Nicki Chapman is country property-shopping in Somerset with a couple who have already sold up and are desperate to invest £425,000 in their perfect rural retreat.
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"In my beginning is my end. In my end is my beginning."
That line beautifully encapsulates a 300-year journey that brought
which poet to rest here?
Find out where we are and who that was in just a moment.
On today's show, a resounding seal of approval...
Hands up if we like this room?
-Without a doubt.
..as I'm with a couple who've spent six long months searching,
but are yet to find their perfect property.
Have you had this reaction like this before?
Hand on heart, no.
But, with our help, their luck might be about to change.
-I feel rather emotional.
It's absolutely gorgeous.
Today we're in Somerset
and this is the Church of St Michael and All Angels in East Coker,
the final resting place
for the celebrated 20th century poet TS Eliot.
Now, born in the United States,
Eliot adopted England as his home
and spent his life teaching and writing in London.
On his death, he requested that his ashes were brought here,
to East Coker, from where his ancestors had emigrated to America
some 300 years before.
So, let's discover why Somerset is where so many house-hunters end up
finding their new beginnings.
Somerset sits on the Bristol Channel coast
in the heart of England's West Country.
One of the least populated countries in the UK,
it's home to England's first
designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Quantock Hills,
and the second longest stretch of sand in Europe,
which runs from Burnham-on-Sea to Brean Down.
In the north, Exmoor National Park
extends west into the neighbouring county of Devon.
Here, vast expanses of open moorland inspired RD Blackmore,
who used the landscape as the setting for his novel, Lorna Doone.
Scattered across the county,
the picture-postcard villages and market towns are known
for their character cottages,
adorned with the warm hues of local hamstone from Ham Hill -
from Somerton, which gave its name to the county, to Hinton St George,
where schoolmaster Henry Fowler resided whilst compiling
the Oxford English Dictionary.
From language to literature, photography and architecture,
it's easy to see how Somerset's varied landscape
has inspired its residents and visitors for generations.
Somerset's relatively unspoiled landscape presents a pretty picture
of rural English charm, but it also has good transport links,
making the county a popular spot
to balance a quiet yet well connected country life.
And compared to the neighbouring counties of Devon and Dorset,
Somerset is also good value.
The current average price of detached homes here
come in around £335,000.
Now, that's £36,000 below the figure
for the whole of the south-west region.
But that popularity, especially in the south of the country,
means perfect properties are hard to find,
as today's buyers have found out.
Terry, a semi-retired educational adviser and football scout,
met Annie, an exam invigilator,
23 years ago through some mutual friends.
They hit it off straightaway.
Terry is unassuming but very loyal and loving.
When we first met,
he was already a member of a tennis club
and invited me along, and I just took to it from then.
Since then, we've been playing, we play regularly.
For the last ten years they've lived
in the Somerset market town of Yeovil,
but six months ago decided it was time to sell up
in search of a countryside retreat.
We wanted a more rural lifestyle.
We wanted to be able to look out of our kitchen window
and see a better view than we had.
It's wonderful, once you're able to just enjoy nature
and everything that the country has to offer.
Although Annie can work as an invigilator anywhere,
Terry's job ties him to the colleges
and football clubs in the south-west.
So they've set their sights on the villages of south Somerset.
When we were living in Yeovil anyway
we used to travel out to the various villages, look for country pubs.
It's quite nice to go to individual villages around
that have got their own shops.
After just two weeks on the market, their property sold,
forcing them to vacate with nowhere to go.
For five months they've been renting a friend's barn annexe
and storage unit in North Perrott, in the heart of their search area.
Well, we have actually got our main furniture.
We've got our sofas and our dining table and our clothing.
So we have to trip out to the storage containers every so often
to rescue something that we need.
I think what I'm looking forward to most
is the opportunity to be able to find things again.
Things that we've put away that I'm not sure where they are.
And have an office space because wherever we've been,
the space has been gazumped every time.
So I'm looking forward to having...
I don't know what you mean!
As long as I have room to work,
and play my congas, then I will be absolutely fine.
While Terry will be content with a man cave to play his drums,
Annie's focused on starting afresh.
Finding themselves living in limbo,
the couple are desperate to put down roots,
but, even so, aren't willing to settle for less than perfection.
