Episode 19 Escape to the Country


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Episode 19

Property show where people search for their dream house in the country. Jonnie Irwin goes property hunting with a couple of new grandparents who have a budget of £800,000.


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A small building on this ancient bridge behind me

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was once used as the local jail.

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And I must say, when it comes to enviable river views, well...

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it's not the worst place in the world to be banged up, is it?

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So where am I?

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I'll be confessing all in just a moment.

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Today, a dynamic house-hunting duo

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has a promising start in their search

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for a country home close to family.

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Jonnie, I think you might be on a winner here.

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Later, those positive reactions ramp up.

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Oh, wow. That looks fantastic.

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That has wow factor.

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Today, I'm in Wiltshire,

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and this is the attractive market town of Bradford upon Avon.

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There's been a settlement here by this river for over 2,000 years.

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In fact, the town gets its name from the term "broad ford".

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Now, it's just this river itself

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that's key to the whole area's prosperity,

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with attractive architecture spanning Saxon, Georgian,

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right the way through the Industrial Revolution periods.

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But, as you are about to see, this is just one snapshot of many

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that this fascinating county has to offer.

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Known as the gateway to the West Country,

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landlocked Wiltshire is bordered by several counties,

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including Somerset, Berkshire and Hampshire.

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It's a region of contrasts, from its ancient sites such as Stonehenge,

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said to have taken 30 million man-hours to construct,

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to the famous white horses etched into its hillsides.

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It's thought the oldest at Westbury

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was first carved into the steep, chalky slopes in the late 1700s.

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And it's certainly a great vantage point

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for views across the stunning countryside.

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Wiltshire's expansive plains give way

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to an eye-catching carpet of rich, green fields in the Vale of Pewsey,

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an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

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The county's architecture is as historic as its landscape,

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ranging from attractive white timber-framed cottages

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and thatched roofs

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and Georgian-style redbrick townhouses

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to rather more decorative facades with feature windows.

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Castle Combe, dubbed England's prettiest village,

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is a designated conservation area due to its array of

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beautifully preserved limestone buildings,

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many of which date back to the 17th century.

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With its prehistoric monuments, beautiful rural terrain

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and traditional architecture,

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Wiltshire offers the complete country package

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for aspiring escapees.

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But as you might expect,

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the prettiness of Wiltshire does come at a cost.

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The average price of a detached house here in the county

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currently stands at just under £320,000,

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which is around 12% above the national average.

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But don't despair quite just yet.

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There are variations within the county,

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and if you want your budget to stretch that bit further,

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you're better off heading towards the west of Wiltshire

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and the Somerset border. So, who are today's buyers,

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and why have they been tempted by the wilds of Wiltshire?

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Let's meet them and find out.

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Former dental nurse Elspeth and her retired dentist husband, Robert,

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from Warlingham in Surrey,

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were in rather a compromising position

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during their first encounter over four decades ago.

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We met over a patient when I was a dental student at Guy's Hospital.

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And she was 19.

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She was tall, slim, beautiful, with long, brown hair,

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and so I spotted her immediately.

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And I saw you going up the student staircase, cos we all had

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different entrances, the nursing staff and the dental students,

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and I saw this lovely long pair of legs disappearing up the stairs.

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And she said I had a cute bottom, but I don't believe it!

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THEY LAUGH

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We started going out January 1973.

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They were married five years later and now have two grown-up children.

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We've got a gorgeous son, who's called Matt,

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and we've got a gorgeous daughter called Heather.

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And the magic bit about the two kids

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is the fact that they both had children

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within six weeks of each other.

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So we've gone from not being grandparents at all

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to having two of the most beautiful little grandchildren.

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We're very proud of them. Proud grandparents.

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Elspeth and Rob have lived in their four-bedroom Surrey bungalow

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for 20 years, but are more than ready for a change.

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I think our house has got to the stage where...

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It's a little bit big for us.

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Because, when we moved in, there were four of us,

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whereas now, we rattle around a bit, don't we?

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It's surrounded by the M25, and that's the big no-no for us.

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Because you find whenever you want to get anywhere or go anywhere...

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You have to go on the M25.

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So, although where we live is great,

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we want to get away from quite so much traffic and chaos, really.

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And it's family ties pulling them towards the west.

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We're looking to move near the Bradford on Avon area

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-to be close to our daughter, Heather.

-And my mum.

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And your mum.

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No, it's a beautiful area, and it's just time for a change.

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I'd love to live down there,

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and then I can be a proper granny and help out.

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-Yeah.

-Which will be super. And you can be a proper grandad.

-Yeah.

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Our son lives in West London, so, sort of being out in that corridor,

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on the M4 corridor, would really be brilliant,

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because it would take maybe an hour and a half to get up to west London.

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Perfect. Then we can do the grannying on the other child.

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SHE LAUGHS

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This sporty pair are also looking forward to enjoying hobbies,

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like rowing, closer to home.

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I've racked up about 120,000 miles in one car

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just going to the boat club and back.

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I'd love to jump on a bike and cycle to the boat club.

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That would be my dream.

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Elspeth has a love of horses and is an accomplished rider,

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but nowadays shares in Rob's sporting passion.

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I joined Robert in learning how to row about 15 years ago,

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and fell in love with that too.

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But that's not all.

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Elspeth's got plans to get green fingered,

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and they're both looking forward to making the most

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of their new country surroundings with their dog, Skye.

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What's more, Rob's pride and joy, his classic sports car,

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will also need a new shelter with this move.

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So, with their house on the market and a zest for life,

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they can't wait to be closer to family, an area they love

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and a future of possibilities.

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We've really enjoyed being here. Loved every minute of it.

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But we're going to love new adventures

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and doing different stuff.

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That's what we want.

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It's because we don't want to miss our grandchildren growing up,

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and they're only young once.

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And WE'RE only young once.

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Our grandson is the love of my life,

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and so to be able to just pop in and give him a cuddle

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and say good night to him

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and then just zoom home again easily would be a joy.

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Although being closer to family is a draw for Elspeth and Rob

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to move closer to Bradford on Avon,

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they're looking to settle in the peaceful surrounding countryside.

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Before we start our search,

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I'm catching up with them here to find out more

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about their property aspirations.

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So, family are bringing you here,

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but what is it about this part of the world

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that's capturing your imagination, then, Rob?

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It's halfway to the West Country, where we like going down to.

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There's a particularly good rowing club here.

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Talk me through the kind of village you would like to live in from now.

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Quite sort of smallish.

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Perhaps a good pub.

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-Yeah.

-A little post office, perhaps.

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Convenience store, maybe, even.

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I think somewhere where people know...you know, know us.

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It's community you're after, then?

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You want to be part of that, of course.

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Now, then, let's talk about the house itself.

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What does it look like?

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I mean, this county has just amazing architecture.

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Do you want a piece of that old... old feel?

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Trouble is that if it's too old, he's too tall.

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-Yeah.

-OK.

-We don't want low beams.

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I miss them 99 times, but it's that one time in 100 that hurts!

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I think we're very anxious that we have a property

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-that doesn't require a huge amount of maintenance.

-OK.

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I think that's something that, as you get older,

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you don't have the ability to carry on earning an income,

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so if you have a fabulous place that is listed,

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and so you have to spend an awful lot of money doing it in a certain way...

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-Yes.

-That is perhaps a no-no.

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And it would be nice to have a good view.

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Now, views. Views are important to both of you, aren't they?

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Where we live at the moment, we've got the most fantastic view.

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You're moving to the countryside, you want to see a bit of it,

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-I suppose, from your windows.

-Yes.

-And somewhere quiet.

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-Right, OK.

-So we don't want to be on a main road or a cut-through.

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OK, that's fair enough.

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-That's quite important.

-Now, size of property.

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You've got your son up in West London,

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-who'll be coming down to visit.

-Yeah.

-With grandchildren.

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-How many bedrooms?

-Minimum three-bed.

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OK.

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It would be lovely to have a big entertaining space,

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-cos we're quite big people.

-Mm-hm.

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-Nice kitchen.

-Do you like open plan?

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-That would be great.

-You've not really tied me down

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-as to exactly what style of property you're after.

-Light.

-Light.

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-You want light inside, then, obviously.

-Yes.

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-OK.

-We need somewhere to park cars, and perhaps have a double garage.

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How essential is this garage to you?

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Quite essential, cos my car rusts like mad,

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so it would be quite handy to have one.

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We could get away with a single garage.

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Yeah, we could.

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Finally, what's the budget?

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800.

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-£800,000?

-Yeah, about 800.

-Which is a very healthy budget...

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..in a pretty expensive part of the world.

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But I think we can get there, or thereabouts.

