Property series. Jonnie Irwin takes a soon-to-be-married couple from Hertfordshire on a property-searching mission to rural Lincolnshire.
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I'm in an area home to the some of the richest farmland in the country,
spanning four counties. But which county am I in?
Find out in just a moment.
Today's house-hunters are engaged
and hoping to start off married life in a new country home.
But when it comes to buying property,
they don't always see eye to eye.
-Yeah, I like it.
-Don't sound so disappointed.
I'm probably sounding disappointed
because I think he's going to burst my bubble.
I would probably rip it all out and make the bedroom bigger.
Right, ignore him, he's being an absolute fool.
Today, I'm in the county of Lincolnshire
and the level low-lying terrain of the Fens,
much of which lie below sea level.
Originally inhospitable wetlands,
they were drained in the 17th century in order to provide
rich, fertile land, ideally suited for mass cultivation.
In particular, providing around 25%
of our nation's vegetable production.
But as you're about to see, there's a lot more to this pleasant
county than just healthy eating.
Lincolnshire is England's second-largest county
and its neighbours include Nottinghamshire to the west,
and Norfolk and Cambridgeshire to the south.
It's a county of varied vistas.
Along with the flat, fertile Fens in the south,
the undulating chalky hills of the Wolds in the north rise up
to form the highest stretch of land in eastern England.
The dramatic terrain has inspired a host of literary giants
such as the Victorian poet Alfred Lord Tennyson
and novelist AS Byatt.
Dotted around the county are a pick of pretty conservation villages
such as Folkingham,
with its splendid array of Georgian architecture
and listed cottages surrounding the village green.
At the other end of the property scale, Burghley House,
is one of the grandest Elizabethan buildings in the country.
The county's capital is Lincoln,
with its brooding Gothic cathedral dominating the city's skyline.
For 300 years after it was built, it was reputedly the tallest building
in the world, until the year 1549, when the central spire blew down.
Despite this, the cathedral's west front is considered
some of the finest Norman architecture in Europe.
With such a diverse countryside to choose from,
from flat Fens to hilly Wolds,
it's easy to see why the Lincolnshire landscape
is loved by so many.
Right now, the average price of a detached house here in Lincolnshire
is just around £175,000.
That's over £100,000 below the national average.
Now, as you might expect, across the county, prices do vary,
particularly towards the southern border, where prices will soar
way in excess of the national average, mainly due to great schools
and good links back into London.
So where are today's buyers looking to set their sights?
Well, let's meet them and find out.
For the last eight years, Terry and Theresa have lived together
in this distinctive bungalow in the town of Stevenage in Hertfordshire.
But with their wedding planned for next year,
now's the time for fresh beginnings.
We currently live in a four-bedroomed Canadian-style ranch house.
It does hold a lot of memories for us.
And this is the first property we bought together, as well.
Love the house.
-Just not the area.
Although they'll be sad to leave the house,
the move's a chance to escape some rather noisy neighbours.
We've got a fire station, a police station
and the hospital around the corner. We hear a lot of sirens.
It'd just be nice to go and sit out in the garden
and just hear the birds.
The couple, who met working for the local council,
have three daughters between them from previous relationships.
Two are grown up and have flown the nest, with only
Theresa's youngest daughter, nine-year-old Lucy,
joining them on the move.
Currently, Lucy spends most nights sleeping at Theresa's parents'
as both Terry and Theresa leave for work at the crack of dawn.
During the week she stays with my mum.
-I think we only get about an hour-and-a-half a day with her.
And then she's back at my mum's to go to bed,
ready for school the next morning.
When we make the move, if I can sort of get some casual work
and work around her, so she can stay at home with us all the time.
Yeah, I think our work life has overtaken our family life
and I think it'll make a big difference to change that balance.
'With family still in London and friends in Hertfordshire,
'Terry and Theresa don't want to move too far away.
'Lincolnshire fits the bill and it's an area they know well.'
When I think of the Lincolnshire countryside, the first things
that come to my mind are the windmills,
A lot of people have said to us when we've said about Lincolnshire,
-"It's all flat."
-Doesn't really bother us.
That's one of the things - that you can see for miles.
I don't think they realise there's a hell of a lot of Lincolnshire
that's not flat.
In terms of rural pursuits, it's a case of opposites attract.
-Our interests are very different.
-I don't think we've got any interests the same.
No, you're quite a home person, aren't you?
And I do like to get out and do stuff.
And you're quite a sporty person, and I'm not.
I also have an interest in metal detecting.
Haven't found any gold yet, but fingers crossed.
When we move I'm...
definitely, I think, going to get myself a bike,
go out and do quite a bit of cycling.
-We also quite like the idea of a bit of shooting.
Yeah, we'd like to join a shooting club.
Target shooting, something like that.
-Cos it might be something we'll actually have in common.
With a wedding to plan, quitting their council jobs
and a new school for Lucy, there's no doubt it's a big move.
But it's also a chance to redress
that all-important work-life balance.
It will be life-changing for us cos it'll give us
that time that we need together, a time for relaxing,
and just the environment to be more
conducive to family life, really.
Terry and Theresa don't want to be more than two hours' drive away
from their family and friends in Stevenage,
who they'll be popping back to see.
So we'll be concentrating our search in the south of the county.
I'm meeting up with our couple in Lincolnshire to find out
what sort of property they're looking for.
Good morning. Welcome to Lincolnshire.
-Excited to be here?
-I am, yes.
-I'm a little bit scared.
-I think that's understandable.
It's a big move for anybody when they're coming to the countryside.
-But coming up to Lincolnshire... very rural, isn't it?
-Is that why you're moving here?
-It is for me.
