East Midlands Escape to the Country


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East Midlands

Sonali Shah helps to find a country home for £300,000 in the East Midlands for an eager buyer who has brought along her neighbour for support.


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Crowned England's tree of the year in a recent poll,

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this magnificent oak is the largest of its kind in this country,

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weighing in at an estimated 23 tonnes,

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but its size isn't this ancient specimen's biggest claim to fame.

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Find out what is and where it's rooted in just a moment.

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'On today's property search there's a case of love at first sight.'

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-Well, we'll buy and go now, shall we?

-LAUGHTER

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See, this is why Tula's here.

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-You're ready to sign on the dotted line.

-I am.

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But with so many eligible candidates,

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picking the one could be a tough call.

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Oh, this is stunning.

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-I say!

-Oh, sorry!

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Today we're in the East Midlands

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and this is the major oak in

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Nottinghamshire's Sherwood Forest Country Park.

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And legend has it that the hollow centre of this veteran tree

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provided a hideaway for Robin Hood and his Merry Men

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when they were escaping the evil clutches

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of the Sheriff of Nottingham.

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But with experts estimating the age of this tree

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to be between 800 and 1,000 years old,

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it was probably no more than a sapling in Robin Hood's day,

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but that hasn't stopped around 600,000 visitors

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coming to see this mighty oak every year.

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Testament to the enduring popularity of one of our most well-loved

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folklore characters.

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The East Midlands is an official region of England

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incorporating six counties, with the North Sea on its eastern edge.

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Covering over 6,000 square miles,

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the region's highest point is found in Derbyshire,

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within the Peak District National Park,

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where the village of Flash also claims to be

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the highest village in the country.

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Other high points include this summit at Crich,

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said to have been the site of a beacon fire,

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signalling the sighting of the Spanish Armada in 1523.

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The current Notts and Derby war memorial was completed in 1923,

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from which it's possible to view several counties.

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Lincolnshire may be the region's geographical low point

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but the marshy landscape of the Fens is eerily evocative.

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Created by man-made efforts to reclaim land from the sea,

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started by the Romans,

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the process of turning back the tide was conducted in earnest during the

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17th century reign of Charles I.

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Robin Hood country is found in Nottinghamshire,

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where St Mary's Church Edwinstowe in Sherwood Forest is said to have been

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the location for the outlaw's marriage to Maid Marian,

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and indications of the legend abound in the surrounding village.

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So if you're after peak perfection and legendary delights,

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the East Midlands is certainly a region to plan an escape to.

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The average price of a detached property here in the East Midlands

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is almost £232,000.

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That's around £80,000 below the national figure.

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So overall, property here certainly offers excellent value for money.

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And if you move away from the pricier southern counties of Leicestershire

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and Northamptonshire and head north

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towards Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire,

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you could save an additional 15% for an equivalent property.

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And that's the area that today's buyer wants to relocate to,

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so let's meet her and find out why.

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Pat has lived in Old Windsor, Berkshire, all her life -

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and in her current home for almost four decades.

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But now she's ready to move on,

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she's turning to one person to help find her new home.

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Next door neighbour, Tula.

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Tula's a very, very friendly, genuine sort of person.

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She's always there to listen when I'm upset,

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or anything like that, I go trotting in there.

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-Or vice versa.

-And we have lots of laughs.

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Pat's friendship means a lot to me, we have always been like sisters.

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I don't know how much I can influence Pat on this house move,

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but I hope I will be of some help,

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because she makes very quick decisions

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and I will hold her back a little bit, just slightly.

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With a neighbour who's like a sister,

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one might wonder why Pat is keen to move

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from the place she was born and bred.

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I think it's just got too big.

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I do not like the traffic that's coming through here now, it really,

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really winds me up.

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It can take me ten minutes to an hour to get home, from work.

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I just want to live my dream, be in the country.

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Her heart is set on a rural lifestyle.

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Retirement is on the horizon,

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and there's one area that offers the chance to not only get closer to

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nature, but also her son and grandchildren.

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I'm looking to move to the East Midlands area,

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within about 15 miles of my son, Stephen, who's in Nottingham,

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possibly towards the Peak District area.

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Or just around the villages of Nottingham.

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That would be perfect.

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My greatest joy will be to be able to visit Stephen and the

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grandchildren, Katie and Charlie.

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Spend time with them.

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We laugh a lot together, and I think that's going to be sheer joy.

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Love it.

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It's about time Pat found some joy because the past few years have seen

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her husband, who suffers from Alzheimer's, going into care.

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Arranging for him to stay close by will also be part of the move.

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Unfortunately, he can't move or anything, he hardly knows us.

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I don't think the move will affect him too much,

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but he obviously has to be with me.

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When I move, I'm also looking to do some voluntary work

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for the care home,

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so that I can visit him, but also be doing something.

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So if I can volunteer a little bit, it'll be lovely.

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And also joining her in the move

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will be much-loved Springer spaniel Jack.

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My main companion now in life is Jack, the dog.

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He's an absolute character, a joy, very good dog, cheeky little fellow.

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So Jack is my friend, my mate and he's coming with me.

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I'm going to miss Pat a lot when she moves, but life goes on.

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And also, she'll come up and stay with me

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and we'll open a bottle and have our normal fun and chat.

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We won't lose our friendship.

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Oh, I'm looking very much forward to go and see Pat's new home,

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and with a bit of luck, I will see it with her first of all.

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Pat wants to concentrate her search within a 40-minute drive of her son

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and grandchildren in Nottingham.

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'But before we start house-hunting,

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'we're meeting up to find out more about her hopes for her new home.'

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Pat, welcome to the East Midlands.

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Family is a big draw for you in this area, isn't it?

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It is. I've got a son and two grandchildren,

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which I like to see an awful lot of, and I've missed them over the years.

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And you've brought your best friend to help you?

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I have.

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You know what she wants.

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I know what she wants.

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And what is that, Pat?

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I'd like a nice characterful cottage, village community,

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so I can join in things.

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Nice, big garden, nice stream or a canal somewhere,

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and lots of walks for the dog, Jack.

