Herefordshire Escape to the Country


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Herefordshire

Jules Hudson is in Herefordshire with an exuberant house-hunting couple who are ready to move from Birmingham and spend £500,000 on a country home.


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Welcome to Escape To The Country and this,

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a quintessential view of the English landscape,

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a beautiful village church overlooking its churchyard.

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Now, this one is 800 years old.

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Not in itself remarkable, but old enough nonetheless.

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But its age is nothing in comparison to this beautiful yew tree which it

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overlooks. So, how old do you think it is, and where are we?

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Well, join me in just a moment and I'll tell you.

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Today it's close family ties drawing a loving couple towards

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the great British countryside and there are plenty of surprises

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along the way.

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-Ooh.

-Now, this wasn't what you were expecting, was it?

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-No.

-No.

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Some more welcome than others.

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And I'd be your neighbour.

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Upsides, downsides.

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So, that's already put a hole in it, hasn't it?

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You're never going to buy it!

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Well, today we are in Herefordshire,

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and this is the church of St Bartholomew in Much Marcle.

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It was built about 1220, and has been serving the village ever since.

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But its age is nothing in comparison to this beautiful yew tree which has

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been here an awful lot longer.

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Just how long? Well, get this.

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They've just dated it to some 1,500 years old.

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Nearly twice as old as the church itself.

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That makes it one of the oldest living trees in England,

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and with a whopping circumference of some ten metres,

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also one of the largest.

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The county of Herefordshire shares a border with Wales to the West

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and three other English counties to the east.

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The region is one of the most rural and sparsely populated in England,

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with the River Wye gracefully winding through it.

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The terrain here is largely given over to agriculture,

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and is well-known for its fruit and cider production.

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In the county town of Hereford,

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the magnificent Grade I listed

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cathedral is around a thousand years old.

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Prior to that, it also lays claim to being the burial site of

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King Ethelbert in the late eighth century.

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Pilgrims flocked to see his relics,

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and he was subsequently made a saint.

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Another historic highlight of the county's architecture are the

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distinctive timber-framed buildings.

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Some particularly handsome examples

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survive in the attractive village of Pembridge,

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part of the North Herefordshire's Black And White Village Trail.

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Another landmark here is the

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medieval St Mary's Church with its

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unusual detached belltower.

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So, with its fine country scenery and rich architectural heritage,

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Herefordshire possesses a wonderful charm for prospective escapees.

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Well, you know, I have long been a fan of Herefordshire.

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So much so, in fact, that for the last five years or so,

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it's been my home, too.

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So if you fancy life here on the borders,

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well, here are some useful facts and

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figures that can help you on your way.

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Currently the average price of a detached property here is

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just north of £310,000. That's some

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£10,000 below the figure for the UK as a whole.

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But if you want your money to go that little bit further, well,

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my advice is to head over towards the border with Wales.

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Basically, the further west you go, well, the cheaper it is.

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But there is no getting away from the fact this is a beautiful county

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full of culture and a real sense of identity.

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Just the sort of things, of course,

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that today's buyers are looking for, too.

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Charity worker Diana and her

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business consultant husband Jules met as

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students, and over four decades later, they couldn't be closer.

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She's a wonderful mother, wonderful friend,

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best wife one could ever have.

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He's lovely.

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We met a long time ago, so we've been together a long time.

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He's always been there and always supported the whole family.

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But when their paths first crossed,

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it wasn't in the most conventional of circumstances.

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It was at a pyjama party at Leicester Polytechnic in 1974.

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And it took a fair while, but three years later, we were engaged.

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Five years later, we were married.

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When Jules got a job in his hometown of Birmingham in 1976,

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Diana moved to be with him, and they've been there ever since.

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I'm a Brummie.

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No, I've been here all my life.

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It's been a good city. It's been a great city.

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But there's a lot going on now.

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It's grown. It's a lot busier.

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It's a young person's city now.

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Just ready to move on now.

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The couple have lived in their Edwardian home for over 30 years.

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Their two sons and daughter have left home, but when they move,

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they want to be close to their eldest, Ellie.

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Our daughter's disabled,

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and she's recently moved to Hereford

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to live in a residential centre there,

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which is a fantastic place.

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And we're too far away from her,

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so we need to be closer so that we can see her more frequently.

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As well as spending more quality time with Ellie,

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they are also looking forward to having more time to enjoy some of

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their many passions.

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I love astronomy. In the

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countryside - no light pollution, big skies,

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good views. That's the sort of thing that we're looking forward to.

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My hobbies have always been sort of knitting, sewing, a bit creative.

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I'd like to be an artist, but I'm not.

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But there's one rather decadent

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activity that Diana and Jules both like.

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Hot tub came from a holiday we had last year,

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where we spent most of the time,

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actually, in the hot tub in Cornwall,

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which was brilliant. We thought, "You know what?

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"For our anniversary, let's literally splash out."

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-Treat ourselves. Splash out!

-Splash out.

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So, with hopes riding high,

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Diana and Jules are now looking forward to their new life in

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Herefordshire.

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You've got hills. You've got open skies.

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-It's a different pace of life there.

-A different pace, you know.

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You just look across at the River Wye

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and you just see it flowing gently

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past and you think, "I'll have some of that."

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We're 60 now, so it's time to sort of wind down.

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Ellie has actually decided our move, so rather than going to the seaside,

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we are going to Hereford. Because that's where she is and that's where

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she's happy, so we'll happy there as well.

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Diana and Jules want to be within half an hour's drive

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of their daughter Ellie in Hereford,

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so that's where we're focusing the search.

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But before we hit the road and begin our Herefordshire house hunt,

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we're catching up in the county so I can be sure I know exactly what

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it is they're after. Well, Diana and...

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-Well, Jules.

-Hello, Jules.

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-Nice to see you, sir.

-Nice to see you, Jules.

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Welcome to Herefordshire.

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-Thank you.

-Now, in terms of the property that you're looking for,

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obviously we do need to cater for

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Ellie's very specific needs, don't we?

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So what sort of property would work for you?

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We do need room for the boys to come and stay,

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and Ellie to come and stay,

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so we're looking for three bedrooms.

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We need a downstairs bedroom and a

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wet room for Ellie to come and stay...

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-Or potential to convert.

-..or potential to convert.

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-Yeah.

-But we'd also, as we come into retirement,

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looking for some income potential as well,

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so potentially we could let out that room

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or have an annexe attached where we could have a retirement income.

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What do you want in terms of your social space?

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Garden. We like a garden.