I want to be out in the open, get a bit more air.
Come on, Theresa, you've got to be excited about this.
I am. I am excited, but it's also a little bit daunting.
Been in a town all my life.
All my family and friends are back home.
It's not too far to get home to them.
-Townies never move back.
-That's right, yeah.
-You're going to love it.
We're getting married in... I've forgotten when it was now.
You started a sentence you couldn't finish there, mate! Oh!
-I'll ask - when is it again? - October next year.
Something's happening in October! Is it my birthday?
-There's a big event happening next year.
Right, I'm starting to pick up that you don't necessarily
run at the same speed.
-You've got different opinions, have you?
-Very much so.
But you both want to move to the countryside,
-that's one thing that's binding you together.
-So how big is this house, then?
-At least four bedrooms.
-Three of which need to be doubles.
-So you want space for people to come and stay?
I'd like two reception rooms
so we can get away from each other when we need to.
-How important is the kitchen to you guys?
-It needs to be a fair size, not massive.
-Not big entertainers, then?
-We're not really into kitchen-diners.
We'd rather have a separate dining room.
A lot of these houses have been knocked through, so we'll have to see
what you think about how they've been arranged and configured.
-You can always build the wall back up.
-Are you quite handy?
Of course, it's not just about the house, it's about the outside space.
What are we looking at?
I want to be able to, when I look out the back door,
that what I can see is mine.
How much of "mine", how much Terry Land do we want?
-..minimum of an acre, I suppose.
-Oh, right, you do want land.
Before that, it was a minimum of three.
Let's go with an acre, shall we?
What are you going to do with all this land, Terry?
Not just look at it, surely?
No, we want to grow vegetables. We want gardening...
I want to do a bit of gardening. A bit more than we are at the moment.
And you want some chickens.
-Yeah, I'd like a pig as well.
You told me you were a townie five minutes ago - now you want pigs,
-Well, that's part of the draw, I think.
You go to the country, you need to do these sort of things.
Absolutely, I totally agree with you.
Do you want to have people nearby or throw yourselves in at the deep end
-and be completely rural?
-That's where we differ again.
I imagine I'm going to hear different answers for that.
-Let's start with you, Theresa.
-I don't want to be really built up.
I don't want somebody right on top of us
but I'm quite happy to have a neighbour.
Are you going to say even more rural, then?
Probably more rural than that. I don't mind how antisocial I am.
-That's the problem -
he's antisocial, I'm very sociable.
Am I going to find you a house that both of you can agree on?
That's my big issue. You're pulling in different directions, aren't you?
Yeah. We are completely different.
We've got different views but the aim at the end is the same.
How long have you been looking for property?
Because with these differing opinions, it sounds like you
-might have been looking for a while.
-We've been looking for about...
-Yeah. Six months.
So how many houses have you looked at?
-At least 40-something.
-What chance have I got...?
-I've seen loads that I'd move into.
-I've seen loads I really liked.
-So he's the one to please, is he?
Terry, do you agree on that?
No, I am probably more a stumbling block than Theresa is.
How much are you looking to spend on this house?
We've got a budget of 375,000.
Let's have discussions about what's working, what isn't.
-We'll flush it out, all right?
-Maybe we'll get there.
I'm kind of looking forward to it cos it sounds like
-a massive challenge.
-Come on, let's go.
For a maximum spend of £375,000,
Terry and Theresa want different things from their perfect home.
But they do agree that they'll need four bedrooms,
three of which should be doubles.
They'd like two reception rooms, one for each of them,
and a separate dining room.
Outside, Terry would like some land - around one acre.
Finding the right location could be tricky as Terry wants rural
but they need to be close to schools for Lucy.
We've lined up a lovely selection of Lincolnshire properties
for Terry and Theresa to look around,
but I won't reveal the price of each home until the end of the tour.
I fear it could be a tall order achieving everything they want
under one roof,
and our mystery property could split the camp even further.
Because you've got different opinions...you say yourself
you don't have a great deal in common, that must come out
-when you look at houses.
-Mm. Yeah, definitely.
-Yeah, I think... We're looking for the same thing...
-Yeah, a house.
We're on our way to the village of Denton in the southwest
of the county, three miles from Grantham, which has good road
and rail connections to the capital.
Situated in the vales of Lincolnshire, the village
is surrounded by rolling countryside of hills and valleys.
It's home to an outstanding Ofsted-rated primary school,
with secondary schools in Grantham.
Nearby Belvoir Castle, just over the border in Leicestershire,
famously dominates the local landscape.
But the property I'm taking our buyers to is located in the heart
of the village of Denton.
This is our first offering.
-Very nice-looking house. I like the front garden.
And tapping into your... maybe slight fears,
you've got chimney pots around you, you've got a village.
-You've got people to meet.
-But, again, for you, it's a really quiet village. Look.
-Yeah, it is.
-Really quiet. Do you like what you see?
-It's lovely, yeah.
Are you aware that you're both agreeing on something here?
-That won't last!
-Come with me.
-We better get inside first.
Dating back to the 18th century, our first house,
built of local limestone, started life as two cottages
but today forms one detached property,
with plenty of original features. There's a modern extension
to the side which is where we're starting off.
tell me what you think of this, guys.
-Yeah, I like that.
-This isn't old.
This was the garage and it was converted around ten years ago.
Gives you a proper entrance hall there, that we just came into,
and a utility at the back.
I think it's turned this little cottage into, I think,
-a small family home.
-Yeah, like the look of that.
Big enough? What would you do with it? Would you have it as it is?
-Yeah, I'd leave it as it is.
-Keep it as one room.
-It's a nice size.
You both seem to be, dare I say it, agreeing?
