Warwickshire Escape to the Country


Warwickshire

Alistair Appleton is in Warwickshire helping two newlyweds find a country home. It needs to be bigger than a Cotswold stone cottage but smaller than a farmhouse.


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Transcript


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This amazing set of mediaeval buildings have, since Elizabethan times, been known as the Hospital,

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even though there has never been a medical establishment here.

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Find out which county hosts such an architectural conundrum in a moment.

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'On today's show, we'll be helping two newlyweds escape London's suburbs

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'for a tranquil married life in the country.

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'We've got some stunning properties, though size could be an issue.'

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I've run out of small words.

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'It looks like the dimension of others will get top marks.'

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-Tick, tick, tick, tick.

-That many ticks? Blimey!

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Today, I'm in historic Warwickshire. This is Lord Leycester's Hospital.

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It started as a medieval guildhall then, in 1571,

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the first Earl of Leycester turned it into an almshouse for retired servicemen.

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In Elizabethan days, "hospital" had a much wider sense of being any charitable organisation,

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and the name and function has stuck.

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Today, eight servicemen and their wives live in historic splendour.

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'Landlocked in the heart of the country,

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'Warwickshire boasts historic and idyllic locations

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'which have become the international trademark of merrie England.

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'During the 18th and 19th centuries, the national canal system

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'put the area at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution.

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'The county is rich in historic architecture,

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'including the mediaeval castle at Warwick, built by the Normans,

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'and the Elizabethan houses in Stratford-Upon-Avon

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'where William Shakespeare was born.

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'The enticing range of diverse and distinctive properties

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'makes Warwickshire highly desirable.

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'Pick from terraced Regency splendour to thatched cottages,

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'all encapsulating English culture and traditional charm.'

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Property prices are about 6% above the national average,

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although there are regional differences.

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Up in the north, which is closer to Birmingham and Coventry,

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great for commuters but slightly cheaper than the south

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towards the golden Cotswolds.

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Those are the prices that push up the average across the county.

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A spectrum of prices and a spectrum of properties.

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'For a premium budget of £995,000,

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'this five-bedroom barn conversion

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'sits in the countryside around Coventry.

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'It has a fine blend of character with contemporary touches

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'and a detached leisure complex.

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'Or, priced at just under £650,000,

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'this four-bed home in Over Whitacre has well-proportioned rooms.

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'The land totals five-acres and is surrounded by a beautiful garden.

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'This three-bed barn conversion near Lea Marston is just shy of £400,000.

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'It has a grand master suite

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'and the three reception rooms including a bright conservatory.'

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Will Warwickshire property whet the appetite of our buyers today?

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Let's find out what their tastes are like.

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'Newlyweds James and Lynn live in this five-bed house in Croydon, south London.

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'James runs his own recruitment consultancy.

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'Lynn is a manager in the NHS.

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'A new job offer for Lynn in the Midlands,

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'provided the perfect catalyst to trade in their urban lives

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'for a new life in the country.'

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We got married in December.

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We're thinking about the potential for a family,

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so we would like to move closer to our family and James's family.

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I grew up in the country, so being able to go back to that,

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spending the weekends doing things that we enjoy.

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'They chose Warwickshire to be closer to James's family

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'and to get within a 45-minute commute to Lynn's job in Solihull.

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'What setting are they hoping for?'

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In terms of location, we are extremely open.

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We can have rural, semi-rural, edge of a village.

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As long as it's the right property, the location will take care of itself.

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'So they're flexible as to location.

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'Do they have their hearts set on a specific type of house?'

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A detached house.

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Minimum three bedrooms would give us potential if we did have family.

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We've got open-plan living at the moment. That suits us well.

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That would be quite nice as well.

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A bit more land that we could entertain in

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and develop over time into a nice garden.

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A bit of character, that you would be happy to invite family to stay.

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I've got an office here. I'd like an area for that as well.

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Or an outbuilding where I could put the office and separate work and home.

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'And how will they be spending their spare time?'

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The area we're thinking of moving to has a really good canal network.

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So being able to try some different things, narrowboating.

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I've always fancied trying that, so that would be nice.

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'Their house is on the market for £575,000.

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'There's a strong chance of an imminent sale.'

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'How much will they have to spend on their relocation?'

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The budget for the next move is £550,000.

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Refreshingly for this show, James and Lynn are quite flexible.

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They're excited about moving to the country.

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They're not fussed whether it's in a village or in the countryside.

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All they want is space for a new family, perhaps, and some countryside to enjoy.

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The only thing is that it needs to be 45 minutes from Solihull,

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but that sounds do-able to me.

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'We may not be restricted by a lengthy wish list

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'but we have to consider Lynn's commute

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'and James's need for business trips to London.