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Is there anything you won't compromise on?

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-The garden.

-OK.

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I do enjoy gardening, I may want a few chickens, things like that,

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and also the space for the dog and grandchildren.

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-So you need at least a couple of bedrooms, really?

-I do, yeah.

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And, Tula, you know what Pat needs,

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you know what she's looking for.

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Is there any kind of property you think just won't suit her?

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Where there's lots of flights of stairs,

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I don't think she should have that.

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She's not getting any younger!

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That's what friends are for, to remind you of that.

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-Yes, thank you, Tula!

-Remind us of your budget.

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Up to 300,000.

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-OK.

-Less is fine.

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Over, no, but 300,000, yeah.

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And you're ready to move?

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I've sold, so I've got to have somewhere.

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-Well, we've got three properties lined up.

-Wow.

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-Let's go and see them.

-Fantastic, thank you.

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For her budget of £300,000,

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Pat would like a characterful home with a minimum of two bedrooms,

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a large, dog-friendly garden is a must-have,

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and she'd like to be near a stream and footpaths,

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with access to a village community.

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We've got a great selection of houses to show Pat,

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all with very different takes on her wish list.

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After each tour, it'll be time to guess the price before I reveal it.

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Our final property will be the Mystery House,

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which this time could lead to an embarrassment of riches.

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We're starting our search in Woolley Moor, Derbyshire.

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Around a 20-minute drive from Pat's family,

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this idyllic hamlet includes a pub.

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The landscape of the area changed dramatically in 1958,

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with the creation of Oxton Reservoir.

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As well as being used for sailing and fishing,

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this provides many lovely walks,

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and overlooking this tranquil body of water

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is the property we've come to see.

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Welcome to house number one.

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Oh, that is lovely.

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That's really, really nice.

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Original stone, as well.

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You wanted a cottage, didn't you?

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-I did, I did.

-Obviously end of terrace.

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-Fine.

-Are you fine about that?

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Absolutely. It's quite nice to have some neighbours as well.

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-Exactly.

-Nice, community feel.

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The front garden looks like your front garden.

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-We'll buy and go now, shall we?

-You see, this is why Tula's here.

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-You're ready to sign on the dotted line.

-I am.

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You like the outside, let's see if the inside fits, then.

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That's great.

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Built in the mid-1800s but extended to the rear in 2001,

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the front door of this stone cottage

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opens straight into the first reception room.

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So, I don't know whether you'd use this entrance all the time,

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-but this would be your...

-I don't know, I'll have to see what the rest

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-is like.

-..living room.

-I love it.

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I love the stone floor.

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Fireplace. Plenty of room, perfect, cosy.

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-It is.

-What a good first choice.

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Well, let's go and see the rest of it.

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Yeah.

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Pat may be sold already, but there's still plenty to see.

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A hallway leads to a small, well-equipped kitchen.

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Oh, this is a good little place, isn't it?

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Oh, tiles.

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-It's enough for me.

-It's small...

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Is it enough for you?

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Because we hadn't talked about size and it's a small kitchen.

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It IS a small kitchen.

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But there is an alternative kitchen idea, follow me, ladies.

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Oooh, excellent.

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At the rear, the new extension provides a good-sized dining room

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and the potential to open the kitchen into a much larger space.

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So this...

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-Ah, nice.

-..I think is a real asset.

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It could be more than a dining room, do you not think?

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-I think so.

-You could make it a kitchen/diner, dining table,

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maybe an island here, cooker.

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Yeah, yeah absolutely. You could do that, use the stained glass

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as a bit of a feature, as well.

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-Exactly.

-Tula, there's a lot of potential, isn't there?

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-Yeah.

-Yeah, really, really nice.

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-It has potential.

-You like it?

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I like it. I like that it's cosy.

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-Good possibility.

-Let's head upstairs.

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Great.

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Even level-headed Tula isn't finding much to rein Pat in on here,

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and upstairs there are three bedrooms

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arranged over two further floors.

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In the converted loft space,

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a guest room could be perfect for Pat's visiting grandchildren.

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On the first floor, there's a guest double with countryside views,

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the family bathroom, and the largest bedroom, number three,

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presented as an office with a daybed,

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which Pat could use for herself.

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I think this would make a really lovely master,

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because of the amazing views.

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-Wow, look at that!

-Amazing.

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That is amazing, that's fantastic.

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Lay in bed, tea in the morning.

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Let's check out the garden.

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Thank you.

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All very positive so far for this 19th-century end-of-terrace,

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and outside, as well as the pretty front garden,

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French doors from the dining room open to a patio

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and further sizeable plot to the rear,

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including a selection of sheds,

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plus a rather wild collection of shrubs and trees

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that should entertain

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visiting grandkids and give Jack the spaniel plenty to explore.

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So I think there's a bit of tidying up to do,

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but actually you've got quite a nice sized garden here.

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-Fantastic.

-It goes beyond those trees.

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It's just a bit wild down there, so you'd need to...

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-Perfect.

-Children love the idea of a secret garden.

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-Exactly.

-Just what they love.

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I am so glad this bit is here,

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because the patio wouldn't have been quite big enough.

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She would have not been happy with that.

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Some chickens running around here, too.

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Beautiful, love it. It's a good start.

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-Very good start.

-Good start.

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Let's see if you think the same after I reveal the price.

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-OK.

-Have you started thinking about what it might be on the market for?

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I'm hoping it's about 260...

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OK.

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-Tula?

-I think it could be 275.

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You've both gone a bit over, you'll be glad to know.

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-Oh, good.

-It's been reduced in price,

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and it's now on the market for 249,950.

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-No!

-So just under £250,000.

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-That's fantastic.

-That is good, because that is needed.

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Well done you. I could see me living here.

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Now, I know you two are dying to have a chat between yourselves

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now you know a price.

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Have another look around and I'll meet you out front.

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Thank you.

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With an asking price £50,000 below budget,

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this end-of-terrace cottage includes two good-sized reception rooms and

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three bedrooms.

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There is plenty to keep Pat busy in the rambling garden

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and it's pleasantly situated with reservoir views.

