Carmarthenshire Escape to the Country


Carmarthenshire

Jules Hudson helps a Carmarthenshire mother-and-daughter look for a family home on a budget of £250,000, and horses around with some Welsh Cobs.


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Transcript


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We all know that selling property can be a tricky business.

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But who would accidentally include the sale of a 13th-century castle when selling their house?

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Well, just over 40 years ago, that's exactly what happened here -

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a spectacular mistake in a spectacular setting.

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'On today's show it's a mother and daughter reunion.

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'We'll help them find a home together

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'from a selection of excellent country properties.

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'And, if they can learn a bit of give and take...'

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Everybody must stay out. It's mine.

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'..we could exceed all expectations.'

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Jules, you've surpassed yourself!

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Today we're in Carmarthenshire in South Wales,

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and these are the glorious ruins of Carreg Cennen Castle.

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Back in 1966 the then tenant farmer

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who farmed the 200 acres around these ruins

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had a chance to buy them and the farmhouse.

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What he hadn't expected is that he'd also end up owning the castle.

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The then owner, Lord Cawdor,

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had inadvertently included the castle in the title deeds,

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a fantastic stroke of luck for the farmer.

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Today, he and his family welcome 100,000 visitors every year.

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Lying in South West Wales,

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bordered by Pembrokeshire to the west and Ceredigion to the north,

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Carmarthenshire is the third-largest Welsh county.

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The River Towy flows through its heart,

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and it's surrounded by stunning agricultural scenery,

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from verdant, rolling hills inland

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to the vast expanses of golden sandy beaches

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that are the hallmark of the southern coast.

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To the east lie some of the least explored areas in Brecon Beacons National Park,

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overlooked by the brooding Black Mountain.

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Carmarthenshire's landscape is scattered

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with the remains of ancient medieval castles

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and historic market towns, lined with traditional Welsh stone cottages.

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Boasting beautiful countryside and a glorious coastline,

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it's little wonder that Carmarthenshire is fondly known as "the garden of Wales".

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For a long time, Carmarthenshire has been regarded as a well-kept secret,

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but recent figures would seem to belie that.

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Three million people a year enjoy the spoils of this county,

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spending an estimated £332 million.

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Combine that with house price figures and the picture is even rosier.

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The national average across the UK is around £260,000,

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but in Carmarthenshire the average property will set you back a cool £176,000.

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So plenty of reasons to make this place your new home.

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In the rural outskirts of Laugharne you could get your hands

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on this fabulous five double-bedroom property, on the market for £635,000.

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With four reception areas and a huge kitchen/diner,

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it also features a detached two-bedroom, self-contained annexe

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and comes with some five acres of land.

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Or, if you're looking to spend £355,000,

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this 18th-century stone-built house in Llanelli

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comes with four bedrooms, two receptions

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and a super-slick, open-plan kitchen/breakfast room.

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Lastly, £265,000 is the price tag attached

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to this considerable five-bed family home

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in the rural village of Llanboidy.

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It comes with three reception rooms, a bright country kitchen

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and half an acre of landscaped gardens.

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Whatever your budget, Carmarthenshire should not disappoint you -

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which is precisely why today's buyers want to move here.

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'Plymouth-based mother and daughter June and Claire

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'decided to partner up after Claire fell ill with a debilitating condition.

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'Claire herself is mum to four

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'and lives five minutes from June's four-bedroom house in this rented property

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'with her two youngest children, Samuel and Natasha.'

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In 2004, I was diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus,

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which is an autoimmune system disorder

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that affects the cells and organs of the body.

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In my case, it affects my joints.

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Although it's not degenerative in any way,

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it leaves me in a lot of pain and fatigue.

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'They're hoping that a good dose of Welsh country air

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'will be the ticket to a more relaxed and healthy life,

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'even though June has never actually set foot in Wales.'

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I've seen Wales on the television.

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I've heard about Wales.

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I've met a few people that have been to Wales, and they all say the country's beautiful.

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We discussed it and thought that South Wales was probably the best option

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as it's within a reasonable driving distance back,

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because I have two other children, grown up, left home.

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'They'd like to live in a village location with a community close by.

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'But what about the house itself?'

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From the new property we would need four good-size bedrooms,

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a large kitchen,

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two reception rooms so that Mum and I have separate space.

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I would dearly love, out of all of the choices, a nice kitchen.

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And also a nice large garden if possible.

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We're not looking for a mansion,

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but we're looking for something with a lot of room.

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I love doing DIY,

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and over the years I've done a few little projects, when my lupus has allowed.

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In this house this is the only thing I've done for Mum.

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She's got a lot of clutter in her utility room

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and she needed more space.

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I'm looking forward to a new house,

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getting stuck in to a new project,

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building things, knocking things down. It'll be fun.

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I like sewing and quilting.

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I've only just started quilting,

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so I'm a novice.

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But I would like to learn more about it.

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'Having left home at 17,

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'it's been many years since Claire lived with her mother.

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'So do they have any apprehensions about sharing a home after all this time?'

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-We can generally compromise quite easily.

-That's right.

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Really easily. So I honestly don't think...

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-that she's going to disagree with me.

-SHE LAUGHS

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I don't think there's going to be a problem. I think we will be fine.

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'June is selling her house to finance the move.

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'It's on the market for a fraction under £250,000.

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'So what's the final figure we have to work with?'

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If you managed to find us the right house

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that felt right when we went into it,

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for both of us,

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then the maximum budget would be £250,000.

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Clearly Claire isn't going to let her illness get the better of her

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and, along with mum June, is determined to start not just a whole new chapter in her life

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but, I think, a whole new book.

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But what is going to be in it, I wonder?

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Well, it will start with a great big picture of a lovely four-bedroom house

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with a nice big kitchen, a decent garden,

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all within striking distance of a good local community and local schools.