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-Yeah.

-Shall we go?

-Yeah, smashing.

-This way.

-OK.

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Elspeth and Rob's budget of £800,000 is extremely healthy

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for this neck of the woods.

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So I'm feeling pretty confident as we get our search underway.

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They want a manageable house and garden,

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but, being a sociable couple, it must be geared up for entertaining,

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with a large, light kitchen.

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They're flexible on style but need three bedrooms,

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a large garage for Rob's classic car,

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and a quiet location with fabulous views.

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We've assembled a fantastic mix of properties

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to tempt Elspeth and Rob with,

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but the all-important price will only be revealed

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after they've explored each house.

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The final visit to the mystery property

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will offer this gregarious pair a grandiose option

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in which to accommodate their visiting family and friends.

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You are hoping for a lot of people to come down and visit, are you?

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I think that would be absolutely lovely. That would be great.

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Cos we've got lots of chums over the years,

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and now we are all going in our separate directions,

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so it would be great if they would come and stay,

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but, a bit like fish and friends, go off after three days!

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THEY LAUGH

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We're starting our trip round Wiltshire in the village of

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Monkton Farleigh, which is just over two miles from

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Elspeth and Rob's daughter near Bradford on Avon, and around six miles from the city of Bath.

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The quiet and leafy village lanes are flanked by a series of

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impressive Bath stone houses, which this area is known for.

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The 17th-century dining pub lays claim to being Wiltshire's most haunted.

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And just a two-minute walk away is this handsome house

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dating back to the 1,800.

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And even the rain can't dampen its looks.

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So, property number one is this one.

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-That's pretty.

-Isn't it?

-Very pretty.

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Now, I know you said you liked the idea of a house with a view,

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but the view over that 11th century church is wonderful, isn't it?

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Fantastic. Gosh, it's absolutely beautiful.

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The house itself, mid-19th century wears well, doesn't it, this Bath stone?

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Very pretty. Looks maybe...small.

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It's not huge, so this is where I get to learn about how much you are

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looking at potential downsizing, how big do you need the three bedrooms to be.

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Fine. It looks as though it's got a garage.

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-Well, that could be issue number one.

-Ah...

-Let me show you inside.

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-OK.

-OK.

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This double fronted house may not be vast,

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but it is deceptively spacious.

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Much more so than its exterior would suggest.

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And talking of appearances being deceiving, the garage is not actually a garage at all.

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So, into the dry at least.

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Small utility area there then brings you straight into this fairly new kitchen.

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I think it might be a bit small. I like the style.

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-It's very, very nicely done.

-Yes, I thought so.

-Nicely done indeed.

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I'm just wondering whether, we're quite big people, and we might bump into each other quite a bit.

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-This WAS the garage.

-Right.

-Ah.

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But that comes around to the first issue.

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-There's no garage with the property, Rob, for your car.

-Right.

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But we've made enquiries, and the local manor house

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has units to let just up the road.

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And there's also some new garages that you can rent as well

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in a new development in the village.

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So there's places nearby that you can store your car and other bits and bobs.

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-Yeah. OK.

-That's a possibility.

-Bear this one in mind.

-Yes.

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And as we walk through you can start thinking

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whether or not this house will or not be big enough for you.

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-Fine.

-Come with me.

-OK.

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Taking up the entire front of the house and also the oldest part

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is a large sitting room spanning both sides of the old front door.

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-More of a cottage-y feel now.

-Very cosy.

-Very cosy indeed.

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-Nice log fire.

-Do you like it?

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I think so, but immediately I look to that beam and think of Robert's head.

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We're used to slightly higher ceilings as well, aren't we?

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-Yes, OK.

-I think it's a really well presented room.

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There is a "but" here.

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There is a "but". Robert would hit his head.

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The "but" is him butting his head against that beam. OK, fair enough.

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I think if we were smaller people, this would be a real possibility.

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-But...

-THEY LAUGH But...

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This house would have been built as a worker's cottage for the

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manor house just nearby.

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Perhaps we should think of the manor house.

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Yeah, add a couple of zeros, I can help you out there.

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A couple of zeros, yes.

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-Let's keep looking through, and mind your head there, Rob.

-Right.

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Also on the ground floor and just behind the kitchen is

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a room in use as a study.

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Then, moving upstairs, there is a compact family bathroom and three bedrooms -

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one flooded with light, a single room, and,

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given what they got downstairs, what will they make of the master

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which overlooks the front and side of the house?

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-I love the bedroom.

-Good.

-Really nice indeed. Nice floor.

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-Lovely and light. I do like light. You could feel really cosy in here.

-Yeah, feel cosy in here.

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-Yes.

-I can imagine myself in here.

-This is good.

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Real positive up here.

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Whilst the weather looks like it's fairly dry,

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-let's go outside and start to have a think about price.

-OK.

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After mixed reactions inside,

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we're on our way to the landscaped garden to the rear of the property.

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The sun's come out. The garden goes to that stone wall at the top.

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Because it is a raised garden, you actually get some of the

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evening sun coming over the top of the house.

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There's your little vegetable garden, Elspeth.

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-Good height. I can reach that bit.

-That's not a bad shout, actually.

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All right. So, we don't need acres and acres.

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-Is this all right for you guys?

-Yeah.

-It's a really good sized patio.

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So, how much do you think this property's on the market for?

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You go first.

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7... 785.

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Because it's very petite, I wouldn't want to pay any more than...

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..675, 680.

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Maybe I'm being very rude to the owners, I hope I'm not.

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-Give me a figure.

-680.

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Good guess. This place has a guide price of £650,000.

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Wasn't far off the mark.

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Look, end of the day, it's probably good news for you,

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meaning that what you're after is maybe attainable in these

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-sorts of areas, because you put quite a lot of money on it.

-Yeah.

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OK, I think now is a good time for you to have

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a good look at the house on your own.

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Especially when you look at the differential between how you guessed the price here.

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So go back into some of the other bedrooms,

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have a good snoop around, get to feel the place,

0:16:240:16:26

and I'll meet you whenever you are finished, all right?

0:16:260:16:28

-That's great.

-See you in a mo.

-Thanks.

-OK.

0:16:280:16:30

This 19th-century detached house comes in

0:16:330:16:35

a generous £150,000 under Elspeth and Rob's budget,

0:16:350:16:40

which would leave them a substantial pot to put their mark on the

0:16:400:16:43

property, and still have spare cash to enjoy themselves.

0:16:430:16:47

It's in a lovely location and has just the number of bedrooms

0:16:470:16:50

they asked for.

0:16:500:16:51

Plus both the house and garden are a manageable size.

0:16:510:16:55

The rooms are light and bright, and although there is no garage,

0:16:550:16:58

there are nearby options to shelter Rob's car from the elements.

0:16:580:17:01

This is quite a petite room.

0:17:030:17:05

Cosy room for children, grandchildren.

0:17:050:17:07

When we came down the road to look at this house I thought it was

0:17:070:17:11

a really cute-looking village house and I was really excited.

0:17:110:17:14

When we came inside, it's beautifully done.

0:17:140:17:17

I think it's going to be too small,

0:17:170:17:18

because it's quite low ceilings, and as you go through doorways,

0:17:180:17:23

the doorways are shorter than my husband, so he will bump his head.

0:17:230:17:27

I would quite like to have a garage because we have

0:17:270:17:30

a lot of gardening equipment and I've got quite an elderly car that

0:17:300:17:33

seems to rust a lot, so it would be quite convenient to put that in a garage.

0:17:330:17:38

We'll not be needing these, which is good. How did you get on, then?

0:17:380:17:41

-It's a lovely place.

-Yeah.

-But too small.

-Just a bit too small?

0:17:410:17:45

Just a bit too small.

0:17:450:17:47

Maybe focus on something with slightly higher ceilings for you, Rob?

0:17:470:17:50

-Yeah.

-That would be good.

-Let's go.

-Let's go.

0:17:500:17:52

When they make their move to the Bradford on Avon area,

0:17:570:18:00

Elspeth and Rob are looking forward to making the most of the River Avon

0:18:000:18:04

and the Kennet and Avon Canal, which both wind through the town.

0:18:040:18:08

As keen rowers for years,

0:18:080:18:10

they've now got their sights set on kayaking,

0:18:100:18:12

and have come to meet expert kayaking coach Mike Purchas

0:18:120:18:15

at the Bradford on Avon rowing and canoeing club

0:18:150:18:18

to learn how to master one of the fastest-growing sports in the UK.

0:18:180:18:22

OK, Robert. I think this is sort of the ideal size for you.

0:18:220:18:26

And Elspeth, ideal size.

