Norfolk Escape to the Country


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Norfolk

Sonali Shah is on the hunt for a home in rural Norfolk for a retired couple. Sonali also finds out just what it takes to keep England's historic houses running.


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This magnificent estate is believed to be the birthplace

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of one of the most famous women in English history,

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and it was once voted the most haunted house in Britain.

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So, where am I? Find out in just a moment.

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On today's programme, a couple of recent retirees who are set

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to turn their rural dream into reality.

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One of our properties turns into a kitchen nightmare...

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-It's lovely.

-But is it for you?

-No.

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..but another cooks up a storm.

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-This is Wendy's kitchen.

-It's lovely!

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Today, I'm in Norfolk, and this is Blickling Hall,

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which sits on the estate where it's believed

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Anne Boleyn was born in the early 16th century.

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Anne Boleyn had the misfortune of becoming Henry VIII's second wife,

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a marriage which was short-lived when he ordered her execution

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on May the 19th, 1536.

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More than 400 years later, on the anniversary of her death,

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it's said her headless ghost arrives here in a carriage

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driven by headless horses and a headless coachman.

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Later on in the show, I'll be back here to find out what really goes on

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behind the closed doors of this beautiful and historic Norfolk home.

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Situated in the east of England, Norfolk is the country's

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fifth-largest county, jutting out into the North Sea

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and bordered by Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire and Suffolk.

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Famous for its big skies and flat, fertile landscapes,

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Norfolk's charm is remoteness.

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It's one of the few counties with no motorway.

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Largely undeveloped, the entire Norfolk coastline was

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designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1968,

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characterised by wide sandy beaches and rugged

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red and white chalky cliffs.

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The northern coastline, stretching from Old Hunstanton in the west

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to Weybourne in the east, is an area of extraordinary beauty

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with a diverse range of habitats.

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It makes up the North Norfolk Heritage Coast,

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a classification that affords it special protection.

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Along this coastline,

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a mile inland is the pretty village of Cley-Next-The-Sea.

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It used to be much closer to the sea in the medieval period before

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land reclamation turned the busy harbour port into silty marshland.

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Today, though, the village, its windmill

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and magnificent marshes are a haven for tourists and birdlife.

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With all this unspoiled beauty on offer, it's easy to see

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why Norfolk is such a desirable county.

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If you're thinking of your very own escape to the country,

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you might consider house-hunting in Norfolk.

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At the moment, the average price of a detached property in England

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and Wales is just over £278,000.

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But here in Norfolk, that figure drops to 228,000, making homes in

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this lovely county incredible value for those seeking a rural retreat.

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Which is great news for today's buyers.

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Let's meet them and find out exactly what they're looking for.

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Retirees Wendy and Nigel recently sold their home in Radlett, Hertfordshire

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and moved to this rented detached property in Swinton

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near Manchester to be closer to their daughter and grandchildren

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while they look for a house in the Norfolk countryside.

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We're currently renting in Manchester,

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but it's not suitable for the long-term.

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We find it really noisy,

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really busy.

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This is a nice house, but, unfortunately, it's not for us.

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Before he retired, Nigel was an art director in the advertising

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industry and Wendy worked as a school welfare officer.

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They've been married for 42 years and met at the local disco.

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We saw each other across a crowded room... Boom-boom!

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-Do you remember your suit?

-Oh, the safari suit.

-Yeah.

-That was good.

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I liked the safari suit.

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Nice bright blue safari suit and cravat - perfect!

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It was beautiful.

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Wendy and Nigel now have two grown-up children -

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a son in Hertfordshire and a daughter in Manchester,

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as well as four grandchildren with whom they have close ties.

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Our grandkids are the world.

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Three boys and a granddaughter,

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what more can you ask for?

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It'll be a wrench leaving the family behind, but Wendy

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and Nigel have their hearts set on rural North Norfolk.

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The long-term aim has always been to move to Norfolk.

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We like the coast up there,

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all along, basically, from Hunstanton to Cromer.

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All along there.

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We know it quite well cos we've gone several times now over the years.

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Wendy has family in Sheringham.

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For us, possibly THE move.

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The time is now because we're getting older.

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We don't want to be old and crotchety and not be able to get out

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and all this kind of thing. We've got to do it now.

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When they're not entertaining their visiting family,

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Wendy and Nigel hope to have more time for their hobbies.

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In my spare time, I enjoy walking.

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And now I'm retired, I'll go back to doing a little bit of painting.

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In Norfolk, it's big skies

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and you could really get your teeth into something up there.

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That would be nice, do a bit of painting. And my garden.

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-That's your big thing, your garden.

-Yeah.

-Yeah.

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And while Nigel is tending to the plants, Wendy will be busy inside.

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I like cooking.

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I like to cook for the kids when they come round, so I would be

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looking forward to them coming up to Norfolk so I can do loads of baking.

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I'm into, at the moment, as well, ancestry.

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I've actually got an ancestor who came from the Norfolk area.

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I've yet to find out exactly where, and hopefully when I get there,

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I can find out even more.

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With their property already sold and their rented Manchester house

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a temporary arrangement, Wendy and Nigel are looking forward

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to finally settling down in the Norfolk countryside.

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I think this move is very important for us now

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and I think it will give us a new lease of life.

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It's a big adventure and this is one moment, so bring it on.

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Wendy and Nigel would like a property within driving distance

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of the thin strip of coast that makes up the North Norfolk Heritage Coastline.

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'I'm meeting up with our buyers in Norfolk

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'to go over the details of their planned move.'

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-Wendy and Nigel, hello, welcome to Norfolk.

-Hello, hi.

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Tell us why you both want to move to this beautiful county.

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Exactly that, really - it's beautiful.

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It's lovely, it's...peaceful.

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And we want to leave the hustle and bustle of where we lived before.

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We've been coming back here year upon year now, and it just

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seems a natural thing to do, for us to come here permanently.

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But, of course, this means you are moving away from family and friends.

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That is the sad part of it.

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But we're hoping very much that the children will come and visit us

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here as much as possible.

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As you say, we have the seaside, the countryside, we'll have everything.

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So we're going to have to make sure we find you somewhere that will fit the family in?

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-Yes, please. Yes, please.

-You surely are.

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You are in a hurry to move cos you're living out of boxes at the moment, aren't you?

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Big time. As soon as possible!

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Now, you're both retired.

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Does that mean in the day you want enough space

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so that you're not on top of each other?

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I need a good garden. A decent garden.

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That's my escape, that's my therapy. And if it's not...

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the garden isn't created, I'll create one. It's not a problem.

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I'll design one.

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But a man shed, we need a man shed. Every man should have a shed.

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So Nigel's not even in the house, he's in the garden!

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He's in the garden. He loves the garden.

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I'm not allowed anywhere near the garden.

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I should ask you about the house, Wendy, shouldn't I?

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What are you looking for in terms of style?

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One thing we don't want is somewhere that's got very low ceilings,

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because, as you can see...

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-I can see why.

-Yeah.

-You're both lovely and tall.

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Other than that, probably three bedrooms, four would be fab.

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I would love a big kitchen.

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A great kitchen.

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OK, my kitchen at home was quite small

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and I want space to have the grandchildren in, help doing cooking,

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and guys in as well, just to have a nice time in that kitchen area.

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So you're definitely not going to be on top of each other, if you're retired.

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If he's in the garden, you're in your kitchen, it'll all be fine!

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-This is the secret to a long marriage!

-Yeah, it is.

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-42 years.

-That's why it's worked.

-Not bad.

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Remind me of your budget. How much have we got to spend on this house?

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-400,000 is the maximum budget.

-OK.

-That's the max.

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He's looked at me very sternly, with the word "maximum"!

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-Yes, but, it is 400.

-OK, got the message.

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-£400,000 maximum budget.

-Yeah.

-Well, you're in luck.

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We have some lovely properties lined up for you. Are you ready to go?

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-We surely are!

-Oh, big time, big time!

-Let's go.

-Let's go!

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£400,000 is a decent budget for Norfolk,

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although the North Norfolk coast does attract premium prices

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due to its wealth of sandy beaches and strong second homes market.

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But we're hoping to find Wendy and Nigel a practical family home

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with three to four bedrooms

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for when their children and grandchildren come to stay.

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Wendy would like a large kitchen

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and green-fingered Nigel wants a decent-sized garden and a man shed.

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We've lined up a fine selection of available properties for Wendy

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and Nigel to view here in Norfolk, but I won't be revealing

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the price of our choices until the end of the tour.

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Our mystery house signals the end of our house search

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and will challenge our buyers' priorities.

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You didn't need to come to Norfolk, though, to escape a main road.

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Initially, we were looking somewhere not too far away

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-from our place in Radlett in Hertfordshire.

-Mm.