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Oh, my goodness, look at this!

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Slightly wild.

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Oh, my goodness, how far does it go?

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-Oh, it's brilliant.

-Jack would love this.

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It's just the country cottage I really want.

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Inside's quaint, very quaint.

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Lovely garden, country garden.

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Yeah, perfect for me and Jack.

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All in all, it's a very good first cottage,

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it's just what I was looking for.

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I think the house is very nice.

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I think Pat could be quite happy here.

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I like this and I'm sure Pat likes it, but it's up to Pat,

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what she decides.

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You've moved in haven't you, already?

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-I have, it's so lovely.

-It's very nice.

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But sensible Tula would like us to see the next property, wouldn't you?

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Definitely, yes.

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-And we must listen to her.

-Fine.

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Let's go.

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Nestled in the north Nottinghamshire countryside

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is an area known as The Dukeries,

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so-called as no fewer than four historic dukedoms are found here.

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Welbeck Abbey is one such Ducal seat which has been in the same

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family since the 18th century,

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and they've recently fostered a community of artists

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and craftspeople, as well as the School of Artisan Food.

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As Pat is keen to get involved with the local community

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and enjoy some new hobbies, we're sending her and friend Tula

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to find out more about what goes on here

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from operations manager Christine Breach.

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So, tell me, who started it and how did it come about,

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all this Artisan thing?

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The driving force is Alison Swan Parente,

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who is part of the family that have owned Welbeck.

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She opened the Welbeck Bakehouse, which is just behind us,

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and wanted to supply the area with good Artisan bread.

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She had great difficulty finding bakers of the right calibre

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to come and work for her, so she thought once she got it set up,

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she would do a little bit of training out of the bakehouse

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and actually the idea developed to the point where she thought,

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well, I'll open a school and make sure skills such as baking

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and butchery and charcuterie and dairy making don't die out.

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The school offers courses from half-day taster sessions,

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up to a year-long advanced diploma in baking,

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designed to help professionals set up their own business.

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David Carter was working as a solicitor when his wife

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bought him one such course as a birthday present.

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He enjoyed it so much that he gave up his job of 30 years and started

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teaching his own courses in 2011.

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-David.

-Hi, Pat, hi, Tula.

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-Hello!

-Welcome to the Welbeck Bakehouse.

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-Thank you.

-So what are we doing here today, then, David?

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Right, today I'm going to show you how to make

0:16:570:17:00

-the Welbeck sourdough loaf.

-Oooh!

0:17:000:17:04

Rather than powdered yeast,

0:17:040:17:05

sourdough is made from water and flour

0:17:050:17:07

that's been left to ferment for around 4-5 days.

0:17:070:17:11

Eventually, providing it's kept in a nice, warm environment,

0:17:110:17:15

you begin to see it getting bubbles and there's a bacteria called

0:17:150:17:19

Lactobacillus, which produces sort of cheesy, lactic, milky notes,

0:17:190:17:27

and then you have acetic acid bacteria,

0:17:270:17:30

-which produces the more sour, vinegary tones.

-Oh, right.

0:17:300:17:34

The bread uses very simple ingredients -

0:17:350:17:38

flour, salt, water and the fermented sourdough mixture.

0:17:380:17:42

Bread has one further ingredient that is actually more important

0:17:420:17:48

than all of those ingredients put together, and that is time.

0:17:480:17:52

So to make a really good loaf, you need time.

0:17:520:17:55

After warm water is added, it's worked into small lumps by hand.

0:17:560:18:00

It doesn't matter if you've got some big lumps and some small lumps.

0:18:020:18:06

A combination of three types of flour and some salt is added

0:18:070:18:11

and then it's time for Pat and Tula to get their hands stuck in.

0:18:110:18:15

I've been looking forward to this bit.

0:18:150:18:18

-There's something very satisfying...

-Yes!

-..about making bread.

0:18:180:18:22

Everything is scraped together in the middle of the bowl

0:18:220:18:25

and covered for five minutes,

0:18:250:18:27

allowing a protein in the flour, called gluten, to relax.

0:18:270:18:30

Now, using a hand dipped in cold water,

0:18:300:18:32

the kneading process can begin.

0:18:320:18:34

First flattening the dough into the bottom of the bowl

0:18:340:18:37

and then repeatedly folding it in on itself.

0:18:370:18:40

That's it, you've got the technique.

0:18:410:18:43

-That's it.

-OK.

0:18:430:18:45

Lovely, well done.

0:18:460:18:48

As you see, really, really simple,

0:18:480:18:50

and we're going to repeat that process another three times,

0:18:500:18:55

and that is all we need do,

0:18:550:18:57

we don't need to put it on the table and break out into a sweat.

0:18:570:19:01

The shaped loaves will need to bake for a minimum of 35 minutes

0:19:020:19:06

at around 220 degrees, but, of course,

0:19:060:19:09

the process wouldn't be complete without a taste test.

0:19:090:19:12

Here's Pat's loaf.

0:19:140:19:16

Out of the oven and cooled down just a little bit.

0:19:160:19:18

Ooh, that looks nice.

0:19:180:19:19

Doesn't that look magnificent?

0:19:190:19:22

Beautiful crust.

0:19:220:19:23

Ooh, how nice.

0:19:230:19:25

Wow.

0:19:280:19:30

-Lovely texture.

-Indeed.

0:19:300:19:32

-Rather crusty.

-So, beautifully crusty.

0:19:320:19:34

And with bread, one thing we always tend to do if we're testing how nice

0:19:340:19:38

bread is, is just give it a quick smell.

0:19:380:19:41

And you can really smell the aroma.

0:19:420:19:45

You can see the lovely crumb.

0:19:450:19:47

-Stunning.

-It is.

0:19:490:19:50

It's so much better than one that you get from the shop.

0:19:500:19:53

The taste is altogether different, isn't it?

0:19:530:19:55

Well, let's see if we can use our loaf and turn Pat's dough

0:19:560:19:59

into a lovely country home here in the East Midlands countryside.

0:19:590:20:03

House two is in the Derbyshire village of Crich.