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'Our quest will take us to villages

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'around Stratford-Upon-Avon and Rugby,

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'within a stone's throw of the M1 and the M40.

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'We've got some stunning properties but, as ever,

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'I won't reveal the price until the end of each house tour.

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'The finale is the mystery house,

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'which will definitely test their neighbourly goodwill.'

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-Hello.

-Hello.

-Welcome to Warwickshire.

-Thank you.

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-Didn't you grow up here?

-I certainly did.

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-Do you have any memories?

-A few. Not many.

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But I'm told many stories, so...

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-He's going to have flashbacks.

-Yeah. Maybe get the accent back as well.

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-Unfortunately, got to learn the roads again.

-Yeah.

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-So you've got your job up here?

-Yeah. Start in three weeks' time.

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-Very exciting.

-That's exciting.

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-So you're looking for somewhere in the interim?

-Yeah. We're going to rent until we find something.

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-Unless we find you the dream house!

-Hopefully, today.

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-It might take a little while to move in.

-Yeah!

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There are some beautiful properties and lovely countryside.

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-Shall we go and look?

-Yeah. Fantastic.

-Wagons roll.

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'James and Lynn have now accepted an offer on their house

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'so the race is on to find a new home.

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'And for a top budget of £550,000 they're after...

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'..outside, they'd like an area for entertaining...

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'..They ideally want a bit of character,

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'although they haven't specified exactly what that means.'

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It strikes me as a little odd that you don't have more fixed ideas. Why do you think that is?

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We've lived in a few different properties

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throughout our time together.

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We've gone from a sort of modern house. We had a Victorian house.

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I think we've been used to those different types of properties.

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-So that's why we're quite open and don't really have a set plan.

-Yeah.

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-Good. That means we can surprise you.

-Yeah!

-Yes.

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'With open minds all round, let's get this house search started.

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'We're heading to the south of the county to the village of Ilmington,

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'inside their 45-minute catchment to Solihull

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'and eight miles from a train station

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'with a fast service to London.

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'Ilmington is a peaceful village in the northern Cotswolds.

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'It's the highest village in Warwickshire,

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'surrounded by countryside and benefits from a couple of pubs

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'and a local shop.'

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We are right at the end of this road.

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There is no through-traffic.

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Just a path up the hill. This is the house I want to show you.

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-Wow.

-Wow. Lovely.

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-It IS lovely. Looks quite small.

-Looks small from the outside?

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-Yeah.

-It's a little Cotswold cottage.

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The weather helps. It feels like I'm on holiday.

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You can't get better than that.

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-It'll feel like you're on holiday all the time.

-Yes.

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'This charming detached cottage is made of Cotswold stone

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'quarried from surrounding fields.

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'The original house dates to the 18th century

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'but it's been extended three times over the last 50 years.'

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Close the door behind you.

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Into the oldest part of the house. Brace yourself for the beams.

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-OK.

-Wow. Low. And I'm not the tallest chap.

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Just about shaved my head.

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So they are undeniably low.

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Lovely fireplace, though.

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And it is actually a proper inglenook.

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Very snug.

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Strangely enough, it is growing on me but I think it's because...

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I've got anticipation for the rest of the house.

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I'm hoping that the ceilings do rise or the floor lowers.

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-They do in the modern part.

-Maybe we could lower the floor.

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Come on into the kitchen.

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-Nice.

-Nice. A touch smaller than I was hoping for.

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-I thought you would say that.

-The finish is lovely.

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-Yeah. I really like the... Is it oak?

-Yes.

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This is Tewkesbury oak.

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It's locally sourced.

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Marble tops, lovely Belfast sink.

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Lovely sink.

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You've got the utility, storage and white goods through there

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and a downstairs loo.

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-A lot to take in when you walk in.

-Yeah, of course.

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If it had another foot either side it would be nigh on perfect.

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And the ceilings have come up a bit.

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'Next to the kitchen is the dining room,

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'with a staircase to the smallest of the three bedrooms.

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'It's currently set up as a music room but it could be an office.'

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-What do you think to this? Again, quite petite.

-Bijou.

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I've run out of small words.

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Yes. As an office it's...functional.

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I just feel like I need something a little bit more...not inspiring.

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Just a little bit more...airy, where you can spend 12 hours a day.

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'In the entrance hall, there's an alternative office

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'next to another staircase to the remaining two bedrooms.'

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Upstairs, it's much higher ceilings.

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-It is, yeah. This is a nice size room, actually.

-I like it.

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'The other bedroom is another bright double with built-in wardrobes.

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'Next door is a family bathroom with a cast iron roll top bath.

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'That's the house tour complete, so it's time to see the garden.

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'Immediately to the rear is a paved area ideally suited to entertaining.