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Possibly about an hour away from there

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so we could easily access our son and the grandkids.

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But we always come back to Norfolk,

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and so we can buy a nice house,

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possibly a better house than we had before.

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And enjoy a better quality of life.

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For our first offering,

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we're heading to the village of Aylmerton, just over seven miles

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from the start of the North Norfolk Heritage Coastline.

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The pretty village is characterised by country lanes

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and traditional brick and flint cottages.

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Buildings of note include the parish church,

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with its distinctive round tower,

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and a rare circular pillbox built during the First World War, a time

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when Britain was perceived to be under threat from coastal invasion.

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Our first house is situated in the centre of this sought-after village.

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-That's quite a substantial house, that is.

-That looks so lovely.

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-Yeah, that's quite impressive. And traditional.

-Yeah.

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You say traditional... It was actually built ten years ago.

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-OK.

-Oh, wow!

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So, behind here, there are some converted barns, and the same person

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that converted those built this house in the same style.

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-So it's got that Norfolk flint style.

-OK.

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Outside, I like. So far, so good.

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It's bigger than I thought it would be, that's for certain.

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It's certainly a big house.

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But to fully appreciate how much house, we need to go inside.

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'Good initial reactions

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'to our detached brick and flint family home.

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'Although the frontage has classic Norfolk pedigree, the interior

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'has a contemporary spacious feel which I think will appeal to our buyers.'

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It's a rather grand entrance, isn't it?

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It's very unusual.

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Staircase is wow. Look at that.

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It's over three floors, this house, and more than 3,000 square foot.

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-Golly gosh.

-That's a lot of square foot.

-Oh, that's big!

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-That is big.

-OK. That's great.

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What do you think of this hallway/dining room?

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Yes, it's not what I expected.

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It's a bit unusual to have the dining room as soon as you

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-enter the front door.

-You don't need to use this as a dining room.

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No, no, no. No, no, no. No, no, you can use it how you want to use it.

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-Like it.

-Shall we go and see one of the rooms?

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-Yeah, please.

-Into the living room first.

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Oh! Is this a wood-burner? Great.

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Lovely. Like the fireplace.

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-It's smashing.

-Beautiful fireplace.

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A nice centrepiece to the room, and it's triple aspect,

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-so lots of light.

-Lots of light, I like that.

-Yeah.

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-That is great.

-How do you feel about the style of the house inside?

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It's very modern-looking, it does reflect the time it was built, really.

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Yeah, no, I don't mind that at all. I quite like the modern...

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-So is this the right size for the family? This is the main living room in the house.

-Oh, gosh, yes.

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-Oh, this is fine.

-This is lovely. Yes, should be plenty big enough.

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Absolutely gorgeous. Keep going!

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-Let's see if the kitchen is to your liking.

-Yes, please.

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'The rest of the ground floor rooms are arranged off that'

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central hallway and include a good-sized study overlooking

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the front of the house and, at the back, the kitchen.

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Aha! Uh-huh!

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Is this big enough for you?

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Mm, that was going to be my question, because you don't

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seem as enthusiastic about this room as the other room.

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I like it. Work surfaces, that's what I really want.

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-It's quite a small island, actually, isn't it?

-Yeah.

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-Yeah.

-There's enough work surface there, isn't there?

-Yeah.

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-So you've got a utility here with all the appliances...

-Lovely.

-..and the conservatory.

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I know it's got the washing machines in there, but that's

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-because the owner runs a bit of a laundry business.

-Oh!

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-What, from here? Based here?

-Yeah.

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-So, actually, a dining room table could go in there...

-Yeah, it could.

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So, size-wise, OK?

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Size-wise, good. Enough room for you?

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-It's enough room for me.

-Enough room for you?

-Yeah!

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-Shall we see if the upstairs is?

-Yeah! Let's go.

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'Wendy and Nigel asked for three to four bedrooms, but they actually

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'get five in this spacious property, arranged over two floors.'

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On the second floor, off a mezzanine landing,

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are two bedrooms set in the eaves and with skylight windows.

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Both have en-suite shower rooms

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and would make excellent guest accommodation for their family.

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Back down on the first floor, there's a family bathroom and

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three further bedrooms, including a single and a good-sized double.

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And finally, the master.

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-Come into the master suite.

-It's big.

-That's nice. That's nice.

-Wow.

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There's an en-suite just there and a separate dressing room.

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-That's why there's no cupboards in here and it's spacious.

-Ohh!

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-You don't need to worry about any of that in here.

-That's great.

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And one of five bedrooms. So I know you only wanted three...

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-Three to four.

-Yes, five... Five is a bonus.

-Five is amazing!

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So is the house too big?

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In some ways, it could be, yeah.

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In some ways, possibly, yes.

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Both Wendy and Nigel seem to like the house and it gives them more

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than they asked for, but I'm mindful that Nigel spends a lot of time

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in the garden, and here, he may have some work to do to make it his own.

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At the front, there's a small lawn area bordered by a fence,

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and at the back, a gravelled courtyard

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and a double garage which has obvious man shed potential.

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Now, I must confess,

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I have been nervous about showing you this space.

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Because it's not really a garden. It's a courtyard.

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Yes, it's fairly obviously not a garden. It is a courtyard.

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You could landscape this and turn it into a garden.

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You could landscape it.

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It's possibly a little bit small for what I really want.

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I want a bit more space around the house, to tell you the truth.

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-So you've seen a lot of what is on offer.

-Uh-huh.

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Who'd like to guess how much this house is on the market for?

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I think it's right at the top of our budget

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and maybe it's even a little bit more.

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-Er, 410.

-OK.

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OK, I think it's above. I'll go...

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420.

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Because Nigel was so stern about the budget, I have stuck to it.

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-Oh, really?!

-It's actually on the market for £395,000.

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-Wow!

-Oh, right. So...

-Dig this up!

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Yes, 15,000 under. That's good.

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-I know you love the house.

-I like the house. Like the house a lot.

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-We have to think about this now.

-We have to think about the outside space.

-Yeah.

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-Go and have a look at the rest of the house.

-OK.

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Now you know the price, you can really assess it

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-and have a think about the garden.

-OK.

-And I'll meet you out front.

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Thank you very much. Thank you.

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Under budget by £5,000,

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our first property is a substantial brick and flint family home.

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Located in a pretty village not far from the coast,

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it gives Wendy and Nigel more than the number of bedrooms

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they wanted, a large enough kitchen

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and a courtyard garden Nigel could put his stamp on.

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Right.

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What would you do with this room?

0:16:500:16:52

It's not a bad space, is it? I mean...

0:16:520:16:55

To be honest, I wish that the kitchen had been extended.

0:16:550:16:58

You could create a kitchen-diner.

0:16:580:17:00

This could be the dining table, in here.

0:17:000:17:02

I like the house very much.

0:17:020:17:05

It's great for the family.

0:17:050:17:07

I don't have to worry about... you know, guys want to

0:17:070:17:09

come down for the weekend for how long, they've got a room.

0:17:090:17:13

This is fabulous.

0:17:130:17:15

-Second floor...

-Oh, wow!

-..the bedroom.

0:17:150:17:18

-It would be great, wouldn't it, as a guest floor.

-Yeah.

0:17:180:17:21

Two bedrooms, en-suite.

0:17:210:17:22

Yeah, no worries, they've got their own bathroom and toilet.

0:17:220:17:25

I mean, that'd be fab.

0:17:250:17:27

I think the house is a very substantial house.

0:17:270:17:30

It's a handsome house, possibly a bit too big for us.

0:17:300:17:34

For me, the only one downside is the outside, which is the garden.

0:17:340:17:39

I'm a very enthusiastic amateur gardener

0:17:390:17:42

and I really would like to get my teeth into some space outside,

0:17:420:17:45

and this really doesn't fulfil that brief.

0:17:450:17:48

-It's a lovely house, isn't it?

-It's a beautiful house.

-Very nice.

0:17:480:17:51

-We'll just have to work on Nigel.

-I know!

0:17:510:17:54

Nigel spends plenty of time in the garden

0:18:010:18:03

and knows a lot about horticulture, but he's probably

0:18:030:18:06

never considered building a house from the mud under his feet.

0:18:060:18:10

Comprising clay, sand and straw, cob is an age-old building material

0:18:100:18:14

first used in the British Isles in the 13th century.

0:18:140:18:18

Partners Kate and Charlotte are cob enthusiasts and run workshops

0:18:180:18:22

in how to build your own home using raw materials from the garden.

0:18:220:18:25

They're going to show our buyers that building with cob

0:18:270:18:29

needn't be mud, sweat and tears.

0:18:290:18:33

Wendy, Nigel, hello!

0:18:330:18:34

Nice to meet you, nice to meet you.