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Who knows? It might even be a bestseller.

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'June and Claire want to move to South Wales

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'but haven't specified an exact area.

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'So we've chosen Carmarthenshire,

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'which we believe will offer them the best value for their money.

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'They need easy access to visit relatives in Plymouth,

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'so we'll focus our search on the villages surrounding Carmarthen,

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'directly linked to the M4 corridor.

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'We've found some first-rate properties for them to view.

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'As usual, I won't reveal the prices

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'until they've each had a guess as to their market value.

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'And, to top it off, we'll also be unveiling the mystery property,

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'where they could be seeing double.'

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-Good morning, Claire. Hi, June. How are you?

-Fine, thank you.

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Nice to find you here in Wales, something of my patch

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-but, I gather, a wholly new experience for you both.

-It is.

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And whose idea was it to come to Mid Wales?

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-Claire's.

-Mine.

-All right. Why, Claire? Why here?

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Because it's so beautiful.

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It's got the stress-free environment

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that I love and Mum deserves.

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And it's perfect for bringing up the kids.

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They're both nature-loving animals.

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THEY LAUGH

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They've got plenty of company here. There's lots of nature to look at and enjoy.

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I think we're in a good position to find you what you're looking for.

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We've got a reasonable budget for your expectations in a gorgeous area.

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I love it here. I've been here for over 20 years.

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I think you're doing the right thing.

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-The weather's fine. Let's see what we can find you.

-Fantastic.

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'With £250,000 to spend,

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'June and Claire have given us virtually free rein.

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'They want a spacious four-bedroom house

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'offering them a reception room each,

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'and June fancies a modern kitchen/diner.

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'Outside, they're after a good-size garden for the kids to play in.

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'The rest they've left up to us.

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'Let's hope one of the houses we've chosen

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'suits them both down to the ground.

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'Our first property is in the small town of St Clears,

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'ten miles west of Carmarthen.

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'Believed to date back to the 12th century,

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'St Clears lies on the River Taf.

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'The town has a strong sense of community,

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'complete with a range of independent shops

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'and a couple of watering holes.

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'Situated down a small lane,

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'our first stop is a semi-detached stone cottage dating back 200 years.

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'Originally a terrace of four small cottages,

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'it was converted into two separate houses about 40 years ago.'

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The half that you would get is the left-hand portion.

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It looks very nice. Very Welshy.

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Very Welshy? That's a new word! You heard it here first. Welshy.

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-Do you like it, Claire? What do you think?

-It is lovely.

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-And quiet.

-Yeah.

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The trees, the birds. It's beautiful. It's very...

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-Yeah!

-She likes it.

-I know.

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-Is this a good sign?

-Yes.

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-The fact that I'm lost for words, it's quite good.

-Good.

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Let's see if we can find a few words to describe it on the inside. Come and follow me.

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'Despite its cottage status, this place has great proportions inside.

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'So let's find out if there's enough room to suit mum and daughter.'

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Right, guys. In you come. Come in, Claire.

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-What do you reckon?

-Very pretty.

-Isn't it?

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Got a lovely working fireplace over there.

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It leads to the kitchen. We'll explore that later.

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Do you think our table would fit in here? I do.

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Yes, nicely.

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Nicely! June's taken with it.

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-It is really nice.

-It's very pretty. I like it.

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-It's Welshy.

-THEY LAUGH

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-I can see this is going to be a theme.

-Yes.

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Let's see if it continues with its Welshiness in the living room.

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There we are.

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-Again, cosy.

-Still cosy, yes.

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In terms of size, what do you think?

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It's quite nice. It's comfortable.

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We would get our suite in here, wouldn't we?

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-Yes.

-You don't know?

-Yes, we would. Yes.

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-Yeah?

-Yes. We'd have to argue about WHOSE suite was going in here.

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-SHE LAUGHS

-I suppose you've got two.

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-Two of everything!

-That's right.

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-So are you going to draw lots on who has to sell their stuff?

-Yes.

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'Quite early in the tour

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'it seems that June and Claire suddenly come face to face with the practical realities of sharing.

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'But there should be more than enough space for two sets of pots and pans in the next room.'

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Come and look in here. This is the kitchen, off the dining room.

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Now then, June, would this work?

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Very nice. It's white.

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I had white the last time I had a nice kitchen, and it's lovely.

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What do you think, Claire?

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It's... It's perfect. It's lovely.

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-She's speechless.

-I am. It's...lovely.

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It's a good size.

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Mum and I, on those rare occasions we do work together,

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-would fit quite well in here.

-THEY LAUGH

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'The ground floor doesn't end there.

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'Off the kitchen, the old garage has been converted into additional living space,

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'which includes a good-size utility room and guest suite with its own shower room

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'and a double bedroom with doors out to the garden.

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'This could potentially make a great wing for June,

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'providing private sanctuary away from the grandkids.

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'The remaining three bedrooms are all upstairs.

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'A double and a single room, ideal for the two children,

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'which sit next to the family bathroom.

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'And the last room I've earmarked for Claire.'

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This is the biggest of the three bedrooms up here.

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I like it. I like the built-in cupboards, nooks and crannies.

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-Good. So you think you'd be quite happy up here.

-Yeah.

-Excellent.

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Now, we've shown you pretty much the bulk of the property thus far.

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-What's your overriding thought?

-Like it.

-Claire?

-It's nice. Quaint.

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'So far so good for the bricks and mortar.

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'But I wonder if they're ready for what's coming up outside.

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'Immediately to the rear of the property is a paved, sheltered courtyard with shrubs and flowers.

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'But it's back round the front where the garden really comes into its own.'

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Let's just settle up here and I'll explain what's going on.

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This all comes with the house.

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This bit here?

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-An acre and a half.

-What?!

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-HE LAUGHS

-Yes!

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-How about that?

-All this?

-All this.