0:20:080:20:11

Located in the pretty countryside of the Amber Valley,

0:20:110:20:14

the village once had its own quarry,

0:20:140:20:17

and many of the buildings are constructed

0:20:170:20:19

from local Derbyshire limestone,

0:20:190:20:21

including a fish bar, bakery, butcher's and post office.

0:20:210:20:25

As well as the current Baptist church, housed here since 1878.

0:20:250:20:30

Just a ten-minute walk away,

0:20:300:20:31

and served by a bus route in and out of the village centre,

0:20:310:20:34

is our next house.

0:20:340:20:35

As they say, if you like a house in the rain...

0:20:370:20:41

-Exactly.

-So...

0:20:410:20:43

-Looks very good.

-Here it is.

0:20:430:20:45

And look, Pat.

0:20:450:20:46

Here is what you already... what you wanted.

0:20:460:20:49

-It is.

-It's already there!

0:20:490:20:50

-Well, it's there. Yeah.

-Your summerhouse, your whatever.

0:20:500:20:53

That's lovely. As happy as you were before seeing the first house?

0:20:530:20:57

Not sure yet. I'll see inside.

0:20:570:20:59

-OK.

-But, yeah, no. It's a good feeling.

0:20:590:21:01

You're going to reserve judgment?

0:21:010:21:02

-Yes.

-Shall we head on in?

0:21:020:21:05

So, a very different proposition in terms of location,

0:21:050:21:08

but once again an end-of-terrace built from limestone in 1912.

0:21:080:21:13

The front door opens to an elegant entrance hall that doubles as an

0:21:130:21:16

office, and leads into a beautifully finished front reception room.

0:21:160:21:21

Very nice room.

0:21:210:21:23

-It is, isn't it?

-Very nice.

0:21:230:21:25

-I like it.

-I love the open stove... fireplace.

0:21:250:21:30

Oh, yeah. Love it.

0:21:300:21:31

It's a beautiful fireplace.

0:21:310:21:32

The current owners actually discovered it.

0:21:320:21:34

It was hidden away, it was all panelled off.

0:21:340:21:36

-Really?!

-And then their next-door neighbour had remembered what it

0:21:360:21:39

originally looked like.

0:21:390:21:40

He drew a picture and then they got someone to replicate it.

0:21:400:21:42

-Gosh, that's amazing!

-Oh, lovely.

0:21:420:21:44

It's very nice workmanship as well, isn't it?

0:21:440:21:47

Absolutely gorgeous, love it.

0:21:470:21:48

I'm glad you love this room,

0:21:480:21:49

because it's certainly not the best room downstairs.

0:21:490:21:52

-Really?

-Follow me.

-Gosh.

0:21:520:21:53

Behind this room, the rear of the ground floor

0:21:540:21:56

is entirely dedicated to a very impressive country kitchen/diner.

0:21:560:22:00

Oh, this is stunning.

0:22:020:22:03

What are you going to say?

0:22:030:22:05

Oh.

0:22:050:22:07

Sorry.

0:22:070:22:08

That is just... Oh, everything's stunning.

0:22:090:22:11

It looks amazing.

0:22:110:22:14

So tasteful. Look at the fireplace with a fire!

0:22:140:22:16

Oh, yeah.

0:22:160:22:18

This is just so unusual.

0:22:180:22:19

Everything's perfect.

0:22:190:22:21

Well, you're warming up, aren't you?

0:22:210:22:23

Oh! I'm moving in.

0:22:230:22:24

I can see you and Stephen and the children around this table.

0:22:260:22:29

-And a jigsaw.

-And a jigsaw on the table.

0:22:290:22:32

And games. Oh, it's lovely.

0:22:320:22:34

The downstairs has certainly been done up beautifully,

0:22:340:22:36

and that theme continues upstairs.

0:22:360:22:39

'It seems Pat can really see herself living here,

0:22:410:22:44

'and upstairs there are three bedrooms,

0:22:440:22:46

'all served by a family bathroom which has been fitted to a high

0:22:460:22:49

'specification with a multi-jet shower and whirlpool bath.'

0:22:490:22:54

The two guest bedrooms are both large enough to be doubles,

0:22:540:22:57

and enjoy views over the Amber Valley,

0:22:570:22:59

each from a single sash window.

0:22:590:23:01

That leaves bedroom number three to the rear of the home

0:23:010:23:04

a very welcoming master.

0:23:040:23:07

Very tasteful, isn't it?

0:23:070:23:09

-Yes.

-It's really cosy.

0:23:090:23:12

-Nice.

-And enough wardrobe space for you.

0:23:120:23:15

Well, one of the bedrooms could be a walk-in wardrobe!

0:23:150:23:17

-True.

-Yeah, could be.

0:23:170:23:18

-True.

-So how are you feeling about the house?

0:23:180:23:20

I really, really like it.

0:23:220:23:24

Really like it. I'm not going to sleep tonight, am I?

0:23:240:23:28

It is impeccably done.

0:23:280:23:30

-It really is.

-The finish is amazing.

0:23:300:23:32

-Well...

-I would move in tomorrow.

0:23:320:23:34

-Would you?

-Yes, I would.

0:23:340:23:36

Which guest room would you like, dear?

0:23:360:23:38

So now comes the tricky bit.

0:23:380:23:41

We go outside, and you tell me how much it's on the market for.

0:23:410:23:46

So an interior lovely enough to give Pat an excitedly sleepless night,

0:23:490:23:54

and outside there is also that cabin,

0:23:540:23:56

giving yet more options for guests.

0:23:560:23:59

The fully enclosed front garden is a good size,

0:23:590:24:01

but the patio garden to the rear is much smaller than Pat asked for,

0:24:010:24:05

so there may have to be some compromise.

0:24:050:24:07

Oh! It's cute, isn't it?

0:24:090:24:12

But are you OK about only this much garden?

0:24:120:24:15

You said that was the one thing you wouldn't compromise on.

0:24:150:24:18

Yes. It's funny how you sort of change.

0:24:180:24:22

Oh, you've changed, have you?

0:24:220:24:25

-I've got a nice front garden.