-For the moment.
-We do occasionally.
All right, OK. Let's keep looking around.
Let me walk you through the ground floor here.
The rest of the ground-floor rooms
are in the older, 18th-century part of the house.
So, the far end of the house, we've got
a separate dining room, which I know you're both after.
And then this is your dedicated living room.
Nice fireplace surround.
-You like a stone fireplace, don't you?
That's nice. Beams.
They're nice and high, so that's good.
It's a nice room, but it's a little bit small.
It's smaller than we're used to.
The thing about this house, it's a lovely cottage.
And the great thing they did was to go into the garage,
to get that nice dining kitchen, the breakfast kitchen,
but essentially, the dimensions, the proportions of the rooms,
are a little bit more cottage-esque, if you like.
But at least you get separate kitchen, separate dining room, separate living room.
Yeah. It's a nice, warm room.
But you feel a bit cosy. There's another reception room next door.
It's actually bigger than this.
But I thought this had all the features to talk about,
and I wanted you to see the dining room straight away.
For us three, this is fine. It's like, when we've got people down,
if there's a bigger one next door, that could make a difference.
Let's have a wander through and I'll take you up towards the bedrooms.
Terry and Theresa wanted four bedrooms.
The second reception room could make an extra bedroom
when guests come to stay, as upstairs there are only three.
These include a double guestroom and a smaller single,
ideal for nine-year-old Lucy.
There's also a contemporary, fully tiled bathroom.
This is the master of the three bedrooms you get up here.
Now, what you don't see in any of the other rooms, you don't
see any built-in storage, really.
But I think there's certainly room to put built-in storage here,
and in the far double bedroom as well. But what do you think?
You tell me. Is it big enough? Would you like to wake up in this room?
Mmm, see? You've got a lot... Here's the thing.
The bedrooms aren't necessarily the most inspirational rooms
in the house because, essentially,
you're hopefully sleeping in them, most of the time.
But every room in the house has to make you feel that you want
to live there, and I've noticed, here in this room,
you've gone down when we walked in.
It doesn't make me want to live in this room.
In fact, I probably don't like it.
Well, now we're getting somewhere!
Now we're getting somewhere.
Look, it's an opinion. Just bear what you thought here in mind.
Let's go outside into the garden, OK? We'll just squeeze through here.
As well as the pretty garden to the front
that's already caught Terry's eye,
there's a south-facing garden to the rear,
featuring a raised lawn, large pond and a summerhouse.
Last thing on your tick list is outside space.
This is your outside space.
-There's no more?
-I'm afraid not, no.
What do you think of the house itself?
Well, the house as a cottage has got everything you'd want.
Perhaps not everything that WE want, because I think it's a bit too small.
-It is too small.
Before we draw a line under this house,
let's see how good you are at guessing the price,
because you've looked at a lot of properties, haven't you?
-I was going to go lower.
I was going to go 310, 315.
This place is on the market for offers around £374,950.
Now, I think that reflects why we actually chose it for you
in the first place - because it was close to Grantham
for the good schools, for the good train links
back into places like London.
In fact, the further south in this county you go,
the higher the prices go.
I think you should go back inside this house,
and just get a feel for it. Look at the rooms you've not yet seen.
There's not too many more of them.
And then we'll go off to the next place. All right?
-See you in a moment.
Fractionally under budget, this property is an attractive, detached
stone cottage, packed with character and dotted with reclaimed features.
The house gives Terry and Theresa the two reception rooms they wanted
and a separate dining room, along with three bedrooms.
There's a well-regarded primary school for daughter Lucy
in a popular village
and there are nearby road and rail links to London.
It's got a fair amount of what we'd look for in a house,
but I think on a larger scale.
The location, for me, is great.
I think I've come to terms with the fact that we're going to have
to go further north to get, really, what we're after.
Unfortunately, I forgot about the house when I got in the garden.
It's far too small for me. The house itself was OK,
had some nice character features in there, but it just was too small.
So, it didn't take you a long time to
look around the rest of that house.
-I take it you'd like to see something bigger next?
-I think so, yeah.
-Let's do that. Come on.
Scattered amongst the low-lying Lincolnshire Fens
are a number of pretty heritage towns.
Many of them feature busy marketplaces and are home to
a number of family-run businesses dating back centuries.
One of the oldest in the town of Spalding is the local gunsmith's.
The family began trading in the area in 1750
and since 1880, they've been at their current premises, specialising
in the repair and restoration of shotguns for sport and competition.
Since Terry and Theresa have expressed
an interest in taking up target shooting,
we've arranged for them to meet fifth-generation family gunsmith
Bill Elderkin to find out about heritage gun-making.
As you can see, we're a shop that's been here quite a lot of years.
And you're interested in shooting?
Yes, we're interested in taking up shooting.
We're looking for a hobby that we can do together.
-We've got nothing in common at the moment.
-It's always been popular.
Probably, again, it's got a little bit more popular recently,
with the Olympics, obviously. We did very well there.
It's quite a biggish profile
because quite a lot of celebrities shoot as well.
Do you shoot yourself?
Yes, I don't do any competition shooting any more.
I did when I was younger, and did quite a lot of it.
And I just managed to sneak in the England team
when I was 21, I think it was.
Then, like what young boys do with silly cars,
I had a car crash that put me into this,
which made the clay shooting a little bit more tricky.
Is there a lot of shooting clubs around here?
Around here, you've got, with the clay pigeon shooting,
competition shooting, there's four or five within half an hour.
We're looking into doing some target shooting, more than anything.
With target shooting, you're shooting where it is,
and with shotgun shooting, you're shooting where it's going to.
So they're the two differences.
