Nicki Chapman is in Shropshire helping a couple find a property with only sheep for neighbours. They have a budget of 430,000 pounds.
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This distinctive landmark is the pride and glory of the county.
Legend has it it was built by a giant, who set out to destroy the local town
with a spadeful of soil, but en route was duped by a local and dumped the lot here,
thus saving the town from destruction. So where is this mighty hill of heroic proportions?
Well, stick around to find out.
'In today's show, I'll be helping a couple who want to head to pastures new,
'but there's no wriggling out of work to be done.'
-You said you didn't mind doing a bathroom.
-You're ganging up on me!
'But could the mystery house throw that out?' I like the new you.
I'm in rural Shropshire and this is the legendary Wrekin,
said to be the inspiration for Tolkien's Middle Earth.
As a young local lad, he'd regularly hike the 407 metres to the summit.
If you were to do it today, you'd be rewarded, not with wizards and hobbits,
but with views of a staggering 17 counties in England and Wales.
Lying on the English-Welsh border, Shropshire is our largest land-locked county and one of
the most sparsely populated. With its breathtaking landscape,
this county holds on to a rich architectural heritage from the Norman remains of Ludlow Castle
to Ironbridge Gorge, given World Heritage status by UNESCO in 1986
in recognition of Thomas Telford's 18th-century feat of engineering.
At its heart is the county town of Shrewsbury, packed with medieval timber-framed buildings.
The south is peppered with pretty villages and historic Ludlow,
a real cultural hub and foodies' heaven.
Now although Shropshire's house prices on average are almost 4% below the national level,
that doesn't tell the full story.
Those looking to buy in the picturesque south will pay 10-15% more
than the commuter belt in the north
where recent unemployment has kept prices down.
But country-wise, there are some fabulous properties to be had.
Let's look at what's on the market.
For a sprawling country pile, look no further than this six-bedroom, Grade 2-listed vicarage
in Coalbrookdale, priced at £850,000.
The three opulent reception rooms are complemented by its elegant kitchen.
Outside, 3/4 of an acre look out over the Dale Valley.
£600,000 will get you a slice of traditional Shropshire
in the form of this four-bedroom timber farmhouse in Sheriffhales.
Grade 2-listed and lovingly maintained, it has stacks of original features
and contemporary decor.
Outside, 2 acres of garden and paddock look out over open fields.
This three-bedroom listed cottage could be yours for £350,000.
Its 16th-century beams give it that warm character feel
and a pretty garden has outbuildings with great conversion potential.
There's certainly a good range of properties on offer in Shropshire,
but it's time now to find out what this week's buyers are after.
Since marrying 11 years ago, Alan and Gillian have lived in their five-bedroom house
in Cambridgeshire, but now that Alan is retired and Gillian is hoping to work part time,
they're ready for a gear change.
-We're looking for a relaxed, lazy lifestyle, to be honest.
-Slowing down, spending half days at home.
-It's time for us to spend more time together now.
-He makes an excellent househusband,
but I would like to come back and supervise!
-Location is key to their quieter lifestyle.
-I think we're looking very much
for a very rural setting, edge of village location, or maybe 2-3 miles outside.
-Somewhere that's really peaceful.
-Sheep as neighbours.
But that's not the only reason they've settled on Shropshire.
With family being in the northwest, we just want to be that Sunday lunch drive away from everybody
or within that distance. We're looking for a property we'd like to set up together.
I moved into this house and it would be nice to do a property of our own.
And it seems they definitely want to upsize in every way.
What we're looking for is a detached property, 4 to 5 bedrooms,
very large garden. We're probably looking to maybe half an acre of garden.
Possibly separate dining room.
Same number of reception rooms, that's three.
Utility, en suite...
The things we don't have currently. Secluded area.
I've been playing the guitar now for... Since I was 9! Let's not give the age away.
I have a classical and two acoustic guitars.
The other thing which takes place in this room is that I'm keen on reading, so I have a mini library
which would be nice to expand. Apart from having a bigger music room, maybe a library as well.
This is our current garden - not a lot bigger than a postage stamp.