-Yes.

0:24:250:24:26

Which is nice and easy to look after.

0:24:260:24:28

There's room for Jack to run around.

0:24:280:24:30

And I walk twice a day with Jack when I'm not working,

0:24:300:24:33

so I think I could live with it.

0:24:330:24:36

That's great news, because otherwise the house is ideal.

0:24:360:24:39

But how much will it cost you?

0:24:390:24:41

It's a difficult one.

0:24:420:24:44

I hope it's not over 300,000, so I say 300,000.

0:24:440:24:49

You're going on budget.

0:24:490:24:50

-Yes.

-I think you might have gone slightly over.

0:24:500:24:53

I'll go 310.

0:24:530:24:55

But hopefully not.

0:24:550:24:57

Well, it's good to hope sometimes.

0:24:570:24:59

It's actually currently on the market for...

0:24:590:25:02

..just under 270,000.

0:25:030:25:06

-Wow!

-Within your budget.

0:25:060:25:08

Gosh! Enough money for holidays!

0:25:080:25:11

So now you know you can afford the house, go inside,

0:25:120:25:15

have a look around,

0:25:150:25:16

have a look at the log cabin, and we'll meet you out front.

0:25:160:25:19

-Oh, thank you.

-Great.

0:25:190:25:20

It's amazing...

0:25:230:25:24

..how you think you want something like a huge garden,

0:25:250:25:27

but when you find a house that you like,

0:25:270:25:30

you're willing to compromise on it. And that's what this is about.

0:25:300:25:34

On the market for £269,950,

0:25:340:25:39

this end terrace offers a beautiful country kitchen/diner,

0:25:390:25:43

three bedrooms and a very modern, well-equipped bathroom.

0:25:430:25:46

There's also a cabin,

0:25:460:25:47

and it's close to countryside as well as village amenities.

0:25:470:25:51

This bathroom is amazing!

0:25:510:25:54

See this?

0:25:540:25:56

What did I say I wanted this morning?

0:25:560:25:57

-One of those.

-Yes, you did want a shower like that.

0:25:570:26:01

-It's very tasteful. It's got a bath as well.

-Yes!

0:26:010:26:04

Well, this is perfect.

0:26:040:26:06

Would you happily come and stay, then?

0:26:060:26:08

Yes.

0:26:080:26:10

I think with this house, Pat has absolutely hit the cheque-book.

0:26:100:26:14

It's lovely. Pat would be very happy here.

0:26:150:26:18

Emotional. Love it.

0:26:210:26:23

My first reaction coming into this kitchen was tear-jerker,

0:26:230:26:27

to be honest. It's stunning.

0:26:270:26:30

Workmanship's amazing.

0:26:300:26:31

I think the decor in the house is absolutely marvellous, first-class.

0:26:320:26:37

And hopefully they leave all the furniture when they move from here,

0:26:390:26:42

because they are lovely!

0:26:420:26:43

Very, very pleased.

0:26:460:26:47

-Very pleased.

-Excellent place.

0:26:470:26:50

Excellent place. Excellent end to the day.

0:26:500:26:52

We're in the East Midlands countryside

0:26:580:27:01

helping soon-to-retire Pat from Old Windsor, in Berkshire,

0:27:010:27:04

make the move to be closer to family.

0:27:040:27:07

We've already seen two houses Pat liked for her budget of £300,000,

0:27:070:27:11

and helping her decide is friend and neighbour Tula.

0:27:110:27:15

But the Mystery House could give them both more choice

0:27:150:27:18

than they bargained for.

0:27:180:27:20

So, Tula, speechless?

0:27:200:27:21

-Yes, I am.

-It's a change, isn't it?

0:27:210:27:23

Can I afford it?

0:27:230:27:24

My God, it's beautiful.

0:27:240:27:25

'Plus I'm finding out how one everyday home of yesteryear

0:27:260:27:30

'is being turned into an extraordinary historical resource.'

0:27:300:27:34

I'm going to ask you a very difficult question now.

0:27:340:27:36

-OK.

-30,000 items.

0:27:360:27:38

-Do you have favourites?

-Yeah.

0:27:380:27:40

Yesterday's houses made Pat rethink her initial requirements

0:27:450:27:49

for a property. Her heart loved the rural setting of house number one,

0:27:490:27:53

and she was willing to put some work in to make it her own.

0:27:530:27:56

But her head loved the village setting of house number two,

0:27:560:28:00

and how practical those polished interiors would be.

0:28:000:28:03

Today, it's time to reveal our Mystery House,

0:28:030:28:06

and this property will force Pat to focus on what she really wants,

0:28:060:28:11

and perhaps more importantly,

0:28:110:28:12

really NEEDS from a move at this stage in her life.

0:28:120:28:15

What do you think we have up our sleeve for the mystery?

0:28:180:28:20

Aha!

0:28:220:28:23

Maybe an old church.

0:28:230:28:24

I was sort of thinking this morning maybe a bungalow or something

0:28:260:28:29

because, you know, the age group needs it.

0:28:290:28:31

But, yeah, possibly an old church or a barn conversion.

0:28:310:28:35

Well, you should find out very soon.

0:28:360:28:39

Can't wait.

0:28:390:28:40

Our mystery offering is in the small settlement of Pleasley Vale

0:28:430:28:46

on the Nottinghamshire border.

0:28:460:28:48

This deep, narrow river valley was the location for industry since at

0:28:480:28:52

least 1767, when forges and a corn mill operated.

0:28:520:28:58

It later became the site of textile mills,

0:28:580:29:00

with workers' cottages and supporting amenities

0:29:000:29:03

such as a church, springing up.

0:29:030:29:05

But in the 20th century,

0:29:050:29:06

the mills closed and some of the buildings found other uses,

0:29:060:29:10

and that is where our mystery proposition comes in.

0:29:100:29:13

Wow.

0:29:150:29:16

Oh!

0:29:160:29:17

-It's beautiful.

-Despite the rain.

-I absolutely love it.

0:29:190:29:22

-I love the drive in.

-Don't like the rain.

0:29:220:29:24

No. Well, should we get out of the rain and head in?