The early history of target shooting as a sport is primarily
that of using rifles rather than shotguns,
with the first recorded competition held in Bavaria in 1477.
And shooting has been an Olympic sport
since the modern games began in 1896.
In the on-site workshop, each shotgun can be custom-fit
and designed to suit the build and style of the client.
The entire process is carried out by hand,
using time-honoured tools and techniques.
And gunsmith Graham Emms
is demonstrating a few of the processes
involved in customising a stock, the wooden part of the gun
which is pressed against the shoulder when firing.
Basically, you start with a piece of wood. Turkish walnut.
Bill downstairs will measure you up and take all of your measurements,
because everybody's arms are a slightly different length.
That will come up to me in the workshop, and then, what we do,
once we've got your measurements, we roughly cut it with a band saw.
Everything we do in the workshop is handmade.
The stocks, it's all chisel and rasp and files.
And then, when you get down to the final finish,
this is one that's almost done.
It's been sealed.
And it'll be flattened off, and once it's flattened off,
nice and smooth like that, it'll be French-polished.
To make the stock from scratch can take
anywhere from two to three weeks,
but a lot of that time is spent bringing out
the beauty of the wood, using traditional methods.
Bit of cotton wool.
This is your shellac-based polish, French polish.
Put it into your cloth. Make a button.
Some people call it "button polishing".
A little bit of oil, just to give it a bit of lubrication.
And then small, circular motion around the stock.
Don't press too hard.
Just nice and gentle.
Just work it all over the stock
until you start getting the real, nice shine.
-If you'd just like to take over and have a little go?
Hopefully, Terry and Theresa have enjoyed
setting their sights on a shared interest.
But first, we need to find them a house.
So here's hoping we're on target with our next property!
For our next offering, we're heading to the hamlet of Birthorpe,
on the edge of the Lincolnshire Fens.
The village of Billingborough is the closest settlement
for a primary school and amenities.
There are two well-regarded pubs as well as a shop.
The older part of the village is a conservation area,
with a mix of architectural styles,
from Georgian town houses
to Edwardian and Victorian workers' cottages.
Our next house is found in a peaceful,
rural location a mile from the village
and surrounded by the flat, fertile land the Fens are famous for.
-So, Terry, feeling rural enough?
He's happy, isn't he? That is a happy man.
Now, let's see if the property makes you happy. What do you think?
-It's nice and long.
It is nice and long, yes.
Didn't ask for that, but, yes.
Now, this used to be farm workers' cottages.
-Now it's all of them into one big family home.
-Do you like it?
-Now, how about the position?
Because I think this is where you have a difference of opinions,
-isn't it? Is this rural enough for you?
-Yes, this is fine for me, yeah.
-Now, is this too rural for you?
-I don't know yet.
Depends what else is around nearby, I think.
You can't quite see it,
but just a mile in that direction is Billingborough.
Beautiful tall church with wonderful spire.
-Just a mile down the road.
-About a mile? Quite comfortable with it.
Your face says otherwise!
Just thinking, just thinking!
-What's going through your mind? Just tell me.
-Just taking it all in.
Good. Let's go inside.
So, I think we've found a happy medium in terms of location
and I'm hopeful the three cottages will cultivate a positive response
as they have been completely renovated in the last few years,
from a new roof, using reclaimed tiles, replacement windows,
rewiring and new flooring inside.
In we come.
What do you think of the kitchen?
Looks nice and big and open.
I like it. It's a good size. Oh, it's definitely big enough.
There's nothing that I wouldn't be able to do myself, anyway,
so that's fine.
-It's great, isn't it?
-I like the floor, as well.
-Yeah, that's really nice.
-So, big is better.
-You like this kitchen, you like the size.
-We like this.
Reception rooms - you've got a couple to choose from as well,
which is good news. Let me show you.
So I'm hoping this is going to be big enough for you.
-Yeah, this is a nice-sized room, this one.
-Works for me.
-Yeah, I like that fireplace.
That red brick. That's nice.
Next door, another reception room,
currently used as a dining room,
and then, as you know, it used to be a couple of cottages,
and you've got that old back door, with, well, the old entrance hall.
That one, it could almost be a little study.
Mmm, yeah, it's a good idea.
What's going through your mind, then? Size-wise.
I know it's important. This obviously used to be two rooms.
Now you've got it as one big room.
No, this is fine for us. Yeah.
This is a nice-sized room.
Could this be a house for you? From the first two rooms?
-Yeah, from the first two rooms, definitely.
-So, four bedrooms you were after?
Let's go and have a look at them.
Terry and Theresa clearly like the house,
but I'm not sure whether they love it.
Perhaps the upstairs will generate a more emphatic response.
It has the four good-sized bedrooms they wanted,
three of which look out over the back,
and the largest has an en-suite shower room.
There's also a stylish family bathroom
with natural stone floor tiling.
And finally, the double aspect master suite.
How about this for a master?
-Yeah, I like this.
-Do you? Why do you like it so much?
-Well, it's big.
-I love the fireplace.
Gives it a lot of character.
You've got a walk-in wardrobe there.
But I think the piece de resistance is the en suite.
Go and take a quick peek. I think you'll really like it. After you.
To be perfectly honest, en suite bathroom things don't appeal to me.
I would probably rip it all out and make the bedroom bigger.
Right, ignore him, he's being an absolute fool!
If he touches this bathroom, I'll come in and evict him myself!
This is what I have to put up with.
-This is why you haven't found a house!
-I know, I know.
So, I'll ask you. Do you like this...
He can sleep in the other room!
-I think he will be, the way he's going.
-I will be, yeah.
-Do you like this en suite?
-I love it.