0:18:260:18:29

-You should be able to just reach up to the top.

-Got it.

0:18:290:18:32

Holding the blade, put your arms up,

0:18:320:18:35

and you want to form right angles with your two arms.

0:18:350:18:40

That's about the correct distance. Yes, that's good. Robert.

0:18:400:18:45

OK, that's good.

0:18:470:18:48

Mike's club has over 150 members and has been running since 1873.

0:18:500:18:55

Its most famous alumni is British athlete Ed McKeever,

0:18:550:18:59

who won a gold medal for kayaking at the 2012 Olympic Games.

0:18:590:19:03

And there's a golden postbox in Bradford on Avon

0:19:030:19:05

to commemorate his achievement.

0:19:050:19:07

But there'll be no racing today.

0:19:070:19:09

Elspeth and Rob are going on their maiden voyage

0:19:090:19:12

in a wide and stable kayak, perfect for beginners.

0:19:120:19:16

Our novice pair are confident swimmers,

0:19:160:19:18

but there are still safety measures to take.

0:19:180:19:21

What happens if we capsize?

0:19:210:19:24

If you capsize, leave the kayak upside down,

0:19:240:19:28

because that contains air inside,

0:19:280:19:31

and then swim to the end of the kayak,

0:19:310:19:33

and then try and bring it into the bank.

0:19:330:19:35

In this case, I'll be there to help you.

0:19:350:19:38

With the safety briefing over, it's time to learn how to hop on board.

0:19:380:19:42

Put your blade across the front of the kayak

0:19:420:19:45

-with the curvy bit to the top.

-OK.

0:19:450:19:49

And step into the centre of the kayak.

0:19:490:19:51

Yeah.

0:19:510:19:53

Still holding on firm. And then let yourself down.

0:19:530:19:58

-And then you're ready to go.

-Fine.

0:20:010:20:03

Well, Mike's made it look easy, and it's Elspeth who's up first.

0:20:030:20:07

-Try and get your left leg in, if you can. That's good.

-Oh...

0:20:070:20:12

Try and get your bum down quickly.

0:20:120:20:13

-One hand on the bank. Keep one hand on the bank.

-Ohh!

0:20:130:20:16

-I've landed.

-That's fine.

-Excellent.

0:20:160:20:19

SHE LAUGHS

0:20:190:20:21

Hold on to the cockpit.

0:20:210:20:23

One hand on to the bank.

0:20:230:20:25

-One hand...

-Yeah.

-..in there?

-Yeah.

0:20:250:20:28

Try and lower yourself down slowly.

0:20:280:20:30

That's it. That's good.

0:20:300:20:32

You OK? How does that feel?

0:20:320:20:34

Yeah, good.

0:20:340:20:36

-You're in.

-The eagle has landed.

0:20:360:20:38

Mike's got 55 years' kayaking under his belt

0:20:410:20:44

and loves sharing his passion for the sport.

0:20:440:20:47

Just relax, Robert.

0:20:510:20:53

Arms up a little bit.

0:20:530:20:54

That's good.

0:20:540:20:56

Excellent, excellent. How does that feel?

0:20:560:20:59

Yeah, I'm getting... I'm feeling a bit happier.

0:20:590:21:02

-OK. Robert?

-Not quite so wobbly.

-Yeah, OK now, actually.

0:21:020:21:05

Basic paddling stroke is into the side of the kayak...

0:21:050:21:10

-OK.

-In and then out.

0:21:100:21:13

Right, OK.

0:21:130:21:15

But if we want to turn these kayaks, you need to paddle

0:21:150:21:21

one side, draw it out, back paddle, turning round sharply.

0:21:210:21:25

-Out, back. OK?

-Yes.

0:21:250:21:30

Another important stroke is knowing how to stop.

0:21:300:21:35

If you are paddling forward, you just

0:21:350:21:38

put all anchors on...

0:21:380:21:40

Like that, OK.

0:21:400:21:43

..and then back-paddle, OK?

0:21:430:21:45

This stretch of the River Avon is very flat and calm,

0:21:450:21:48

providing perfect conditions to learn to kayak...

0:21:480:21:51

Keep paddling, keep paddling.

0:21:510:21:53

..as well as providing a beautiful backdrop.

0:21:530:21:56

Kayaks in their earliest form are believed to date back

0:21:560:21:59

at least 4,000 years.

0:21:590:22:02

Originally developed by Inuits,

0:22:020:22:03

they were used for hunting and transporting passengers and goods,

0:22:030:22:07

and were made from seal or other animal skins

0:22:070:22:09

stretched over driftwood or whale bones as they evolved over the years.

0:22:090:22:13

Elspeth and Rob are taking to the kayaking like ducks to water.

0:22:130:22:17

Does that feel nice and steady in there?

0:22:170:22:19

-Yeah, it does, actually.

-Very good. Very good, Robert.

0:22:190:22:23

-Very good.

-She's good, isn't she?

0:22:230:22:24

ROB LAUGHS

0:22:240:22:25

This is great! It's fantastic.

0:22:250:22:28

-Yeah.

-I always want a new challenge.

0:22:280:22:32

This is definitely going to be one.

0:22:320:22:34

Yee-hoo!

0:22:350:22:37

SHE LAUGHS

0:22:370:22:38

Oh, we've found a new sport.

0:22:420:22:44

Well, I hope we get a new house AND a new sport.

0:22:440:22:46

That would be fantastic.

0:22:460:22:48

And after a mile-and-a-half round trip,

0:22:480:22:50

they're back where they started.

0:22:500:22:53

-What are your thoughts?

-It felt a bit scary to start with,

0:22:530:22:56

but you soon kind of get the feeling and get your balance a bit.

0:22:560:22:59

Yeah. You were going along like a train.

0:22:590:23:02

You were quite professional there. Really good.

0:23:020:23:04

It was really great.

0:23:040:23:06

It was good being on the water, and, yeah, couldn't have been nicer.

0:23:060:23:09

-It was great fun.

-You did really, really well.

0:23:090:23:11

Thank you so much for your time. We really appreciate it.

0:23:110:23:14

-Thank you very much.

-Thanks a lot.

-Thank you.

-Excellent.

0:23:140:23:18

Our house hunt continues as we journey to the village of Corsley,

0:23:210:23:25

which is half an hour away from Elspeth and Rob's family

0:23:250:23:27

in Bradford on Avon.

0:23:270:23:28

The nearest towns are Warminster to the east,

0:23:280:23:31

and Frome to the west.

0:23:310:23:33

The countryside surrounding Corsley is rich and green,

0:23:330:23:37

with the village's quiet, narrow lanes bordered by hedges,

0:23:370:23:40

behind which are many attractive properties.

0:23:400:23:43

There are plenty of great spots for dog walks,

0:23:430:23:45

and there's a local pub nearby.

0:23:450:23:48

Just over a five-minute walk from the pub

0:23:480:23:50

and we're at this rather imposing property,

0:23:500:23:52

quite different to anything else in the area.

0:23:520:23:55

Now, then...

0:23:560:23:58

you're after a property of size.

0:23:580:24:00

I think this could do the job.

0:24:000:24:03

Yes. I think I like that.

0:24:030:24:05

-It's got an Alpine style to it.

-Yeah, it has.

0:24:050:24:08

I can imagine it in a ski resort in Austria.

0:24:080:24:10

Yeah. It's almost got that chalet style, hasn't it?

0:24:100:24:13

You might not be will to see from here,

0:24:130:24:15

but looking through you've got fields behind,

0:24:150:24:17

-which suggests a view, something you're after, isn't it?

-That would be good.

0:24:170:24:21

-OK, good. Let's go inside.

-OK.

0:24:210:24:24

This property is of an exceptionally high standard.

0:24:240:24:28

The current owners designed and built it 16 years ago

0:24:280:24:32

and chose everything, down to the materials.

0:24:320:24:34

Right, then. Now, for Rob, you'll be pleased to hear,

0:24:360:24:40

behind that door is a boot room and a double garage.

0:24:400:24:44

Downstairs loo.

0:24:440:24:46

I think this is your most impressive room in the house.

0:24:460:24:51

What a lovely, big room.

0:24:510:24:52

Wow, this is fantastic.

0:24:520:24:54

Yes, I like this.

0:24:540:24:55

-It's a really, really good space.

-Let me walk you through,

0:24:550:24:59

-because the flow is really good in this house.

-OK.

0:24:590:25:02

Now, if you want to get your guests out of the way,

0:25:020:25:05

I think this is the perfect room to do it in,

0:25:050:25:07

while still being connected.

0:25:070:25:09

Again, spilling out into a really nice terraced area there.

0:25:090:25:12

It is, isn't it?