0:18:340:18:36

-You too. Welcome to our cob building workshop.

-Thanks very much.

0:18:360:18:39

-How long have you been doing this for, then?

-Well, we've been here about eight years

0:18:390:18:42

but we've been doing it around ten.

0:18:420:18:44

What made you get into cob building?

0:18:440:18:46

I was a sculptor originally, and when I discovered about ten years ago

0:18:460:18:49

that you could actually sculpt the house with mud, with your bare hands,

0:18:490:18:53

I was like, "That's my whole life sorted. I'm doing it."

0:18:530:18:55

Oh, amazing.

0:18:550:18:56

I met Charlotte a couple of years later...

0:18:560:18:58

Yeah, I'd never heard of cob building till I met Kate, and

0:18:580:19:01

it really is all she ever talks about, so now I know a lot about it.

0:19:010:19:05

This is where we live. Come and have a look, we'll show you a bit more.

0:19:050:19:08

-Oh, how lovely.

-Originally, when we came here, it was just this section.

0:19:080:19:12

That's 400 years old.

0:19:120:19:14

It's made of wattle and daub and mud bricks - clay lumps.

0:19:140:19:17

-Gosh!

-A traditional Norfolk building method.

-Yeah.

0:19:170:19:20

And then we more than doubled the house with this cob extension over here.

0:19:200:19:24

Built entirely with mud from the garden.

0:19:240:19:27

We sculpted it with our bare hands.

0:19:270:19:29

Amazing! What about the roof?

0:19:290:19:31

- Did you do that? - Well, I thatched it, yeah.

0:19:310:19:33

No!

0:19:330:19:34

Yeah. I did a short course and we got the reed from a local reed-cutter, two miles away,

0:19:340:19:38

and then thatched it. It was hard work, but I did it.

0:19:380:19:41

Cob is easily the most eco-friendly of building materials

0:19:410:19:45

as it can be dug up on site.

0:19:450:19:47

It's also incredibly cheap.

0:19:470:19:49

Kate and Charlotte's extension only cost £10,000.

0:19:490:19:53

Modern cob houses have a couple of key features to ensure

0:19:530:19:56

they last for generations.

0:19:560:19:58

They've all got their mud walls, and then to protect that mud,

0:19:580:20:02

you have an overhanging roof, you build your mud wall

0:20:020:20:06

on a stem wall made of brick or stone - it keeps it off the ground -

0:20:060:20:09

and then you finish the walls with a lime render.

0:20:090:20:11

And if you do all those things,

0:20:110:20:13

it really will last a lot longer than most conventional houses.

0:20:130:20:16

So is this actually the only thing you do, building houses with cob?

0:20:160:20:19

We do a lot of other things.

0:20:190:20:21

We mainly teach people on this site to build houses.

0:20:210:20:24

So we do four-day courses where people can come and learn

0:20:240:20:26

the skills, all the skills they need to build a house.

0:20:260:20:30

But we also do one-day courses in pizza ovens,

0:20:300:20:33

which is what we are going to hopefully do with you today.

0:20:330:20:35

While Charlotte goes off to prepare the dough for the pizzas,

0:20:350:20:39

Wendy and Nigel are going to help Kate mix up the components that make the cob.

0:20:390:20:43

First step, rolling up their sleeves to gather some mushy clay

0:20:430:20:46

from Kate's garden pit.

0:20:460:20:48

That's my bit. I got that bit!

0:20:480:20:50

Whoa!

0:20:500:20:52

Taking the edges off, look, look. Take the edges off.

0:20:520:20:55

One bucket of finest Norfolk clay is then mixed with

0:20:550:20:59

three buckets of sandy gravel from the garden.

0:20:590:21:01

Some people use a digger to combine the ingredients,

0:21:010:21:04

but Kate has an earthier, more traditional method.

0:21:040:21:06

And how are we going to make this all together?

0:21:060:21:09

In days gone by, they would have used a horse or a cow to actually

0:21:090:21:12

stamp on the material, partly as the heaviness of the animals,

0:21:120:21:15

they'd have crushed the materials down, but we're going to stamp on it with our feet.

0:21:150:21:19

And I'm going to have a little dance and mix this stuff up.

0:21:190:21:23

As far as mixing goes, there's no specific technique.

0:21:230:21:26

Cob dancing is strictly freestyle.

0:21:260:21:28

THEY LAUGH

0:21:330:21:36

OK, so the third ingredient is straw,

0:21:360:21:39

-and it helps it...regulates the rate it dries out at.

-OK.

0:21:390:21:42

So we're going to add some straw and we're going to do the twist.

0:21:420:21:45

OK, that'll do. Twist it up, twist it up!

0:21:450:21:47

I'm not sure Chubby Checker had this in mind back in the 1950s!

0:21:490:21:53

It's a shame Charlotte is missing out on all this fun,

0:21:530:21:57

but the building team have already worked up a hunger.

0:21:570:22:00

Back outside, the cob pizza oven is ready to be built.

0:22:010:22:04

Kate starts off by making a mould from sand around which the

0:22:040:22:08

cob will be arranged, then it's time to start adding the cob layers.

0:22:080:22:12

The first layer is formed of cob bricks shaped by hand.

0:22:130:22:17

A hole for the oven door is cut,

0:22:220:22:24

and then a second layer of slightly wetter cob is added.

0:22:240:22:28

This outer skin gives the oven its strength

0:22:280:22:31

and is smoothed over for a perfect finish.

0:22:310:22:34

And just press and make it beautiful.

0:22:340:22:36

The final step is to remove the door

0:22:410:22:44

and scrape out the sand from the inside.

0:22:440:22:46

Good, yeah, keep going.

0:22:480:22:49

-Right, Kate...

-Is that the lot?

-Yeah, what do you reckon?

0:22:520:22:54

-How does it look? It looks really nice from the inside.

-Have a look.

0:22:540:22:57

Oh, yes! Well done, guys. Amazing. Well done.

0:22:570:23:00

Ohhh, thank you! Kate, I am so hungry.

0:23:000:23:02

Well, the oven is up to temperature, it's a good 700 degrees.

0:23:020:23:05

Our pizza dough's ready - let's eat pizza!

0:23:050:23:08

Wendy and Nigel's oven still needs to dry, so the pizzas

0:23:080:23:11

are being cooked in Kate and Charlotte's larger cob oven.

0:23:110:23:14

The thick, earthy walls absorb the heat well, and at 700 degrees,

0:23:140:23:18

the wood-fired pizzas are ready in less than a minute.

0:23:180:23:21

-KATE: Yay, look at that!

-That looks amazing.

0:23:210:23:24

-WENDY: Well done. Well done.

-Thank you!

0:23:240:23:27

Oh, this is beautiful. Oh, well done, Chef.

0:23:270:23:31

-Thank you.

-Absolutely gorgeous.

-Well done with your oven.

0:23:310:23:35

It's just been fantastic, so thank you very much.

0:23:350:23:38

- It's been lovely to meet you both. - Thank you very much.

0:23:380:23:41

For our next house, we're travelling to Fakenham,

0:23:440:23:47

a 20-minute drive to the North Norfolk Heritage Coastline.

0:23:470:23:51

Often referred to as the gateway to the North Norfolk coast,

0:23:510:23:54

the historic town is blessed with a variety of shops and services.

0:23:540:23:58

There's been a weekly market here since the 13th century.

0:23:580:24:02

The next property is situated just outside of the town on a quiet

0:24:020:24:05

lane within an exclusive gated cul-de-sac.

0:24:050:24:09

-Oh, wow!

-Wow.

-Golly!

0:24:090:24:12

-Wow!

-Oh, that's different.

-It's big!

0:24:130:24:17

-Golly gosh, it's all new, isn't it?

-So it's a fairly new build?

-It is.

0:24:170:24:20

So the family that live here bought the plot of land

0:24:200:24:23

a couple of years ago and then had it designed by an architect

0:24:230:24:26

to their specification, and then had it built.

0:24:260:24:29

And the restriction that they had

0:24:290:24:31

-was that they needed to keep it that chalet style.

-OK.

0:24:310:24:36

And they are rather nice, aren't they? It's a nice area.

0:24:360:24:38

Lovely little area. And it's gated.

0:24:380:24:41

-Can't wait to get inside.

-Yeah!

0:24:410:24:42

Before we go inside... Nigel, let's mention the garden.

0:24:420:24:46

-We can see a bit of it here.

-Yes, there's definitely more here.

0:24:460:24:49

Mm-hm. Whether it's enough or not...

0:24:490:24:52

-We'll see.

-..we'll talk about later.

-Yeah, good.

0:24:520:24:54

-But let's go and see inside first.

-Yes, please. Okey-doke.