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'The pretty garden is laid out on terraces.

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'Lots of flower beds, a rockery and an ornamental pond.'

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-It's very private.

-Yeah. It's very nice.

-Beautiful.

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I think it's probably different from what I imagined.

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It's a big garden. It's got lots of space.

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-But there's not...

-There's not a massive area in one section.

-Yeah.

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This is very pretty, but looks a lot of hard work.

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Let's talk hard money.

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What do you think this charming Cotswolds cottage,

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even if it's a bit small for you, costs?

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I'm going to go 425.

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-425?

-Really?

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-I think it's more 525.

-OK.

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-So you say 425. You say 525.

-Yeah.

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425, that's what you think it's worth?

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-It's what I would pay for it.

-That's something different!

-Exactly.

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It's on the market for 535.

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It's been on a couple of weeks

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-and it's had in excess of 40 viewings.

-Wow.

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It's a very popular proposition in a very popular village.

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Why don't you have a walk around?

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-At least use it to think about what you definitely don't want.

-Yeah.

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-You came with a very open brief and it's good to narrow it down.

-Definitely learned a lot.

-After you.

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Fascinating. What you think you'd pay for something

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and what you think you'd have to pay are quite different things.

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What do they want to live in an old Cotswold village for?

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They want to live a bit further north, perhaps? A bigger house, a bit more lively.

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It's all grist to the mill.

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'Under budget, our first property is a beautiful detached cottage

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'full of character features...

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'..and a country kitchen.

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'There's a well-maintained cottage garden...

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'..To many, this would make an ideal family home.

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'Will this chocolate box cottage be too sweet for James and Lynn?'

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The setting is amazing.

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The outside space is...lovely but that's where it stops for me.

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I do really like this kitchen.

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I just don't think it does enough, in terms of what we want to do.

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It's a really lovely house. It's just a little bit too small.

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It's incredibly quiet here.

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Certainly quieter than Croydon!

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-All done?

-All done.

-Pull the door behind you.

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Let's explore more of Warwickshire.

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'As well as world-renowned treasures

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'such as the magnificent Norman castle at Warwick,

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'it's worth wandering off the beaten track to discover

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'other historic gems this region has to offer.

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'In the late 1100s, the Manor at Temple Balsall

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'was given to the order of the Knights Templar

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'as a reward for their bravery in the Crusades.

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'For two centuries, the order ran a very productive estate.

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'One of the most significant surviving buildings is the Old Hall,

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'Warwickshire's senior court for the Knights Templar.

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'We sent Lynn and James to meet with Chris Mundell for a guided tour.'

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Here we are in the Old Hall,

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the former headquarters of the Knights Templar in Warwickshire.

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-It's a mediaeval building.

-That's interesting.

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-It doesn't look very mediaeval.

-The original building is still here.

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It was encased in brick in the 18th century to help preserve it.

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Even though the Templars were a monastic order,

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they amassed great wealth.

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They were the wealthiest organisation in mediaeval Britain. Even Kings borrowed from them.

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They are accredited with starting the banking system.

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-In fact, they invented cheques.

-Wow.

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'With very few records, the order is shrouded in mystery.

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'It's believed the church here

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'was one of the last buildings they constructed in England.

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'Their wealth made them vulnerable, attracting enemies,

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'and the Pope abolished the order in 1312.

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'When they left the Balsall estate,

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'an inventory cast light on the Templars' diet.

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'The list included 80 doves,

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'suggesting a dovecote existed on the estate.

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'There's no dovecote here now,

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'but Warwickshire has a rare mediaeval example at Kinwarton

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'with metre-thick circular walls, hundreds of nesting holes

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'and a rotating ladder.

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'Expert Stephen Spinks explains.'

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It's a 14th-century dovecote.

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A 14th-century version of our bling.

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This is what you would have in your garden.

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Pigeons were really important. Used for meat, for feathers.

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It's the babies they're interested in, like a quail on the table.

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-Why is the door so small?

-Small pigeons and small people.

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It's called an ogee archway, which is really, really rare.

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The door is so pigeons can't get out

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but if you go in,

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your whole body takes up the door, so the pigeons don't fly out.

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How many birds does it hold?

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You're looking at 580 or more.

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Which is quite a lot of pigeons.

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All of those are having babies. There's a lot of pigeons.

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'Hoping to have inspired James and Lynn

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'to build their nest in these parts, we continue our house-hunting.

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'We had mixed reactions to our first property.

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'Fortunately, there's plenty more to see so we're heading north.

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'Our destination is Barby.

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'Even though it has a Warwickshire postcode,

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'it's just across the border in Northamptonshire.

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'The village has a shop, a post office and a pub.

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'Set back just off the road, our second house takes pride of place.'