One thing we'd really look forward to is a lot bigger garden
where it takes me longer than 12 and a half minutes to mow it
and we could put more plants in than we currently have. And possibly a vegetable plot.
I'm not really looking for a project as such, but I am quite prepared to put in a new kitchen,
put in maybe a new bathroom.
But I really don't want to start doing structural work.
With their current property on the market for £300,000, how much do they have to spend?
Our budget for the new property is £430,000.
Alan and Gillian have a very reasonable budget for Shropshire, which is just as well
because they're definitely thinking big. They want a super-size kitchen, large receptions,
4-5 bedrooms, lashing of outside space and the only neighbours they're after will be four-legged.
As they want splendid isolation, our house search will focus on rural pockets
between Shrewsbury and Ludlow.
I'll show them some of the best properties in the area,
but I won't be revealing the price until they've had a guess first.
Lastly, there's our mystery house which is in a place they'd never think of looking.
-Alan and Gillian, welcome to Shropshire.
-Looking forward to the search?
-Very much so.
-How well do you both know Shropshire?
Em, only a little. We've driven through it once or twice, but that's all so far.
-We hope to see a lot more today.
-A blank canvas!
-Very much so.
-It's going to be a big move, but also a lifestyle change.
I'm hoping to, after the move, go part-time. I'm full-time now.
-It would be nice to catch up with Alan's retirement.
-There's no point if Gilly's still working.
-What a lovely thing to say.
-I know. He's lovely!
-You've been together a long time,
-but it's the first property you'll buy together.
-I'll put my mark on it!
-Are you keen?
-We'll know if we see something we both love.
-We will know.
-Fingers crossed Shropshire will provide it.
-The budget - £430,000?
-Are you both ready?
-Come on, then.
For their £430,000 budget, Alan and Gillian want the first home they buy together
to give them three reception rooms, including a separate dining room,
a large kitchen and utility room,
somewhere for Gillian to play her guitars, at least 4 bedrooms with the master en suite,
with a half-acre garden set in a quiet rural location.
We kick off our property search in the village of Church Preen.
It's a quiet little place just a six-mile drive from beautiful Much Wenlock,
with its array of independent shops and dramatic remains of its 12th-century priory.
Back in Church Preen, they would have four-legged neighbours and the local primary school next door
if they go for this Grade 2-listed former schoolhouse.
It was built in 1872 by the great British architect of the time Richard Norman Shaw.
So here is our very first property.
-It's certainly got features to it and character.
-It's got character,
-it looks lovely.
-You've got the timber-framed gable at the front.
-Very attractive, local stone.
-And the chimney. Can you imagine how far that must have been seen?
-It must have been the tallest in the area.
-Looks like it.
-It has lots of features.
-I look forward to that. Can't wait to see inside.
'Judging from their reaction to the exterior, we've made a strong start.
'So let's hope the period features inside work their charm.'
Guys, come on in. Through the hallway to the first reception room.
I know you wanted a music room cum library. Is this big enough to be a library as well?
-Certainly is. There's space for the bookcases we have, either side of the fireplace.
-Your room - tick!
-Yes, I've lost it.
-This could also be the fourth bedroom for this property.
It currently has three, but you could have a sofa bed here.
There is a cloakroom just across the hallway.
-For extra guests, should you want to do that.
-I'd keep it as it is. I think it works perfectly.
-It will stay as a music room.
-You've won the first round!
-Round one - ding!
-Let's keep going.
-..the all-important kitchen.
-With a range.
-An electric range.
-And a sitting area, which is great.
-I like that.
-You wanted a good dining area, didn't you?
This is good.
-Yes, it suits my requirements.
-I think it could have been a bit bigger!
-I'll take your answer on that one! Utility rooms...
-They're high up on the list.
-Through that door you have a huge utility room.
So you've got your separate sink,
you've then got another bedroom. That was extended in the early '70s.
-So a guest bedroom with its own en suite.
-I like the sound of that.
-So this is all working?
-Good. Let's keep going.
So that part of the house was where the master lived and this part was where children had their lessons.
-I'm sneaking a peak.
-You're already looking.
-That looks nice there.