0:24:540:24:57

Part of a community of properties,

0:24:570:24:59

this architect-designed chalet house maximises the natural light

0:24:590:25:04

with full-height windows and there's underfloor heating throughout,

0:25:040:25:07

freeing up valuable wall space where there'd normally be radiators.

0:25:070:25:11

Oh, yes, this is nice.

0:25:130:25:15

It's nice and big, it's big enough for us, it's lovely.

0:25:150:25:18

I like the fact you can... You've got light there, light here.

0:25:180:25:22

-Light three sides.

-I know!

-Triple aspect.

0:25:220:25:24

And that's the theme about the house, they've really,

0:25:240:25:26

-really thought about making it as light as possible.

-I like light.

0:25:260:25:29

-Windows everywhere.

-Yeah.

0:25:290:25:31

-And French doors to both sides.

-Yeah, that's unusual...

0:25:310:25:33

-You could open it out either way.

-Yeah.

0:25:330:25:36

I think you'll be even more pleased when you see the kitchen.

0:25:360:25:40

Oh, please!

0:25:400:25:42

Ohhhh...!

0:25:460:25:48

-Oh, this is nice.

-Oh, this is...

-How's this for a kitchen?

0:25:480:25:52

-Oh!

-This is Wendy's kitchen.

0:25:520:25:54

It's lovely.

0:25:550:25:57

-That's lovely.

-This is smashing. It's really, really good.

0:25:570:26:01

-Oh, I think we've found it!

-Isn't this everything you wanted?

0:26:010:26:04

-This is a kitchen, isn't it?

-This is a proper kitchen.

-This is a proper kitchen.

0:26:040:26:07

Bifold doors that lead you straight out in the garden...

0:26:070:26:10

-Ahh, bifold doors!

-I know it's not a huge garden,

0:26:100:26:13

but this is a usable garden cos it's right on the same...

0:26:130:26:16

That's usable space out there.

0:26:160:26:18

-Isn't this gorgeous? Haven't they done it beautifully?

-Yeah.

0:26:180:26:21

As a family, this is where you'd be a lot of the time.

0:26:210:26:25

And you look straight out into the garden. For me, that's a bonus.

0:26:250:26:29

-Not it's just the upstairs to show you - the bedrooms.

-Let's go!

0:26:290:26:33

The kitchen has struck a chord with Wendy.

0:26:350:26:37

In addition, there's a spacious utility room to hide the white goods

0:26:370:26:40

and access to a large double garage at the front of the house.

0:26:400:26:44

Across the hallway, there's a decent-sized study and a cloakroom.

0:26:450:26:49

Upstairs, there are four bedrooms all set into the roof space,

0:26:490:26:52

with large windows

0:26:520:26:54

and built-in cupboards along with a family bath and shower room.

0:26:540:26:58

So this is the master, which has got an en-suite

0:27:010:27:04

and lots of built-in cupboard space.

0:27:040:27:07

Whoa!

0:27:070:27:08

-And this is the main part of it.

-Oh, my word! I love it.

0:27:080:27:12

-Oh, my God!

-Wow.

0:27:120:27:13

-This is enormous. Got a lot of ceiling height.

-Oh, I like this!

0:27:130:27:17

We're not used to that, are we?

0:27:170:27:19

-Oh, isn't it nice?

-You'll like this.

-I like it!

-I know.

-What about you?

0:27:190:27:24

-Do you like it?

-Yeah, I like the whole package.

-Really?

-Yeah, yeah.

0:27:240:27:28

Because we said when we were looking for a house,

0:27:280:27:31

-we didn't know what kind of style of house.

-No.

0:27:310:27:34

So it could be old, it could be new, and this kind of new really

0:27:340:27:39

appeals to me and it appeals to Wendy as well.

0:27:390:27:41

-That modern design?

-Oh, I don't like it at all(!)

0:27:410:27:43

Yeah, clean and crisp and...

0:27:430:27:45

-That's why you're crying - you hate it!

-I hate this place(!)

0:27:450:27:48

But it's a big enough house for us

0:27:480:27:50

and it's a big enough house for when the family come.

0:27:500:27:52

Shall we go outside and discuss how much you think this might cost?

0:27:520:27:56

-Oh, strewth! Yeah, yeah.

-OK? Yeah.

-Let's do it.

0:27:560:28:00

Before we talk money, Nigel needs to see more of that garden,

0:28:020:28:05

which wraps itself around the entire house and is largely laid to lawn,

0:28:050:28:10

with a selection of mature trees and bordered by a wall and fencing.

0:28:100:28:13

-Ooh!

-Now I want your opinion on the garden, Nigel.

0:28:130:28:16

The garden's pleasantly bigger than I thought was going to be

0:28:160:28:19

when we first arrived, because we came down that side there,

0:28:190:28:22

which is fairly narrow.

0:28:220:28:23

And I thought this back position was going to be the same again.

0:28:230:28:27

But it's... No, it's good.

0:28:270:28:29

It's a wraparound garden, but a wraparound garden,

0:28:290:28:32

we could do lots of things with.

0:28:320:28:34

And we've got trees. We love trees. Trees are good.

0:28:340:28:37

-Beautiful trees. Lovely chestnut at the front.

-Yeah.

0:28:370:28:40

Let's just have a pleasant think about how much this house is on the market for.

0:28:400:28:44

-Yeah, exactly, yeah.

-Are you going first?

-You can go first this time.

0:28:440:28:47

Oh, darn!

0:28:470:28:48

I love it. I think it's a gorgeous place, and I'm going to go for...

0:28:480:28:52

..420.

0:28:540:28:55

-OK?

-Same again.

-I'm going to be very optimistic...

-Ooh!

0:28:560:29:01

..and say 395.

0:29:010:29:03

-WENDY GASPS

-OK.

0:29:030:29:05

-You wish.

-I wish.

0:29:050:29:07

-He DOES wish.

-Yeah.

0:29:070:29:09

It is actually currently on the market for 415,000.

0:29:090:29:14

-So I have gone a little over budget.

-Yeah.

0:29:140:29:16

It was on the market for £450,000, so it's been reduced already,

0:29:160:29:21

and I had a word with the owner and she said that she is willing

0:29:210:29:26

to have a chat about maybe taking it nearer your budget.

0:29:260:29:29

This is a nice house. I like it very much.

0:29:290:29:32

Why don't you go and have a look at the rest of the house,

0:29:320:29:34

think about it now that you know the price and I'll meet you out front.

0:29:340:29:38

-OK, thanks.

-Thank you.

0:29:380:29:40

Nothing negative! Nothing negative!

0:29:430:29:46

It's brilliant. This could be it.

0:29:460:29:48

This could be it!

0:29:480:29:50

Over budget by £15,000,

0:29:510:29:53

the owner of this stylish modern chalet house is open to offers.

0:29:530:29:57

The light and spacious accommodation includes an open-plan

0:29:570:30:00

kitchen-diner for Wendy, four good-sized bedrooms for when

0:30:000:30:04

the family come to stay, and a wraparound garden for Nigel.

0:30:040:30:07

Ohhh!

0:30:090:30:11

-Oh, wow, this is big.

-Got the ceiling again.

0:30:110:30:14

This is like a second master.

0:30:140:30:16

I LOVE this house.

0:30:160:30:19

Everything about it, so far, is ticking the boxes.

0:30:190:30:24

I was concerned when Nigel saw the garden from the side view

0:30:240:30:29

and I thought, "Uh-oh! This is going to be no deal."

0:30:290:30:33

But having come through this gorgeous kitchen,

0:30:330:30:36

out into the back of the garden, I think...it's sold.

0:30:360:30:42

You have to have an emotional contact with a place

0:30:420:30:44

as soon as you go into somewhere, and we both had that connection.

0:30:440:30:49

I got emotional, basically, because the kitchen I would love...

0:30:490:30:53

Erm, yeah.

0:30:560:30:57

I see our family here, great times together,

0:30:590:31:03

and it's a kitchen I can work in. It's fabulous.

0:31:030:31:06

Well, now you've seen everything, do you both still love it?

0:31:060:31:10

-Yes, we do.

-Yeah, lovely house.

-Could it be the one?

-Possibly.

0:31:100:31:14

-Could well be!

-Being very cautious.

0:31:140:31:17

Well, lots to discuss and we've got more properties to see tomorrow.

0:31:170:31:21

-Okey-dokes.

-It's been a good day, hasn't it?

-Very good. Very productive.

-Thank you.

0:31:210:31:25

It's the second day of our property search,

0:31:330:31:35

and with a budget of £400,000, we're helping recent retirees Wendy

0:31:350:31:39

and Nigel, originally from Radlett in Hertfordshire,

0:31:390:31:42

find a rural haven in Norfolk.