0:25:120:25:13

-But if you want to be cosy, this is the room to do it.

-OK.

0:25:130:25:17

The owners call this their best room.

0:25:170:25:19

-What do you think of it?

-Yes, I think it's a nice room.

0:25:190:25:24

I'm just slightly surprised that they didn't push it more out

0:25:240:25:27

that way, because having that veranda makes it quite dark in here.

0:25:270:25:32

I honestly think, it might be a bit darker here, I mean,

0:25:320:25:35

you've got that many windows,

0:25:350:25:38

but if you wanted a light room to hang out in, that's the kitchen.

0:25:380:25:41

-Yes, the kitchen when we wanted was top-notch.

-Good.

0:25:410:25:45

Space is the most important thing, isn't it?

0:25:450:25:47

-And you've got plenty of that upstairs, so come with me.

-Yeah, OK.

0:25:470:25:51

Up a winding stairway, leading to a galleried landing,

0:25:520:25:55

there's a family bathroom with a skylight and four double bedrooms -

0:25:550:25:59

one currently in use as a study,

0:25:590:26:01

another that's dual aspect,

0:26:010:26:03

then there's a cosy double.

0:26:030:26:06

We're heading for the largest of the four,

0:26:060:26:08

which takes in some fabulous views.

0:26:080:26:11

Now, the master bedroom, as you would expect, is en suite,

0:26:110:26:14

with a big wardrobe just through those double doors as well.

0:26:140:26:17

Oh, great. Lots of storage. That's good.

0:26:170:26:21

I like the way it's so light. Good size room.

0:26:210:26:24

Yeah. Excellent size.

0:26:240:26:25

I was hoping this would be plenty of room for you.

0:26:250:26:27

-Yeah.

-Excellent.

-This is plenty big enough.

0:26:270:26:31

OK, well, look, these have been pretty good reactions so far.

0:26:310:26:34

-Yeah, excellent.

-I'll let you have a scoot around the house later on.

0:26:340:26:37

-Let's go out to the front of the house, OK?

-Right.

0:26:370:26:40

And we'll start talking about price.

0:26:400:26:42

It's at the front where the majority of the slightly sloping,

0:26:450:26:48

manicured garden is found,

0:26:480:26:50

with a lawn also wrapping round the side of the house.

0:26:500:26:53

What's more, there are decked areas

0:26:530:26:55

which, on a bright day, are real sun traps.

0:26:550:26:58

And at the rear of the property is the double garage

0:26:580:27:01

and also the fantastic views.

0:27:010:27:04

So, as you can see, this house has been designed with socialising

0:27:060:27:10

and a bit of outdoor living in mind,

0:27:100:27:12

but also being able to escape from the weather under various shelters.

0:27:120:27:15

-That's a good idea.

-Excellent idea.

0:27:150:27:18

This is beautifully designed, sorted, done.

0:27:180:27:21

-You could just move straight in, couldn't you?

-Yes, you could. Definitely you could.

0:27:210:27:26

So, after a brief look around this house,

0:27:260:27:29

let's guess the price. Who wants to go first?

0:27:290:27:31

-Elspeth first.

-Good man!

0:27:310:27:34

I would say 785.

0:27:340:27:38

OK.

0:27:380:27:39

I'm going to go lower.

0:27:390:27:40

750.

0:27:400:27:42

Well...

0:27:420:27:44

..Rob, you're closest, but you'll both be pleasantly surprised,

0:27:450:27:49

because the asking price for this place is offers around £675,000.

0:27:490:27:53

Wow! We're way out.

0:27:530:27:55

-Way out.

-Gosh.

0:27:550:27:56

I'm really surprised cos it's... They look after beautifully.

0:27:560:28:00

-It is immaculate.

-Yeah.

0:28:000:28:01

It's a lot of house for your money.

0:28:010:28:03

Go back inside the house and give it a good go.

0:28:030:28:06

Have that chat amongst yourselves.

0:28:060:28:08

Could you imagine yourselves in this house, long-term?

0:28:080:28:11

-And I'll meet you whenever you're done.

-OK. Smashing.

-Good luck.

-OK.

0:28:110:28:15

This bespoke-designed chalet-style stone house

0:28:170:28:20

has a price tag that's a jaw-dropping

0:28:200:28:23

£125,000 below Rob and Elspeth's budget,

0:28:230:28:26

and delivers them all the space and light they're looking for.

0:28:260:28:29

There's a great entertaining kitchen

0:28:290:28:31

and one more bedroom than they asked for.

0:28:310:28:33

Rob gets his essential double garage here,

0:28:330:28:36

and there are also those sought-after countryside views.

0:28:360:28:40

What's more, the village location

0:28:400:28:42

is perfect for community life.

0:28:420:28:45

-Ah!

-Yes, this is good. Big room.

0:28:450:28:46

-We could use this as a gym, couldn't we?

-Yes, certainly could.

0:28:460:28:50

This sort of property, although it's modern, it would suit us very well.

0:28:500:28:54

We're very flexible on which style of property we have.

0:28:540:28:58

I think it's a little bit further out of my preferred area,

0:28:580:29:03

because if I'm suddenly called in to child mind for my daughter,

0:29:030:29:07

then I've got half an hour of driving to get there.

0:29:070:29:09

But saying that, you get an awful lot of house for your money here.

0:29:090:29:12

Yes, I quite like this property.

0:29:120:29:14

Immediately we came down the drive, I thought, "Wow.

0:29:140:29:16

"It looks like an Austrian sort of house in a ski resort."

0:29:160:29:19

But, when we went inside,

0:29:190:29:21

I was quite impressed with the amount of space, initially.

0:29:210:29:25

I think Elspeth and I both have the same sort of taste

0:29:250:29:28

when it comes to houses, and usually she's always right.

0:29:280:29:31

So, lots of rooms to look around and decorate, maybe configure.

0:29:340:29:39

Absolutely. And maybe make use of the view out the back.

0:29:390:29:42

It does seem a bit wasted, doesn't it?

0:29:420:29:43

I know it's south-facing, but that is a tremendous view.

0:29:430:29:46

It is. It's just such a shame not to maximise.

0:29:460:29:49

-And you know me and my view.

-I know. Well, I'm starting to learn.

0:29:490:29:52

Well, hopefully this has given you somebody think about.

0:29:520:29:54

-Onward and upward. Come with me.

-OK.

0:29:540:29:56

It's day two of our Wiltshire house hunt,

0:30:070:30:10

and armed with an £800,000 budget,

0:30:100:30:12

we're seeking out a country home for new grandparents Elspeth and Rob

0:30:120:30:16

that locates them closer to family in Wiltshire.

0:30:160:30:19

And I've still got an overwhelming mystery option up my sleeve.

0:30:190:30:23

It's like a baronial hall, isn't it?

0:30:230:30:25

-It's magnificent.

-It is.

0:30:250:30:27

Plus, I'll be getting up close to a culinary Wiltshire tradition.

0:30:270:30:31

You can see now why it tastes

0:30:310:30:34

how it'll taste, if you know what I mean.

0:30:340:30:36

-Smoky!

-It'll just taste beautiful.

0:30:360:30:38

Well, what I have learned so far from Elspeth and Rob

0:30:400:30:44

is they'd like a house to have views and that house, well,

0:30:440:30:48

it needs to be as big as possible.

0:30:480:30:50

And I think the outlook will certainly improve

0:30:500:30:53

with our next house.

0:30:530:30:54

But moving forward to our mystery property,

0:30:540:30:57

if they can see past the lack of vista,

0:30:570:30:59

they will be rewarded by a huge property.

0:30:590:31:02

Certainly big enough for all that entertaining they plan to do.

0:31:020:31:06

But before that, our next stop is the village of Westwood,

0:31:060:31:09

around two miles from Bradford on Avon,

0:31:090:31:12

and just 15 minutes from Elspeth and Rob's daughter.

0:31:120:31:16

Westwood really showcases that attractive Bath stone,

0:31:160:31:19

which includes its magnificent medieval church,

0:31:190:31:22

whose distinctive and beautifully carved stone tower

0:31:220:31:26

can be seen from miles around.

0:31:260:31:29

Historic Bradford on Avon is less than ten minutes away and

0:31:290:31:32

offers a great choice of independent shops,

0:31:320:31:34

along with the opportunity for walks by the River Avon.

0:31:340:31:38

Back in Westwood, there's a great village pub

0:31:390:31:41

just over a five-minute walk from our next house,

0:31:410:31:44

which has a story to tell, along with fabulous panoramic views.

0:31:440:31:48

I think I wanted you to come inside

0:31:480:31:51

to get a real first impression of this place. It's an old school.