The current owners call this the snug. It works really well,
but they did at one point have a dining table. You were emphatic about a good dining area.
-We want a nice dining space.
-Dining space, large kitchen,
-and plenty of reception rooms.
You can't wait! You're already moving next door!
-We're already in the next room!
-Let's put you out of your misery.
-'I can see why they're so distracted by next door.'
-This is wonderful.
-I love the light.
-This is really nice.
-Especially from the window.
-It's a gorgeous room.
-You've still got all those original features, the windows...
-There's even a wood burner.
-That was one of the other things we said we'd like.
-On the list.
-On the list.
-And you love big reception rooms.
-You want plenty of space.
-We do like lots of space in the house that we can walk around
-And if you both turn round and look up there...
-Can you see?
-On tippy toes.
-The mezzanine floor. That could be your library.
-Another one? I get two?
-I think you should keep the music room and make that your library.
-A computer room.
'The downstairs of this old schoolhouse has been thoughtfully converted into a home
'with every inch put to good use and enhancing its historic features.
'Let's explore what's upstairs.'
You've got two bedrooms from the landing. There's a large double behind us with loads of storage.
-A generous family bathroom.
-I like that.
-Very well decorated.
-Lovely. They've done that well.
-And this is your bedroom.
-Bigger than we've got now.
-So that's nice.
-Nice and airy.
-And there's nice views as well.
-It's not an en suite, but you don't have far to go.
-An en suite was one thing we did ask for, but as you say...
-It's not far to go.
-So this works for you?
-Yes, I think so far.
-It's a house you want to keep going round to look at bits. Yes, I think we like it.
-I think we do.
'I think this beautiful property is persuading Gillian and Alan to compromise
'on that en suite and extra bedroom. Outside, despite first impressions, it delivers what they asked for.'
You asked for half an acre. The total plot for this property is half an acre.
It's in three different parts - the raised vegetable plot,
-a shed, have you seen the greenhouse?
-I spotted that!
-A greenhouse, which we did ask for.
-At the side, hugging the property, you've got a formal garden.
There's seating all around this garden. And then the majority of it is at the front.
-Although it's looking onto the road, it's quite secluded. There's no traffic.
-It's quite a sun trap.
-So enough of a plot for you?
-I think it is, yes.
-So wrapping it all up, the house, the garden,
-how much is the house worth?
-OK. Which one do you want to go for?
I'm going to go slightly lower...
-Are you competitive, you two?
-That told me!
-Alan, you're the closest. The current asking price - £400,000.
-So 30,000 under budget.
-That gives us some money to play with.
-Have another walk round and I'll catch you later.
-We'll do that.
Priced at £400,000, this former schoolhouse is impeccably presented
and £30,000 under budget, leaving them a sizable sum for the retirement pot.
Ready to move into, it gives them two adaptable reception areas with Gillian's wood burner,
her music room and space for a library, a large kitchen/diner with that range and utility room
and a half-acre garden in a rural setting with countryside all around.
Has this unique conversion won their hearts?
I like the house. It's got an element of quirkiness,
lots of character.
-And that chimney is to die for.
-Loved the kitchen. Did like that.
This is a good utility.
My one concern is the school. It's not something I was banking on when I wanted remote.
It's such a fabulous location and we have the perfect day to view this house.
-Have you both seen enough?
-Yes, thank you.
-I think we have.
Close that door and let's hit the road.
Shropshire's peaceful countryside belies its turbulent past
with the Normans strongly fortifying the county along its Welsh border.
Over time, a number of castles were refashioned into homes to show off their owners' wealth and position.
A fine example is Shrewsbury Castle, redesigned in the 1780s for local MP Lord Pulteney.
Earlier in the week, Gillian and Alan met town crier Martin Wood
to find out more about its historic renovation.
The castle that we've got now was built by Thomas Telford on the orders of the local MP,
Sir William Pulteney. He wanted a des res, I suppose,
so Telford built this for him.
This was actually his townhouse, but Pulteney had a daughter, Laura,
and she was fairly religious and needed somewhere to read her Bible
so Sir William actually got Telford to build her her own summer house and this is what he built.