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Feast your eyes on this property!

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-Wow! It's very nice.

-Very impressed.

-Looks promising.

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This is about 1800. There was a very old farmhouse.

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There are remnants but this is a late Georgian addition.

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Very big sash windows and a lovely little portico.

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And symmetrical.

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-Really nice front garden. Really pretty.

-Fully mature.

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-Do you want to go in as well?

-Dying to go in.

-Demanding so much(!)

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'First impressions are drawing our buyers in.

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'This is a handsome Grade II listed house set over three floors.

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'Despite its Georgian and even earlier origins,

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'the property has been refurbished with a Victorian style.'

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I want to show you all the rooms but this is your classic Georgian,

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two rooms at the front - one for receiving one for reclining.

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-Good proportions.

-Yeah.

-That's what hit me straight away.

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-This is definitely more my comfort zone.

-Yeah.

-Box ticked.

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'The second reception is another well-proportioned room

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'and vividly decorated in Victoriana style.

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'Next door is a large utility room and beyond that,

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'going into the original farmhouse, sits the kitchen-diner.'

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-Very nice.

-Yeah.

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This is a lovely kitchen space.

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These units are from a Victorian shop counter.

0:21:230:21:28

It goes through into the dining space.

0:21:280:21:32

-The present owners basically live here.

-I could see that.

0:21:320:21:36

-What do you think?

-Tick tick.

0:21:360:21:39

-Tick, tick, tick, tick.

-That many ticks? Blimey!

0:21:390:21:42

Two ticks from you. What would you change?

0:21:420:21:45

I'm a bit cautious because I think it needs a bit of work.

0:21:450:21:49

That's going to cost quite a lot of money.

0:21:490:21:52

But it's a move for the future, isn't it?

0:21:520:21:55

It doesn't have to be done tomorrow. Probably won't be done next week.

0:21:550:22:00

-Yeah.

-But could be OUR labour of love.

0:22:000:22:03

'Behind a door in the kitchen is a staircase which we'll come to later.

0:22:030:22:09

'For now, we're heading up the main flight of stairs,

0:22:090:22:13

'where we'll find three of the five bedrooms.'

0:22:130:22:16

These rooms on the first floor, I think are lovely. Lots of light.

0:22:160:22:21

Two good sized formal rooms at the front.

0:22:210:22:25

-I really like it.

-Really nice size and, as you say, really bright.

0:22:250:22:31

-Lovely fireplace.

-All the original features.

0:22:310:22:35

-A lovely look out to the garden.

-Great views.

0:22:350:22:39

'This bedroom has Jack and Jill access to the huge family bathroom

0:22:390:22:43

'with his 'n' her sinks, a large shower and a roll top bath.

0:22:430:22:48

'Across the hallway is a bright, opulently decorated double bedroom.

0:22:480:22:53

'On the second floor are another two bedrooms, both double rooms.

0:22:530:22:59

'But we're staying on the first floor

0:22:590:23:02

'and heading to the unusual guest suite, where I've got a proposition that James might like.'

0:23:020:23:09

This is the most idiosyncratic bit,

0:23:090:23:12

the guest wing above the kitchen.

0:23:120:23:15

-Right.

-So we have a free-standing bath and another shower.

-Yeah.

0:23:150:23:19

-Then a little bedroom, four-poster bed...

-Which is very pretty.

0:23:190:23:26

But what I was thinking, this would be a perfect office.

0:23:260:23:30

-I could see that.

-Get rid of all this. Open this all up.

0:23:300:23:35

Paint the ceilings.

0:23:350:23:37

Come up from the kitchen with a cup of coffee, work all day.

0:23:370:23:41

-That's a good idea.

-Sounds really good. Got windows on both sides.

0:23:410:23:46

Light all day. Big ceilings. Enough space to walk all round.

0:23:460:23:50

As a bedroom, it doesn't tick the boxes, but as an office it does.

0:23:500:23:56

'It's safe to say that James and Lynn are feeling the potential,

0:23:560:24:00

'although its current style may not be an exact match for their taste.

0:24:000:24:05

'To the rear of the house is a large enclosed cobbled courtyard

0:24:050:24:10

'but the main garden lies at the front,

0:24:100:24:13

'laid to lawn with a range of mature trees and shrubs.'

0:24:130:24:17

-Journey complete.

-Yeah.

0:24:170:24:20

-Bit of a journey.

-Yeah.

0:24:200:24:22

The key factor is ker-ching. All your tick boxes have turned into cash boxes.

0:24:220:24:28

How much do you think the house costs?

0:24:280:24:32

It needs a lot of money spent on it. It could be done over many years.

0:24:320:24:37

-I would say 515, with my fingers crossed.

-515? What about you, Lynn?