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You get what we're standing on here,

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that little summer room over there with the workshop attached to it,

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that bit of lawn over there,

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that fantastic vegetable patch.

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-I have to say that is looking absolutely beautiful.

-Yes! All of it?

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-And the paddock beyond.

-Beyond the gate?

-Yeah, and beyond the next one.

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So an acre and a half.

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-All of it?

-All of it.

-Are you sure?

-I'm absolutely sure.

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So let's have a think about the price.

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Your first price guess of our house tours.

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-June?

-I would say £245,000.

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-£245,000. That would be nice, wouldn't it?

-It would be nice.

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-Claire?

-I think it's over budget.

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I would say...£270,000.

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£270,000?

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Could you stretch to £270,000 or thereabouts?

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It's a possibility.

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But...

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Well, here's the good news. You don't have to stretch at all.

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-Oh!

-But I'm afraid it's not £245,000.

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-It's £240,000.

-SHE GASPS

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-No way!

-HE LAUGHS

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-Well, that's quite good.

-I think that's very good.

-Very good for all this.

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-No way!

-Yeah.

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Jules, you've surpassed yourself!

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-£240,000.

-This...is...

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-It's good, absolutely.

-Mum... Mum...

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-Mum, can we buy it, Mum?

-HE LAUGHS

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Look, it's our first one. There's a lot to take in.

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-Clearly it appeals. I'm delighted.

-I'm happy. I'm staying.

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Look around. Check out what you get in your acre and a half.

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Look at some of the outbuildings. I'll catch up with you later.

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-Brilliant.

-Off you go.

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Brilliant.

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You never quite know how the first property is going to go,

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but this one has been a genuine result.

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I'm delighted that the pair of them absolutely love it.

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Let's face it, what's not to love?

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'Just under budget at £240,000,

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'this 200-year-old semi-detached stone cottage

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'lies in the heart of the village

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'and offers good, comfortable accommodation

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'with two reception rooms, a modern kitchen

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'and four bedrooms that include a separate guest suite.

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'But the unexpected bonus must be the grounds that come with it

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'covering one and a half acres.'

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-This is a huge, lovely storage area.

-Yes.

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-And I am absolutely...

-Overwhelmed with the garden.

-Yeah.

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-The space in it.

-There's lots of different rooms in it.

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I have to admit I'm well impressed.

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Well impressed. I think it's lovely.

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Well, I've got my wing downstairs.

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-Will you and the children be all right up here?

-I think so. I think it'd be quite cosy.

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I was a little bit concerned as to whether it would be big enough.

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But I did like it. It's a pretty property,

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and I like it.

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-Marrows there. Look at the size of them.

-Wow! They're huge!

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-The apple tree.

-And soft fruit.

-Yeah.

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-Hello, ladies. Are you admiring the veg patch?

-Absolutely.

-It is pretty special.

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-There's a lot to tend to here.

-There is.

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-But I have to drag you away.

-Really?

-Yeah. More to see. Come on.

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'The largely rural county of Carmarthenshire

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'is home to many attractive market towns

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'which developed as commercial centres for the surrounding farming communities.

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'Up on the Ceredigion border lies Lampeter,

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'reputedly the smallest university town in the UK.

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'The original university building is Grade II listed

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'and opened its doors back in 1822 as St David's College.

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'Another seat of learning

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'is the recently restored late 19th-century town hall,

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'housing a gallery and workshops to celebrate the importance

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'of the regional art form of Welsh quilt-making.

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'During the house-hunting week,

0:17:420:17:44

'we sent quilt enthusiast June along with Claire

0:17:440:17:47

'to find out more from quilt restoration expert Janet Bridge.

0:17:470:17:51

'Decorative quilts came into fashion in the late 18th century.

0:17:510:17:54

'Quilt-making was one of the few ways a woman could earn a respectable living.

0:17:540:17:59

'The fact that Welsh quilting was a profession rather than a social activity

0:17:590:18:03

'accounts for their distinctive style and high quality.'

0:18:030:18:06

The majority of Welsh quilts were wholecloth, like the one behind us.

0:18:060:18:10

That actually shows up the quilting patterns.

0:18:100:18:13

-When you say whole cloth, that's just one piece of cloth?

-No.

0:18:130:18:17

-It means it's not a piece. It's generally three widths.

-Oh.

0:18:170:18:21

Machined down the centre.

0:18:210:18:23

Sometimes hand-sewn but mostly machined down.

0:18:230:18:26

-That one's beautiful.

-That is lovely, isn't it?

0:18:260:18:29

The fabric was hand-blocked in India in 1800,

0:18:290:18:35

and the fabric was made into the quilt,

0:18:350:18:39

with absolutely beautiful traditional quilting patterns,

0:18:390:18:43

in Pembrokeshire in 1810.

0:18:430:18:45

-So is that one of the oldest pieces in the gallery?

-Yes.

0:18:450:18:49

Of course, they go back through millennia really,

0:18:490:18:52

because if people wanted to keep warm, they'd put on lots of petticoats,

0:18:520:18:57

or even wear them as protection under armour - quilted garments, quilted bonnets.

0:18:570:19:01

'Traditional Welsh quilts are identified by the intricate patterns used for the quilting.

0:19:020:19:07

'They are made with three layers.

0:19:070:19:08

'The top and bottom layers sandwich the insulation in the middle.

0:19:080:19:12

'Templates are then arranged in patterns

0:19:120:19:14

'and stitched through all three layers to keep the insulation in place.

0:19:140:19:19

'It's the stitching that gives the quilts their unique texture.'

0:19:190:19:23

I just wanted to show you this. These are old pieces of quilt.

0:19:230:19:27

I just wanted to show you what was inside.

0:19:270:19:30

This is a re-covered quilt.

0:19:300:19:32

-And here, look, there's pieces of dress pattern.

-Yes.