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Don't want a huge garden, but we like garden.

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Our little pleasure is a hot tub, so we've got to have space for hot tub.

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Table tennis table.

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Her pleasure is beating me at table tennis,

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so she needs a table tennis table, so, yeah, that's her little thrill.

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So, we're looking for a house of fun, aren't we, really?

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A hot tub, somewhere for table tennis.

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Everyone can come and visit.

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Brilliant. The one thing you haven't talked about, really,

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is sort of reception rooms and kitchen.

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I mean, most people want something big and open plan.

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-Is that you?

-I'd rather have individual rooms.

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But I don't want small rooms.

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-He's quite tall.

-Yeah.

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Traditional high ceilings, big rooms type places,

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so I can sort of stretch out a bit.

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Are we looking for something brand-new?

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-Preferably not.

-Not usually, no.

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Prefer the older, traditional style. A bit more character.

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So, traditional but with space.

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-Yeah.

-Please.

-But what about sort of exact situation?

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We'd love to be isolated, but we are getting older,

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so we need to be able to get out

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easily to get our pint of milk, or...

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It'd be nice to be able to walk to the pub,

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but it'd be nice to be part of the community as well.

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So how much is this move, centred on

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Ellie's needs, going to set you back?

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What's the budget, then?

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We can go up to £500,000.

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Well, I think we've got some very interesting properties to show you.

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Let's go house-hunting. Come on, then.

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Spend your half a million.

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You put it like that, it disappears quite quickly, doesn't it?

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-Sounds good, that.

-Yes, it does!

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For their top budget of £500,000,

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Diana and Jules are hoping for a traditional home with space and high

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ceilings. They prefer separate reception rooms to open-plan.

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They need three bedrooms, with a ground floor annexe,

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or the potential to create one for daughter Ellie.

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They're also after a decent-sized garden

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with space for a vegetable patch,

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and location wise, they want to be close to Hereford.

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We've lined up a wide selection of country homes for Diana and Jules to

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view, but only after they've

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completed each tour will the price be

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revealed to them. Finally,

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our mystery house will require them

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both to size up something altogether different.

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As we travel to our first house,

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it's clear that this move will benefit them as parents.

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Now, Diana, I'm just trying to

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envisage the sort of amenities that Ellie's

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going to need in your new home.

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Do we need, you know, specific wheelchair access, for example?

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On occasions, yes, we do need... She is in a wheelchair,

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so we'd need to have obviously access to the house.

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The door needs to be accessible with a wheelchair,

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and space in the rooms and the halls

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for turning the wheelchair when needed.

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For you two, having the chance to be

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once again so much closer to Ellie in her new home

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must be a great relief, Jules?

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Absolutely. Absolutely.

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Having her close to hand rather than hoiking down the M5,

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that would be a big comfort to us.

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It's being able to do the quality things with her,

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to take her out and to have some fun with her.

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We can just say, "Let's pop and see Ellie tonight,"

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which will be much nicer.

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We're travelling to the small village of Preston Wynne,

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just over a 20-minute drive from Ellie in Hereford.

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Three miles away, the pretty village

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of Withington provides the essentials at the local shop.

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Also here is a memorial commemorating soldiers who fought in

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the First World War. The churchyard of St Peter's Church is also the

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resting place for Commonwealth War graves.

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On the edge of the village,

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the local pub is just a few minutes' drive from our first offering.

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Right, come on in,

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because I think as a place to start, this is really good.

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To the right, recently renovated,

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really nice and recently extended old Victorian farm worker's cottage.

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And then here, separate annexe.

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Oh, this looks nice.

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I can see a vegetable plot there.

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You've got a veg patch here.

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-No big trees.

-No big trees.

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Well, apart from the one that's in your back garden

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which dominates the 1.3 acres this comes with.

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Wow. I think it looks like more than we can afford.

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Do you think so? Well, let's see how much you like it first,

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and then we'll talk about how much it's going to cost you.

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-Yeah, hmm, right.

-Come on.

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This extended period cottage dates back to the 1850s.

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Built from local Hereford brick, it's topped with a smart slate roof.

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It's clear this property has benefited from a lot of TLC.

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It's been in the same family for over 100 years.

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We're going into the main part to explore the kitchen.

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OK. There we are, madam.

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-What you think?

-Oh, very nice.

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It's got loads of space, and this link,

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this clever structure that joins

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what was the old cider barn to the rest

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of the property, I think offers Ellie the sort of space...

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Lots of space to get a wheelchair in.

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-Yeah.

-Look at your face.

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-This is lovely.

-It's very good so far.

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You've got a big burner to operate a wok on, as well,

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so the range-y type cooker will do nicely, thank you.

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And you don't really need to pick up a paintbrush, do you? Come this way.

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No, it's all done.

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Just off the kitchen is a potential breakfast area,

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currently being used for storage, along with a utility room.

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Next door, there's a dedicated dining room leading into a bright

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conservatory beyond that,

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delivering the separate living spaces Diana asked for.

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So, nice dining space next door,

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and then this is the most recently renovated part of this property.

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First impressions - it looked quite small, but actually,

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you've got two sofas in here.

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-Nice.

-I'm liking, I'm liking this.

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I think this is a really, really good fit.

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-It is.

-Let's... Let's continue our tour.

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-By all means.

-Follow me, Jules.

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We're moving upstairs to the sleeping quarters,

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where there are four bedrooms

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serviced by a family bath and shower room.

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Facing the front of the property,

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there's a cosy double and another slightly larger one.

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The third is a snug-sized single,

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but we're going to explore the most substantial on offer,

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which they would use as theirs.

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And then finally, you've got this room, which is the master,

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for obvious reasons, really. It's the biggest of the lot.

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You've got a sort of dressing area there,

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and a little shower en suite round the corner.

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-High ceilings, Jules.

-Yes. I still...

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As bedrooms go, this has the highest ceilings of the lot.

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I mean, you've got the four bedrooms here,

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but I think the annexe is the real issue with this one,

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because I think it's all about Ellie,

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and the annexe is what's going to make this house work for her.

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-OK.

-Let's go and have a look at that.

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-Let's go and have a look.

-After you, mate.

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The annexe is a barn converted eight years ago,

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and has been cleverly joined to the house by a closed walkway.

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So, what do you think Ellie would make of this?

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-Wow.

-Come on in.

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-Lots of space.

-That is rather good.

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-Isn't it?

-Yeah.

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The spiral goes up to a very simple kind of mezzanine. I'm thinking,

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you know, for when the boys come to stay.