0:31:510:31:54

-OK.

-Mid-19th century. What's going through your minds?

0:31:540:31:58

-What do you think?

-Yeah, I like the look of it from the outside.

0:31:580:32:02

It looks unusual, a bit quirky.

0:32:020:32:05

-Quite plain.

-Quite plain.

0:32:050:32:06

I think the way it's been converted over the years is very sympathetic

0:32:060:32:11

-but it's almost been converted with you both in mind.

-Ooh!

0:32:110:32:15

What were your first impressions when you walked through that gate?

0:32:150:32:18

-"Where's the garage?"

-Well...

0:32:180:32:20

that could be a garage but that is now a fantastic office

0:32:200:32:23

with amazing views. The guy who lives here,

0:32:230:32:26

you can take over the rental of his garage in the village.

0:32:260:32:30

Excellent. Yeah, well, that sounds good.

0:32:300:32:32

My only slight reservation is parking for cars.

0:32:320:32:36

Where do guests park when they come and see you?

0:32:360:32:39

-Is this the only bit of garden?

-It is, yeah. You've got...

0:32:390:32:42

two car parking spaces there.

0:32:420:32:44

If you really wanted, you could put cars in here.

0:32:440:32:47

It depends how much garden you want.

0:32:470:32:48

-But there is a bit of outside space that goes around the house.

-OK.

0:32:480:32:52

-We didn't really want that much gardening to do.

-No.

0:32:520:32:55

It's good, actually. It's ideal -

0:32:550:32:57

just one step backwards, one step forwards with the lawnmower.

0:32:570:32:59

THEY LAUGH

0:32:590:33:01

-Let's go inside. Come with me.

-Fantastic.

0:33:010:33:04

The original part of this property was built in 1841 from local stone.

0:33:040:33:08

It was a primary school until 1976,

0:33:080:33:11

and became a family home ten years later.

0:33:110:33:14

We're going back to school through the door

0:33:140:33:16

which used to be the boys' entrance.

0:33:160:33:18

Well, you've got a really nice entrance hall with an office off it.

0:33:180:33:22

And then straight into your huge living room.

0:33:220:33:25

Oh, fantastic.

0:33:250:33:26

-I like this.

-Come in and get a good look at this view.

0:33:260:33:29

Yeah. Oh-ho-ho!

0:33:290:33:31

That's the business.

0:33:310:33:34

This is super.

0:33:340:33:36

-What do you reckon?

-I love it. It's nice. Fantastic.

-So?

0:33:360:33:40

-Yeah.

-I like it.

-Good feelings, good vibe?

-Feelings, good vibes, yes.

0:33:400:33:43

And it's nice and quiet in here. You can't really hear the road.

0:33:430:33:47

-The house is orientated away from that road.

-Yeah.

0:33:470:33:50

It's ticked a few of our boxes.

0:33:500:33:52

-So far, so good.

-Good. This way.

0:33:520:33:55

Next door serves up a huge, bright kitchen-diner,

0:33:570:34:00

which I am sure they'll like.

0:34:000:34:03

Okey-dokey.

0:34:030:34:04

I like-y.

0:34:040:34:06

Lovely family area.

0:34:060:34:08

I like it a lot, actually.

0:34:080:34:10

And that's the old girls' entrance,

0:34:100:34:13

which they've turned into a utility room,

0:34:130:34:16

so all the gubbins is out of the way. Domestic bliss.

0:34:160:34:19

So far, Jonnie, I think you might be on a winner here.

0:34:190:34:22

Well, I hope so. What we'll do,

0:34:220:34:24

we'll walk out through this way and go upstairs to the bedrooms.

0:34:240:34:27

-Follow me.

-OK.

0:34:270:34:28

Also on the ground floor, and keeping the old school memories alive,

0:34:310:34:35

is a cloakroom, once the school secretary's office

0:34:350:34:38

and still furnished with the original quarry floor tiles.

0:34:380:34:41

Moving upstairs, there's a large family shower room

0:34:410:34:45

and four bedrooms - a decent-sized double,

0:34:450:34:48

along with a slightly more snug one with a skylight.

0:34:480:34:52

There's also a bright double with feature windows

0:34:520:34:54

that benefits from a light, bright en suite.

0:34:540:34:57

Finally, at the back of the house is an expansive double

0:34:570:35:00

with a row of windows that allows in lots of light

0:35:000:35:03

and those priceless countryside views.

0:35:030:35:06

Well, this bedroom is the one that certainly gets the views.

0:35:080:35:11

Oh, wow, that's fantastic.

0:35:130:35:16

I'd be quite inspired in here, I think.

0:35:160:35:19

I just want to jump on the bed and peer out there right now.

0:35:190:35:21

THEY LAUGH

0:35:210:35:22

You'd struggle to get up in the morning.

0:35:220:35:24

-That's the thing, isn't it?

-Yes.

0:35:240:35:26

What's the feel, the vibe you're getting?

0:35:260:35:28

-Cos you haven't bought a house for 20-odd years.

-No.

0:35:280:35:30

Do you like the vibe the house gives?

0:35:300:35:32

I'm getting the same vibes that I got when we bought our last place.

0:35:320:35:35

-Oh, really?

-Yeah.

-Oh, fantastic.

0:35:350:35:36

Yeah, the views, and it's just there's a nice feel to the place.

0:35:360:35:39

-It feels sort of cosy.

-Could you imagine us living here?

0:35:390:35:42

-I certainly could.

-Oh, really?

-Yeah.

-Oh, brilliant.

0:35:420:35:44

Well, this sounds very encouraging.

0:35:440:35:47

Let's go back downstairs and just sort of soak up these views

0:35:470:35:52

but also start thinking about how much this house costs.

0:35:520:35:55

-Right.

-Uh-oh.

-After you.

-Thank you.

0:35:550:35:58

Outside, there's a terrace

0:36:000:36:02

surrounded by well-planted shrubs and flower beds,

0:36:020:36:05

with spectacular views as far as the eye can see.

0:36:050:36:08

Although this property may not have the largest garden,

0:36:090:36:12

it does have plenty of great little spots

0:36:120:36:14

from where to soak up the surrounding views, including a hot tub.

0:36:140:36:18

-Look at that view.

-That is stunning, and I wanted to commune with the sky

0:36:200:36:23

and you sure can here.

0:36:230:36:25

If you look over there, that's the Westbury Horse, look.

0:36:250:36:27

Oh, wow! And I used to have a white horse, too!

0:36:270:36:30

Oh, it's an omen.

0:36:300:36:33

OK, so it's time to guess the price.

0:36:330:36:36

I would say it's up in the 600s.

0:36:360:36:38

I don't normally give people a second chance, but I like you, Rob.

0:36:380:36:41

I would say 685.

0:36:410:36:43

OK. Elspeth, can you do any better?

0:36:430:36:46

I would say 725.

0:36:460:36:49

You're in for a bit of a shock, then.

0:36:490:36:51

This place is on the market for offers around £795,000.

0:36:510:36:56

-Oh-ho-ho!

-Quite a bit above your guess.

0:36:560:36:58

THEY LAUGH

0:36:580:37:00

Well, I was way out before and I'm way out again.

0:37:000:37:02

So at least I'm consistent.

0:37:020:37:03

Well, it's interesting. These are the best reactions you've had

0:37:030:37:07

-of a house.

-Yeah, definitely.

-And it's been your lowest guess.

0:37:070:37:10

ROB SIGHS

0:37:100:37:11

I think he was being ever hopeful.

0:37:110:37:13

Could this be the house for you at the right price?

0:37:130:37:15

-It could well be.

-Well, we'll find out later.

0:37:150:37:18

-Go back inside and I'll catch you in a minute.

-OK.

0:37:180:37:20

This converted school, built from Bath stone,

0:37:240:37:26

has nudged in at £5,000 under

0:37:260:37:28

Elspeth and Rob's top budget

0:37:280:37:30

and still manages to offer them

0:37:300:37:32

practically everything they're looking for

0:37:320:37:34

in a desirable spot close to their relatives.

0:37:340:37:37

The kitchen-diner and living room are both perfect for entertaining,

0:37:370:37:41

and upstairs, there's one more bedroom than they asked for.

0:37:410:37:44

The garden is a manageable size with wonderful views,

0:37:440:37:47

and although the garage has been transformed into an office,

0:37:470:37:51

there is the option of renting a nearby shelter for Rob's car,

0:37:510:37:54

and the village location is ideal.

0:37:540:37:57

-This is a cutie room.

-Wow.

0:38:000:38:03

That would be fantastic for guests.

0:38:030:38:06

I think it might be a bit iffy for you with your head.