0:19:320:19:35

And this one is even more interesting

0:19:350:19:38

-because it's got someone's...

-Oh, crocheted.

-Crochet chore or something.

0:19:380:19:43

That's how poor people managed to keep warm a lot of the time.

0:19:430:19:49

-So they never threw away any pieces of material but clapped it all together.

-Exactly.

0:19:490:19:54

'Post-war independence gave women more opportunities to have careers outside the home.

0:19:550:20:01

'As a result, sewing fell out of favour.

0:20:010:20:03

'So, by the 1940s, the Welsh quilt-making enterprise had died out.

0:20:030:20:08

'But there are still devotees keeping the craft alive today.

0:20:080:20:12

'And, with new-found Welsh quilting skills to add to June's repertoire,

0:20:120:20:16

'we need to find a cosy Welsh home where she can indulge her hobby.

0:20:160:20:20

'So it's back to the house hunt.

0:20:200:20:23

'And we're on the road, travelling north to the county border,

0:20:280:20:31

'where our destination is the market town of Newcastle Emlyn.

0:20:310:20:35

'With a small population of just over 1,000,

0:20:350:20:38

'Newcastle Emlyn lies on the River Tivy.

0:20:380:20:40

'Built around its own 13th-century castle,

0:20:400:20:44

'the town is steeped in history.

0:20:440:20:46

'Today locals are well catered for,

0:20:460:20:48

'with a great selection of amenities to choose from.

0:20:480:20:51

'The town is surrounded by beautiful countryside,

0:20:510:20:54

'and about a mile away lies our second property.

0:20:540:20:57

'It started life as a bungalow about 200 years ago

0:20:570:21:00

'but has since been heavily extended both outwards and upwards.

0:21:000:21:04

'As a result, it has an unusual layout

0:21:040:21:06

'which could be ideal for our buyers' unique living requirements.'

0:21:060:21:10

-What do you think of that one?

-Very pretty.

0:21:100:21:13

-Yeah?

-Yes, I like it.

-Claire?

-It looks bigger.

0:21:130:21:15

It's also got a garage, which is quite useful.

0:21:150:21:18

There's a lot going on behind it,

0:21:180:21:20

which we'll explore once we go through.

0:21:200:21:23

Similar to our earlier property, it's also got a vegetable patch,

0:21:230:21:27

located over the little road here up there to my left,

0:21:270:21:30

which you can perhaps have a look at a bit later.

0:21:300:21:33

-Right. Let's get in and have a look.

-All right. Come on.

0:21:330:21:37

THEY ALL LAUGH

0:21:370:21:39

'That's the enthusiasm we like!

0:21:390:21:41

'So let's head inside, where I've got quite a few ideas

0:21:410:21:44

'about how they could divvy up the property,

0:21:440:21:47

'starting with the large reception hall.'

0:21:470:21:49

Right! Come on in.

0:21:490:21:52

-There we are, June, Claire.

-A lot more room.

-A lot more room.

0:21:520:21:56

-You've got a multi-fuel burner set within a slate surround.

-Nice.

0:21:560:22:01

-But I think there's a lot of scope to put your own mark on it.

-Yes.

0:22:010:22:05

-So far so good?

-Very good.

-Certainly.

-Good.

0:22:050:22:08

Come this way, then.

0:22:080:22:10

Up here.

0:22:130:22:14

Through here into another extension on this property is this reception room.

0:22:140:22:19

So effectively you've kind of got two,

0:22:190:22:22

with the entry hall and the fire and so forth.

0:22:220:22:25

But I think this is the cosier.

0:22:250:22:27

-This is nice.

-Mm. I like the floor.

0:22:270:22:29

-Yeah?

-Yes.

-I like this.

0:22:290:22:31

It's also got the addition of that quite big conservatory.

0:22:310:22:35

What I think this property offers you that our previous one didn't

0:22:350:22:39

is two very separate zones for children and grown-ups.

0:22:390:22:42

-Yeah.

-That's right.

-And you could apportion these either way.

0:22:420:22:46

'That also solves the problem of what to do with two sets of sofas.

0:22:460:22:51

'Similar to our first house, there's a ground-floor guest suite

0:22:510:22:54

'comprising of a shower room and double bedroom.'

0:22:540:22:58

You can fight over whoever is going to get this one.

0:22:580:23:01

-What do you think?

-I like this one, definitely.

0:23:010:23:05

-I like it. It's nice.

-You like it, too?

-HE LAUGHS

0:23:050:23:07

But we won't fight over it.

0:23:070:23:09

I think this would work a treat.

0:23:090:23:11

Very nice. And if that living room across the hallway there

0:23:110:23:15

becomes the adult end of it,

0:23:150:23:18

again, we're thinking about all the kids at the other end,

0:23:180:23:21

-and it would be nice and quiet for you.

-It would. Very much so.

0:23:210:23:26

'This house has four bedrooms in total.

0:23:270:23:29

'But since it was originally built as a bungalow,

0:23:290:23:32

'another of the bedrooms is on the ground floor

0:23:320:23:34

'and currently used as a study.

0:23:340:23:36

'There's a bathroom next door which could be knocked through to create an en suite.

0:23:360:23:41

'The kitchen is our last stop on the ground floor.'

0:23:410:23:44

There you go. Big enough for you?

0:23:460:23:48

-Very.

-It's lovely.

0:23:480:23:49

-I love the breakfast bar.

-Isn't that fun?

0:23:490:23:52

And you've got views out to the garden.

0:23:520:23:55

-Brilliant.

-I love it.

-It's beautiful.

0:23:550:23:57

Yes. And the white units.

0:23:570:23:59

-You said in the previous house that you liked the white units.

-I did.

0:23:590:24:03

So it's all working, isn't it?

0:24:030:24:05

It is quite big, this. It's not square but it's big.

0:24:050:24:08

You've got plenty of room for all the goods.