0:29:240:29:26

-Yes, please.

-Let's go!

0:29:260:29:29

'Set in the middle of terraced housing originally built for managers of the mill in 1854,

0:29:290:29:34

'the property is laid out over three levels

0:29:340:29:37

'and we're starting in the main reception room.'

0:29:370:29:40

Oh, it's... Oh, what have you done?

0:29:400:29:43

So, we're giving you the rural setting of house number one

0:29:430:29:46

but with the polished interiors of house number two.

0:29:460:29:49

-You've done it, yes.

-To make you really think,

0:29:490:29:52

"What's going to be right for me? And what do I really want?"

0:29:520:29:55

No, what you're really doing, you are trying to confuse us.

0:29:560:30:00

I'm causing trouble, am I?

0:30:000:30:01

You've absolutely cracked it.

0:30:010:30:04

It's just stunning.

0:30:040:30:06

And who doesn't love a fireplace?

0:30:060:30:08

Love the fireplace. Never had one, always wanted one.

0:30:080:30:10

There you go. This is an actual log burner.

0:30:100:30:12

-Yeah, yeah. It's beautiful.

-All right, well, let's see

0:30:120:30:15

-where you'd entertain the family.

-Really? OK.

0:30:150:30:17

So, our mystery is designed to challenge Pat

0:30:170:30:20

with its combination of rural location and impeccable finish.

0:30:200:30:24

Behind the reception room is a handy cloakroom,

0:30:240:30:27

and a smaller reception space that could be used as a study or snug.

0:30:270:30:31

And then we step down into a rear extension

0:30:320:30:35

housing the rather impressive country kitchen/diner.

0:30:350:30:38

It's an amazing kitchen!

0:30:430:30:44

Oh, it's a definite. Look at that light through here!

0:30:440:30:49

-Oh.

-They've done an amazing job, haven't they?

0:30:490:30:52

I think this is almost better than yesterday's one.

0:30:520:30:55

This is actually the old exterior wall.

0:30:550:30:58

So this is a more recent extension,

0:30:580:31:01

so this used to be the front of the house.

0:31:010:31:03

-Tears.

-Oh, stunning.

0:31:060:31:08

-Stunning.

-It is, isn't it?

0:31:080:31:10

-Yeah.

-And it's great workmanship as well, isn't it?

0:31:100:31:14

So, Tula. Speechless?

0:31:140:31:16

-Yes, I am.

-It's a change, isn't it?

0:31:160:31:18

Can I afford it? My God, it's beautiful.

0:31:180:31:20

Oh, I just...

0:31:220:31:23

-Yes.

-OK.

-Mystery House won again, I think.

0:31:250:31:27

Well, you're sold on the downstairs.

0:31:270:31:29

Let's see if you think the same of the upstairs.

0:31:290:31:31

'Our Mystery House has really thrown the cat among the pigeons,

0:31:320:31:36

'and upstairs is not going to make Pat's decision any easier,

0:31:360:31:40

'with three bedrooms laid out over two floors.

0:31:400:31:43

'Nestled in the eaves of the converted roof space

0:31:430:31:46

'is a good-sized guest double,

0:31:460:31:48

'whilst the middle floor offers an additional guest room.

0:31:480:31:51

'Next to which is the family bathroom

0:31:510:31:53

'with roll-top bath and separate shower.

0:31:530:31:56

'Then, to the front of the home is the master,

0:31:560:31:58

'making bedroom number three.'

0:31:580:32:00

Perfect. So it's a good family house, visitors' house.

0:32:020:32:06

How did you feel about the staircase, which was fairly steep?

0:32:060:32:09

-Too steep.

-That is a slight worry, as getting old as well.

0:32:090:32:14

Is it a deal-breaker?

0:32:140:32:15

Not yet.

0:32:160:32:17

It's something I seriously need to think about.

0:32:180:32:20

Yeah, location perfect.

0:32:200:32:22

House is stunning.

0:32:220:32:23

I've just got to work out which is...

0:32:250:32:27

Location-wise, whether it's better to be near a nice community village,

0:32:270:32:32

or out here, where I can just go out and walk at any time without a car.

0:32:320:32:36

So it's... Yeah.

0:32:360:32:38

-Well, you've got a little bit of time to think about it.

-I have.

0:32:380:32:41

And perhaps importantly, you need to find out the price, really,

0:32:410:32:44

-don't you?

-I do.

-Yes.

0:32:440:32:46

So, let's head out again...

0:32:460:32:48

-Yeah.

-..I'm afraid into the rain.

0:32:480:32:49

-OK. No problem.

-And discuss how much this house would cost you.

0:32:490:32:53

Thank you.

0:32:530:32:54

So yet another positive house tour,

0:32:550:32:58

and outside, the home comes with a private front garden

0:32:580:33:01

as well as generous communal grounds

0:33:010:33:03

looked after and used by all of the residents,

0:33:030:33:05

with the option of renting allotment space.

0:33:050:33:08

The current owner rents two little allotment plots

0:33:090:33:14

in this walled garden from the residents' association,

0:33:140:33:18

for a nominal £15 a year,

0:33:180:33:19

which just covers little bits and bobs, like water.

0:33:190:33:23

But it's also a beautiful space,

0:33:230:33:24

there's covered space for a barbecue and...

0:33:240:33:27

It's fabulous. Bring the family here for barbecues, which is...

0:33:270:33:31

-Yeah.

-Yeah. It's superb.

0:33:310:33:32

Absolutely stunning.

0:33:320:33:34

Lots to think about, I know.

0:33:350:33:36

-I know.

-The first thing I'd like you both to think about is the price.

0:33:360:33:41

OK, I'll go first.

0:33:410:33:43

Haven't really given it thought, but...

0:33:430:33:45

-280,000?

-OK.

0:33:470:33:50

-Oh, I'm going to go way above that.

-OK.

0:33:510:33:53

I think it's a least 315, 320.

0:33:530:33:55

It's actually currently on the market for...

0:33:560:33:59

..offers in excess of 270,000.

0:34:010:34:04

-Oh, no!