0:38:060:38:09

The guest gets the best room in the house, virtually.

0:38:090:38:12

When I walked through the front door, I just thought, "Wow."

0:38:120:38:14

It's got that wow factor of space.

0:38:140:38:17

It's so light, and the view is stunning.

0:38:170:38:21

The garden area I think is quite minimal. That might suit us.

0:38:210:38:26

Slightly anxious that you can't get too many cars off the road easily.

0:38:260:38:30

And we do have lots of people popping by,

0:38:300:38:33

so we'd have to address that issue with the house.

0:38:330:38:36

But the house itself, the rooms are, as I say,

0:38:360:38:38

beautifully spacious, and I could really see all our things here.

0:38:380:38:42

So, all done inside?

0:38:440:38:45

-Absolutely.

-Still beaming?

-Still beaming.

-Yes.

0:38:450:38:49

Good. Well, hopefully this is something to really consider.

0:38:490:38:52

-Time now for something different. Come with me.

-Right.

0:38:520:38:55

So, the mystery house.

0:39:020:39:04

You know it's going to be something that sometimes challenges

0:39:040:39:08

-your expectations.

-I like being challenged.

-Do you?

0:39:080:39:11

Well, you're going to love this caravan, then!

0:39:110:39:14

What would you love the mystery house to be?

0:39:140:39:16

A nice area to dog walk.

0:39:160:39:18

Having really nice reception rooms and kitchen. Entertaining space.

0:39:180:39:23

-Space seems to be coming up a lot.

-Yes. And light.

0:39:230:39:29

Lots of light flowing into the house.

0:39:290:39:31

For our final visit, to the mystery house,

0:39:340:39:37

we're journeying to the village of Kington St Michael.

0:39:370:39:39

It's just over 11 miles from Elspeth and Rob's daughter

0:39:390:39:42

near Bradford on Avon,

0:39:420:39:44

and just over three miles to the market town of Chippenham.

0:39:440:39:47

Kington St Michael is a thriving village offering residents

0:39:470:39:50

a chance to really become part of the busy local community,

0:39:500:39:54

with a village club, its own hall, cafe, shop and a pub.

0:39:540:40:00

There's also the St Michael And All Angels Church,

0:40:000:40:03

whose elegant tower collapsed after a severe storm in the 1700s

0:40:030:40:06

and was rebuilt some years later.

0:40:060:40:08

In the middle of the village, we find our mystery house,

0:40:090:40:12

which might be slightly further from family

0:40:120:40:14

than Elspeth and Rob would like,

0:40:140:40:16

but I'm hoping the space and style on offer here

0:40:160:40:19

makes this outstanding property worth the journey.

0:40:190:40:22

Now, I'm starting to get the impression that

0:40:230:40:25

coming to Wiltshire is almost to the manor born.

0:40:250:40:30

-ELSPETH LAUGHS

-Yes, I think so!

0:40:300:40:31

And this is as close to the manor as I could get you,

0:40:310:40:34

cos the manor house is there,

0:40:340:40:35

and we're going to be looking around the old coach house.

0:40:350:40:38

Oh, wow, that looks fantastic.

0:40:380:40:41

That has wow factor.

0:40:410:40:42

Well, I think it looks absolutely awesome

0:40:420:40:44

and it's got the most beautiful roof.

0:40:440:40:46

-It's got one of the classic tiled roofs of the area.

-Yeah.

0:40:460:40:49

The owner's son had a big party here, I think, last year,

0:40:490:40:54

-and they had 20 cars parked all around the place.

-Right, OK.

0:40:540:40:57

So, for your parties, I think we're all right for car parking.

0:40:570:41:00

-Yeah, definitely.

-All right.

-She's a beauty, isn't she?

0:41:000:41:02

-Yeah, it's absolutely gorgeous.

-Absolutely magnificent.

0:41:020:41:05

-Good. Let's go inside.

-OK.

0:41:050:41:07

Although the mystery property

0:41:080:41:10

sits in the shadow of the neighbouring manor house,

0:41:100:41:12

it's by no means modest in size.

0:41:120:41:15

The oldest part of this old coach house dates back to the late 1700s,

0:41:150:41:19

with various later additions,

0:41:190:41:21

including the handsome Georgian facade.

0:41:210:41:23

Good grief. Look at this!

0:41:250:41:27

We're entering the single-storey part of the property,

0:41:270:41:29

turning left, heading straight to the kitchen

0:41:290:41:32

at the back of the main part of the house.

0:41:320:41:34

First of all, you think, "Well, this is it."

0:41:340:41:37

It's quite long and thin, almost galley-style, isn't it?

0:41:370:41:41

But it gets better as we walk through.

0:41:410:41:45

Now, pausing just here, I know you like flow and open plan...

0:41:450:41:49

That's a pretty room, isn't it?

0:41:490:41:51

Next door to the dining room is a sunny breakfast room

0:41:520:41:55

running from the front to the back of the house,

0:41:550:41:58

with French windows to the garden at one end

0:41:580:42:00

and a picture window at the other,

0:42:000:42:02

with a sweeping spiral stairway in the centre.

0:42:020:42:05

Now, look at this space here.

0:42:080:42:09

Well, I think I'd have this as the main kitchen.

0:42:110:42:13

-Yeah.

-Wouldn't you?

-It's crying out for it.

-Definitely.

0:42:130:42:16

Give you the history. This was obviously the coach house

0:42:160:42:19

to the manor house, which was pulled down and rebuilt in the 1800s.

0:42:190:42:23

-So, coaches in here. There's a stabling just down there.

-Mmm.

0:42:230:42:27

-You can see it, can't you? See where they went in and out.

-Yeah.

0:42:270:42:30

So just through the, you've got an office.

0:42:300:42:32

-Through here - a living room. Come with me.

-OK.

0:42:320:42:35

The large living room adjoining the open-plan breakfast room

0:42:350:42:38

is also on a grand scale.

0:42:380:42:40

Our rather quirky mystery house has certainly come up trumps with space.

0:42:400:42:44

OK, so, I know you like big living rooms.

0:42:440:42:46

I know you like big everything, really, don't you?

0:42:460:42:49

Yes, well, I've gone for a big husband so...

0:42:490:42:52

-And he fits in here, doesn't he?

-I certainly do.

-He does.

0:42:520:42:55

I mean, yes, this is a big room. A little bit...

0:42:550:42:58

..I suppose "soulless" is the word that comes to mind for me.

0:42:590:43:02

Well, look, you asked for space and you've got it.

0:43:020:43:06

But this is a true mystery house. It's got you thinking.

0:43:060:43:09

-It's like a baronial hall, isn't it? It's magnificent.

-It is.

0:43:090:43:12

-Is it too big, then?

-No, no, it's lovely.

0:43:120:43:15

-I

-think it's too big.

0:43:150:43:17

-You do?

-I do.

-Oh, no. I love it.

0:43:170:43:20

The extensive living space here

0:43:200:43:22

is beginning to stray beyond Elspeth's comfort zone.

0:43:220:43:26

But there's even more to explore on this expansive floor.

0:43:260:43:29

There's a single-storey wing, comprising a games room

0:43:290:43:33

plus a double bedroom with en suite, along with a utility room.

0:43:330:43:36

Our mystery house has begun to divide their opinion,

0:43:360:43:40

but perhaps the upstairs will unite them once more.

0:43:400:43:43

There's the stylish family shower room and three bedrooms -

0:43:440:43:48

a double at the back,

0:43:480:43:50

a large double at one side of the house,

0:43:500:43:54

and on the other side of a galleried landing

0:43:540:43:56

is the master bedroom, with its own en suite.

0:43:560:43:59

Now, you get two equal-sized bedrooms either end of the upstairs,

0:44:010:44:06

but I think this has the nicer view of the manor house.

0:44:060:44:08

Oh, gosh, that's beautiful, isn't it?

0:44:080:44:11

Now, bedroom - size-wise?

0:44:120:44:14

-Fabulous.

-It's just the right size, perfect.

0:44:140:44:17

You seem quite happy here.

0:44:170:44:19

-Yeah, I love it.

-Is it just because it's massive?

0:44:190:44:21

I could see me here, I'd become lord of the manor!

0:44:210:44:24

-Well, you're pretty close to it!

-Yes.

0:44:240:44:26

I like something a bit different.

0:44:260:44:28

I think I would be rattling around,

0:44:280:44:30

wishing people were here apart from...

0:44:300:44:32

Obviously, I thoroughly enjoy your company...

0:44:320:44:34

Grandchildren, they could come down, stay long weekends.

0:44:340:44:37

It'd be wonderful.

0:44:370:44:38

Let's go outside, look at the outside space

0:44:380:44:41

-and start having a think about price.