All of the rooms you've seen so far, together, you've liked.
I mean, clearly, you know, you would prefer not to have an en suite.
-But apart from that, so far, so good.
The other big factor you're after, really,
is the outside space, isn't it?
-Let's go and have a look.
Hopefully I've put paid to Terry's DIY visions inside,
as there's plenty for him to get stuck into outside.
The rear garden is mainly lawn, bordered in part by a high hedge
and with southerly views across surrounding fields.
Because the garden was originally divided into separate sections
for each cottage, there's some opening up to do.
Removing internal hedgerows and walls would create
a large open-plan plot of around a third of an acre.
I think once that wall's down and that's opened up there...
It's fine for me. Plenty for me.
-Good. All right. Enough for you, mate?
-Yeah. Once it's opened up, I think it'd be a bit more.
-It'd feel a lot bigger. It really, really would.
-How much do you think it's on the market for?
You go first this time.
I think it's probably at the top end of the budget,
so I'm going to say 375.
I think it's a bit less.
-I think it's 365.
-Well, not far out, either of you.
It is, at the moment, slightly above budget,
-at offers around £385,000.
-Is it a contender?
Do you both realise you've agreed on something(?)
-The whole lot.
-This is good, right?
-This is really promising.
Go back in the house, maybe have another walk around the gardens.
-I'll catch you when you're finished.
-See you later.
Well, for a couple that claim to not have much in common,
one thing they do have in common is this house.
Although over budget by £10,000,
the owner is prepared to consider an offer.
Knocked through from three cottages to form one house,
the property has been completely remodelled by the current owner.
It has the separate dining room Terry and Theresa wanted,
along with a large kitchen and lounge,
and has four good-sized bedrooms.
Outside, there's plenty of land for Terry to enjoy,
and the whole plot is set in a peaceful, rural location.
Yeah. I like this house.
The inside's really nice
and homely looking.
There's a few cosmetic changes that we'd probably make.
The outside garden is, at the moment,
segregated into three pieces.
I'd like to open that out a bit,
and I think it'll give us what we're looking for.
It's got pretty much everything that we'd really want or need.
On the whole, it's a great house.
It's strange that we're both agreeing on this house,
but I think that's because someone else has looked at it for us,
and brought it to our attention.
I think that's where the difference is.
Now, then, have you found anything you can disagree on?
-I don't think so.
-Good. Hold that thought! Hold it there.
-You agree, you like this house?
-Good. Let's go.
After you. I'll just shut up behind you.
It's the second day of our property search in Lincolnshire
with council workers Terry and Theresa
from Stevenage in Hertfordshire.
With a budget of £375,000, we're trying to find them
a property to suit both of their needs.
Coming up - two more properties,
including the mystery house, which I hope will unite our buyers.
I can see some division in here.
Funny you should say that. I can see some division HERE.
And I put my foot down when I meet a micro-motoring legend.
For our next offering,
we're travelling north to the rural village of Old Bolingbroke.
Situated in the Lincolnshire Wolds,
this countryside is more hilly than the rest of the county,
with arable farming dominating the surrounding landscape.
The village is steeped in history, with a ruinous castle.
It's the birthplace of Henry of Bolingbroke in the 14th century,
who was later crowned Henry IV, the first of the Lancastrian kings.
There's also an old country inn and a smattering of pretty houses.
As well as a nearby primary school,
there's a bus service to Horncastle, around seven miles away,
for secondary education.
The next house is tucked away at the end of a village lane,
close enough to chimney pots for Theresa,
but will it be rural enough for Terry?
OK, then. What do we think of this property?
-It does, doesn't it?
I like the way the house...and then this on the side, that's nice.
I like that.
As you can see, she's an old property. Built around 1770.
The additions, as you can see here, they were done from 2004 onwards.
Yeah, they're nice. They match in well, as well, with the old building.
Now, the village. Chimney pots around for you.
-You've got a pub in the village.
-Yeah. I spotted that.
Yeah? But behind this house - just fields.
But so far, what are you thinking?
-I like it.
-Looking forward to getting inside.
-Let's do just that.
Extended and restored to a high standard,
the striking Georgian frontage gives Terry
and Theresa the character they wanted,
and I'm hoping the contemporary feel of the interior
lives up to expectations.
So, already you're getting a sense of space in this house.
Just mind your step down here.
And take in this huge kitchen.
Now, this is no more than ten years old,
but they've put character in it themselves, haven't they?
Yeah, a nice bit of wood.
-Really nice. It's lovely.
-Yeah. Nice size.
-Is this what you had in mind?
Did you expect to see this in here when you looked outside?
-Not from walking up the driveway, no.
-What were you thinking you were going to see?
-I thought it was going to be older.
-Older style. This is quite modern.
This is a mixture of both, really.
It's more to our taste, innit?
So the shiny-looking kitchen seems to sparkle,
and just off it, there's a separate dining room, which Terry
and Theresa asked for.
The previous owner used this as a bedroom, so there's also
a small bathroom and storage room at this modern end of the property.
The remaining ground-floor rooms are located in the older
part of the house, and include a separate utility room
and a small study, as well as the living room.
Righty-ho, so, reception room number two.
-What do you think?
-Yeah. This is lovely as well.
You've seen the dining room. That is your separate reception room,
if you like, to here. Is that enough?
-I think it is.
-Yeah. It gives us two options, doesn't it?
One at one end and one at the other end. So yeah.
Makes me wonder why we're moving together, doesn't it?
It crossed my mind!
Whatever works for you guys.
However you want to use a house, I think
this house gives you those options.
If anything, the kitchen is at the centre and then, if you want
-to go and do your separate things, then you can do, can't you?