0:24:080:24:11

You've got a generous utility room there with washer, dryer, etc.

0:24:110:24:15

It's similar to a galley kitchen in that it's not square.

0:24:150:24:18

-But it is quite broad.

-It is.

-There's bags of space in here.

0:24:180:24:21

-Loads of worktop space.

-There is.

-There is.

0:24:210:24:24

'Upstairs are two double bedrooms, both served by a shower room.

0:24:250:24:29

'One of the rooms is currently a well kitted-out office.

0:24:290:24:32

'But who will get the last remaining bedroom?'

0:24:320:24:35

OK, Claire. Could you fit in here?

0:24:360:24:39

Oh, yes.

0:24:390:24:42

-Bit of storage in there for you.

-No, she couldn't fit in here.

0:24:420:24:45

-YOU want to fit in here.

-I want to fit in here. HE LAUGHS

0:24:450:24:48

'I'm not convinced that their plan for living together

0:24:480:24:51

'will go as smoothly as they'd hoped.

0:24:510:24:54

'Do I sense some potential conflict ahead?

0:24:540:24:57

'But there's plenty of space in the garden for all of them with just under an acre of land.

0:24:570:25:02

'At the back is a well-manicured private garden

0:25:020:25:05

'with a pond and summerhouse.

0:25:050:25:07

'There's also an orchard area with mature trees packed with fruit.

0:25:070:25:11

'Several outbuildings include a large workshop,

0:25:110:25:14

'the perfect hideaway for DIY enthusiast Claire.'

0:25:140:25:17

So here we are at the bottom of the garden, almost.

0:25:180:25:21

There's a bit more down there.

0:25:210:25:22

But I like this position. It gives you a real sense of the auditorium, almost,

0:25:220:25:28

that this little complex creates.

0:25:280:25:31

What do you reckon?

0:25:310:25:33

It looks nice from here.

0:25:330:25:36

You get a nice all-round view. I like it.

0:25:360:25:39

Claire, off you go. How much is this one going to set you back?

0:25:390:25:42

I would go about...£260,000.

0:25:420:25:45

£260,000. June?

0:25:450:25:47

I would say £250,000.

0:25:470:25:49

£250,000?

0:25:490:25:51

You would be right, madam.

0:25:510:25:53

-Well, dear! THEY LAUGH

-How about that?

0:25:530:25:56

Yes, this is absolutely on the market for £250,000.

0:25:560:26:00

-Right.

-How does that make you feel? Is it interesting?

0:26:010:26:04

Yes, it's interesting. Yes.

0:26:040:26:06

Go and see if you can sort your arrangements out, June.

0:26:060:26:10

-Will do.

-Off you go.

0:26:100:26:12

'Slap-bang on the budget at £250,000,

0:26:140:26:17

'this detached country home presents versatile living areas

0:26:170:26:21

'which could work very well to unite both our buyers.

0:26:210:26:24

'There are four bedrooms, three bathrooms,

0:26:240:26:27

'three reception rooms, a conservatory

0:26:270:26:29

'and delightful mature gardens that sit in just under an acre.'

0:26:290:26:33

-Well, I like this room.

-So do I. I love the wooden floors.

0:26:330:26:37

I like this end of the house altogether.

0:26:370:26:41

It's that and the kitchen.

0:26:420:26:44

-It's lovely.

-It's a nice place.

0:26:440:26:47

-But it does seriously need thinking with the layout upstairs for the children.

-Mm-hm.

0:26:470:26:52

But it's worth considering.

0:26:520:26:54

I was impressed with the size,

0:26:540:26:56

the gardens,

0:26:560:26:57

the conservatory is nice.

0:26:570:26:59

It's a nice size, and I've always wanted a conservatory.

0:26:590:27:04

But I do love this kitchen, and I know Claire likes it as well.

0:27:040:27:08

The house itself I thought was really lovely.

0:27:080:27:12

I could see us living here.

0:27:120:27:14

I don't know how it would work yet. I need to think about it.

0:27:140:27:18

After you, June.

0:27:180:27:20

There you go, Claire.

0:27:200:27:22

I think that was well worth you looking at.

0:27:220:27:25

-So do I.

-Definitely.

0:27:250:27:27

-Definitely on the list?

-Mm-hm.

-Good.

0:27:270:27:29

How are you feeling at the end of our first day?

0:27:290:27:31

-Confused.

-HE LAUGHS

0:27:310:27:33

It's a good sign, trust me.

0:27:330:27:35

Come on, let's go and get a drink, shall we?

0:27:350:27:38

'With the last glimmer of the sun setting on the Carmarthenshire horizon,

0:27:450:27:49

'the first day of our house quest draws to a close.

0:27:490:27:52

'Claire and her mother June have decided to partner up

0:27:570:28:00

'and trade in Plymouth's urban sprawl for a whole new life in South West Wales.

0:28:000:28:05

'So far they've seen two fine country homes.

0:28:050:28:07

'Still to come, we'll reveal the mystery property which gets them all territorial.'

0:28:070:28:12

You're going to tell me you want this one now, aren't you?

0:28:120:28:16

Wouldn't dare. THEY LAUGH

0:28:160:28:18

'And I'll be horsing around as usual.'

0:28:180:28:21

One more day and one more property to see.

0:28:220:28:25

It is, of course, mystery house time for June and Claire.

0:28:250:28:28

Yesterday went well. They applied themselves to both of the properties we showed them.

0:28:280:28:33

But I still think they remain to be convinced which one - if either - is for them.

0:28:330:28:38

So the mystery house has got everything to play for.

0:28:380:28:42

'So let the games begin.

0:28:420:28:45

'We're heading to our most rural location so far -

0:28:450:28:47

'in Maesllyn, right across the county border into Ceredigion.