-Yes!

0:34:040:34:05

So it's still 30,000 under your budget.

0:34:050:34:08

Yes, yes.

0:34:080:34:10

-Good.

-Oh, dear.

0:34:100:34:11

-Yes.

-You've got a bit to discuss.

0:34:110:34:13

Yeah, a lot to think about.

0:34:130:34:15

But we don't have lots and lots of time, so go and do that.

0:34:150:34:18

And then let's have a cup of tea and discuss.

0:34:180:34:21

-Thank you.

-Lovely, thank you. Will do.

-Thank you!

0:34:210:34:23

This mid-terrace 19th-century former mill manager's cottage

0:34:250:34:29

offers Pat a large country kitchen/diner, two reception rooms

0:34:290:34:33

and three bedrooms.

0:34:330:34:34

It's in a peaceful rural location with country walks on the doorstep.

0:34:340:34:39

So big, isn't it?

0:34:390:34:41

-Oh, it's lovely.

-I like that.

0:34:410:34:44

Look at the style of the brickwork.

0:34:440:34:46

Oh, it's perfect! Mystery House.

0:34:470:34:50

Wow, what a place.

0:34:500:34:51

Loved the house. The front and the stonework.

0:34:510:34:54

Interior of the house is absolutely superb.

0:34:560:34:59

You've put a real spanner in the work now.

0:34:590:35:01

Loved the kitchen.

0:35:010:35:02

That was excellent.

0:35:020:35:04

Rural location is virtually what I've dreamt of, to be honest.

0:35:040:35:08

And the whole grounds - the trees, the quiet.

0:35:080:35:11

It's perfect. I think it's a great find,

0:35:110:35:14

but I have to say all three have been fantastic finds.

0:35:140:35:20

It's going to be hard.

0:35:200:35:21

I think it's just what you like, Pat.

0:35:220:35:25

-Yeah.

-But we just have to see now,

0:35:250:35:27

are you going to let your heart rule your head, or head rule your heart?

0:35:270:35:32

Yeah. It's a big decision.

0:35:320:35:34

Right, ladies. Let's go somewhere warmer.

0:35:340:35:37

Because I'm dying to know what decision you might make.

0:35:370:35:41

-Here you go.

-Biggest decision of my life, I think, Sonali.

0:35:410:35:44

From the fortified medieval manor house of Haddon Hall

0:35:510:35:54

in the Peak District, to the stately Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire,

0:35:540:35:58

the East Midlands showcases an impressive architectural legacy

0:35:580:36:02

left by the nation's elite.

0:36:020:36:05

But in Worksop, Nottinghamshire,

0:36:050:36:07

there's an historic house of a very different class.

0:36:070:36:10

Here, a modest semi remains virtually untouched since the 1920s,

0:36:100:36:15

when a family of grocers named the Straws moved in.

0:36:150:36:19

Left to the National Trust by the last surviving Straw in the 1990s,

0:36:190:36:23

it now offers a chance to step back in time,

0:36:230:36:27

immersed in thousands of everyday items amassed by the family

0:36:270:36:30

over a period of 60 years.

0:36:300:36:33

To find out more about this unique archive of social history,

0:36:330:36:37

I'm meeting house manager Tori Crapper.

0:36:370:36:40

Tori, I'm so intrigued about this house.

0:36:400:36:43

Tell me all about the family who lived here.

0:36:430:36:45

So the Straws themselves were grocers here in Worksop.

0:36:450:36:48

And the parents died in the '30s, and the two brothers, the two sons,

0:36:480:36:52

they kept it as it was and didn't throw anything away.

0:36:520:36:55

It's what's left with us today.

0:36:550:36:59

Why is preserving all of this so important?

0:36:590:37:03

Houses like ours give such a breadth to history

0:37:030:37:06

that you don't necessarily get in museums.

0:37:060:37:09

The '50s cooker that when I brought my mum round, she was like,

0:37:090:37:13

"Oh, my grandma used to have a cooker like that!"

0:37:130:37:15

And being able to share that more recent history with our visitors is

0:37:150:37:18

something that is really important, I think.

0:37:180:37:21

I'm going to ask you a very difficult question now.

0:37:210:37:23

-OK.

-30,000 items.

-Yeah.

-You have to pick your favourite.

0:37:230:37:26

So I want you to show me your favourite.

0:37:260:37:28

It's like choosing between your children,

0:37:280:37:29

but you're going to have to do it.

0:37:290:37:31

-Do you have favourites?

-Yeah.

0:37:310:37:33

I think we all do. I think any National Trust employee

0:37:330:37:36

has their favourite bit of their property, so...

0:37:360:37:39

-Lead the way.

-OK.

0:37:390:37:41

The family consisted of parents William Senior

0:37:410:37:44

and his wife Florence.

0:37:440:37:45

Their younger son Walter joined the successful family grocery business,

0:37:450:37:49

whilst older son William Junior made his fortune investing.

0:37:490:37:54

But despite their acquired wealth, they lived surprisingly modestly,

0:37:540:37:57

and rarely threw things away.

0:37:570:37:59

So, I love these hats and coats,

0:38:010:38:03

because they epitomise for me the Straw family

0:38:030:38:06

and their relationship with

0:38:060:38:08

each other and their business.

0:38:080:38:10

So the ones with the trilbies belong to Dad.

0:38:100:38:13

The two with the flat caps on belong to the brothers,

0:38:130:38:15

so William and Walter.

0:38:150:38:17

And I think that there's something

0:38:170:38:19

really lovely about having those very personal pieces.

0:38:190:38:23

But part for me is that it's also about...we are looking after our

0:38:230:38:28

family's history, and family's possessions.

0:38:280:38:31

And there's something really nice

0:38:310:38:32

about having them hanging in the hallway.

0:38:320:38:34

The Straws were known as purveyors of fine tea,

0:38:340:38:37

selling 28 different types

0:38:370:38:38

from which customers could order tailor-made blends.

0:38:380:38:42

When their business closed down in the 1960s,

0:38:420:38:45

their "waste not, want not" ethos

0:38:450:38:48

meant son Walter brought every single unsold item back home.