0:31:420:31:44

Coming up, two more properties, including the mystery house,

0:31:440:31:47

which involves making tracks to get there.

0:31:470:31:50

-I love steam trains.

-We like trains.

0:31:500:31:52

Big or small, I love them.

0:31:520:31:54

And I meet the team dusting down our national treasures to look their best.

0:31:540:31:58

-Some very intricate dusting going on there.

-Yes, very intricate.

0:31:580:32:02

We're heading south with our next property to the

0:32:070:32:09

village of Stanfield, half an hour's drive from the Heritage Coastline.

0:32:090:32:14

The nearby village of Litcham has a wide range of amenities,

0:32:140:32:17

including a 17th-century coaching inn and a convenience store.

0:32:170:32:21

As well as venturing away from the coast,

0:32:210:32:24

we're going back in time a little with our third house, which is

0:32:240:32:26

located on the edge of the smaller village of Stanfield,

0:32:260:32:29

surrounded by agricultural land and set back from the quiet road.

0:32:290:32:33

So, at the end of this lane is the cottage I want to show you.

0:32:350:32:39

-Oh, right!

-Whoa!

-Looks promising.

0:32:390:32:42

-It's a big cottage.

-It's been extended.

-Ah!

0:32:420:32:45

Now, the front door is actually there

0:32:450:32:46

but I'm going to take you in the back entrance.

0:32:460:32:49

Okey-doke. Fine, lovely.

0:32:490:32:50

Now, from the back, I think you can just see the house better.

0:32:530:32:57

You get a better idea of the style of the house.

0:32:570:33:00

It looks more substantial from this side.

0:33:000:33:02

And Nigel, it also means I can give you a little

0:33:020:33:05

-teasy look at the garden.

-A little tease of the garden.

0:33:050:33:07

-It obviously goes on a little bit more.

-Exactly.

-Which is good.

0:33:070:33:11

-Yeah.

-I like the look of that house.

-Let's go inside.

-OK.

0:33:110:33:14

Originally built around 200 years ago,

0:33:160:33:18

this is a house of two halves, with a more modern extension

0:33:180:33:21

added in the 1980s which has effectively doubled its size.

0:33:210:33:25

-So they use the back door to come straight into the kitchen-diner.

-OK.

0:33:250:33:30

Which was part of one of the extensions that was done, really.

0:33:300:33:35

-Because the original cottage comes up to there.

-Ah! Okey-dokes.

0:33:350:33:39

But the current owners have actually put the kitchen in,

0:33:390:33:42

so that's newer than the extension itself.

0:33:420:33:44

Size-wise, how is this kitchen for you?

0:33:440:33:47

-That's what I was a bit...

-Small.

-It's a bit on the small side.

0:33:470:33:52

-It's lovely for what it is, it's lovely.

-But is it for you?

-No.

0:33:520:33:57

-Not the size of the kitchen.

-Right.

-No.

0:33:570:33:59

-I see there's a range...

-Exactly. How do you feel about range cookers?

0:33:590:34:03

-Not good.

-I've never seen that face. Most people love them!

-No, I know.

0:34:030:34:07

-I'm weird. You know, I like the normal, conventional cooker.

-Right.

0:34:070:34:12

And...that would fox me.

0:34:120:34:14

-Let's try the rest of the house.

-Yes, please.

0:34:140:34:16

-Two reception rooms, the biggest one's here.

-Lovely.

0:34:160:34:20

Wow! This is a big room.

0:34:220:34:25

That's striking. That's definitely striking.

0:34:250:34:28

-The colour.

-Yeah, those red walls hit you as you come in.

0:34:280:34:31

They surely do.

0:34:310:34:32

And the ceiling's a nice height.

0:34:320:34:34

Although it's got beams, beamed ceiling, it feels -

0:34:340:34:37

cos we're quite tall - it doesn't feel oppressive. It's a nice room.

0:34:370:34:41

-There's also a utility room just across the way there.

-Oh, right!

0:34:410:34:44

And something they use as a bedroom, but actually,

0:34:440:34:46

you could use as a study...

0:34:460:34:49

a dining room... They've got another spare room.

0:34:490:34:52

-And then...there's another reception room.

-Okey-doke.

0:34:520:34:56

-Oh, wow!

-Mind your head here.

0:34:570:35:01

-Oh!

-I don't need to duck, but you will have to.

0:35:010:35:05

Yeah, that's different. Yeah, that's low.

0:35:050:35:07

So you can see this is the original cottage.

0:35:070:35:10

-Yeah, my head's nearly on the ceiling.

-Mm.

-That's low.

0:35:100:35:14

The front door actually comes in to a little hallway just outside.

0:35:140:35:17

-Oh, OK.

-And there's also a downstairs shower room.

-Yeah.

0:35:170:35:20

So what are you thinking so far? You've seen a lot of the downstairs already.

0:35:200:35:24

-I'm not feeling it.

-You're not feeling it?

-No, I'm not.

0:35:240:35:27

-So the staircase is just there.

-OK.

0:35:270:35:29

-Let's go up and see what's on offer up there.

-Lovely.

0:35:290:35:32

'Oh, dear. It started off quite well,

0:35:320:35:35

'but I fear we'd been levelled by the low beams.'

0:35:350:35:38

In addition to the downstairs bedroom, upstairs,

0:35:380:35:41

there are four further bedrooms, all doubles, so plenty of space

0:35:410:35:45

for the visiting family, and a recently renovated main bathroom.

0:35:450:35:49

I think Wendy and Nigel will be impressed with the size of the master.

0:35:490:35:52

Oh, my goodness!

0:35:550:35:57

-Ah!

-Well, that's a surprise.

0:35:580:36:00

Yes, that's much bigger than I thought.

0:36:000:36:02

The master bedroom is over that extended living room,

0:36:020:36:05

so that's why it's a bit of a surprise.

0:36:050:36:08

-Yeah.

-Yeah.

-En-suite.

-That's a bonus.

0:36:080:36:11

I was just going to say, fitted wardrobes, but...da-da!

0:36:110:36:13

They're behind you!

0:36:150:36:16

-I wasn't expecting that, that's for certain.

-Whoa!

0:36:160:36:19

How are you feeling about the house overall,

0:36:190:36:22

now that you've seen the main bedroom?

0:36:220:36:24

If I was to do it in numbers...

0:36:240:36:26

60 for, 40 against.

0:36:260:36:30

Now, the main thing about this house, aside, obviously,

0:36:300:36:34

-from the property itself, is the garden.

-Right.

0:36:340:36:37

So, let's go and see that and see if that changes your mind.

0:36:370:36:42

Okey-dokes. Let's go.

0:36:420:36:44

Although Nigel's had a sneak peak already,

0:36:460:36:49

there's actually more garden than he realises.

0:36:490:36:51

At the rear, the gravel driveway leads onto a large formal lawn

0:36:510:36:55

with a variety of trees and shrubs offering seclusion,

0:36:550:36:58

peace and just the sound of birdsong.

0:36:580:37:01

-Nigel, it's a big garden.

-Yes, this is a man-sized garden, this is.

0:37:010:37:06

-This is what I've been looking for.

-It's lovely.

-0.4 acres.

-Perfect.

0:37:060:37:09

-More than you've been looking for.

-More than I've been looking for.

0:37:090:37:12

-No, it's good, because I did ask for a quarter of an acre, didn't I?

-Yes, you did.

0:37:120:37:15

This is good, and it's not straightforward, either.

0:37:150:37:17

-It's higgledy-piggledy.

-It's a bit higgledy-piggledy, which I like.

0:37:170:37:20

And a man shed. Oh, yes, every garden should have a man shed.

0:37:200:37:24

Wouldn't be complete without one!

0:37:240:37:26

-And the double garage at the end of that drive.

-Double garage. Yeah, it's good.

0:37:260:37:29

Who would like to guess the price of the property first?

0:37:290:37:33

-Can I?

-OK, sure.

-I'm going to say...

0:37:330:37:38

-395.

-OK.

-Oh, I was going to say that. OK, then.

-Not your usual 420?

0:37:380:37:44

No, I'm not going to do 420, no, no! No!

0:37:440:37:46

Er, we're a bit further away from the coast now, say, half an hour?

0:37:460:37:50

-Half an hour, that's right.

-So I'm going to say...

0:37:500:37:54

-385.

-OK. You've changed your mind...

-I did, yes.

-..after Wendy's guess.

0:37:540:37:59

-Have I done it?

-You are closer, Wendy.

0:37:590:38:02

-Hey!

-It's on for 400.

-Whooo!

0:38:020:38:04

-Your budget, on the nose.

-Right on the nose. OK.

-OK!

0:38:040:38:07

Well, it's a substantial house. I mean, there's no doubt about that.

0:38:070:38:10

A substantial garden as well. It's the biggest plot we've seen so far.