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Obviously you've got this very new kind of kitchen area here.

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Behind it is the downstairs shower room.

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And then this space, which I'm thinking - bedroom.

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-Yes.

-Not bad for a first one, actually.

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Yeah, not bad at all.

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Not bad, not bad.

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So, let's go and talk about how much it's on the market for, shall we?

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-Yes.

-Let's go outside.

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Well, they do seem impressed by the layout and space inside.

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Outside, the garden includes a number of defined areas,

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from the vegetable plot to the front,

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to a chicken house and orchard to the rear.

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So, there's this beautiful tree that

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I was referring to when we first arrived.

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-Bags of room for the hot tub, I think.

-Yes.

-Yes.

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A few spaces.

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So, we now need to think about how

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much this is going to be on the market for.

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I thought it looked more than we could afford,

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so it's got to be top of the budget.

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-500,000.

-£500,000, yes, that's fair enough.

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I tend to agree with her, but I hope it's about 485.

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You hope it's 485.

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Your instincts are absolutely right.

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This is £499,995, so I am pleased

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to say it is technically under budget.

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-It's fab.

-It's absolutely stunning.

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I think you should go and have a look around,

0:15:530:15:55

and I will catch up with you a little bit later.

0:15:550:15:57

-Off you go.

-Smashing, thank you.

-Fabulous, thank you.

0:15:570:16:00

This extended mid-19th-century cottage is just

0:16:000:16:03

a whisker under budget,

0:16:030:16:04

but does meet all of Diana and Jules' requirements.

0:16:040:16:07

It's traditional, without low ceilings.

0:16:070:16:10

It has four bedrooms,

0:16:100:16:11

separate reception rooms and a self-contained annexe.

0:16:110:16:15

What's more, it's less than half an hour away from their daughter Ellie.

0:16:150:16:18

I'm really surprised by it.

0:16:190:16:21

I'm impressed by it.

0:16:210:16:22

It's, um...

0:16:220:16:24

It looked quite small from outside, and when we got in,

0:16:240:16:27

it was so spacious downstairs, lots of room.

0:16:270:16:30

Outside is absolutely fabulous.

0:16:300:16:32

I love the garden, love the orchard.

0:16:320:16:34

The only small thing is the bedrooms. Literally the small thing.

0:16:340:16:38

They are smaller than I would like, but whatever house you go to,

0:16:380:16:41

there's going to be a compromise.

0:16:410:16:43

Absolutely stunning. It's got

0:16:430:16:44

everything we need without the need to do

0:16:440:16:46

anything to tidy it up or any extra work.

0:16:460:16:50

It's a bit close to our budget,

0:16:500:16:52

but on that basis, because there's no work, quite happy with it.

0:16:520:16:56

That was a cracking start.

0:16:570:17:00

Yes. Really good.

0:17:000:17:01

-Very good.

-Our other two properties have got a lot to beat, I suspect.

0:17:010:17:05

-No pressure.

-Well, it's always there!

0:17:050:17:08

When they've settled into their new country life,

0:17:140:17:17

Diana and Jules are planning to put their green fingers to good use

0:17:170:17:21

and grow their own produce.

0:17:210:17:22

They may well decide to introduce herbs to their kitchen garden.

0:17:220:17:26

But they have far more uses than just adding some flavour to cooking.

0:17:260:17:29

Paul Richards has developed an

0:17:300:17:32

alternative purpose for the herbs he's been

0:17:320:17:34

growing on his organic five acre farm for over 30 years.

0:17:340:17:37

At any one time,

0:17:380:17:40

there is a colourful array of over 20 different flowers in bloom, all,

0:17:400:17:44

he believes, rich in powerful nutrients.

0:17:440:17:47

Tell us about the history here.

0:17:480:17:50

My father and my uncle used to take me out on walks and show me various

0:17:500:17:54

birds and plants and so on.

0:17:540:17:55

I actually got really interested in the plants,

0:17:550:17:58

and I found that there are also lots

0:17:580:18:00

of interesting uses for these plants,

0:18:000:18:02

and that is something that has kind of sown the seed in me,

0:18:020:18:04

and I then went on to do botany at university.

0:18:040:18:08

Then, eventually, I managed to find some land here in Herefordshire,

0:18:080:18:11

and got going.

0:18:110:18:14

Paul started his herb pharmacy just outside Eardisley ten years ago.

0:18:140:18:19

What makes it so good for growing the plants here?

0:18:190:18:22

The soils are very rich.

0:18:220:18:23

They're nice, red Herefordshire soils,

0:18:230:18:26

and it's also a really nice place to be.

0:18:260:18:28

-It's beautiful. Beautiful.

-So, what's this in front of you?

0:18:280:18:31

It looks a bit like an evening primrose.

0:18:310:18:32

-It's not, is it?

-It does a bit, and the colour is almost identical,

0:18:320:18:36

but it is from a different family.

0:18:360:18:38

This is what the gardeners know as Verbascum,

0:18:380:18:41

or mullein, as we call it.

0:18:410:18:43

These flowers we pick individually,

0:18:430:18:45

and they are actually quite an interesting herb.

0:18:450:18:48

It's got anti-inflammatory, it's got emollient,

0:18:480:18:52

and also it is reputed to help with the elasticity of the skin, so,

0:18:520:18:57

-fine lines.

-Youth and beauty.

0:18:570:18:59

-Yeah, that's it.

-Yeah.

0:18:590:19:01

We need some of that.

0:19:010:19:02

Diana and Jules are helping Paul to pick some of the

0:19:020:19:04

vibrant yellow flowers,

0:19:040:19:06

which will be one of the key

0:19:060:19:07

ingredients in a facial balm they'll be learning

0:19:070:19:10

-how to make later.

-Do you do this all by hand,

0:19:100:19:13

or do you use any machinery to pick them?

0:19:130:19:15

We do all this by hand.

0:19:150:19:17

Having picked these potent fresh flowers,

0:19:170:19:19

it's off to the drying shed to see how Paul preps and processes the

0:19:190:19:23

-blooms.

-These are what they look like when they're dried.

0:19:230:19:26

-How long does that take?

-It takes about 48 hours for most herbs.

0:19:260:19:31

So, then, how do you extract them?

0:19:310:19:33

Yes, so we've got to try and get the properties of these herbs into our

0:19:330:19:36

skin care products, so we mainly use oil to extract.

0:19:360:19:40

So, for instance, with these

0:19:400:19:42

mullein, if we fill up a container with them -

0:19:420:19:45

in quite tight, there, like that.