0:28:470:28:51

'The tranquil hamlet of Maesllyn

0:28:510:28:54

'is surrounded by outstanding countryside,

0:28:540:28:56

'and the mystery property enjoys incredible views across the valley.

0:28:560:29:01

'When we started this house hunt, mother and daughter wanted to live together.

0:29:010:29:05

'but a few issues have arisen about sharing.

0:29:050:29:07

'They didn't ask for a separate annexe, but perhaps that's the answer for June and Claire.

0:29:070:29:12

'So it's exactly what we're proposing to show them.'

0:29:120:29:16

So there you go. That's our mystery house.

0:29:160:29:20

More like a surprise! HE LAUGHS

0:29:200:29:23

-Hopefully not too much of a surprise.

-No, it's wonderful!

0:29:230:29:27

I'm quite shocked. I did expect something a bit weird.

0:29:270:29:30

THEY LAUGH

0:29:300:29:31

It's not weird. It's absolutely conventional in most respects.

0:29:310:29:35

It's nice. I like the look of it.

0:29:350:29:37

Good. Right, let's get inside and we'll give you a little treat.

0:29:370:29:41

Lovely.

0:29:410:29:43

'First impressions are encouraging.

0:29:440:29:46

'And it's no surprise because this is an imposing detached property.

0:29:460:29:51

'Let's see what they make of the inside.'

0:29:510:29:53

Come on in, June.

0:29:550:29:57

Grab the door, Claire.

0:29:570:29:59

There!

0:29:590:30:01

Lovely.

0:30:010:30:02

Just a nice size.

0:30:020:30:05

-Cosy, isn't it?

-Yes, it's lovely.

-Oh, yeah.

0:30:050:30:07

-A wood burner.

-Nice surround, too, with the natural stone.

0:30:070:30:12

-And beams. Look.

-Yes.

0:30:120:30:15

-It's a nice size.

-Yeah.

0:30:150:30:17

-Yes, I think it's nice. I love it.

-It's a family room.

0:30:170:30:20

-It's a very good family room.

-Yeah. It's a great family house.

0:30:200:30:23

'It's also a perfect house for a family who needs separate zones.

0:30:240:30:29

'Next door, the dining room could be great as a kids' den

0:30:290:30:32

'because, coming up in the kitchen, there's stacks of room to sit down and eat.'

0:30:320:30:36

There, June.

0:30:380:30:40

Oh, yes. CLAIRE GASPS It's mine.

0:30:410:30:44

HE LAUGHS

0:30:440:30:45

-Good.

-It's mine.

0:30:450:30:47

As you can see, huge space here.

0:30:470:30:49

Oh, yes. My big table and eight chairs would go lovely there.

0:30:490:30:54

Which would free up the dining room for the kids.

0:30:540:30:58

Now, we have spoken a lot about this sense of space.

0:30:580:31:03

This little bit is for you,

0:31:030:31:06

and it's right through that door.

0:31:060:31:08

Come and have a look.

0:31:080:31:10

Now, June, come on in to what I'm going to describe as your wing.

0:31:150:31:20

What's on offer here are five rooms.

0:31:200:31:23

This one is something of a sort of a sitting area

0:31:230:31:26

and it leads on into an enormous conservatory,

0:31:260:31:29

-which you probably saw from the outside.

-Yes.

0:31:290:31:32

That's all self-contained.

0:31:320:31:34

In here, a self-contained kitchenette.

0:31:340:31:36

Again, very much for you to do your own thing if you want to.

0:31:360:31:40

This is the bedroom.

0:31:400:31:42

This is perhaps a little small at the moment.

0:31:420:31:46

This wall, with a bit of imagination, could move potentially.

0:31:460:31:51

But I don't know. You tell me.

0:31:510:31:53

I might have to change my bed, but we can think about that one.

0:31:530:31:57

Yeah. The other nice thing is that in here...

0:31:570:32:01

-is that.

-Oh, wow.

-En suite.

-Wonderful.

0:32:010:32:05

-Your own corner bath.

-Lovely. I like corner baths.

0:32:050:32:08

And shower, of course.

0:32:080:32:10

-Good. Love it.

-Happy?

-Absolutely.

0:32:100:32:12

-What do you reckon, Claire?

-I'm...

-Bowled over, she is.

-Yeah.

0:32:120:32:17

-You're very quiet. Is this a good sign?

-Yeah.

0:32:170:32:20

I... You know. I'd move in now, I think.

0:32:200:32:23

'With June well catered for on the ground floor,

0:32:240:32:27

'it's time to see what's on offer for Claire and the children upstairs.

0:32:270:32:31

'The landing splits into two wings.

0:32:310:32:34

'On one side lie two good-size double bedrooms

0:32:340:32:38

'and on the other is the family bathroom and main bedroom.'

0:32:380:32:42

Now then, Claire, come on in.

0:32:440:32:46

This would be your room.

0:32:470:32:49

-This is well big enough.

-HE LAUGHS

0:32:490:32:53

-This is beautiful.

-Isn't it lovely?

0:32:530:32:56

-And you get those two gorgeous windows with the view.

-Wow.

0:32:560:33:00

-Little dressing table area there. I think this is lovely.

-It is.

0:33:000:33:04

You're going to tell me you want this room now, aren't you?

0:33:040:33:08

Wouldn't dare. THEY LAUGH

0:33:080:33:10

-Listen, you've got your own wing!

-HE LAUGHS

0:33:100:33:13

Wouldn't dare tell her that!

0:33:130:33:15

'The mystery house seems to be working its magic.

0:33:150:33:18

'So let's see what the garden has to offer.'

0:33:180:33:21

Crunch over the gravel

0:33:220:33:24

to this little green area here.

0:33:240:33:26

Now, obviously the bulk of the formal lawn is going down the slope

0:33:260:33:32

surrounded by its mature shrubs.