We've looked since October
and we haven't found the one that says, "Yes."
No, that's true.
-We've found a garden, but we haven't found a house.
Or we've found a house and haven't found the garden.
So we're looking for that complete package.
Terry and Annie are happy to look at property
anywhere between Frome, Dorchester and Exeter,
stretching our search area from south Somerset to Dorset and Devon.
With the pressure on, I'm meeting up with them to find out
the make-up of their elusive dream property.
Well, Terry and Annie, I have to say a very warm welcome to Somerset.
So you've pulled us in to help you with this search.
Has it been frustrating?
Cos you've probably looked at quite at few properties, I'm guessing.
Well, we must have seen about 20, would you say?
If not more. Between 20 and 30, I would think.
I think it would be about 20. Yeah.
You've got to be realistic.
-There are certain things that we are happy to compromise on,
but there are certain things that we really want to have
that we're not prepared to compromise on.
Can you give me some details about your perfect home?
What does it look like in your mind?
Hopefully something with a bit of character,
but we won't rule out new builds
if the builder has been thoughtful about how they've put it together
and they've given the building a bit of character.
How many bedrooms are we after?
Two, basically. Two plus.
It would be nice to have two bathrooms.
What about the outside space, the garden?
-It is important.
It's important to us because we both like outdoors.
We both like gardening.
We have a new grandson,
so we're looking for space for Cooper to play
and we'd just like to develop our own vegetables.
-We'd like to do a lot more in the garden than we have done.
Are we looking for an outbuilding for these congas and the drum kit?
We're looking for an outbuilding for the congas, yes.
Otherwise your neighbours aren't going to like you, are they?
-OK. That's a passion, isn't it?
If we've got somewhere nearby with maybe a tennis club,
-that would be ideal.
-That would be perfect.
Let's remind ourselves of how much we've got to spend.
-What is our top budget?
-Top budget, really, is 425.
We do have some rather splendid properties lined up to show you,
which of course is important because I don't need to tell you that
you're homeless at the moment, do I? Shall we get started?
-Come on, then.
For their maximum budget of £425,000,
Annie and Terry would like an older property or one with character,
with at least two bedrooms
and a study or separate space for Terry to play his drums.
The outside space is of equal importance,
as they want a large garden for entertaining and growing vegetables,
and they'd like to have a tennis club nearby.
We've got some wonderful properties ready for them to view.
At each one, I'll be asking them to guess the price before I reveal it
and, as always, our final property will add a twist to our search.
But this time, it's not so much the house that's the mystery,
but that crucial garden.
The first stop on our property tour of south Somerset
is in the small village of East Chinnock.
The village was historically known for a nearby salt spring.
Large quantities of salt were
produced and manufactured in the area until the mid 19th century.
A range of amenities and independent shops are available
just over a mile away in West Coker.
But back in East Chinnock,
Terry and Annie will be pleased to hear there is a popular pub
just a short stroll from house number one.
So may I introduce you to our first property?
-I like the thatch, yes.
It looks wonderful from the outside, really pretty.
The thatch, the ridge has been looked after,
which is absolutely key to a thatch.
-That was just done a few years ago.
So you've probably, guesstimating,
you've got about 15 more years on the thatch itself.
Now, I'm pretty confident you haven't seen this cottage
because it has only just come on the market.
-Would I be right, Terry?
-Absolutely, we've not seen it.
We would have definitely come to look at this.
Are you intrigued? Would you like to step inside?
-Very much so.
-We'd love to.
-Surprised and delighted.
Good! What a start.
Dating back to around 1640,
originally this property would have been two separate cottages.
Inside, it's retained a host of period features,
which I hope will impress as much as the exterior has.
Come on in. We're going to start off...
..in the sitting-room-cum-dining-room.
I love the fireplace. Isn't it amazing?
It's not a bad sized room in actual fact, is it?
-It's not, actually.
-It's an L shape.
It feels comfortable.
-There's actually another sitting room next door,
which is of a good size.
So two rooms, which, again,
-when you're looking at properties of this age, is unusual.
Joining these two cottages together has created a good sized family home
with two reception rooms.
The kitchen is part of a later extension,
added around 100 years after the property was built.
So this extension gives you this long kitchen
with another dining area and the utility behind us.
-And a range as well.
-Do you both cook?