0:19:450:19:48

And then, gently, we pour in sunflower oil.

0:19:480:19:51

This is a high oleic sunflower oil.

0:19:510:19:53

So, then you close it down there,

0:19:530:19:55

then that goes in something like the airing cupboard,

0:19:550:19:58

-if you are doing it at home...

-Yeah.

0:19:580:19:59

..to keep it warm, for about three weeks,

0:19:590:20:01

and you shake it every day to keep it agitated.

0:20:010:20:05

And then it is strained out, and it is ready to use

0:20:050:20:09

in the balm.

0:20:090:20:10

Showing them how to create the natural balm is

0:20:100:20:14

deputy production manager Orla Henning.

0:20:140:20:16

A variety of herbs have been steeped in oils,

0:20:180:20:20

which will be mixed together.

0:20:200:20:22

First in, we can put the marshmallow and jojoba.

0:20:220:20:25

Would you like to pour that into this jug?

0:20:250:20:27

-Yeah.

-Marshmallow root extract is believed to soothe delicate skin.

0:20:270:20:32

Next up, we've got the marshmallow and sunflower.

0:20:320:20:35

So, why the two different mixtures with marshmallow?

0:20:350:20:37

This one's sunflower.

0:20:370:20:39

So, sunflower is our main base oil, whereas the jojoba, it's lot richer,

0:20:390:20:45

so we like to use a mixture of both of them.

0:20:450:20:47

Next, it's the calendula.

0:20:470:20:49

That one is the anti-inflammatory.

0:20:490:20:51

The mullein in sunflower oil is then added.

0:20:510:20:54

It's the active ingredient in this rejuvenating balm.

0:20:540:20:57

And, lastly, in goes some beeswax.

0:20:570:21:00

And that's for the texture, is it?

0:21:000:21:02

That's right. That will set it into a solid state.

0:21:020:21:06

Here we are, all of our ingredients.

0:21:060:21:08

We will pop this on the heat to get up to just over 80 degrees.

0:21:080:21:11

After around an hour and a half, the ingredients are pasteurised.

0:21:110:21:15

I'll just add the essential oils.

0:21:150:21:16

We add these at the very end so that they don't get too cooked.

0:21:160:21:19

It will make it smell nice.

0:21:210:21:22

The liquid balm is then poured into warm jars, where it's left to set.

0:21:230:21:27

I think yours is better than mine.

0:21:270:21:29

Of course it is!

0:21:290:21:31

-You have both done really well.

-Of course it is!

0:21:310:21:34

This is setting really quickly.

0:21:340:21:35

How long do you leave these to set for?

0:21:350:21:37

We normally leave them to set, depending on the size of jar,

0:21:370:21:40

for between half an hour to an hour.

0:21:400:21:43

OK. And when can you use it?

0:21:430:21:45

We can use it right now if you like.

0:21:450:21:47

-OK.

-OK.

-We've got some that have already set.

0:21:470:21:48

-Help yourself.

-Right, thank you.

0:21:480:21:50

Oh, it is quite solid.

0:21:530:21:54

That just softens up straight away, doesn't it?

0:21:540:21:58

-Give it a smell.

-Mm.

0:21:580:22:00

A lot of people get a little bit put off because it's a balm,

0:22:000:22:03

but actually, it's more moisturising than a lot of creams,

0:22:030:22:06

and it will go into the skin quicker.

0:22:060:22:08

Well, thank you so much.

0:22:080:22:10

This is really good to see how this balm has been made.

0:22:100:22:12

Thank you very much. It's been brilliant.

0:22:120:22:14

Absolute pleasure.

0:22:140:22:15

We're continuing our property search in the village of Madley,

0:22:210:22:24

which is under a 20-minute drive from Hereford.

0:22:240:22:28

The attractive stone parish church has been a landmark here for around

0:22:280:22:31

1,500 years.

0:22:310:22:33

The oldest part is the window and arch over the main door,

0:22:340:22:37

which is Norman.

0:22:370:22:38

Today, the village is well served by

0:22:380:22:40

a handful of shops and a couple of local pubs.

0:22:400:22:43

And on the outskirts of the village, we reach our second property.

0:22:430:22:47

What do you think?

0:22:470:22:49

It's different to the last one.

0:22:490:22:50

-Very different to the last one.

-Very different to the last one!

0:22:500:22:53

-Yeah.

-The obvious thing, of course, is that it is single-storey living,

0:22:530:22:56

this. Yeah. I'm not going to call it a bungalow because it's vast.

0:22:560:22:59

-OK.

-OK, that's promising.

0:22:590:23:01

If I tell you there are some 20 rooms here,

0:23:010:23:04

not including the garage...

0:23:040:23:06

Wow...

0:23:060:23:07

But the fact that it's all on one level, I think,

0:23:070:23:10

makes it quite an interesting

0:23:100:23:11

proposition for what you need to sort out

0:23:110:23:13

for Ellie. Yeah. And I'd be your neighbour.

0:23:130:23:16

Upsides, downsides!

0:23:160:23:19

So, that's already put a hole in it, hasn't it?

0:23:190:23:21

You're never going to buy it!

0:23:210:23:23

-But let's see what you think of it.

-OK.

0:23:230:23:25

Two people called Jules in the same village.

0:23:250:23:28

This rather unusual yet extensive property was built in the mid '60s,

0:23:290:23:34

but has more recently been updated,

0:23:340:23:36

and the neutral exterior is hiding a rather more vibrant interior.

0:23:360:23:41

There.

0:23:410:23:43

-Ooh.

-Now, this wasn't what you were expecting, was it?

0:23:430:23:45

-No.

-No.

0:23:450:23:47

No, this is a lovely space.

0:23:470:23:49

-Yeah?

-Yeah.

-This is

0:23:490:23:51

intriguing. There's lots of light coming in here, which is good.

0:23:510:23:55

It's nice and quiet.

0:23:550:23:56

-Yeah.

-I just love the space.

0:23:560:23:58

I think it's fantastic.

0:23:580:24:00

Like you said, the light coming through is lovely.

0:24:000:24:02

And then this all opens up through

0:24:020:24:04

here to give you this sort of L-shaped

0:24:040:24:06

arrangement to your living space.

0:24:060:24:08

Something of a sort of dining area, I suppose,

0:24:080:24:10

with the hatch through to the kitchen.

0:24:100:24:13

Lovely.

0:24:130:24:15

Let's have a quick look at the kitchen while we're here.

