And then we went in and it just wasn't going to work for us and my heart sank.

0:55:530:55:57

It was a shame, it was outward-facing, brilliant,

0:55:570:56:00

but inside a little bit more lukewarm.

0:56:000:56:03

What, if anything, happens next?

0:56:030:56:05

I don't think any of the houses we've seen we're going to move forward with.

0:56:050:56:09

But I think what it has done is made me more pro-moving to the country.

0:56:090:56:14

What I take away from this is you are still determined to move and,

0:56:140:56:19

most importantly, you have persuaded John that it's a good idea to move.

0:56:190:56:23

-Am I right?

-Yeah.

-I think that's fair, I think that's true.

0:56:230:56:27

Well, guys, thank you very much. It's been great fun.

0:56:270:56:31

I do hope you formulate a new plan in your minds

0:56:310:56:34

-and all the best of luck with it.

-Thank you.

-Brilliant, thank you.

0:56:340:56:37

I have to confess, in trying to make sense of this house search,

0:56:400:56:43

it has been little bit disappointing.

0:56:430:56:45

We had a good budget and some great properties, so what went wrong?

0:56:450:56:49

Well, John and Jenny say we didn't quite tick all the boxes.

0:56:490:56:52

But if you ask me, they were trying to tick too many.

0:56:520:56:55

I'll see you next time.

0:56:550:56:57

If you want to escape to the country in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland

0:56:570:57:01

or England, and would like our help,

0:57:010:57:03

please apply online:

0:57:030:57:05

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:57:270:57:30

E-mail [email protected]

0:57:300:57:33

Jules Hudson helps a couple of self-confessed urbanites swap the big smoke for a country pile in Somerset. They are after a large, period property with masses of living space to include a big kitchen, a separate music room and a study. Outside they would like space to grow veg and keep pigs, and even somewhere to put a swimming pool. Fortunately, the pair are not averse to doing a spot of DIY.


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