0:24:370:24:43

I would probably say...

0:24:430:24:45

either on our budget or just over, so I'd go 560.

0:24:450:24:50

It's on the market a shade under your budget at 549,950.

0:24:500:24:55

It's been on for six months so the owners are open to offers.

0:24:550:25:00

-It could be that gives you £50,000 to do some decorating.

-Yes.

0:25:000:25:07

-Walk around. See how the spirit moves you.

-Sounds good.

0:25:070:25:11

'For a fiver short of their top budget...

0:25:140:25:19

'..and has been renovated with traditional Victorian features...

0:25:220:25:27

'..Do they see the potential beyond its individual decorative style?'

0:25:350:25:40

In terms of a project, it might be a touch too far.

0:25:400:25:44

By the time we put our stamp on it, it could be very expensive.

0:25:440:25:49

I suppose my major concerns about the property

0:25:490:25:55

are how we would get this to be our home.

0:25:550:26:00

I can't quite picture how much work that will be.

0:26:000:26:03

-Hello.

-Hello.

-That took a while.

-Yeah. Lots to see.

0:26:030:26:07

Lots to discuss?

0:26:070:26:09

-Lots to discuss.

-Any Chinese burns?

-None yet.

0:26:090:26:13

Very good. Let's have a little break from property and relax.

0:26:130:26:18

'With the sun setting,

0:26:260:26:29

'the first phase of our property hunt draws to a close.

0:26:290:26:33

'On a budget of £550,000,

0:26:370:26:40

'James and Lynn dream of leaving London to get closer to their family

0:26:400:26:45

'and the countryside of Warwickshire.

0:26:450:26:49

'They've seen two beautiful properties,

0:26:490:26:51

'but have struggled to find the blend of character and proportion.

0:26:510:26:56

'Will we get the right mix in the mystery property?'

0:26:560:26:59

You're practically gushing.

0:26:590:27:01

'Then I'll be putting my feet up, but it won't be relaxing.'

0:27:010:27:05

I see light at the end of the tunnel.

0:27:050:27:08

I was thinking about your disappointment and wondered whether

0:27:140:27:18

it was in any way tied with your lack of clarity about what you want.

0:27:180:27:23

-Well, I think that's probably right.

-I think you're spot-on.

0:27:230:27:28

I think we were too broad

0:27:280:27:31

and too naive about what we liked and didn't like.

0:27:310:27:35

We thought we were quite open, whereas we're maybe not.

0:27:350:27:39

'So, with a brief that's still unclear, it's mystery house time.

0:27:390:27:44

'We're staying in countryside around Rugby, travelling to Dunchurch.

0:27:440:27:49

'The village was a popular coaching post.

0:27:490:27:51

'Many famous people have stayed here,

0:27:510:27:54

'including the conspirators of the Gunpowder Plot whilst awaiting news

0:27:540:28:00

'of Guy Fawkes' attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament.

0:28:000:28:04

'The village has amenities including pubs, restaurants and stores,

0:28:040:28:09

'and the stocks should dissuade any explosive behaviour.

0:28:090:28:14

'So far, our buyers haven't warmed to a cosy traditional cottage,

0:28:140:28:20

'and have been reluctant to take on any refurbishment.

0:28:200:28:24

'We're going to give them character and space in pristine condition.

0:28:240:28:29

'But that has to come with a twist.'

0:28:290:28:32

This is what used to be the stable blocks of the Duke of Buccleuch's

0:28:320:28:37

hunting lodge.

0:28:370:28:39

So, it's converted, obviously, into four houses.

0:28:390:28:44

Right.

0:28:440:28:47

-It is an attached house.

-OK.

0:28:470:28:50

So you share all of this courtyard with four families.

0:28:500:28:55

A quarter each.

0:28:550:28:57

-Right.

-OK. I'm interested.

0:28:570:29:00

-It's got a lot of character.

-Yeah.

0:29:000:29:03

The inside of the house is period but modern.

0:29:030:29:06

-We thought it might fit the bill.

-OK.

-Shall we go in?

-Yes, please.

0:29:060:29:11

'The mystery house is a mews conversion of a coaching inn

0:29:110:29:15

'which dates back to the mid 18th century.

0:29:150:29:19

'If they're prepared to live in an attached property,

0:29:190:29:23

'this could be just what James and Lynn are looking for.'

0:29:230:29:28

Here we are, inside.

0:29:280:29:30

Yes.

0:29:310:29:32

I said straight lines and straight walls.

0:29:320:29:35

-All modern. All done. All finished.

-All modern. All done. All finished.

0:29:350:29:41

-Stunning.

-Log burner here.

0:29:410:29:43

-Nice.

-Newly rebuilt fireplace. They've been here 16 years.