0:38:100:38:15

But the lovely substantial garden, is that enough to sway you?

0:38:150:38:19

No. We need to... We'd to agree on the house.

0:38:190:38:22

-Doesn't override on the kitchen.

-Yes.

0:38:220:38:24

-60-40.

-No, lovely garden.

0:38:240:38:26

We can't play that garden versus kitchen game?

0:38:260:38:29

-It's going to be both of them!

-No, no.

-No.

0:38:290:38:32

The garden is beautiful.

0:38:320:38:33

So, I think, have a proper look around, enjoy it while you're here.

0:38:330:38:37

Yeah, it's lovely. Thanks.

0:38:370:38:39

-And I'll meet you at the house.

-OK, see you later.

0:38:390:38:42

Bang on budget,

0:38:430:38:45

this extended period cottage is a substantial family home,

0:38:450:38:48

offering Wendy and Nigel a variety of entertaining rooms

0:38:480:38:51

downstairs and up to five bedrooms, one more than they asked for.

0:38:510:38:56

The garden is secluded, spacious and south-facing.

0:38:560:38:59

-I've noticed down here, look at this...squash.

-Squashes.

0:38:590:39:03

-That'd be great, wouldn't it, having some of those.

-Plenty of fruit trees.

0:39:030:39:06

-Yeah, look at these apples.

-Aren't they gorgeous?

-Amazing, aren't they?

0:39:060:39:09

What do you reckon, are they cookers?

0:39:090:39:11

It's good to go and see a traditional property like this.

0:39:110:39:15

This is what you expect to see in Norfolk.

0:39:150:39:17

So, it's good, it's just that when you get on the inside,

0:39:170:39:21

the reality comes home to you.

0:39:210:39:23

The more I went round that bottom section,

0:39:230:39:26

especially that very low main beam, that would be a step too far for me.

0:39:260:39:30

I'd be for ever hitting my head on that.

0:39:300:39:32

The overall package, I think, was a realisation for us

0:39:320:39:36

that maybe a traditional house isn't exactly what we're looking for.

0:39:360:39:41

I think the cottage is absolutely gorgeous, for the right person.

0:39:410:39:46

And that right person is not me.

0:39:460:39:48

Nigel would love this garden. I know he loves this garden.

0:39:480:39:53

It's quirky, it's got all kinds of different areas,

0:39:530:39:56

but you don't live in a garden.

0:39:560:39:58

He may, but I'm not!

0:39:580:40:01

-It was worth seeing, this place, right?

-Very much so.

-Oh, yeah, yeah. Lovely garden.

0:40:020:40:07

-But not the house for you?

-Not the house, no. Garden and the cottage...

0:40:070:40:13

-No, it's not enough.

-Not enough.

-It's not enough, no.

-That's OK.

0:40:130:40:16

-We've still got the mystery house to go to.

-Lovely!

-Let's go to that.

-Thank you.

0:40:160:40:21

Now what can I tell you about the mystery house?

0:40:250:40:27

Well, with the other homes, we've tried to accommodate the family

0:40:270:40:30

that they're going to be leaving behind.

0:40:300:40:32

But the mystery house, well,

0:40:320:40:34

that's really more of a property just for Wendy and Nigel.

0:40:340:40:37

For our final offering,

0:40:400:40:42

we're heading to the town of Wells-next-the-Sea,

0:40:420:40:44

right in the middle of the North Norfolk Heritage Coastline.

0:40:440:40:48

But our journey to the mystery house is beginning slightly differently than normal.

0:40:480:40:52

Now, we can, of course, drive to the mystery house,

0:40:520:40:54

-but I thought it would be more fun...

-No, this is brilliant!

-..to take the train!

0:40:540:40:58

Afternoon. Would you like to sit yourselves down?

0:40:580:41:00

-Yeah, this way?

-Lovely!

0:41:000:41:02

-Thank you very much.

-This is brilliant!

0:41:020:41:04

WHISTLE BLOWS

0:41:040:41:06

'The Wells and Walsingham Light Railway is a Heritage line

0:41:080:41:11

'running between the coastal town of Wells and the inland village

0:41:110:41:15

'of Walsingham, along the track bed of a former standard gauge line.'

0:41:150:41:19

-A mystery ride to the mystery house.

-The magical mystery tour!

0:41:190:41:22

-A big kid's love affair with trains.

-Yeah.

0:41:220:41:26

-I love steam trains.

-We like trains.

-Big or small, I love them.

0:41:260:41:30

-I didn't know that, but now I do!

-You're magic.

0:41:300:41:33

Has it given you any ideas of what the mystery property might be?

0:41:330:41:36

-Old railway station, perhaps?

-OK...

-Ohhh! Could it be...?

0:41:360:41:41

-We'll have to wait and see!

-OK, OK.

0:41:420:41:47

We're getting off four miles down the track at the village

0:41:470:41:50

of Little Walsingham.

0:41:500:41:52

-That was lovely.

-Our mystery house awaits. Thank you.

-Thank you.

0:41:520:41:56

-Thank you.

-Thank you much!

-That was fabulous. Thank you.

0:41:570:42:01

The medieval village has changed little over the centuries,

0:42:020:42:05

with pretty age-old timber frame buildings lining the narrow streets.

0:42:050:42:10

Walsingham is affectionately known as England's Nazareth due to its

0:42:100:42:13

religious shrines in honour of the Virgin Mary, housed in both Anglican

0:42:130:42:18

and Catholic churches, attracting pilgrims from around the world.

0:42:180:42:22

As well as spiritual refreshment, the village has a number

0:42:220:42:25

of cafes and restaurants and a popular farm shop.

0:42:250:42:28

So that train has taken us straight to the mystery house,

0:42:290:42:35

because there it is.

0:42:350:42:36

THEY LAUGH

0:42:360:42:38

-Oh, wow! Literally there to there?

-Yeah.

-Amazing!

0:42:380:42:42

That's why I thought the train would be a good idea.

0:42:420:42:45

It was built by the railway company

0:42:450:42:47

-for the level crossing guard in 1865.

-Oh, right.

0:42:470:42:51

-So it's an old railwayman's cottage.

-1865?

-Mm-hm.

-Oh, my word!

0:42:510:42:55

-Well, it doesn't look it. It's been...

-It has been modernised.

0:42:550:42:59

Only a couple of years ago, actually. What do you think of it?

0:42:590:43:02

-I think it's really pretty.

-Yeah, it is.

-It looks very nice.

0:43:020:43:04

And we are very close to the sea. We're four miles...

0:43:040:43:09

-Oh, that's good.

-That's lovely.

-That's good.

0:43:090:43:11

-Shall we go in?

-Yes, please.

0:43:110:43:13

This property is the closest to the Heritage Coastline we've seen,

0:43:130:43:17

but homes here attract a premium, so the former railway signal cottage

0:43:170:43:20

is the smallest of the houses I'm showing our buyers.

0:43:200:43:24

There's more than enough room for Nigel and Wendy,

0:43:240:43:26

but visiting family might have to get the camp beds out.

0:43:260:43:29

-So you come straight into the living room.

-OK.

0:43:310:43:35

-What kind of "OK" is that?

-OK...small.

0:43:350:43:39

-Yeah, this was the old cottage.

-Yeah.

-This was it.

0:43:390:43:43

-A lovely new wood-burner there.

-Beautiful wood-burner.

0:43:430:43:46

This looks like it's two rooms...

0:43:460:43:48

-It was originally two rooms, I'm sure...

-Knocked into one.

-Mm.

0:43:480:43:52

This lounge is small.

0:43:520:43:53

This house, I felt, would be more something for the two of you.

0:43:530:43:57

Yes, there's room for family, but it is a smaller house.

0:43:570:44:01

And the advantage of having the smaller house is that we've

0:44:010:44:04

been able to show you something a lot closer to the sea,

0:44:040:44:07

-which you were quite keen on.

-Yes, we are.

0:44:070:44:10

We are very keen on being near the sea.

0:44:100:44:13

So this was the old cottage, which means that's the extension.

0:44:130:44:16

-OK, right.

-Let's go and see the kitchen.

-Lovely.

0:44:160:44:19

To maximise space, the cottage has been built onto at the back,

0:44:190:44:22

and the rest of the ground-floor rooms are located

0:44:220:44:25

in a one-storey timber extension.

0:44:250:44:27

Oh, wow! OK...

0:44:270:44:30

-As you can see, a very modern kitchen.

-Oh, yeah, very modern.

0:44:300:44:34

-You can tell it's been done recently.

-Yeah. Very nice.

0:44:340:44:37

I think they've done really well with the way they've used the space,

0:44:370:44:40

because it could have been this very narrow kitchen,

0:44:400:44:43

but actually, they've arranged it well.