0:33:320:33:34

You've got lots of outside storage, as you can see,

0:33:340:33:37

and up there, Claire, quite a useful little workshop for you.

0:33:370:33:40

Garden tools and so forth in the other one.

0:33:400:33:43

And there's a little patio area up there

0:33:430:33:45

with the washing line and all that sort of stuff.

0:33:450:33:49

-And, of course, you get the greenhouse.

-Right. Sounds good.

0:33:490:33:53

-Would this be enough?

-This is well big enough.

0:33:530:33:56

-Good. So outside space is all right.

-Ideal.

0:33:560:33:59

Inside space in the house I think is quite exciting.

0:33:590:34:02

-Very.

-It is.

-OK.

0:34:020:34:04

Let's see if we can get excited about the price.

0:34:040:34:07

It's our final time of asking.

0:34:070:34:09

June, you go first.

0:34:090:34:11

I think this one might be a little bit over my price.

0:34:110:34:14

I think I would say...

0:34:140:34:17

£265,000 to £269,000.

0:34:170:34:20

So £265,000 to £269,000 says your mum, Claire.

0:34:210:34:25

What do you reckon?

0:34:250:34:27

Well, even though I've gone over on both my guesses so far,

0:34:270:34:30

I still think it's more than Mum.

0:34:300:34:33

I would say £275,000.

0:34:330:34:34

This is on the market for £250,000.

0:34:340:34:39

Well, that's good.

0:34:400:34:41

-We'll certainly... SHE LAUGHS

-Wow.

0:34:410:34:46

-..seriously think of this one.

-Thought you might!

0:34:460:34:49

Go and gather your thoughts, have a good look around.

0:34:490:34:52

I think this really works for you. See if you can make it work in the long term.

0:34:520:34:56

I'll catch up with you later. Off you go. Brilliant.

0:34:560:34:59

There we go. Once again, the mystery house has done it.

0:34:590:35:04

'Right on the money at £250,000,

0:35:050:35:07

'the mystery house package has come up trumps

0:35:070:35:10

'in terms of matching both our buyers' aspirations

0:35:100:35:13

'under the same roof.

0:35:130:35:14

'Sitting in delightful gardens, it's a well-presented property

0:35:140:35:18

'featuring three bedrooms, two reception rooms,

0:35:180:35:20

'and a large kitchen/diner.

0:35:200:35:22

'An added benefit must be the five-roomed guest suite.

0:35:220:35:26

'I guess you could call that two for the price of one.'

0:35:260:35:29

-It's my kitchen.

-The colour scheme's perfect.

0:35:290:35:31

-Everybody must stay out. It's mine.

-Oh...

0:35:310:35:35

It's a very pretty house, and it was an ideal house.

0:35:350:35:37

It was something that I didn't expect.

0:35:370:35:40

The garden is ideal.

0:35:400:35:42

I thought, once I step inside it,

0:35:420:35:45

it perhaps won't be as nice as it looks outside.

0:35:450:35:49

But I was very surprised.

0:35:490:35:51

I'm thinking I would like to buy this house

0:35:510:35:53

and I would like to live in this house.

0:35:530:35:56

This is very close to perfect.

0:35:560:36:01

Right. I had to tear you away from that one.

0:36:050:36:09

-You rather liked the mystery house.

-Absolutely.

0:36:090:36:12

Now, I suspect that you are still a bit confused

0:36:120:36:14

because we have given you, I think, three very viable options.

0:36:140:36:19

-All for very different reasons.

-Reasons which you must now unpick in your own minds.

0:36:190:36:25

Let's get you somewhere where you can have a good old think about it.

0:36:250:36:29

'Of the hundreds of pony breeds throughout the world,

0:36:380:36:41

'nine are indigenous to the UK,

0:36:410:36:43

'one of which is native to Wales - the famous Welsh Cob.

0:36:430:36:47

'The Welsh Cob evolved from the cross-breeding of ancient Welsh mountain ponies

0:36:470:36:52

'with Arabian horses introduced by the Romans.

0:36:520:36:55

'During the week I went to meet champion breeder Geraint Davies,

0:36:550:36:59

'his son and daughter and his prize-winning Cob, Princess Royal.

0:36:590:37:03

'In 2010 she was champion

0:37:030:37:06

'of Wales' biggest agricultural show, the Royal Welsh.'

0:37:060:37:09

What is it about the breed that makes it so versatile?

0:37:090:37:12

It's the best ride and drive animal in the world.

0:37:120:37:15

I imagine other breeds can do the ridden and driven job,

0:37:150:37:18

but not as good as the Welsh Cobs.

0:37:180:37:20

They say ride and drive, but what does that mean?

0:37:200:37:23

Years ago, they were used primarily in Cardiganshire

0:37:230:37:29

as the "do everything" horse

0:37:290:37:32

because they would do a bit of farm work - plough, bring the hay in -

0:37:320:37:37

and also they would take the family to church on the weekends.

0:37:370:37:41

'Because the Cob is so versatile,

0:37:420:37:44

'it's made some outstanding historic contributions both in war and peace.

0:37:440:37:49

'The Tudors captured the English throne mounted on the backs of Welsh Cobs.

0:37:490:37:53

'The British military used these horses right up until World War II

0:37:530:37:57

'to pull heavy artillery.

0:37:570:37:59

'Despite its prowess as a work horse,

0:37:590:38:01

'the Welsh Cob is an elegant beast

0:38:010:38:03

'with a loyal and gentle temperament,

0:38:030:38:05

'which makes it highly prized and particularly popular in the show ring.'

0:38:050:38:10

What is it about this animal that sets her apart?

0:38:100:38:14

She conforms well to the breed type.

0:38:140:38:16

She's got a beautiful head and eye, lovely round feet, a real good foot.

0:38:160:38:20

She moves really well.

0:38:200:38:22

'Cobs are so adaptable, they can be entered into various show classes,

0:38:230:38:27

'including harness, under saddle and in hand.