-Oh, gosh.

0:44:410:44:44

-Looking forward to this.

-OK!

0:44:440:44:46

While Elspeth seems daunted by the space inside,

0:44:460:44:49

Rob already has visions of family staying.

0:44:490:44:52

But we've still got the garden to inspect.

0:44:520:44:55

It's of a reasonable size, completely manageable

0:44:550:44:58

and thoughtfully designed around a large walled courtyard.

0:44:580:45:01

There's plenty of space for parking,

0:45:010:45:03

plus Rob's all-important garage.

0:45:030:45:06

Now, outside space...

0:45:070:45:08

You probably get as much as we've seen, actually.

0:45:090:45:14

-Low maintenance.

-I love it.

0:45:140:45:16

People did used to call you Lord Pinkney of Peckham.

0:45:160:45:19

-Yes!

-There you go.

0:45:190:45:21

Well, it's been fun looking around the place.

0:45:210:45:26

Now you've got to try and price it.

0:45:260:45:28

Who wants to go first?

0:45:280:45:29

I think I'm going to guess this one bang on the nail.

0:45:290:45:33

I would say it's over budget, about 850, 875.

0:45:330:45:38

-OK.

-Yep.

0:45:380:45:39

-Elspeth?

-It's so beautifully done and it's a magnificent property.

0:45:390:45:44

I think, like Rob, I think I would say 820.

0:45:440:45:47

It's on the market for offers around £785,000.

0:45:470:45:52

-Oh!

-Gosh, you get an awful lot of property for your money, don't you?

0:45:520:45:56

-Yeah.

-Goodness.

-So, you know the price, go back inside, discover it,

0:45:560:46:01

fight it out amongst yourselves and I'll catch you when you're done.

0:46:010:46:03

-OK.

-OK.

-See you in a mo.

0:46:030:46:05

Our mystery coach house

0:46:080:46:10

is a surprising £15,000 below Elspeth and Rob's budget.

0:46:100:46:14

The super-sized proportions give them

0:46:140:46:16

a wealth of open-plan, bright spaces they wanted,

0:46:160:46:19

and it's perfect for entertaining.

0:46:190:46:22

There's one more bedroom than they asked for

0:46:220:46:25

and, outside, there's a low-maintenance,

0:46:250:46:27

attractive courtyard garden.

0:46:270:46:29

What's more, Rob gets his garage,

0:46:290:46:31

and there's a thriving community

0:46:310:46:33

on their doorstep.

0:46:330:46:34

ELSPETH CHUCKLES

0:46:360:46:37

Party central! Gosh, that's a huge room.

0:46:370:46:40

The mystery house, I think, is absolutely incredible.

0:46:400:46:43

It's huge.

0:46:430:46:45

But I think the practicalities of needing to heat it, clean it,

0:46:450:46:49

fill it with people and fill it with life...

0:46:490:46:52

It feels to me as though

0:46:520:46:54

it's just waiting for a lovely family to live here.

0:46:540:46:57

Oh, this is a pretty courtyard.

0:46:570:46:59

-Great for drinking gin and tonics in the evening.

-Yes.

0:46:590:47:03

My initial impression when I walked down the drive was,

0:47:030:47:06

"Wow and double wow."

0:47:060:47:07

I just loved the look of the place.

0:47:070:47:09

It's nice and big, nice and airy.

0:47:090:47:11

Even though we wanted a smaller house, to downsize,

0:47:110:47:14

as soon as I saw it, I just thought, "Wow."

0:47:140:47:17

It's got to be consensus and Elspeth usually is always right

0:47:170:47:20

and I get voted down, but it is a lovely house.

0:47:200:47:24

It's absolutely fabulous.

0:47:240:47:26

-Now, then, you haven't fallen out, have you?

-No. Not quite!

0:47:290:47:33

You don't look like a man that's got his own way, which is...

0:47:330:47:36

-Well, it's disheartening for...

-I never get my own way, Jonnie.

0:47:360:47:39

Well, hopefully, we've shown you

0:47:390:47:40

at least one house that's in the running.

0:47:400:47:43

Let's find somewhere for you to have a chinwag,

0:47:430:47:45

-and then we'll all catch up. Yeah?

-Excellent.

-Let's go.

0:47:450:47:48

Wiltshire's landscape is largely agricultural,

0:47:550:47:58

and pig farming is one of the county's

0:47:580:48:00

most important rural businesses.

0:48:000:48:02

Roger Keen is a pig farmer and grew up on the 350-acre farm in Sandridge,

0:48:020:48:07

just south of Chippenham, that he took over from his father

0:48:070:48:10

more than half a century ago.

0:48:100:48:12

I've come to meet him to find out about the Wiltshire bacon

0:48:120:48:15

he produces and cures using a method developed by another local family,

0:48:150:48:19

the Harrises, in the 1800s, now known as the Wiltshire Cure.

0:48:190:48:24

They had a pork-processing factory in nearby Calne

0:48:240:48:27

and made a huge mark on the local employment map.

0:48:270:48:30

When the factory shut down in 1983,

0:48:300:48:32

2,000 of the town's 10,000 residents were employees.

0:48:320:48:35

So, Roger, how did pig farming here in Wiltshire

0:48:360:48:40

come about historically, then?

0:48:400:48:41

This area, in the north of Wiltshire, is a dairying area.

0:48:410:48:45

There is always something left over.

0:48:450:48:47

If you're making cheese, it's whey.

0:48:470:48:49

If you're taking cream, it's going to be skimmed milk.

0:48:490:48:51

Pigs love both of those items.

0:48:510:48:54

We still feed them to the pigs today.

0:48:540:48:56

It wasn't only dairy products

0:48:560:48:58

that attracted local farmers to keep pigs.

0:48:580:49:00

In the 1800s, animals were walked over long distances

0:49:000:49:03

by people called drovers.

0:49:030:49:05

As they transported pigs from Ireland to London,

0:49:050:49:08

they stopped in this part of Wiltshire after landing in Bristol,

0:49:080:49:12

to rest and feed their pigs before continuing on their journey.

0:49:120:49:16

Calne, which is where the Harris bacon factory was positioned,

0:49:160:49:19

is right on the drovers' route,

0:49:190:49:22

so pigs were walked all the way to London.

0:49:220:49:24

Blacklands Hollow, which is one of the stopping places near Calne,

0:49:240:49:28

where they would rest up overnight, perhaps a few pigs in the morning,

0:49:280:49:32

Mr Harris would pop down and get a bargain, as it were.

0:49:320:49:34

"Well, I don't think he's going to make it to London, guv'nor."

0:49:340:49:38

-Talk his quarry down a little bit?

-Yeah, absolutely.

0:49:380:49:40

Tell me more about Wiltshire curing, then, Roger.

0:49:400:49:43

Wiltshire curing differentiates from just curing.

0:49:430:49:46

Just curing, the plain curing, taken place since Roman times,

0:49:460:49:49

preserving pork meat with the use of salt.

0:49:490:49:53

Wiltshire curing uses brine, and that produces,

0:49:530:49:55

whatever way you look at it, a much milder bacon.

0:49:550:49:59

And that was what the public wanted back in the 1850s,

0:49:590:50:02

when it was first developed.

0:50:020:50:03

Roger wanted to keep the cure process alive,

0:50:040:50:07

so he recruited one of the Harris factory managers

0:50:070:50:10

and some of the workforce,

0:50:100:50:11

skilled at this traditional way of curing bacon in brine -

0:50:110:50:15

a solution of saltwater.

0:50:150:50:17

The bacon house is where all the action is.

0:50:170:50:20

The pork is cured at a constant temperature of five degrees,

0:50:200:50:23

which is perfect to allow the pork to stay fresh

0:50:230:50:26

whilst gently being transformed into bacon by the uptake of salt.

0:50:260:50:31

What's the difference between the bacon that I might buy

0:50:310:50:34

on a daily basis, say, in a big shop or a supermarket?

0:50:340:50:37

They have to make sure

0:50:370:50:39

that the brine gets to the deep amounts of the cut

0:50:390:50:42

in as short a time as possible.

0:50:420:50:44

So whereas we're allowing the side to immerse in brine

0:50:440:50:47

and take up the brine gently,

0:50:470:50:49

it's forced into the side

0:50:490:50:51

because they're looking at a speedy process.

0:50:510:50:53

-OK.

-We give it what my daughter often calls "the missing ingredient",

0:50:530:50:59

which is time.

0:50:590:51:00

The pork, cut from the middle section of the animal,

0:51:000:51:03

is immersed in the salty water for four days.

0:51:030:51:06

It's described as a living brine.