0:44:430:44:46

No, it's beautiful. I like it.

0:44:460:44:48

-And then you've got the sort of breakfast/dining area here.

-Space...

0:44:480:44:51

-Which looks straight out onto that patio area.

-That's nice.

0:44:510:44:55

I like that. That's lovely.

0:44:550:44:57

-So, bathroom... Is that the bathroom?

-Yeah, just through.

0:44:570:45:00

Exactly. Through the kitchen is a bathroom.

0:45:000:45:02

-And, actually, a bedroom.

-OK.

0:45:020:45:04

You could use it as something else - a study - but, at the moment,

0:45:040:45:08

-they use it as a bedroom because this is a three-bedroom cottage.

-OK.

0:45:080:45:12

It's cosy, it's nice. I like it.

0:45:120:45:14

I'm not feeling it's big enough at the moment.

0:45:140:45:17

-But let's...see the rest.

-OK.

0:45:170:45:19

As well as the ground-floor bedroom,

0:45:210:45:23

there are two further double bedrooms in the upstairs of the old

0:45:230:45:26

cottage, both cosy doubles, plus there's also a small shower room.

0:45:260:45:30

I think this would probably be your master,

0:45:340:45:38

but all three bedrooms are about the same size.

0:45:380:45:41

-Right.

-I know what that "right" means. "It's too small, Sonali!"

0:45:410:45:45

-That's small. It's very pretty.

-It's beautiful.

-Yes, beautifully done.

0:45:450:45:50

-And quite a sizeable terrace out that way.

-Oh, right.

-Oh, wow!

-OK.

0:45:500:45:55

Golly. Wow! That's nice.

0:45:550:45:59

So my pitch - do you want something for just you two? -

0:45:590:46:01

-I think that's a resounding no, isn't it?

-That's possibly a no-no.

0:46:010:46:04

Yeah. We want more space.

0:46:040:46:07

It was always going to be a gamble bringing our buyers here,

0:46:070:46:10

but in the list of priorities, clearly, space for visiting family

0:46:100:46:13

comes before proximity to the sea.

0:46:130:46:16

I have one last play, and that's the garden,

0:46:160:46:19

which is surprisingly large, laid to lawn and enclosed,

0:46:190:46:22

with both a summerhouse and man shed.

0:46:220:46:24

-Whoa!

-It's a nice-sized garden.

0:46:260:46:29

-It's a big-sized garden.

-Yeah.

0:46:290:46:30

I never expected to see so much garden.

0:46:300:46:33

So, from here, you can really see the extension and the old cottage.

0:46:330:46:38

-Yeah.

-Mm-hm.

0:46:380:46:39

Sort of the best view of it, really.

0:46:390:46:41

It's very clever, how they did the extension of the kitchen

0:46:410:46:43

and the bedroom and bathroom.

0:46:430:46:45

-Because you can't see it from the front.

-No, you can't tell.

0:46:450:46:48

-It's quite secluded.

-So it does look like that cottage.

0:46:480:46:50

-No, it's very well done.

-How much would it cost you?

0:46:500:46:54

-I'm not going first!

-Shall I go first?

-You go first.

0:46:540:46:57

-Three bedrooms...

-Mm.

-..on a decent-sized plot, I suppose...

0:46:570:47:03

-The garden is nice, isn't it?

-Yes, the garden, a blank canvas, really.

0:47:030:47:07

Er...340.

0:47:070:47:09

-OK.

-Whoa, I think that's optimistic!

0:47:090:47:12

Yeah. I'm going to go...375.

0:47:120:47:15

-Wendy's very close.

-Really?

-Oh, God, I did it!

0:47:150:47:18

379,950, it's on the market for.

0:47:180:47:21

-Hey, hey.

-Right.

-So you would have 20,000 from your budget.

-We would.

0:47:210:47:27

-But judging by your face, Nigel, that's not enough.

-Nowhere near.

0:47:270:47:31

No. Do you want to go in and look at the rooms you haven't seen?

0:47:310:47:34

-OK.

-Thank you.

-And I'll meet you at the front.

-All right.

0:47:340:47:37

-By the train station!

-OK.

0:47:370:47:39

Under budget by £20,000,

0:47:400:47:43

our mystery house is a former railwayman's cottage which

0:47:430:47:46

has been extended to the rear and finished to a high spec throughout.

0:47:460:47:50

There are three bedrooms, including a downstairs guest room,

0:47:500:47:53

and a spacious garden, and it's just four miles

0:47:530:47:56

from the stunning North Norfolk Heritage Coastline.

0:47:560:47:59

-It's pretty.

-This is nice.

-Yeah.

0:48:010:48:03

And this is probably a bigger bedroom than the two upstairs.

0:48:030:48:06

-The finish is fantastic.

-It's beautiful.

0:48:060:48:08

They've really done it well, haven't they?

0:48:080:48:10

It's lovely. It's too small.

0:48:100:48:12

It's a beautiful cottage, I have to say.

0:48:120:48:14

Beautifully done, but it's too small. It is too small.

0:48:140:48:18

Beautiful little village down the road.

0:48:180:48:21

Great, four miles from the sea.

0:48:210:48:24

I'm beginning to think, "Are we mad?" You know?

0:48:240:48:27

It came over as a very, very nice holiday home in a good location,

0:48:270:48:32

but I didn't get the feeling you'd come to live here as a family home.

0:48:320:48:36

I think you'd come to live here for a short period of time.

0:48:360:48:40

That's just the overall impression you get from the house.

0:48:400:48:43

-Well, we've seen all the houses.

-Yep!

0:48:470:48:50

I think I know which is your favourite!

0:48:500:48:52

-Yes!

-But are you going to go for it?

0:48:520:48:55

-Let's find somewhere warm to discuss.

-Yes, please.

0:48:550:48:58

Set in the tranquil Norfolk countryside is a magnificent

0:49:020:49:05

redbrick mansion,

0:49:050:49:07

just one of a number of fine stately homes to be found in the county.

0:49:070:49:11

Surrounded by ancient yew hedges,

0:49:110:49:13

Blickling Hall has a history stemming back several centuries.

0:49:130:49:16

The current house was built in the mid-17th century,

0:49:160:49:20

but there's a record of a Manor of Blickling in the Domesday Book.

0:49:200:49:23

During its long life, the estate has been home to a number of distinguished residents,

0:49:230:49:27

including a medieval monarch and a Tudor Queen of England.

0:49:270:49:31

But it's now in the care of the National Trust.

0:49:310:49:33

I've come to find out more about the property's past

0:49:330:49:36

but also about its present, and how on a daily basis the Trust

0:49:360:49:40

goes about preparing its treasures for the public.

0:49:400:49:43

'It's an hour before the doors open

0:49:430:49:44

'and I'm meeting house manager, Jan Brookes-Bullen.'

0:49:440:49:47

Jan, what a magnificent estate.

0:49:470:49:49

Isn't it? Yes.

0:49:490:49:51

And over the years, I understand lots of illustrious people have lived here?

0:49:510:49:55

Yes, illustrious, infamous, famous...

0:49:550:49:57

There's been activity on this site for about 2,000 years.

0:49:570:50:00

King Harold owned the estate and, of course, the Boleyns had the estate.

0:50:000:50:04

So they're probably the best-known.

0:50:040:50:06

-And was Anne Boleyn definitely born here?

-Oh, yes, yes.

0:50:060:50:09

There's been many sort of myths and legends about her birthplace

0:50:090:50:12

but research has now shown that the birthplace is here

0:50:120:50:16

and not Hever Castle.

0:50:160:50:17

How long did she spend here with her family?

0:50:170:50:19

I would say, possibly, she'd be seven or eight before they moved off to Hever Castle.

0:50:190:50:24

-And now, this all belongs to the National Trust.

-It does.

0:50:240:50:27

It was bequested by the 11th Marquess of Lothian in 1940, who actually

0:50:270:50:32

instigated the country house schemes whereby you could

0:50:320:50:35

leave your property to the nation in lieu of death duties.

0:50:350:50:39

We are so thankful he did - a very visionary man.

0:50:390:50:41

-And how many visitors do you get here?

-About 150,000.

-A year?

0:50:410:50:46

-Ever-increasing, yes.

-Is it hard to get it ready for them every day?

0:50:460:50:49

Erm, yes, it is. The girls start very early.

0:50:490:50:52

But they're already under way, so if you want to see how we get going...

0:50:520:50:56

-Of course.

-Let's go and have a look.

-Yeah.

0:50:560:50:58

Since it was built, the Grade I listed mansion has been updated,

0:50:580:51:02

most extensively during the 18th century,

0:51:020:51:05

which saw the addition of grand staircases and opulent staterooms.