0:38:270:38:30

'Five-year-old Princess Royal is trained by Geraint's son, Rhys.

0:38:300:38:34

'She's shown in hand and has won first-place prizes every year

0:38:340:38:38

'since she was a yearling.'

0:38:380:38:40

When you are showing, you're not riding her, obviously.

0:38:410:38:44

You're alongside her, in hand - to use the technical term.

0:38:440:38:48

-That's presumably so the judge can see absolutely everything.

-Yes.

0:38:480:38:52

If they're being driven, they're being covered by the harness,

0:38:520:38:56

or, if they're being ridden, they're covered by the saddle,

0:38:560:39:00

so in hand they can see all the horse.

0:39:000:39:04

What's astonishing about Princess Royal here is she looks incredibly fit, muscly and well-toned.

0:39:040:39:10

How do you get that kind of look if you're not riding her?

0:39:100:39:13

It's a lot of hard work.

0:39:130:39:15

We exercise her a bit by walking her and trotting her.

0:39:150:39:19

Leading up to a big show,

0:39:190:39:21

-we usually take her out every two or three nights.

-Ready?

0:39:210:39:25

'It takes a long time to master ring craft,

0:39:250:39:27

'but, under the watchful eye of Rhys, it's time to give it a go myself.'

0:39:270:39:31

Steady.

0:39:310:39:32

'With four legs to my two, I'll need to be on my toes to keep up

0:39:320:39:36

'using all the stamina I can muster.

0:39:360:39:38

'There's no question this will definitely be a one-horse race.'

0:39:380:39:43

It's now decision time for June and for Claire.

0:39:460:39:49

You might think the outcome of this house search is fairly obvious,

0:39:490:39:53

but you know what?

0:39:530:39:55

I'm not so sure.

0:39:550:39:57

-Hello there. How are you?

-Hello.

0:40:010:40:04

Enjoying the view over Llandeilo?

0:40:040:40:06

Of course. Look at it.

0:40:060:40:08

Has it helped clear your thoughts?

0:40:080:40:10

-Er...

-A little.

-Yes, a little.

0:40:100:40:12

You're looking a bit confused.

0:40:120:40:14

Yes, because each of the properties we've seen

0:40:140:40:17

has offered wonderful opportunities but for totally different reasons.

0:40:170:40:23

Let's think about where we went. Then we'll talk about what it's clarified.

0:40:230:40:28

The first property, with 1.5 acres, which was a real surprise to you,

0:40:280:40:33

what are your final thoughts on that one, Claire?

0:40:330:40:36

Me, I loved it.

0:40:360:40:38

The outside space.

0:40:380:40:40

And, although very small, the age and character of the older property

0:40:400:40:47

I felt very comfortable in.

0:40:470:40:49

-Go on then, Mum, what did you reckon to it?

-I liked it.

0:40:490:40:53

-But I can't see myself living there because of the space.

-Yeah.

0:40:530:40:57

I did like the outside space,

0:40:570:40:59

but I didn't want to give up quite so much space in the house.

0:40:590:41:04

-But I liked the property.

-OK.

0:41:040:41:06

Then we went in search of something that offered you

0:41:060:41:09

more size and space in terms of its footprint,

0:41:090:41:12

our second property of the day, up towards Newcastle Emlyn.

0:41:120:41:16

-It was a lot bigger, June.

-It was, yes.

0:41:160:41:19

I liked that one, too,

0:41:190:41:21

but the main thing I liked that one for was the kitchen and the garden.

0:41:210:41:25

I went against it because of the doubt about the sleeping quarters.

0:41:260:41:32

I think it would have had to be one adult and one child downstairs

0:41:320:41:37

and one adult and child upstairs,

0:41:370:41:39

and I don't think that arrangement would have lasted very long.

0:41:390:41:43

-What did you think of it, Claire?

-I liked the sprawling nature of it,

0:41:430:41:48

the fact that you went upstairs, downstairs...

0:41:480:41:50

-The character of the house was lovely.

-It had a nice geography.

0:41:500:41:54

It did. Very nice.

0:41:540:41:56

The kitchen was wonderful.

0:41:560:41:58

The view was outstanding.

0:41:580:42:01

So space and getting these detailed arrangements right

0:42:010:42:06

was what we were hoping for in our final property,

0:42:060:42:09

the mystery house.

0:42:090:42:11

I loved that house.

0:42:110:42:12

I loved the house. It gave us loads of space.

0:42:120:42:17

One little change in the annexe would have made it perfect.

0:42:170:42:22

So my sense is that you'll probably go back and have a second look at the mystery house.

0:42:220:42:27

-We'd like to before we leave, yes.

-That's a foregone conclusion.

0:42:270:42:31

It has been a lot of fun.

0:42:310:42:33

-Go and have another look and, as ever, let us know.

-We will.

0:42:330:42:36

-Best of luck.

-Thank you.

0:42:360:42:38

For many people, escaping to the country is an idyllic dream.

0:42:450:42:49

But in reality it can present quite a number of challenges.

0:42:490:42:53

I think some of those challenges are dawning on June and Claire.

0:42:530:42:57

We may not quite have found them their ideal house,

0:42:570:43:00

but we have made them fall in love with Wales.

0:43:000:43:03

And when faced with views like the one behind me,

0:43:030:43:05

you can't blame them for that.

0:43:050:43:08

If you would like to escape to the country

0:43:080:43:11

in Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland or England

0:43:110:43:13

and would like our help, please apply online at:

0:43:130:43:18

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:43:410:43:43

E-mail [email protected]

0:43:430:43:45

Jules Hudson is in Carmarthenshire, South Wales, with a mother and daughter looking for a family home together on a budget of £250,000. But quite how they will divide the living space is a hotly debated topic. And Jules horses around with the county's Welsh Cobs.


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