0:24:150:24:18

Now, given the scale of this place,

0:24:200:24:22

the kitchen actually is surprisingly small,

0:24:220:24:24

but given the amount of rooms that, you know, surround it,

0:24:240:24:29

it doesn't bother me, to be perfectly honest.

0:24:290:24:32

No, there's plenty of work space,

0:24:320:24:33

which is the main thing in the kitchen,

0:24:330:24:35

and quite a bit of storage.

0:24:350:24:36

There's a big smile from your wife here.

0:24:360:24:38

-I like it.

-I think she's liking it.

0:24:380:24:40

-I like it!

-I'm just seeing work.

0:24:400:24:42

That's fine.

0:24:440:24:46

It's a project! You'll love it!

0:24:460:24:48

Well, there's plenty more for Diana

0:24:490:24:51

to love as we move through the living areas.

0:24:510:24:53

The property is laid out in sections,

0:24:530:24:55

with the kitchen situated over in one wing.

0:24:550:24:58

Fanning out from it is a utility and cloakroom,

0:24:580:25:01

as well as a raft of rooms they really could make their own,

0:25:010:25:05

including a spacious library and a bright study, along with a bathroom.

0:25:050:25:10

So, having made sense of the living spaces,

0:25:120:25:14

we're heading over to the four

0:25:140:25:16

bedrooms that occupy two separate wings.

0:25:160:25:19

Another room to do with what you like.

0:25:210:25:25

But it leads us on to this suite of rooms,

0:25:250:25:28

and I'm thinking this might work really nicely for Ellie,

0:25:280:25:31

because you've got two of the five bathrooms over there.

0:25:310:25:35

One is a separate bathroom. The other one is the shower room.

0:25:350:25:38

You've got another bedroom behind there.

0:25:380:25:40

So, if you forego the idea that this

0:25:400:25:42

contains a bed and you put the bed next door,

0:25:420:25:45

this would be her sort of living space.

0:25:450:25:47

-Oh, OK.

-And, of course, when the boys come to stay,

0:25:470:25:51

they'd have the run of it as well.

0:25:510:25:52

Master bedroom there?

0:25:520:25:54

Yeah, the master bedroom, as is, is behind that wall there.

0:25:540:25:56

-Yeah?

-Yeah. Got some ideas.

-Will it work?

0:25:560:25:58

-Lots of ideas.

-Yeah, I mean, I'm just chucking them out there,

0:25:580:26:01

-but you've got to make sense of it all.

-Yeah. Yeah, yeah.

0:26:010:26:03

I think this could work.

0:26:030:26:05

I do think now is probably the time to step outside into that lovely

0:26:050:26:09

afternoon sunshine and start thinking about the price.

0:26:090:26:12

So, come with me.

0:26:120:26:14

-OK.

-Thank you.

0:26:140:26:15

Outside also delivers generously.

0:26:160:26:19

There is a garage-cum-workshop, a pleasant patio,

0:26:190:26:23

and the garden stretches to almost an acre,

0:26:230:26:25

which includes a vegetable patch, a shed and a summer house.

0:26:250:26:30

Now, to be honest, I think from here,

0:26:300:26:33

you do actually get the best view of it,

0:26:330:26:35

because you can begin to see how it all fits together.

0:26:350:26:39

Look at your face. This is good, isn't it?

0:26:390:26:40

-It's all good.

-I can see you're leading the charge, here, you know,

0:26:400:26:44

between you, Diana, on this one.

0:26:440:26:46

-Look, he's worn out.

-Jules can manage the garden.

0:26:460:26:50

-OK...

-Please make her stop.

0:26:500:26:52

Let's talk about the price of this one, then.

0:26:520:26:54

There's still stuff to be done for us.

0:26:540:26:57

-Round about 425.

-425.

0:26:570:26:59

I'm thinking 440, 450.

0:27:000:27:03

OK. This is on the market for

0:27:030:27:06

£450,000.

0:27:060:27:09

-I win.

-Yes, you did, you did.

0:27:090:27:12

Go and explore it.

0:27:120:27:14

-Thank you.

-And once you've figured it out, come and tell me,

0:27:140:27:17

because I have no idea how it all fits together.

0:27:170:27:19

If we're not back in half an hour, send out a search party.

0:27:190:27:21

Yeah, I will. You will probably get lost.

0:27:210:27:23

This detached single-storey property already goes a long way to meeting

0:27:260:27:30

Diana and Jules's family needs,

0:27:300:27:32

and would also leave £50,000 change in their pockets.

0:27:320:27:36

It's got four bedrooms, including good options for Ellie,

0:27:360:27:39

a variety of other living rooms, and a garden

0:27:390:27:42

that is large but manageable.

0:27:420:27:43

Plus, it's less than a 20-minute drive to Hereford.

0:27:430:27:47

This is a lovely room, isn't it?

0:27:500:27:52

-Yeah.

-Great space.

0:27:520:27:54

What you think of this house?

0:27:540:27:55

It's bonkers and great in equal measure.

0:27:550:27:59

It's got a lot of potential.

0:27:590:28:00

Huge potential. I love all the separate spaces in the house,

0:28:000:28:05

and obviously space for Ellie.

0:28:050:28:07

-Space for Ellie.

-There's lots of space for Ellie.

0:28:070:28:09

Lots of options for space for Ellie.

0:28:090:28:11

And also, possibly, income potential as well.

0:28:110:28:13

Yeah.

0:28:130:28:15

Our work is pretty much done, guys, you'll be pleased to know.

0:28:150:28:18

Which means, as it's

0:28:180:28:22

apple harvest time, we should probably go and try some cider.

0:28:220:28:25

-Yay.

-Really?

-Yeah, we really...

0:28:250:28:27

-Must we?

-Yeah, come on.

-Oh, dear.

0:28:270:28:30

It's day two of our Herefordshire house hunt,

0:28:390:28:42

searching out the perfect country

0:28:420:28:44

pad for Diana and Jules to call home.

0:28:440:28:46

They've got £500,000 to spend on a property suitable for not only them

0:28:460:28:51

but also visiting family.

0:28:510:28:53

Coming up, we've still got a lesson

0:28:530:28:55

or two to learn with our mystery house...

0:28:550:28:57

It's not a bad view, is it, really?

0:28:570:28:59

-Very nice.

-I could take that.

0:28:590:29:02

And watch the seasons go by.

0:29:020:29:04

..and I'll be rolling up my sleeves

0:29:040:29:06

and getting to work on an accessory for

0:29:060:29:08

my own Herefordshire home.