-This is still known as Laura's Tower today. It's built on top of the old original Norman castle.
So where we're standing now is where the Norman castle was.
Shrewsbury's historic streets are home to some 660 listed buildings
with street names that give clues to the activities that went on there, including a street of ill-repute.
But the focal point of trade was the market hall, built in the late-16th century
by wealthy draper merchants.
Around the square, there's plenty of proof of the town's stature in Tudor times.
One of the lovely buildings we've got used to be the Plough Inn.
It's fantastic. It was a pub for about 600 years. The timbers themselves denote wealth.
The first floor has clover leaf patterns, barley cane twists.
-That's all a signature of wealth.
-A lovely building.
-We've got so many of these in town.
-This is by far one of the best.
-Shrewsbury is packed to the rafters with historic gems,
reflecting its important historic and geographical position. And location is top priority for us.
Our second property is in the quiet village of Church Moor,
set in an area of outstanding beauty which I'm sure will rate highly.
Less than a 10-minute drive down the road, Little Stretton has its own local pub and church
with distinctive timber frame.
Will they think this Victorian farmhouse makes a statement?
-Looks very picture postcard. Looks lovely.
-Not quite what I expected.
-What were you expecting?
-I don't know, but it's not hitting me
and saying, "Buy me!", to be honest. I'm reserving judgment at the moment. I'm not sure.
-If I said it had five bedrooms...
-I might change my mind. I'd step through the door.
'The formal symmetry of this period farmhouse is clearly not quite doing it for Gillian,
'but hopefully she'll be convinced by the space it offers.'
A small hallway with two reception rooms either side.
I like the high ceiling. I like the height of the room.
-It's a nice square room.
-Nice feature fireplace.
-Well, let's take you next door. There's another reception room I'd like you to see.
This one is quite a bit bigger. Again, you've got high ceilings.
-Yes, it is bigger.
-A nice, big room.
-I like the fireplace.
-A working fireplace. A fantastic feature.
-Imagine on a winter's evening?
-I can feel the warmth already.
If you want to lead the way through to the kitchen, that might answer your dining issues.
There are very few kitchens can command a dining table of that size.
-That's some table.
-This is a good, good size kitchen.
I could certainly imagine a new kitchen in here
-and making it a superb kitchen area.
-Probably put the dining table...
-The table would have to go
-Well, that's his first job, right?
-I can do that.
-There's plenty of room and just over my shoulder is a beautiful utility room.
-It's the smartest one I've ever seen.
-That is very impressive.
-Same size, practically, as this kitchen.
-It's got a downstairs cloakroom and entrance to the cellar.
-Oh, right. Cellar.
-So lots of space downstairs. Let's head upstairs and see the bedrooms.
'And I haven't forgotten about Gillian's music room. That's a surprise for later.
'First, I'll show them upstairs, which has a traditional layout
'and square, clean lines in all five bedrooms.
'There are two single rooms, a light, spacious double,
'a room being used as a study and, finally, a room for them.' So here's the master bedroom.
-That's a nice size, isn't it?
-Yeah, this is a good size.
-Again, super views.
-That's why you want to move to the country.
-There's nice views from here.
-And it's bigger than at home.
Very generous space here. It doesn't have the en suite.
However, there's a single bedroom next door. Quite easy to knock through and make that your en suite.
-That could work.
-That's another project.
-Project number two.
-You said you didn't mind doing a bathroom. Or a kitchen.
-Girls ganging up on me now!
Let me show you the family bathroom.
It will give you an idea of what you could achieve. Do you want to follow me?
'I'm sure their ideas for the en suite will be fired up by this.'
-Now this is nice.
-Love the way they've done this.
It's bright, it's airy, love the bathroom.
'Well, they seem positive about the house now they've seen the space
'and there's more in store outside with projects galore for Alan.'
-You have some additional buildings. The garage behind you.
-You've got a barn. It has a covenant on it so it can't be turned into a dwelling.
If that's not enough, you have a massive workshop.
-I might say workshop/music room.
-I could see that coming!
-It sounds like a jolly good idea.
-There's certainly a lot of scope.