0:29:430:29:48

They've finished everything to a high standard.

0:29:480:29:51

It was a stable when they moved in.

0:29:510:29:54

-New electricity, new heating...

-Lovely!

0:29:540:29:57

-I'm relaxing. I feel there's a catch.

-Well, hopefully not.

0:29:570:30:02

This is the central space. The house radiates off it.

0:30:020:30:06

There's a lot of history cos this was a horsey building.

0:30:060:30:11

So the kitchen was the tack room.

0:30:110:30:14

Not much trace of this tack room. It's all been turned into kitchen.

0:30:140:30:19

-Splendid.

-It's really nice.

0:30:190:30:21

I'll go back to my ticks. The table would fit in lovely.

0:30:210:30:27

-I know.

-Your table?

-Yeah.

0:30:270:30:29

-You realise that is a sign of moving in.

-I know that.

0:30:290:30:33

That's why I was hesitant saying it. I don't like to think too positive.

0:30:330:30:38

A nice little detail here.

0:30:380:30:41

You've got all your white goods, a mini laundry.

0:30:410:30:45

The finish is really, really strong.

0:30:450:30:48

The finish grows on you, you notice new things all the time...

0:30:480:30:52

-James, you're practically gushing.

-I know.

-It's a new you.

0:30:520:30:57

I feel like I'm gushing.

0:30:570:31:00

-So this gets a thumbs up?

-Definitely.

0:31:000:31:03

-Let's look at the other reception rooms.

-Yeah.

0:31:030:31:08

This room has a great story.

0:31:080:31:10

-And very high ceilings.

-VERY high ceilings. Lovely.

0:31:100:31:14

This was the carriage room. There was just a massive archway door.

0:31:140:31:19

The carriages would come in here, which is why it's so high.

0:31:190:31:24

The present owners completely remodelled it.

0:31:240:31:27

They built this wall, put in these high quality French windows.

0:31:270:31:32

And put in these Georgian sash windows.

0:31:320:31:36

And they built this chimney breast.

0:31:360:31:39

That's a gas effect fire and a Portland stone surround.

0:31:390:31:42

That's a lovely fireplace.

0:31:420:31:45

-If we put one in.

-That's what...

-we would have chosen.

0:31:450:31:49

-That's what we like to hear.

-As I said, tick, tick, tick.

-Yeah.

0:31:490:31:53

'I think we finally hit the jackpot, with very positive reactions.

0:31:530:32:00

'The ground floor has a second, more cosy reception room,

0:32:000:32:04

'off which is an elegant study.

0:32:040:32:07

'Time to see if the sleeping quarters hit the mark as well.'

0:32:070:32:13

Upstairs, it's compact. It's snug up here, I won't lie.

0:32:130:32:18

This is the master bedroom.

0:32:180:32:20

Yeah. I still like it.

0:32:200:32:22

You say "compact"

0:32:220:32:25

-but it's still got character.

-Yeah.

0:32:250:32:27

I always think you just sleep in the bedroom.

0:32:270:32:30

It has four bedrooms, but one of them, poke your head round,

0:32:300:32:36

-is a guest room which would make a nice en suite.

-Really good idea.

0:32:360:32:41

'There are two more bedrooms. One is presented as a twin room.

0:32:410:32:46

'The other is another double. There's also a sunny bathroom.

0:32:460:32:51

'Let's get outside where I've got one last thing in store for James.'

0:32:510:32:56

So this is your little garden. This is the feature I want to show you.

0:32:560:33:02

-It's not massive, but they did build this office.

-Perfect.

0:33:050:33:10

-And a pretty garden as well.

-Yeah. This is all wired.

0:33:100:33:15

It's got thick cables that come in from broadband, the telephone.

0:33:150:33:20

Good. Lovely. Yeah, I'm...happy.

0:33:200:33:24

-Great.

-Lovely. Thank you.

-Not at all.

0:33:240:33:27

This is easy. This is easy.

0:33:270:33:30

You get a view of the garden. It's not a massive garden.

0:33:300:33:34

But it's very well-kept and simple to maintain.

0:33:340:33:37

-Yeah.

-I think it's more than capable.

0:33:370:33:41

-What is nice is you have this lovely sunny patio.

-Yeah.

0:33:410:33:45

-Lost for words.

-That's the first time.

-Really pretty. Lovely.

0:33:450:33:50

What do you think it's worth?

0:33:500:33:52

I'd say it's slightly over budget. And I'd say 575.

0:33:520:33:57

I'd probably still go a little bit lower.

0:33:570:34:00

I'd probably say...540.

0:34:000:34:04

-It's on the market just under your budget.

-Ooh.

0:34:040:34:08

Just a shade under 550.