0:29:080:29:09

That's a good effort.

0:29:100:29:13

I think there's a... You can tell who's done it before, can't you?

0:29:130:29:16

Well, so far this week our house

0:29:210:29:23

search is proving to be as challenging as

0:29:230:29:25

it is rewarding. Trying to find a home, of course,

0:29:250:29:28

not just for Jules and Diana,

0:29:280:29:29

but also one that can meet the very

0:29:290:29:31

specific needs of their daughter Ellie.

0:29:310:29:34

Well, as we head into our final day,

0:29:340:29:36

we are, of course, halfway through.

0:29:360:29:37

We've seen two, we've got one more to come,

0:29:370:29:40

so what possibly could our mystery house provide them that our first

0:29:400:29:44

two properties haven't?

0:29:440:29:45

Well, it's very simple. Two words - splendid isolation.

0:29:450:29:49

Our mystery journey takes us to the hamlet of Brinsop,

0:29:510:29:54

just 20 minutes drive from Hereford.

0:29:540:29:56

It's a rural setting,

0:29:570:29:59

but St George's church here

0:29:590:30:00

contains some exceptional Norman carvings,

0:30:000:30:02

and is thought to be where the legend of

0:30:020:30:05

St George and the dragon hails from.

0:30:050:30:07

The 19th-century saw poet William Wordsworth

0:30:070:30:10

visit the area on many occasions.

0:30:100:30:12

And just a stone's throw away is our final offering.

0:30:130:30:16

The mystery house,

0:30:160:30:18

a perfect example of how wonderful things come in small packages.

0:30:180:30:22

Right, then. The wait is over.

0:30:240:30:26

At last, I can show you our mystery house.

0:30:260:30:29

There it is. What do you think?

0:30:290:30:31

-It's very pretty.

-It's very pretty.

0:30:310:30:33

You may be forgiven for thinking you are in the middle of nowhere,

0:30:330:30:36

because look at where we are. It's the most gorgeous setting.

0:30:360:30:39

-Fabulous.

-The one thing we need

0:30:390:30:40

to sort of think about is whether or not

0:30:400:30:43

you'd be interested in converting that detached garage there

0:30:430:30:47

for a more bespoke solution to

0:30:470:30:49

Ellie's needs when she comes to stay.

0:30:490:30:51

-Yeah.

-The only other thing to point

0:30:530:30:54

out is that once upon a time it was an

0:30:540:30:56

old schoolhouse, believe it or not.

0:30:560:30:58

-Oh, really?

-It's not the biggest we've shown

0:30:580:31:00

you, but it's absolutely 100% done,

0:31:000:31:03

raring to go. Yeah?

0:31:030:31:04

-Yeah.

-Yeah.

0:31:040:31:05

-Come on, let's see what you think.

-Let's go.

0:31:050:31:08

Our mystery schoolhouse dates back to the 1860s,

0:31:080:31:12

and with age comes character, which we're just about to take in.

0:31:120:31:16

We're heading inside and going straight into the sitting-room.

0:31:160:31:20

Come on in. There, what do you reckon?

0:31:200:31:22

-Very nice.

-It's nice.

0:31:220:31:24

It's a bit small. I don't know, is it small?

0:31:240:31:26

It's certainly big enough for me.

0:31:260:31:28

I don't have to touch the ceiling.

0:31:280:31:30

-Yeah.

-I can stretch out a little bit.

0:31:300:31:32

So, yeah, that's good. It is nice.

0:31:320:31:34

-Yeah.

-It's not the only reception area.

0:31:340:31:36

You can probably just get a

0:31:360:31:37

glimpse of what's going on through there.

0:31:370:31:39

That lovely oak-framed garden room.

0:31:390:31:41

And it's done, there's nothing to do.

0:31:410:31:43

-That's true.

-There's nothing to do. Come through here.

0:31:430:31:47

Beyond the sitting-room

0:31:470:31:48

with doors to the garden is the dining room,

0:31:480:31:50

which adjoins the impressive kitchen and utility space.

0:31:500:31:54

This is my favourite colour.

0:31:540:31:56

-You like it?

-I do like it.

0:31:560:31:57

-Yeah.

-The sort of classic duck egg.

0:31:570:31:59

Now, the other thing to point out

0:31:590:32:01

about this arrangement is that next door

0:32:010:32:03

we've got a downstairs shower room.

0:32:030:32:04

-Good.

-OK? So, if you did do something in the garage for Ellie

0:32:040:32:09

and combine the two buildings,

0:32:090:32:11

you've already got the possibility of a wet room downstairs for her.

0:32:110:32:15

-OK.

-I'm liking this...

0:32:150:32:17

Probably more so than she is.

0:32:170:32:20

I love the kitchen. It is smaller.

0:32:200:32:23

-Yeah.

-But I like it.

0:32:230:32:24

Let's continue, then. Come on.

0:32:240:32:26

Let's continue.

0:32:260:32:27

Jules clearly loves the impeccable finish in this house,

0:32:280:32:31

which means there's nothing left for him to do.

0:32:310:32:34

So, let's see if the theme continues upstairs,

0:32:340:32:37

where there's a white-tiled family bathroom and three double bedrooms.

0:32:370:32:41

There is one to the front, complete with feature beams and fireplace,

0:32:410:32:45

another which is equally well presented, and lastly,

0:32:450:32:48

there's the master to see.

0:32:480:32:50

That's fab. That's beautiful.

0:32:500:32:52

And you've got this storage up here.

0:32:520:32:54

This is rather sweet, the ladder that comes with it.

0:32:540:32:56

Yeah, very cleverly thought through.

0:32:560:32:59

And that fabulous window that just brings that beautiful view right in.

0:32:590:33:04

So, let's go out to the garden and

0:33:040:33:05

give a bit more thought to how we might

0:33:050:33:08

connect this building with the garage...

0:33:080:33:11

-Yeah.

-Yeah.

-..you know, for Ellie.

0:33:110:33:12

Yeah.

0:33:120:33:13

With the right planning in place,

0:33:160:33:17

the garage could offer accommodation options over two floors.

0:33:170:33:21

Outside, the mature gardens enjoy

0:33:220:33:24

spectacular views to the Brecon Beacons,

0:33:240:33:26

with a decked area, a perfect space for relaxing.

0:33:260:33:29

It's not a bad view, is it, really?

0:33:290:33:32

-Very nice.

-I could take that.

0:33:320:33:34

-Very nice.

-And watch the seasons go by.