'Along with the potential for these outbuildings,
'the house comes with more land than they asked for, as well as their idea of perfect neighbours.'
Obviously, this is the mature garden which has been beautifully done,
but beyond the trees there is that additional nearly an acre.
-The current owners' friends bring their sheep there to graze.
-We would have sheep as neighbours!
-Do you fancy purchasing some sheep?
-We have talked about it!
-It would be a possibility. Saves me mowing the lawn.
That's true. I know you wanted a rural setting. You can't get much more rural than this.
-This is rural.
-Panoramic views, trees, birds.
So, all that in mind, you've got to decide what this house is currently on the market for.
-It's that time again.
-It's a difficult one,
-but I'm going to go for... £410,000.
I'll go slightly higher.
-I know you're both quite competitive. Alan is closest.
-The asking price is £400,000.
-But your top budget was £430,000.
-So it does give us £30,000 to play with
-and possibly do something with the barn.
-Possibly, but there's things inside to do first.
I'd make an en suite as well.
So, on that note, why don't you have another look with that £30,000 in your back pocket
to see if this could be your dream home?
-Go and have a wander.
-We'll have a look. OK, thanks.
Under budget at £400,000,
this farmhouse has all the space and potential with £30,000 left over.
And it delivers everything they asked for.
Two reception rooms with open fireplaces, a large kitchen/diner and enormous utility room,
five bedrooms, useful outbuildings to house Gillian's music room
and nearly an acre of grounds which sheep could graze on,
all wrapped up in a stunning location.
My first impressions weren't terribly good to start with,
but it seemed to improve when I realised how much land it sat in. I was very impressed with that.
-You can see sheep there, can't you?
-Put an orchard in.
-There's so many options with this area, in particular.
-You'd need a sit-on mower.
I'd have to get a sit-on mower.
-This is where the dining room should be.
-Dining room table, big open fire in front of you,
-kitchen to the left.
-Then you've just got the one front room, though.
The utility room is to die for.
We've never seen a utility room that big. That gives you plenty of space for Gillian to do all the laundry!
So the tour didn't start off that well, but I think we ended on a high.
But has it been enough? We'll just have to wait and see.
As the sun sets over the Shropshire hills, it marks the end of the first day of our property search.
Armed with a £430,000 budget, Alan and Gillian are adamant that they only want four-legged neighbours
when they move to Shropshire. We've tried to serve that up with two properties so far.
We would have sheep as neighbours!
But will they run a mile from our mystery house?
-Wait until you step inside the door.
-We can't! Let's go.
Is there anything in particular you'd like me to be taking you to see or anything you don't want?
I'm still looking for my sheep as neighbours. And I'm still looking for something that's secluded.
I certainly would prefer not to have any major projects.
Our mystery property takes us to a location they specifically didn't ask for,
right into the heart of a village.
But Clunbury is one of the prettiest villages in the area with a Norman church
and the ruins of its medieval castle. I wonder what they'll make of our mystery house
which is overlooked with no garden.
-This is your mystery house.
-You wanted character.
-We've got that!
-You wanted features.
This has it. It's Grade 2-listed.
It was a blacksmith's with a barn and two small cottages, which have all been incorporated together.
Built in 1650. But wait until you step inside the door.
-We can't! Let's go.
'My goodness! What a first reaction! They didn't look back. Let's hope they like what they see inside.'
Come on through.
-This is lovely.
-You like large reception rooms.
-We've got it!
-This is it.
-It's stunning. It's so well done.
It is beautifully done with the gabled end. You get all that light.
And this actually is an extension.
-You can tell we're sort of lost for words!
-You are! I quite like the silence. It's positive.
I'm very rarely short of a few words, but it's lovely. Absolutely lovely.
-Can we see some more, please?
-You can. You lead the way, Alan. Down the hallway and turn right.
A very good start.
So here is your second reception room. Completely different from the first one.
And just as lovely. This has got the charm and the character that we're looking for.
-You can guess we're in the original part of the building.
-You do feel you're in 1650.
-You do, yeah.
-Back in time, yes.
You can sense what may have happened here in the dim and distant past.