0:34:080:34:10

-Lovely.

-So, you wouldn't have to spend a penny on it to move in.

0:34:100:34:16

It's whether you're happy with the attachedness of it.

0:34:160:34:20

-It's something we need to talk about but I think, in reality, it ticks all the boxes.

-Yeah.

0:34:200:34:27

-Why don't you go in and talk?

-Sounds good to me.

-We will.

0:34:270:34:31

Result! Mystery house always does it.

0:34:320:34:35

Pulls everything together, brings it into focus. Ching!

0:34:350:34:39

'At just below budget...

0:34:410:34:44

'..full of period charm but renovated to a high spec...

0:34:470:34:52

'..Outside, there's a communal courtyard

0:34:590:35:02

'as well as a private garden....

0:35:020:35:05

'..In terms of accommodation, it more than meets all their criteria,

0:35:090:35:14

'if they can compromise on their detached house.'

0:35:140:35:17

I really like this house.

0:35:170:35:20

It's got some fantastic spaces.

0:35:200:35:24

I LOVE the main sitting room. The garden's lovely as well.

0:35:240:35:28

I could see myself living in that downstairs space.

0:35:280:35:33

I think the property's really good. The overall set-up of it

0:35:330:35:37

is probably ideal for us at this precise moment.

0:35:370:35:42

I'm thinking you're going to have to interview your neighbours.

0:35:430:35:48

-They're very sociable, but you want to know them.

-Yeah.

0:35:480:35:52

-It might be a nice ready-made community for you.

-Meet new people.

0:35:520:35:56

Let's press on.

0:35:560:35:59

'The creation of a canal network in the Midlands

0:36:040:36:07

'meant that the area played a vital role in the 18th and 19th century

0:36:070:36:12

'Industrial Revolution, transporting vast quantities of goods

0:36:120:36:16

'throughout the country.

0:36:160:36:18

'North of Warwickshire lies the Dudley Canal, which features

0:36:180:36:22

'an impressive network of tunnels over 2,000 metres long.

0:36:220:36:26

'Created in the late 1700s by the Earl of Dudley

0:36:260:36:29

'to access his limestone quarries,

0:36:290:36:32

'this stretch revolutionised transportation to the south.

0:36:320:36:37

'I met up with canal historian Graham Fisher at the tunnel.'

0:36:370:36:41

This is the tunnel we're going into?

0:36:410:36:44

Yes, the first section of Lord Ward's tunnel built in 1778.

0:36:440:36:48

-Tell me all about that.

-Lord Ward was John, the second Viscount of Dudley and Ward, the Earl of Dudley.

0:36:480:36:54

He took the title in 1774.

0:36:540:36:57

He was little short of a genius, with his plans

0:36:570:37:00

to build canals that came through here.

0:37:000:37:03

He'd take a chunk off the journey to London.

0:37:030:37:06

-How much time did you save?

-Maybe a couple of days.

0:37:060:37:10

At one point, this section of tunnel

0:37:100:37:13

was carrying in excess of 41,000 boats a year.

0:37:130:37:17

Before the days of the canals, you were restricted to pack horses.

0:37:170:37:23

A canal that could carry 30 ton at a time was a revolution.

0:37:230:37:28

Here we've got towpaths, so the horses pulled the boats here.

0:37:280:37:32

-What happens in the tunnel?

-The only option for the boater

0:37:320:37:37

was to push the boat through by walking along the walls - legging.

0:37:370:37:41

Hard back-breaking dangerous work.

0:37:410:37:44

-You've got that in store for me.

-You can try that, under safe conditions!

0:37:440:37:49

'There's still evidence of the limestone quarries that existed.

0:37:490:37:54

'Large underground caverns were built, some opened to the surface.

0:37:540:38:00

'It's hard to imagine that these lush green grottos

0:38:000:38:03

'were working mines.

0:38:030:38:05

'Modern narrowboats have a clear advantage over the originals.

0:38:050:38:09

'They are engine powered but, in the old days, boaters had to rely

0:38:090:38:14

'solely on their own legwork.'

0:38:140:38:16

We can safely remove our hats for this part of the exercise.

0:38:160:38:21

We have to work head-to-head, shoulder-to-shoulder.

0:38:210:38:25

Put your feet over the side, leaning over as far as possible.

0:38:250:38:30

Keep them above the side of the boat so they don't get crushed.

0:38:300:38:35

-Then head-to-head.

-And away we go. Walk along that wall!

0:38:350:38:39

'In a powered vessel, it takes 45 minutes to travel through.

0:38:390:38:44

'But when boaters were using leg muscle, it took over four hours

0:38:440:38:49

'to walk the boats through, largely in pitch black conditions.'

0:38:490:38:53

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!