Let's go and have a quick peek upstairs.
This property gives our buyers the four bedrooms they wanted.
There's a single room for Lucy,
another single that could accommodate a double bed,
and a cosy guest room. There's also a fully refurbished family bathroom.
And finally, the master.
So four bedrooms up here, in total.
This is very much the master.
-Nice bit of view through the windows.
This is one place, surely, you would love to wake up.
Look at that view over those Wolds.
-Yeah, it's lovely.
-Isn't this what you were after, though?
You've got village that way,
and just countryside spilling all over that way.
Yeah, that's nice.
No, I'm happy with this room.
So we've reached a mutual agreement on both the house and location,
but that all-important outside space is Terry's domain,
and he can't help but be impressed by the views.
The grounds include a double garage - ideal for storage.
The rear garden is a tidy lawn enclosed by mature hedges
and a variety of trees.
So, you get a good-sized garden as well, don't you?
Yeah. ..You're just grinning.
It's good. It's nice to see.
Yeah, I like it.
Don't sound so disappointed.
I'm probably sounding disappointed
because I think he's going to burst my bubble.
Terry, please don't burst her bubble.
I'm trying not to.
The house is lovely.
I am a little bit disappointed with the outside.
Well, no. You've got to have an opinion on it,
-but likewise, these are the compromises you find.
You've both got to be happy here.
Terry, how much do you think this place is on the market for?
Right at the top end, probably over, I'm going to go with 380.
I think it's more.
This place is on the market for offers around £399,950.
It was 415 grand.
Now, on speaking to the owners,
they've told us, knowing your budget,
-they're prepared to negotiate. All right?
-That's good, then.
Why don't you go back inside that house?
Have a look at the other bedrooms,
walk around the garden, get to know it,
have a think about how it could work for you,
where you'd put your veggie plot.
-Go off, have a look at the house and I'll catch you later on.
This impressive village home is over budget by £25,000
but the owner is willing to negotiate.
The older part of the house is Georgian,
but with a modern wing, incorporating a large kitchen
and separate dining room.
There are four good-sized bedrooms,
and the pretty garden benefits from
some outstanding views across the Lincolnshire Wolds.
I love this house.
It's everything I've been looking for, really.
Love the location,
I just love the character in the house,
I love the size of the house,
I love the views.
There's not much more I can say, really.
I think I've found my dream house
but I couldn't say the same for Terry.
I think he's going to burst my bubble.
I know I probably sound like a broken record -
I am a little bit disappointed about the outside space.
That's probably where my compromise will have to be.
Theresa's probably got the same view about the inside,
and I know she'll be worried about how I feel about the outside,
which has probably put a bit of a dampener on it for her.
So, are we getting closer?
-You are, for me.
Yeah, the house is lovely.
But you still want a bit more land? I know!
Well, it's this compromise, isn't it?
Maybe we'll find that compromise with our last house,
but it's the mystery property.
There's going to be a compromise somewhere, isn't there?
Well, for a couple that admitted to me
yesterday that they disagree on most things,
I think they concur on the two major factors when buying a house.
They want a large amount of outside space
and they also want a house with separate living areas.
I'm smiling because, with the mystery property,
we're going to mix things up.
We'll give them a house with all the garden and outside space
their hearts could desire but inside, well, put it this way,
I think they'll both need to get on with each other in this one.
So we're going to the mystery house.
You know it's going to be a bit different.
It's going to challenge you.
How do you think it might challenge you?
I think that it's going to need a shed load of work doing on it.
-Well, you're with the right man!
Yeah. I'm probably secretly hoping that it does.
So you think it might need a load of work? OK.
What would you love it to have?
If there was something that Theresa really liked in it,
I think that would probably be the way that I would compromise,
because of... You know what I mean?
Don't turn your face up at that! He's being nice.
-That's because I don't believe a word of it!
You know as I say to you, as the time goes on,
you get more fed up with looking?
-Yes, you do.
So I would compromise on something
if I knew that Theresa particularly wanted it.
-What would you compromise on?
-Probably the land.
It'd have to be, because that's probably my main focus.
What would you compromise on, Theresa?
For our final offering,
we're travelling to the hamlet of Howell in the heart of the Fens.
The nearby village of Heckington is the best bet for amenities.
Centred on a pretty green,
the village offers a range of shops and services,
including an independent greengrocer's
and a 14th-century parish church.
In summer, Heckington puts on a village show,
which has been running for 130 years
and claims to be the largest in England.
Our mystery property is just a ten-minute drive away,
but located in a rural setting, surrounded entirely by open fields
with just a working farm for a neighbour.
Now, Terry wanted rural, but just how rural is he willing to go?
So, the mystery house.
Almost in a mystery location, isn't it?
-Very rural, isn't it?
So, what do we think?
Well, from the walk up, I like it.
Yeah, which probably means you're not so keen?
Come on, be honest.
It's not perhaps what I had in mind,
-but it does look really nice.
-I mean, the location is very rural.
Are you comfortable with that?
I don't know yet, till you tell me what's about.
-Lots of fields.
There's a farmhouse just behind, which looks after this farm.
And Heckington, probably about ten minutes away.
That's where your local shops are.
The good schools are back in Sleaford, which is
probably about 20 minutes away. And you'll be doing that commute.
-What do you think of the house itself?
I think I like it.
It takes a bit of getting used to, cos it's so quirky.
It's the mystery house, of course.
I'm interested in this thing on the side here.
-Well, you wanted a little project.
You'll be getting your hands dirty, my friend.
Let's focus on the home itself first. Let's go inside.
The L-shaped converted barn dates back to the
turn of the 19th century,
but there's further potential in the form of a separate
barn in need of renovation.