0:33:340:33:36

It's lovely, isn't it? But what I

0:33:360:33:38

want us to really try and make sense of

0:33:380:33:40

is how we connect these two buildings.

0:33:400:33:41

You can see this lovely oak-framed garden room here,

0:33:410:33:45

so I'd be interested to talk to the planners and see whether or not we

0:33:450:33:48

could extend that right across to meet the garage.

0:33:480:33:51

That would give access for Ellie, then,

0:33:510:33:53

-so she'd still be part of the house.

-Absolutely. Yeah.

0:33:530:33:56

How much do you think this, as it currently stands,

0:33:560:33:59

is going to set you back?

0:33:590:34:00

I'm going to go for 420.

0:34:000:34:02

I'm going to go a little bit lower, about 410-ish.

0:34:020:34:05

410-ish?

0:34:050:34:07

Because of its size?

0:34:070:34:08

-Yeah?

-Mm-hmm.

0:34:080:34:10

Well, it's on the market for £435,000.

0:34:100:34:16

-Right.

-So, it's doable.

0:34:160:34:18

-It is.

-The question is - do you want to do it?

0:34:180:34:20

So, I'm going to give you a bit of time here to wander around this one.

0:34:200:34:23

-Off you go.

-Cheers.

0:34:230:34:24

And I'll come and find you a little

0:34:240:34:26

bit later on, after our mystery house,

0:34:260:34:28

I hope, has worked one final bit of magic.

0:34:280:34:32

Under budget, our immaculate mystery schoolhouse may not have the huge

0:34:340:34:38

proportions they were after,

0:34:380:34:40

but it has character and bags of potential.

0:34:400:34:43

There are three bedrooms, separate living spaces,

0:34:430:34:46

and an annexe ready and waiting to be transformed.

0:34:460:34:49

Plus, it's just a 20-minute drive to visit Ellie.

0:34:490:34:52

This is a really tough one because it's a beautiful house.

0:34:520:34:57

Loads of character.

0:34:570:34:59

I don't know whether we would fit in it.

0:34:590:35:01

And then there's the extension for Ellie as well.

0:35:010:35:03

It's beautiful. The location is perfect.

0:35:030:35:05

So I'm looking around how could it work,

0:35:050:35:07

but I'm not sure if it will for us.

0:35:070:35:09

I think this house is absolutely fabulous.

0:35:090:35:11

Sadly, I don't see it necessarily being for us.

0:35:110:35:15

For our particular needs,

0:35:150:35:17

the change that we'd have to do to

0:35:170:35:19

the back of the house to get something

0:35:190:35:21

in for Ellie might be just that little bit too far.

0:35:210:35:25

We've really spoilt you for choice this week, haven't we?

0:35:250:35:28

-No pressure.

-No, well, the pressure's all on you...

-OK.

0:35:300:35:33

..I've done my bit.

0:35:330:35:34

It's up to you to try and make your minds up.

0:35:340:35:37

-Come on, let's go.

-Magical. Thank you.

0:35:370:35:39

Well-known for its historic

0:35:440:35:46

architecture and abundance of cider orchards,

0:35:460:35:49

Herefordshire is also home to makers

0:35:490:35:51

reviving many traditional craft skills.

0:35:510:35:54

In the south-west of the county, on Garway Hill,

0:35:550:35:58

Aaron Heath has switched from farming to blacksmithing,

0:35:580:36:01

and has a forge creating a range of beautifully-made items and artworks.

0:36:010:36:06

-Hi, Aaron, nice to meet you.

-Nice to meet you.

0:36:070:36:09

You know, we talk about blacksmithing...

0:36:090:36:11

I mean, you've taken what is a very

0:36:110:36:13

traditional craft into the 21st century,

0:36:130:36:16

looking at some of the shapes and

0:36:160:36:18

the forms that you make around here.

0:36:180:36:21

What we do, we try and do a lot of traditional work,

0:36:210:36:24

but then it's also gone on into

0:36:240:36:27

other areas where we do an awful lot of teaching now.

0:36:270:36:31

And then we also do some of the more modern twists on the traditional

0:36:310:36:36

element of the business.

0:36:360:36:38

As well as creating these elaborate pieces,

0:36:380:36:40

Aaron and his team also skilfully replicate heritage ironwork,

0:36:400:36:45

which has included commissions for Hereford Cathedral and conservation

0:36:450:36:48

-agencies.

-A large percentage of our work is doing work for English

0:36:480:36:54

Heritage and Cadw, doing architectural hinges and latches,

0:36:540:37:00

down to anything that needs repairing,

0:37:000:37:02

whether it be a church or a manor house.

0:37:020:37:05

I'd love to see how you go about

0:37:050:37:06

replicating some of these items from the past.

0:37:060:37:09

-OK.

-Let's have a look, then.

0:37:090:37:11

The forge is a family business,

0:37:120:37:14

and working with Aaron and his wife is a team of six blacksmiths.

0:37:140:37:17

Oh, this is lovely, mate.

0:37:200:37:21

I presume this is just some of the

0:37:210:37:23

range of items that you've had to make

0:37:230:37:25

-over the years?

-Yes, of course.

0:37:250:37:27

This is just a few examples.

0:37:270:37:28

I could take all of this home, to be perfectly honest with you.

0:37:280:37:31

I've got uses for all of it, however,

0:37:310:37:32

there is one thing I do need,

0:37:320:37:34

and it's something, actually, like that, with these very flat ends.

0:37:340:37:38

I've got one on one side of a door, but not on the other.

0:37:380:37:41

OK, I'm sure we can help you with that.

0:37:410:37:43

Aaron has taken on the challenge of helping me make a door handle,

0:37:430:37:47

so I can have a matching pair at home.

0:37:470:37:50

We've got one on the go here.

0:37:500:37:51

-Oh, look at that. Red hot.

-So, this, I've formed as a blank.

0:37:510:37:54

We've got the bean end here, which we need to splat out,

0:37:540:37:57

give it some more width.

0:37:570:37:58

You're going to splat it out?

0:37:580:38:00

-That's right.

-What sort of

0:38:000:38:01

temperature are you heating it to there?

0:38:010:38:03

It's about 1,300 degrees.

0:38:030:38:06

I'm looking to be working at yellow,

0:38:060:38:08

because the steel doesn't stay hot for long.

0:38:080:38:10

-There we are.

-Let's have a go.

0:38:100:38:11

Wow, you've absolutely got every last ounce of heat out of that,

0:38:180:38:21

haven't you?