0:38:530:38:57

Yes! Yes! And it's gold!

0:38:570:39:00

Wa-hoo!

0:39:000:39:02

Well done, Alistair.

0:39:030:39:06

You can now officially claim your "I have legged through Dudley Canal tunnel" certificate!

0:39:060:39:12

I am a legger!

0:39:120:39:14

'My very short taste of legging was exhausting,

0:39:140:39:18

'despite pushing an empty boat.

0:39:180:39:20

'I can only imagine what it must have been with a load of 30 tons.

0:39:200:39:26

'I'm not entirely sure my legs could have managed it.

0:39:260:39:29

'Now that the house quest has come to an end,

0:39:320:39:36

'it's time to find out what decisions our buyers have made

0:39:360:39:40

'and what lessons they've learned.'

0:39:400:39:43

-You're being Mum.

-Have some tea.

0:39:450:39:47

Not yet! Further down the line. I didn't mean to rush you, James.

0:39:470:39:51

-You're obsessed!

-Now, how's it been?

0:39:510:39:54

-It's been quite interesting for us because things have changed.

-Yeah.

0:39:540:39:59

-Yeah. I think the phrase is a roller coaster.

-Really?

-Yeah.

0:39:590:40:03

-That's good.

-A bit of a journey.

-If you like roller coasters.

0:40:030:40:07

-You came off feeling sick or exhilarated?

-Um...

0:40:070:40:11

-Exhilarated, I think.

-Yeah.

0:40:110:40:14

The first house was the Cotswold cottage. What did that teach you?

0:40:140:40:20

It taught us that we have to think

0:40:200:40:22

more about the house than the location.

0:40:220:40:26

The location was absolutely stunning.

0:40:260:40:29

If your living space isn't right then, for us, that was no good.

0:40:290:40:36

It's a lovely house. It just wasn't big enough.

0:40:360:40:39

I'd love to stay for maybe a week but not the rest of my life.

0:40:390:40:44

The second house,

0:40:440:40:46

the proportions seemed to be what you're looking for.

0:40:460:40:49

When we started off in that house, I think we were quite positive.

0:40:490:40:55

The two reception rooms were quite large. The kitchen was lovely.

0:40:550:41:00

I don't think we had enough vision to know

0:41:000:41:04

-how to make that house our own, we just couldn't get it.

-Yeah.

0:41:040:41:08

-And for the price.

-Yeah.

-It then shut our vision.

0:41:080:41:12

Yet the mystery house,

0:41:120:41:14

although it didn't tick boxes that you originally put in stone,

0:41:140:41:19

seemed to wow you.

0:41:190:41:21

Yeah. It's a lovely property.

0:41:210:41:25

Maybe it's because when we went into that third house

0:41:250:41:30

we were having to think about compromises.

0:41:300:41:33

So, although it didn't tick all the boxes, we understand

0:41:330:41:37

we've got to make some compromises to get the living space we want.

0:41:370:41:42

The garden was beautiful, with the office. I would love to work there.

0:41:420:41:48

I know you're very keen to move into a place straightaway.

0:41:480:41:52

Will you be revisiting that place? Would you put an offer in?

0:41:520:41:56

I think we would probably consider going back and having a look.

0:41:560:42:01

And putting some thought to the upstairs of it.

0:42:010:42:07

Whether it could work for us.

0:42:070:42:10

Could we see ourselves staying there long-term?

0:42:100:42:13

It's been great showing you round. It's been a learning curve.

0:42:130:42:18

-I hope that Warwickshire opens its gates to you and triumphs when you arrive.

-Thank you.

0:42:180:42:24

It's been a real journey and an eye-opener.

0:42:240:42:27

-You're a very patient man.

-You're very patient, too.

0:42:270:42:31

I showed you the wrong properties and tested your patience! I'm glad it all came together.

0:42:310:42:37

Sometimes, it's not about giving the buyers what they want,

0:42:410:42:45

but finding out WHAT the buyers want.

0:42:450:42:48

That's what we've done with James and Lynn.

0:42:480:42:51

We focused their minds on what they do and don't want in their home.

0:42:510:42:55

Whether they buy the mystery house is a mystery, but we love mystery.

0:42:550:43:00

Join us next time for more on Escape To The Country.

0:43:000:43:04

If you'd like to escape to the country in Scotland, Wales,

0:43:040:43:07

Northern Ireland or England, and need our help, apply online at:

0:43:070:43:12

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:43:310:43:34

E-mail [email protected]

0:43:340:43:37

Alistair Appleton is in Warwickshire, helping a couple of newly-weds find a country home with a budget of £550,000.

But with a Cotswold stone cottage being found to be too petite and a 19th-century farmhouse too big a project, it proves hard to find the right combination.


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