0:51:050:51:09

To maintain Blickling's historical integrity, every morning,

0:51:090:51:13

a team of up to nine conservation assistants have just three hours

0:51:130:51:17

to prepare 25 spaces for the public.

0:51:170:51:20

Daily jobs include vacuuming the 48 treads on the main staircase

0:51:200:51:24

and brushing precious artefacts to remove

0:51:240:51:26

the property's biggest enemy - dust.

0:51:260:51:30

Here we are in the Brown Drawing Room, where Louise is actually busy

0:51:300:51:33

-getting the furniture ready for today.

-Oh, yeah!

0:51:330:51:35

-Some very intricate dusting going on there.

-Yes, very intricate.

0:51:350:51:39

-Hi, Louise.

-Hi.

-I love these tools.

0:51:390:51:42

Yes, my brushes that I've got here,

0:51:420:51:44

although I've not using too many of them today.

0:51:440:51:46

This is one of our really soft brushes. Do you want to have a feel?

0:51:460:51:49

Oh, yeah. And what's this good for?

0:51:490:51:51

This is good for our really quite delicate surfaces.

0:51:510:51:54

So I've been using it just on the metal edges there,

0:51:540:51:57

looked a little bit dusty.

0:51:570:51:59

And would you be doing this every day?

0:51:590:52:02

There must be some things you only do every week or every month?

0:52:020:52:05

Yeah, absolutely. And sometimes even every five to ten years.

0:52:050:52:08

-That's probably a big tapestry or something like that.

-Yes, yes.

0:52:080:52:12

Yeah, or some of the paintings, the canvases, on those.

0:52:120:52:14

You're preparing these rooms for the visitors themselves,

0:52:140:52:18

but presumably they're ones bringing in some of the dirt?

0:52:180:52:20

Yes, we all bring in dust.

0:52:200:52:22

Even those that work here bring in their own dust.

0:52:220:52:24

But it's strange - people laugh when we talk about dust so much.

0:52:240:52:28

I've even been to a dust conference, would you believe?

0:52:280:52:31

But it's the biggest impact on furniture and furnishings.

0:52:310:52:33

As well as looking unsightly, dust can cause physical damage and,

0:52:330:52:37

if left to build up, becomes sticky, binding itself to an artefact.

0:52:370:52:42

Another potential hazard is light, both natural and artificial.

0:52:420:52:46

The fading effect on precious paintings is well-known,

0:52:460:52:49

but light can even fade ebony and damage textiles.

0:52:490:52:52

When the property is closed, rooms are kept in almost total darkness.

0:52:520:52:57

By opening time, 91 blinds across the house must be raised,

0:52:570:53:00

such as in the Great Library,

0:53:000:53:02

with its rare collection of 13,000 books and manuscripts.

0:53:020:53:05

-As you can see, there are a lot of blinds down here.

-A lot of blinds.

0:53:050:53:08

-So we'll start with this one, and there's tricks to it.

-OK.

0:53:080:53:12

Now, because we're south-facing, we only really want to take up

0:53:120:53:15

the blue blinds today, because it's very bright.

0:53:150:53:19

'The library's blue blinds act as blackouts,

0:53:190:53:21

'whereas the cream blinds, which Jan is leaving down this morning,

0:53:210:53:24

'reduce the light intensity to a safe level for the books.

0:53:240:53:28

'A special film on the windows

0:53:280:53:29

'filters out harmful ultraviolet light.'

0:53:290:53:32

Sometimes it's quite gloomy, you can take them up quite a lot higher

0:53:320:53:35

and you can take the cream ones up as well.

0:53:350:53:37

But, today, no, we've got sunshine, which is great.

0:53:370:53:40

And it's that balance, isn't it, of being able to see

0:53:400:53:42

the collections and also not letting too much light in.

0:53:420:53:46

When people were living here, would they have been letting too much light in at that time?

0:53:460:53:50

Possibly not. If you've paid a lot of money for your silks and fabrics,

0:53:500:53:54

-you're not going to let the sun fade them, are you?

-No.

0:53:540:53:58

So we're just carrying on that really historic housekeeping.

0:53:580:54:01

As well as cleaning and lighting, part of the housekeeping duties

0:54:020:54:05

includes decorating the public rooms with seasonal flowers.

0:54:050:54:09

I'm helping staff member Jo Pipe with a final floral flourish.

0:54:090:54:13

The arrangement takes pride of place beneath the man who had

0:54:130:54:16

quite an impact on Blickling's most famous resident.

0:54:160:54:20

-Henry looks pleased.

-He does. And I think our visitors will be too.

0:54:220:54:26

Opening time, but in less than 24 hours,

0:54:270:54:29

Jan and her cleaning team will be doing it all over again.

0:54:290:54:33

Over the past couple of days,

0:54:360:54:38

Wendy and Nigel seem to have agreed on most things.

0:54:380:54:40

So, the question is, are they on the same page about the next move?

0:54:400:54:44

-Wendy and Nigel, you know what I'm going to ask.

-Mm.

0:54:470:54:50

What are you going to do next?

0:54:500:54:52

Well, I think it's fairly obvious from the journey we've just had

0:54:520:54:56

through the various houses,

0:54:560:54:58

there's one in particular that stands out for both of us.

0:54:580:55:01

Yes, really does stand out.

0:55:010:55:03

-That modern chalet.

-Yeah.

-Modern chalet, yes.

-Love it.

0:55:030:55:06

It kind of ticked all of the boxes that we had in our mind.

0:55:060:55:10

The house itself was fantastic.

0:55:100:55:12

Possibly be more room than we would need, but plenty and plenty of room.

0:55:120:55:17

Kitchen... Great kitchen.

0:55:170:55:20

That's what won it for you?

0:55:200:55:21

It's a very nice house indeed.

0:55:210:55:24

A very nice house.

0:55:240:55:25

-It sounds like it really could be the house.

-A great contender.

0:55:250:55:29

Realistically, we need to have a good look around the town

0:55:290:55:32

and see what it has to offer us in terms of amenities, which is

0:55:320:55:35

-an important part of the process.

-Mm.

0:55:350:55:37

And if that turns out OK, well,

0:55:370:55:40

maybe we'll look to be doing a second viewing.

0:55:400:55:44

-It's all very positive.

-Very, very positive.

0:55:440:55:46

But I think it's a process we need to go through.

0:55:460:55:48

You're being more cautious, I think, than Wendy. Is that fair to say?

0:55:480:55:53

-Yeah.

-I think you like the house that little bit more.

0:55:530:55:57

-There we go, the sensible guy.

-Mm.

0:55:570:55:59

If it was down to you, would you be already talking to the agent?

0:55:590:56:02

-I bought it. Boom-boom.

-Oh, you'd say that?

0:56:020:56:06

Wendy's is more an emotional response, which is understandable.

0:56:060:56:10

Mine is just a little bit more measured. It's just how I am.

0:56:100:56:13

Well, if Wendy's plan goes to plan, you'll be buying the modern chalet.

0:56:130:56:18

So will you give me a call when he has come round to your way of thinking...

0:56:180:56:22

-Oh, sure!

-..and you've moved in and then we can celebrate?

0:56:220:56:26

-That'd be great.

-Fantastic. We will do that, for sure.

0:56:260:56:29

I'll let you know.

0:56:290:56:30

Because I have a feeling, Nigel, it's going to go Wendy's way.

0:56:300:56:33

I'm going to get dragged into this, aren't I?

0:56:330:56:35

-Thank you for the experience. It's been amazing.

-It's been brilliant.

0:56:350:56:38

It's been great fun and we've learned a hell of a lot too.

0:56:380:56:42

If Wendy had her way,

0:56:450:56:47

she would have already made a move on the modern chalet.

0:56:470:56:49

It really was the perfect home for them and the family.

0:56:490:56:52

It had everything they asked for.

0:56:520:56:54

It's understandable Nigel is a little more cautious,

0:56:540:56:57

and even though he needs some time, I don't think it's going to be long

0:56:570:57:00

before they both make Norfolk their home

0:57:000:57:02

and can unpack those boxes for good.

0:57:020:57:05

See you next time on Escape To The Country.

0:57:050:57:08

Wendy and Nigel did go back to see the chalet house

0:57:080:57:11

and made an offer which I'm delighted to say was accepted.

0:57:110:57:14

So we wish them the best of luck with their Norfolk move.

0:57:140:57:18

If you'd like to escape to the country in England,

0:57:180:57:21

Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales and would like our help,

0:57:210:57:24

you can apply online at...

0:57:240:57:26

Sonali Shah is on the hunt for a home in rural Norfolk for a retired couple who are living in Manchester. Looking for a slower pace of life, they have £400,000 to fund their country move. Away from the house hunt, Sonali finds out just what it takes to keep England's historic houses running.