0:38:480:38:52

So I love our tea caddies.

0:38:530:38:55

You'd have gone into their grocer's shop and ordered your blend of tea.

0:38:550:38:58

So that was the number 11 blend?

0:38:580:39:00

It was. And they're scattered throughout the house.

0:39:000:39:02

You'd have gone in and said, "I'd like half a..."

0:39:020:39:05

Your blend. And they'd have done half a scoop of 11, or 28.

0:39:050:39:11

-Wow.

-For me,

0:39:110:39:12

I think these were Walter's mementos of his life

0:39:120:39:16

and the grocer's business that him and his dad had worked in.

0:39:160:39:19

So things in the business

0:39:190:39:21

actually ended up becoming ornaments and many of these mementos.

0:39:210:39:24

As well as clothing and knick-knacks,

0:39:240:39:26

there are reams of paper items, from old homework books,

0:39:260:39:30

to shop ledgers and personal letters.

0:39:300:39:33

The trust is currently undertaking

0:39:330:39:35

the mammoth task of creating a digital catalogue of the entire

0:39:350:39:39

collection so that visitors can learn even more online.

0:39:390:39:42

Danielle Brown is part of the team who are now three and a half years

0:39:420:39:47

into painstakingly photographing and recording each and every item.

0:39:470:39:51

-What are you photographing now? Stamps.

-So at the moment, yeah,

0:39:510:39:54

we're working on one of several stamp albums in the collection.

0:39:540:39:59

What we're doing is we're photographing each of the pages

0:39:590:40:02

as a grouping, but then we're also photographing

0:40:020:40:04

the stamps individually.

0:40:040:40:05

What it means is in the future, with it being paper objects,

0:40:050:40:08

they're incredibly fragile,

0:40:080:40:10

so by recording them individually this way,

0:40:100:40:12

what we're able to do is really keep a close eye on the collection,

0:40:120:40:16

on their condition

0:40:160:40:17

and how we can manage this particular object within the house.

0:40:170:40:21

And in a way, anyone anywhere will now be able

0:40:210:40:24

to see what the house contains.

0:40:240:40:26

For us, being such a small property with so many items,

0:40:260:40:29

we're never going to be able to put all the drawers,

0:40:290:40:31

cupboards, wardrobes on display.

0:40:310:40:33

For us, this is a way of doing that.

0:40:330:40:35

How much longer will it take to finish the 30,000?

0:40:350:40:38

So, it'll always be ongoing work.

0:40:380:40:40

But to get the main body on and really get it in the public eye,

0:40:400:40:43

we think another three or four years.

0:40:430:40:45

Well, good luck for the next three years. 30,000 items!

0:40:450:40:49

Thank you so much for showing me around.

0:40:490:40:51

-Oh, you're welcome. Thank you.

-Thank you.

0:40:510:40:52

Well, I've got a good feeling about this,

0:40:580:41:00

because we know Pat wants to move quickly,

0:41:000:41:02

and we know she's found somewhere she loves.

0:41:020:41:04

The question is, which property will she go for?

0:41:040:41:06

-So, decisions, decisions, decisions.

-Mm-hm.

0:41:110:41:15

When you like three houses, what do you do?

0:41:150:41:16

Think very hard.

0:41:180:41:19

-Long and hard.

-And what have you decided?

0:41:190:41:22

Have you decided anything?

0:41:220:41:23

I have.

0:41:230:41:24

Your face looks like you've been up to something.

0:41:250:41:27

What have you done?

0:41:270:41:29

Don't keep us in suspense!

0:41:290:41:31

I've put an offer in.

0:41:310:41:33

-On...?

-House number two.

0:41:330:41:35

Oh, congratulations! And?

0:41:350:41:38

And it's been accepted!

0:41:380:41:39

-Amazing!

-So I'm on the move.

0:41:400:41:43

So excited. Fantastic.

0:41:430:41:45

-Very hard decision.

-But you felt very at home, I know, in number two.

0:41:450:41:50

-Yeah.

-And I know, Tula,

0:41:500:41:51

you felt that that would be the right...for her,

0:41:510:41:53

the right one going forward.

0:41:530:41:54

I felt that would be the right decision.

0:41:540:41:56

Yes. She's gone with her head.

0:41:560:41:59

But except you do love it too, so maybe number two is heart AND head.

0:41:590:42:04

Yes, I do. A stunning, stunning property.

0:42:040:42:06

-Lovely village.

-Well, that's really wonderful news.

0:42:070:42:10

I'm so pleased for you. And it's already been accepted,

0:42:100:42:12

-which is fantastic.

-Yes, yes.

0:42:120:42:13

-So...

-Thank you so much for everything.

0:42:130:42:16

Well, enjoy the new life with the grandkids up here, and...

0:42:160:42:19

And I've got a new holiday home!

0:42:190:42:21

LAUGHTER

0:42:210:42:22

So I must say congratulations to you too.

0:42:220:42:24

-Thank you.

-Thank you so much.

0:42:240:42:26

-Thank you.

-It's been a pleasure.

0:42:260:42:28

Well, how wonderful that Pat's offer

0:42:320:42:34

has just been accepted on house number two.

0:42:340:42:37

And it's easy to see why she ended up choosing the village property.

0:42:370:42:41

Pat felt that it would be more practical as the years go by,

0:42:410:42:44

and she didn't want to move again in a decade or so.

0:42:440:42:48

So, we wish her luck and hope that the process runs smoothly.

0:42:480:42:51

And we look forward to hearing just how happy she is in her new home

0:42:510:42:55

here in the East Midlands. See you next time on Escape To The Country.

0:42:550:42:58

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

0:43:010:43:04

Northern Ireland, Wales or Scotland and need our help,

0:43:040:43:07

you can apply online at...

0:43:070:43:09

Sonali Shah is on a mission to help find a country home for £300,000 in the East Midlands for an eager buyer who has brought along her neighbour for support. While in the region, Sonali pays a visit to an Edwardian house in Worksop, now managed by the National Trust, and steps back in time to learn about everyday life and work in the East Midlands during that era.