Is that a gravestone? We haven't got bodies, have we?
Flagstones here. And that is a gravestone. When they renovated,
they found quite a few gravestones. It's where they practised. They were scattered and left.
But the owner liked it so much he used it as a feature.
Moving from the old into the new, the kitchen is very important.
Let me know what you think about this room, then.
-is this the type of kitchen that you had in mind?
-It's got oodles of character.
-It's certainly got the space I'm looking for.
-Alan, do you cook?
-No. Next question.
-Do you do lots of eating?
-I do lots of eating.
There's a perfect place for you there, while Gillian's hard at work.
And when you want your big dinner party, you're going to lead them through this way...
-Oh, I like this. Yes.
-Love the feature.
-A separate dining area was so important for you.
-Its close proximity to the kitchen must be nearly perfect.
-This is working very, very well.
-I think we're loving it.
'Looks like we have top marks so far with the space, layout and character of our mystery house.
'And it's got the all-important four bedrooms upstairs. At the rear is a double guest room
'with vaulted beam ceilings and a high spec bathroom
'and another double with en suite.
'The third double is flooded with light thanks to skylights
'and has access to the downstairs family bathroom. But now we'll head up to where they would sleep.'
Try that for an old staircase!
The original stairs.
-Oh, that's terrific.
-And this would be your master.
-This is some room.
-Now this bedroom has the wonderful views.
-It does, doesn't it?
-It doesn't have the en suite.
-Can you live without an en suite?
-There you are.
-If there's only two of us, yes.
'Wow. They seem smitten by our mystery house
'and are showing very positive signs they would compromise.
'We're really pushing our luck outside.'
So I know you've both been impressed with the house,
but you've probably gathered by now that it doesn't have a garden.
It does have this wonderfully secluded courtyard.
-This is where the compromises come in.
-I can see us possibly deciding to make that compromise.
-I think so.
-But it comes to the crunch now, doesn't it?
It's only just gone on the market. How much is it worth?
It's going to be slightly over budget at £435,000.
I'll go £440,000.
-Three out of three, Alan, but...
-This is a resounding victory!
-..this is the important bit.
The current asking price...
...is £50 shy of £400,000.
-Really? No way!
-We can compromise!
-Lots of compromises there!
-There's £30,000 left in your budget. ..You're quiet!
-I quite like you silent. I like the new you.
-The mystery property has done it.
-For both of us.
-This move is about both of you.
Now why don't you go back inside, all round that wonderful house.
Investigate those nooks and crannies. We know there's loads.
-I'll be waiting out here in the sunshine, so take as long as you like.
'That's amazing. Our stunning mystery smithy conversion seems to have swept them off their feet.
'It didn't have everything they wanted on paper,
'but with a dash of compromise, can I smell an offer in the air?
'Well under budget at just shy of £400,000, it offers them three reception areas
'all with a distinctive character feel, a large kitchen with that separate dining room,
'four bedrooms with two en suite.
'Granted, it's only got a courtyard garden and is in the village, but they love it!'
The mystery property has just got that wow factor. It stunned me.
I just love it. The whole thing.
The mystery property has absolutely blown us away.
It's got almost everything that we wanted. The things it hasn't got we aren't worried about now.
-I can see you in this kitchen. I can see US in this kitchen.
-I see us in this house.
-So can I.
This property has the character that we're truly looking for
in a truly lovely location. We probably couldn't ask for any more in that respect.
I can feel myself getting emotional about the property.
Look at those beaming faces!
You guys have got some serious thinking to do, so let's get going.
Among Shropshire's towns, Ludlow has played a leading role in the performing arts
since John Milton's play Comus was first staged at Ludlow Castle back in the 16th century.
The tradition is still going strong today in the form of the Ludlow Festival,
with theatre, comedy and music events for two weeks every summer.
Unusually, it's run by a team of over 200 volunteers.
On the eve of their 51st season, I met up with Festival Chairman Jenny Vaughan to find out more
about the work behind the scenes.
-How are last-minute preparations going?
-They're going fine. We're preparing for our dress rehearsal,
which is going to be performed to an invited audience.