Terry and Theresa wanted at least two reception rooms,
they wanted separation,
but with our mystery option, for now at least,
there's literally nowhere to hide in this partially furnished property.
OK. In we come.
Now, I can't wait to hear what you think about this.
-Yeah, very interesting. I like it. I do like it.
Let's talk about the elephant in the room.
-This is open-plan, guys, isn't it?
That's the living area down there, this is a lovely, massive kitchen.
-When you say, "That's the living area",
-is that the only living area?
-At the moment, yes.
I could easily put a wall up.
There's definitely space to put a partition up
-and have a separation of living areas.
-That's right, yeah.
I think you'd be rather cramped
for your two reception rooms that you're after.
-Definitely for that.
-Certainly got room for one.
I can see some division in here
that would make it more usable for us.
Funny you should say that - I can see some division here.
You're struggling at the moment, aren't you?
-I am struggling a bit, yeah.
Shall we keep walking on? Come with me.
It seems I've split the camp again with our mystery house.
Even dividing the large, open-plan living space
into a kitchen and living room won't wash with Theresa.
Since it's a one-storey conversion,
all the bedroom accommodation is on the ground floor.
There are three bedrooms, one less than our buyers wanted,
but they're all doubles and one of those has an en-suite bathroom,
as does the master.
Now, I know you're not massively keen on en suites,
but I thought this might help change your mind.
-It's a big bath.
And that's a, well, semi wet room, the shower's round the corner.
This is your family bathroom, if you want to have it.
You've also got another two spare bedrooms.
It's a three-bedroom house, so you can use it as a family bathroom,
-but you could have it exclusively for yourselves.
-If you're asking me, no, I don't.
-I don't actually like it either.
-I don't know.
I don't understand why people put baths in the middle of the floor.
I think that's it, yeah.
You don't spend that much time in the bathroom, do you?
I don't... Clearly not!
-Right, let's look at the bedroom.
-I only go in here once a week.
How often do you use your bedroom, every night?
Is this big enough for you, what do you think?
-Yeah, this is nice.
-This is a good bedroom.
This is a lovely, big bedroom.
-Right, big enough?
-And we made light of it,
but that bathroom there, it's so big,
you could put a partition wall straight across
and then it's just your family bathroom.
-It's just next door to your bedroom here.
No, that's what I would do.
The big project is the barn conversion.
I'm looking forward to seeing that.
Let me squeeze past and I'll go and show you.
If Theresa isn't keen on dividing the open-plan living space,
there is another option.
The barn across the courtyard has potential
for an entirely separate living space,
offering our buyers complete independence from each other
at times of their choosing.
Now, then, there's more than enough
-for you to get your hands dirty with here, isn't there?
-There is, yeah!
-This is tall.
I think there's room for two storeys.
I spoke to the estate agent.
He tells me this has got planning consent for a one-bedroom dwelling.
I think it's worthwhile speaking to the planners
and seeing if you can squeeze two out of this.
A bedroom each end, maybe.
Even if it just means having a ground-floor bathroom.
-Getting two bedrooms out of this.
Then you've got real separation of living areas
if you want, haven't you?
This is that ultimate project, isn't it?
-You're loving this, aren't you?
I know you are and I can almost hear...
What? Yeah, that's an alarm bell ringing in Theresa's head.
Let's go and get a surprise, come with me.
When Terry's not doing up the barn, he might be found in the garden
and the land wraps itself around the house,
with a variety of mature trees
and some uninterrupted views across open countryside.
Plus, it gives them the amount of land he wanted.
-What you see is what you get, really.
The estate agent's particulars say "approaching an acre".
Yeah, it's not too bad.
So how much do you think this mystery house is on the market for?
-It's a difficult one.
-It is, isn't it?
I think about 360.
360 - Terry?
Well, I'm thinking towards the top end of the budget,
but hopefully not over, so I will say 375.
This place is on the market for offers around...
The estate agent is even calling it a guide price.
-There's some room for negotiation there, then?
-Something for you to consider.
But also consider this against all that we've seen so far.
You've really got to both be happy about this.
I know you're over the moon about it, but...
-It has grown on me a little.
-Now we've talked about...
-As soon as you found out the price!
No, it's got nothing to do with that.
Go back, have a look around the property.
Think about things, talk about things.
-Try not to disagree. Catch you later on.
Under budget by £25,000, our mystery house is made up of two barns.
One has been converted into a stylishly modern home
with an open-plan kitchen and living area with three bedrooms
and the other is as yet unconverted,
but with planning permission in place
to turn it into a one-bedroom dwelling.
I'm really confused about this one.
Part of it I really, really think we could do something with...
..but maybe my heart's elsewhere.
I don't know.
But I think it's a good price, we can do something with it.
I think Terry really likes the property,
so I guess it's down to him to convince me
that we can turn it into our home.
I'm really interested in this property.
The barn part of it probably interested me
less than the house does.
I can see a lot of potential in the house
to get it to just exactly what we're looking for.
The land is probably less than I wanted,
but the surroundings and the way it's laid out make it look a lot more.
The mystery house is a contender for us,
or for me. For us, yeah, for us.
Well, I thought I'd find you by the barn.
-Have you seen enough?
-You look excited.
-More so for the house than the barn part.
There's a surprise!
This is all we're going to see now, the last of all the properties.
Why don't we find you somewhere to have a bit of a chinwag
and we'll catch up later, yeah?
-OK, let me lock up.
-Thanks a lot.
Lincolnshire is probably best known for its flat fens,
fertile farmland and variety of vegetables.
One of the county's best-kept secrets
is found hidden in a small farm near Boston -
the UK's only museum of microcars, or bubble cars,
as they're more affectionately known.