0:38:210:38:23

Yes, we've increased the size of that considerably.

0:38:230:38:26

-So, would you like to have a go?

-I would, absolutely, yes.

0:38:260:38:28

That's it. Go for it.

0:38:300:38:33

An even splat.

0:38:330:38:35

An even splat, we're looking for.

0:38:350:38:37

That's it.

0:38:390:38:40

That's a good effort.

0:38:400:38:42

I think there's a... You can tell who's done it before, can't you?

0:38:420:38:45

Right, the next stage is called swaging

0:38:460:38:48

and we're going to put a curve over the width of the handle.

0:38:480:38:52

Swaging, yeah, that lovely sort of arc you've got there.

0:38:520:38:54

Yeah, which just makes it more comfortable in your hand.

0:38:540:38:57

This is called a swage.

0:38:570:38:59

It goes in the hardy hole in the anvil.

0:38:590:39:01

The swage allows me to hammer a

0:39:010:39:03

groove into the back of my new handle.

0:39:030:39:06

Hold it nice and centrally.

0:39:060:39:07

This requires all my effort and

0:39:100:39:12

concentration, but if Aaron was making it,

0:39:120:39:14

he'd do it in ten minutes.

0:39:140:39:16

Uh-oh.

0:39:170:39:18

If we take another heat again...

0:39:180:39:20

Right.

0:39:200:39:22

There's a lot to learn, isn't there?

0:39:220:39:24

The metal is steel,

0:39:250:39:26

and once it cools it needs to be heated again and again to make it

0:39:260:39:29

malleable to shape.

0:39:290:39:31

Once red hot, it goes into the vice,

0:39:310:39:33

where the curve can at last be added.

0:39:330:39:35

And I'll hold it here.

0:39:360:39:37

If you could hammer into there, please.

0:39:370:39:39

-Right in at the bottom?

-That's right.

0:39:390:39:41

Ah, you really get that sharp angle.

0:39:440:39:47

That's right. And then if you can put a bit more curve in there now.

0:39:470:39:51

-Brilliant!

-There we go.

0:39:520:39:54

So now we've got to form it around the mandrel.

0:39:540:39:57

This is a clever little device, isn't it?

0:39:570:40:00

-Yes.

-A few more knocks into shape...

0:40:000:40:03

-Yeah?

-Excellent.

-It's almost there, isn't it?

-Almost there.

0:40:030:40:06

So, a few finishing touches from the

0:40:060:40:07

expert and my handle might actually look

0:40:070:40:10

like it's supposed to!

0:40:100:40:11

Cool it off.

0:40:110:40:13

Fabulous. A period handle that really does match

0:40:150:40:19

the one I've already got on the door. Fabulous.

0:40:190:40:22

Cheers, mate.

0:40:220:40:24

So, let's forge ahead and see if Diana and Jules have come to a firm

0:40:240:40:28

decision about any of our properties.

0:40:280:40:30

Well, Jules and Diana wouldn't be the first buyers I've met who've

0:40:330:40:36

actually complained about being

0:40:360:40:38

spoiled for choice, but in my experience,

0:40:380:40:41

that can only be a good thing.

0:40:410:40:42

But, of course, they can choose only one.

0:40:420:40:45

So, which one of our properties are they likely to go for?

0:40:450:40:48

Well, to be perfectly honest, I really don't know.

0:40:480:40:51

So, what's it to be, then,

0:40:560:40:58

if indeed any of our properties are likely to suit?

0:40:580:41:03

They've been fascinating properties, all of them.

0:41:030:41:06

Erm, it's trying to make what will work for us.

0:41:060:41:08

We liked all of them.

0:41:080:41:10

Yeah, they were all brilliant,

0:41:100:41:13

but the one that was bonkers, big and rambling, a bit like me...

0:41:130:41:18

It's the second one for us.

0:41:180:41:20

-Yeah?

-It was great.

0:41:200:41:22

And what do you think Ellie will make of it?

0:41:220:41:26

I think she would love it, actually.

0:41:260:41:28

She loves... She loves walking, so walking around there,

0:41:280:41:30

there's loads of things to look around and see,

0:41:300:41:33

but the garden she'd love,

0:41:330:41:34

because the garden is as rambling as the house.

0:41:340:41:37

There's lots of different areas and she'd love that.

0:41:370:41:40

Yeah. If you do buy property number two,

0:41:400:41:43

we can virtually wave at each other from our gardens!

0:41:430:41:47

Jules! Jules!

0:41:470:41:49

Guys, thank you very much, it's been a lot of fun.

0:41:490:41:52

You're obviously going to go back and have another look, I suppose.

0:41:520:41:55

-Yes.

-Will you take Ellie with you?

0:41:550:41:56

-Very much so.

-Yeah.

-Yeah, yeah.

0:41:560:41:58

Good. Well, let us know how you get on, and I dare say...

0:41:580:42:03

Well, friends and neighbours will

0:42:030:42:05

tell me before even I know if you've bought it.

0:42:050:42:08

But I look forward to hearing how you've got on.

0:42:080:42:10

-Aww. Yeah, we'd love to have it.

-Thank you so much indeed.

0:42:100:42:13

Well, this certainly has been a

0:42:150:42:16

house search with a difference because

0:42:160:42:18

of one fundamental element that we have not sought to compromise on,

0:42:180:42:23

and that is Diana and Jules's wish to find a home that is absolutely

0:42:230:42:27

perfect for their daughter, Ellie.

0:42:270:42:30

The journey that's brought this

0:42:300:42:31

family here to Herefordshire has had many

0:42:310:42:34

twists and turns over the years,

0:42:340:42:35

and I suspect it has not been entirely easy,

0:42:350:42:39

but hopefully that is a journey that is now coming to an end -

0:42:390:42:42

an end that in itself marks the

0:42:420:42:44

start of a new life here in the Borders.

0:42:440:42:47

Take it from me, I can certainly recommend it.

0:42:470:42:50

I'll see you next time.

0:42:500:42:52

If you'd like to escape to the country

0:42:520:42:54

in Northern Ireland, Scotland,

0:42:540:42:55

Wales or England and need our help, you can apply online at...

0:42:550:42:59

Jules Hudson is in Herefordshire with an exuberant house-hunting couple who are ready to up sticks from Birmingham and spend £500,000 on a country home that allows them to lead the good life while being close enough to Hereford for regular visits to their daughter.

While in the county, Jules visits a family-run blacksmiths that forges commissioned pieces for historic buildings, and he takes to the anvil to make a wrought iron accessory for his own home.