0:51:060:51:08

-OK.

-Which means it's got, um...

0:51:080:51:10

bacteria within it.

0:51:100:51:12

-Yeah.

-Helpful bacteria.

0:51:120:51:14

You have helpful bacteria in yoghurts,

0:51:140:51:16

helpful bacteria in making bread, with the yeast.

0:51:160:51:19

But it's a helpful bacteria that, in effect,

0:51:190:51:21

when we started, we took a gallon of the original brine

0:51:210:51:26

that had been used by the Harris company

0:51:260:51:28

and put it in our brine, and since that time,

0:51:280:51:31

we've merely been adding over the years.

0:51:310:51:33

So we could say we've got a brine

0:51:330:51:35

that's history goes back maybe 100 years.

0:51:350:51:38

When it emerges from the brine,

0:51:390:51:41

the pork is stacked for two to three weeks.

0:51:410:51:43

The water drains out of it and the salt that remains in the meat

0:51:430:51:46

cures it and it matures into bacon.

0:51:460:51:48

The next stage for about 40% of Roger's bacon

0:51:480:51:52

is to infuse it with an aromatic smoky flavour.

0:51:520:51:55

Now, behind this door lies what?

0:51:550:51:58

The smokehouse.

0:51:580:52:00

In essence, it's just a room and on the floor is the smouldering sawdust

0:52:000:52:05

that we get from the local sawmill,

0:52:050:52:07

which is smouldering for about two days.

0:52:070:52:10

Wow, I bet it smells good, doesn't it?

0:52:100:52:12

-Well, let's have a go.

-Let's have a look.

0:52:120:52:14

-It's dark.

-It is.

0:52:160:52:18

Oh. Wow.

0:52:200:52:22

Oh, I can just see some embers on the floor here, still burning away.

0:52:220:52:25

-Absolutely.

-I think now we've witnessed the smoke,

0:52:250:52:29

surely we deserve the taste, haven't we?

0:52:290:52:31

-I think that means the farmhouse kitchen!

-Lead the way, sir!

0:52:310:52:34

Roger has around 2,000 pigs on his farm,

0:52:360:52:39

and the bacon he produces is sold into local butcher's

0:52:390:52:42

and farm shops in Wiltshire as well as in neighbouring counties.

0:52:420:52:46

Now, it may take up to four weeks for Roger to bring home the bacon

0:52:460:52:50

but the best things come to those who wait.

0:52:500:52:53

This looks absolutely gorgeous.

0:52:530:52:55

Well, I think we're ready.

0:52:550:52:57

BACON SIZZLES

0:52:570:53:00

We'd better get to it, then.

0:53:000:53:01

Cor, this looks good!

0:53:010:53:03

Now, then, I much prefer pan-fried to grilled, anyway.

0:53:040:53:08

Oh, that is gorgeous. That is absolutely gorgeous.

0:53:140:53:17

-Nice flavour.

-It's been fantastic seeing this very traditional process

0:53:170:53:22

and I wish you every success with the future. Thank you very much.

0:53:220:53:25

That's great. Thank you.

0:53:250:53:27

Well, I think we could all see that Rob really fell

0:53:300:53:33

for that huge mystery property. But, personally,

0:53:330:53:36

I'm not convinced it's done enough to beat that house with the views.

0:53:360:53:39

So let's catch up with them and find out.

0:53:390:53:42

OK, you've had a discussion.

0:53:440:53:46

What's the plan? Have you got a favourite?

0:53:460:53:48

Well, I do.

0:53:480:53:49

She goes her way, and I go her way.

0:53:490:53:52

That sounds very sensible.

0:53:520:53:55

So your favourite house is...?

0:53:550:53:57

-The one with the view.

-Yes, it was gorgeous.

0:53:570:53:59

The views were stunning.

0:53:590:54:00

Kitchen with a view, living room with a view,

0:54:000:54:03

-bedroom with a view.

-Yeah, that's not bad.

0:54:030:54:06

And a small garden with a view.

0:54:060:54:07

To sit there and just look at the White Horse in the distance as well.

0:54:070:54:10

-Yeah.

-That's a bonus.

-Yep.

0:54:100:54:12

Now, the view, of course,

0:54:120:54:14

that was one of the big things we had to put a tick against

0:54:140:54:17

but you wanted to be within striking distance of Bradford on Avon.

0:54:170:54:21

-Very important.

-You're a mile away with that house.

-Perfect.

-Yeah.

0:54:210:54:24

What about the whole layout of the house?

0:54:240:54:27

Cos you wanted big rooms all along, didn't you?

0:54:270:54:30

I think that worked really well -

0:54:300:54:31

that gorgeous big lounge that all our furniture will fit in.

0:54:310:54:34

-Yeah.

-Somewhere for your oar.

-Yeah.

0:54:340:54:37

That's important!

0:54:370:54:40

I'm glad it fit, cos you didn't ask me for that,

0:54:400:54:42

-so that's just luck.

-Yeah. No, that was good.

0:54:420:54:45

You've agreed, the house with the views is your favourite between you.

0:54:450:54:48

What about the mystery house, Rob?

0:54:480:54:50

You seemed to fall head over heels for that place.

0:54:500:54:53

And it was definitely WOW.

0:54:530:54:55

-Do you still love it?

-I do, but it would be...

0:54:550:54:59

slightly impractical, really.

0:54:590:55:00

It was just a bit too big, you know, for the two of us,

0:55:000:55:03

which it would be most of the time.

0:55:030:55:06

I thought it really brought into definition how perhaps I thought

0:55:060:55:10

that the house with the view might not have been downsizing enough

0:55:100:55:14

-for somebody of our age group.

-Right.

0:55:140:55:16

But when we went to that big mystery house,

0:55:160:55:19

it made me realise that the size of the one with the view

0:55:190:55:23

was actually perfection.

0:55:230:55:25

And I saw fantastic reactions from you guys in the house with the views.

0:55:250:55:29

-Yes.

-Yeah.

-You both really seemed to enjoy looking round that house,

0:55:290:55:33

-so what's next?

-Well, I think a second viewing, definitely.

0:55:330:55:36

Definitely a second viewing.

0:55:360:55:38

And then, most probably, discussion with them on price.

0:55:380:55:41

What do you think your daughter will say with you looking at a property,

0:55:410:55:45

quite seriously, for the second time, nearby?

0:55:450:55:47

I think she'll be quite pleased, actually.

0:55:470:55:49

She'll be looking at us as the babysitter, I should think.

0:55:490:55:51

-Which we will love to do.

-Yeah.

0:55:510:55:54

-Perfect all round, then, isn't it?

-Yeah.

-Yeah.

0:55:540:55:56

Well, look, I wish you the very best of luck

0:55:560:55:58

with the house with the views.

0:55:580:56:00

Before you go, you loved looking round the house.

0:56:000:56:05

You had you had fantastic reactions,

0:56:050:56:08

your guesses were miles out on price.

0:56:080:56:10

-I know, that's the only slight issue we have.

-Price issue. Yeah.

0:56:100:56:14

But we'll work that one through.

0:56:140:56:16

Well, let us know what happens, how you get on with that second viewing.

0:56:160:56:20

-We certainly will.

-And if we buy it,

0:56:200:56:22

-we'll stick your picture over the fireplace.

-Don't devalue it, please.

0:56:220:56:26

Come on! I've got to advise you against that.

0:56:260:56:28

-Good luck.

-Thank you.

-Thank you very much.

0:56:280:56:30

Well, Rob and Elspeth gave me quite an exacting wish list, didn't they?

0:56:350:56:40

But I must say, to find a property with brilliant views,

0:56:400:56:44

all that space to entertain, even with a good-sized budget,

0:56:440:56:47

that close to Bradford upon Avon wasn't easy,

0:56:470:56:50

so I do hope they take full advantage of this second viewing

0:56:500:56:54

and really seriously consider this as an option

0:56:540:56:57

to escape down here to Wiltshire.

0:56:570:56:59

I wish them both the very best of luck.

0:56:590:57:01

See you next time.

0:57:010:57:02

Elspeth and Rob decided not to pursue the old schoolhouse

0:57:040:57:07

but have since exchanged on a converted barn

0:57:070:57:10

in the same village as their daughter.

0:57:100:57:12

If you'd like to escape to the country in Northern Ireland,

0:57:120:57:15

Scotland, Wales, or England and need our help,

0:57:150:57:18

please apply online at...

0:57:180:57:19

Jonnie Irwin goes property hunting with a couple of new grandparents who have a budget of £800,000 to buy a rural home in Wiltshire close to family. Whilst there, Jonnie learns a traditional process of curing Wiltshire bacon and savours the results.