Most of them are volunteers who offer something to the festival and are not able to go to it
-because they are on duty.
-That's a nice start. A little thank you.
And what do you get out of it, apart from a lot of stress?
You certainly get the stress and the tiredness,
but very rewarding. Very nice to bring the arts to this region,
to have it in a market town such as Ludlow, where it brings in trade for all the shops, the restaurants,
and the hotels.
There must be some last-minute preparations still going on, but can I have a sneak preview of the set?
-Yes, you can. Follow me.
'Ludlow's rugged castle ruins date back to Norman times and provide a dramatic backdrop
'for their Shakespeare production.
'Although volunteers organise the events, they bring in the professionals to stage them.
'I'm meeting the set designer for Othello, Philip Whitcombe.'
-How long does it actually take to design this?
-From start to finish, it's three or four months.
We come here mid-winter and try to picture what the world is that we will create.
-Can you give us your idea behind the designs for it?
-It's set in the Crimean War.
What about that impressive frame?
The central frame is about framing Othello, really,
in the different stages of his mental deterioration.
Philip's also in charge of costume design and has given me backstage permission to meet Judy McFarlane,
who manages the wardrobe.
So I can see Jane modelling a very tight corset, I'm sure!
-Boned as well. Is this a final fitting?
-Yes, we're just checking this will fit around her waist.
I'm sure it will.
Are you constantly making adjustments behind the scenes?
We often have actors popping in at the last minute just before going onstage.
"I've got a hole in my trousers!" I'll ask how long have they got and they'll say 2 or 3 minutes.
Ladies, I should let you crack on. You've got a big dress rehearsal. Best of luck with the festival.
It's inspiring to see how the passion of so many volunteers pays off year on year
and enables the festival to be a recurring highlight in Shropshire's cultural calendar.
Alan and Gillian's property search has given them lots of different options to consider,
but I've a feeling they've got a firm favourite. Let's see.
-Guys...what a super few days we've had.
-It's been superb. The scenery has been stunning.
-The first house was an old schoolhouse.
-The first impression was, "Wow! This has got character."
The inside was very nice. The main lounge area with the gallery was something to behold.
That was a lovely lounge area.
-It was very light and airy.
-But you did have a few concerns.
My main concern was the school next door.
It's possibly the noise from children, the comings and goings.
Or if the school ever disappeared, what would be there?
The second property we saw was, I thought, a very attractive farmhouse.
However, I was quite surprised when you both thought differently.
The first impression looking at it, yes, my face dropped a little bit,
but having walked through it, you could see a lot of projects
to go ahead and make it ours.
There was a lot of potential. Not sure what we'd do with the barn.
-You could have just left it!
-We probably would!
It is a nice property, but we could not see ourselves calling it home at all.
Which brings us on to the mystery property.
-When we drove into the village, I was pleasantly surprised.
-Not as much as we were!
-I think we had the biggest surprise!
-The mystery house is wonderful.
-The first room, that vast lounge, was fantastic.
I loved the openness and from there the way the property moved
from new to old to new, I loved the way that flowed. I was very impressed with that.
It flowed and it blended in beautifully.
There were some compromises to be made there, but sacrifices have to be made.
-I think we were prepared to do that.
-We're prepared to make sacrifices.
Losing the garden, for example. The hills are there.
Having seen the three properties, what is the next step?
I think our next move is to seriously discuss putting an offer in
-on property number...three.
-The mystery house.
-So the mystery house did its job.
-Certainly did. It's been an emotional rollercoaster.
-It has weaved its magic.
-I'm delighted. Absolutely delighted.
Well, what a surprise.
When we started this search with Alan and Gillian,
they had a pretty clear idea of what they were after,
but since viewing the mystery house, they've fallen in love with the property and a village location
they wouldn't have chosen. Let's hope that offer gets accepted.
Join us again next time.
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Subtitles by Subtext for Red Bee Media Ltd - 2011
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Nicki Chapman is in Shropshire, helping a couple find a property with only sheep for neighbours. With a budget of 430,000 pounds, they are bowled over by an impressive 17th century former blacksmith's, which really has the wow factor.