A popular, fuel-efficient mode of transport
after the Second World War,
the bubble had burst by the end of the 1960s.
Keeping the spirit alive is Paula Cooper,
who along with her husband Mike,
has over 50 models on display.
I've come to the museum to find out more about this micro motoring icon.
I grew up seeing bubble cars.
I suppose first question is,
why build a car so small?
It was the size of the engine,
so you've got the power-to-weight ratio,
you've got a very, very small 200cc engine in this particular one
-and most of them are similar.
-It's a scooter or motorbike engine...
..so you can't have a big, heavy car and it's a steel car,
-it's not glass fibre yet.
That's why they're so small, really.
Why three wheels on a car?
Ah, well, if you have three wheels,
you can drive it on a motorbike licence.
-OK. So this was your entry-level automobile?
-Very much so.
-It seems that they kind of burst on to the scene
in the 1950s.
Well, the Mini came along.
Minis were produced, they weren't that much more expensive,
but it was a four-wheel car, in many cases.
In a lot of ways, though,
not such a bad thing for an icon to be usurped by another icon.
-It's not a bad way, is it?
-There's a sort of romance to all of it.
The microcar originated in Germany and Italy
soon after the war had ended.
But it wasn't long before British car manufacturers got in on the act,
keen to produce their own low-cost, fuel-efficient models
during an age of austerity and petrol rationing.
Designs evolved over the decades,
but in order to be termed a microcar,
the engine size had to be less than 700cc.
As a self-confessed petrolhead,
I have a test drive arranged with Paula's husband, Mike,
in one of the museum's early British models,
a Trojan 200.
-Right, Jonnie, this is Mike.
-Mike, how are you doing?
-He's going to give you a driving lesson.
Thank you very much, Paula!
Let's go! Clamber in.
-Don't bang your head.
-OK, I'm in.
Room for a small one?
You know what, it's not that small in here.
You need to close the door, Jonnie, otherwise we'll fall out.
OK, foot controls are as normal.
ENGINE STARTS UP
-OK, so clutch.
-Then just feather it out?
-Check the handbrake's off.
-Down by your right hand.
Plenty of revs.
You've only got 200cc, only got nine brake horsepower.
We're off, we're off! Yes!
OK, up into second.
Feel it. Good man.
Straight away, first time.
JONNIE GIGGLES EUPHORICALLY
The Trojan 200 was built in Croydon in the 1960s,
based on an earlier German model,
and around 10,000 of them were made.
At full throttle, it can reach speeds of up to 55mph.
What sort of range would this have?
It'll do 90 to the gallon.
You've got a three-gallon fuel tank.
My car does about 22.
So at the time, 90 to the gallon was unbelievable,
because most of the stuff that was about
was doing mid-20s to the gallon.
-It was a cheap car to run, cheap family transport.
Since the bubble car's decline accelerated thanks to the Mini,
I can't help but see the irony
as I'm overtaken on the Lincolnshire roads.
Yeah, go as fast as you want, mate!
It's the exact middle of driving a car and riding a motorbike, for me.
You're really nice and close to the road,
you've got amazing visibility.
You see and feel your environment, don't you?
You're in contact with the outside world.
It may have been a short-lived motoring trend,
but the bubble car hasn't died out completely,
with some car producers planning new, lightweight eco motors
not dissimilar to the design of the Trojan.
But for now, this motoring classic remains in a post-war time bubble.
Well, I think it's fair to say that we've seen differing opinions
from Theresa and Terry on the properties that we've showed them,
so let's catch up with them
and find out if they've managed to come to an agreement.
You're both looking rather pensive.
Have you come to a decision?
For me, I have a favourite,
the Georgian house.
Anything else in the running?
Closely behind was the converted cottages.
-Do these marry up with your favourites?
but I also have a third in the mystery house at the end,
because of the way that it was set out.
OK, let's talk about your common favourites.
I think my plan of action is to revisit the two houses
-and look to where I can compromise.
I think at the end of the day, it's going to be me that compromises.
I think the converted cottages is the compromise for you guys.
It gives you the most amount of land, or outside space,
it gives you the rural feel, yet you still have villages a walk away.
-Access to schools.
Sounds like that's the compromise.
Unless you guys make a compromise, you're never going to find a home,
-you know that, cos you want different things.
So do please come back up here
and have a look at these houses. When?
-As soon as, then?
-As soon as possible, really.
-Next couple of weekends?
-You never know, they might not hang around.
I wish you the very best of luck. Please let me know what you decide.
I'd be really interested...
You've looked at so many houses,
it does seem like you're on the final straight.
OK, good luck. Let me know, won't you?
-Thank you very much, we will.
Well, after spending some time with Terry and Theresa,
I've really come to appreciate why they've struggled for so long
to find the right house.
They simply want quite different things from not only the property,
but also its location as well.
But having said that, I do genuinely believe
that we've shown them houses that occupy that middle ground
between what Terry and what Theresa are after.
Hopefully, at their second viewings,
they'll finally be able to strike a compromise
and then move their search for a property
here in the Lincolnshire countryside one step forward.
I wish them the best of luck. See you next time.
Terry and Theresa went back to the converted cottages
for a second viewing and are still interested.
They're waiting to sell their Stevenage home
before hopefully making an offer.
If you'd like to escape to the country in either England, Wales,
Northern Ireland or Scotland and would like our help,
then please apply online at...
Jonnie Irwin takes a soon-to-be-married couple from Hertfordshire on a property-searching mission to rural Lincolnshire. With a budget of £375,000, Jonnie pulls out all the stops to find them a character property, before buckling up to experience a miniature motoring icon.