-Yes, we do.
-Terry's a very good cook.
Are you? How's this kitchen for you, Terry? Is this workable?
-This is workable.
Also on the ground floor is a bathroom,
which would be useful for guests or visiting grandchildren.
Now, the staircase is just up here.
And on the first floor there are three characterful bedrooms,
complete with beam ceilings
and, although of typical cottage proportions, all doubles.
There's also another bathroom,
conveniently just across the hall from the largest of the bedrooms.
This is the master bedroom. It doesn't have an en-suite,
but there is a bathroom right next door.
So you can negotiate with your guests -
they use the downstairs bathroom and you keep that for yourselves.
Yes, good idea.
-It's lovely having the two aspects, actually.
A lot of natural light coming into the room.
For me, it's a little small.
Yes. I notice that there is a wardrobe here,
but maybe there's a possibility of converting another room
into a dressing room. I don't know.
Yes, definitely. Because you've got the three bedrooms,
you only need two, that would be a fantastic idea.
Your study has gone, sir. We have a walk-in wardrobe.
-There we go.
-The story of my life.
The most important thing about the move is to get the house right,
but also the outside space.
-Let's see how we get on.
Terry might think he's lost out yet again when it comes to his study
but, outside, the large well-kept gardens are home to a shed,
a stone outhouse and a garage.
So there is hope for his man cave yet
plus, with a vegetable plot and some wonderful views,
I think it's a space that will really appeal.
Now, I'm thinking this has to be one of the most idyllic gardens.
I'm hoping you're going to agree with me.
-It is really, really lovely.
Really nice size.
Just morning coffee, lunchtime beer, evening gin and tonic - I'm sold.
You've got it all worked out. How wonderful!
So, top budget of £425,000.
-What are we thinking for this, our very first property?
I would say around about £415,000.
I'm going to say £410,000.
The good news is, it's under that.
That's food for thought.
-Who fancies having another look around, this time on your own?
-I thought you might. Be my guests.
£25,000 under budget,
this charming Grade II listed cottage
is packed with period features
and would give Terry and Annie an extra bedroom and a large garden
with wonderful countryside views.
It's on the outskirts of a village
just a 15-minute drive from their current tennis club.
The size of the garden is terrific.
I think the fact that it has open views,
you can see into the field next door, the pasture land.
I just think it's lovely.
Location is great because we both play tennis in a village
about five, ten minutes from here.
We've got a bridle track just outside the door.
So it is, for me, a good location.
I think that there will always be a compromise and I'm happy to think
about compromise, but because we have quite a lot of furniture
already sitting in storage,
maybe having to get rid of just about all of our furniture
to accommodate the size of the rooms upstairs could possibly be,
maybe, a step too far.
-Yes, I think so.
Have you been won over by our thatch?
Well, hold that thought, because we've still got more to show you.
The West Country is renowned for being the home of British cider.
In Somerset alone there are some 32 farms dedicated to producing the
bold, fruity flavours of the fermented apple drink.
But one local baker has taken the leap into vegetable fermentation.
Katie Venner has been producing sourdough bread with her husband,
Gordon, from their home near Wellington for nearly ten years.
But her enthusiasm for sour tastes and healthy eating led her to
experiment with fermenting vegetables four years ago.
As Terry and Annie are also keen to grow their own when they move,
we've sent them to find out more.
Why do we ferment foods, then?
We ferment foods because it means that we can preserve for winter the
vegetables that we have in the summer.
Fermentation is the process where bacteria,
the live bacteria that are on plants, are broken down.
It enhances the B vitamins, it makes the vegetables more digestible.
The tradition of fermenting to preserve vegetables
goes back centuries.
In fact, Captain Cook famously took barrels of sauerkraut on his voyage
to Australia in 1768.
Rich in vitamin C, although unknown at the time,
it was commonly given to sailors on long sea voyages to prevent
and cure scurvy.
Today, Katie is going to show Terry and Annie how to make her take on
the German staple.
Great. So, OK, so I'm going to show you how to make a simple kraut.
Sauerkraut is the German word,
but the kind of krauts that I make are a hybrid.
So we're going to...
..chop our cabbage up fine.
I'm going to teach you how to salt your kraut by taste and we want to
ensure that we have the right amount of salt to keep our vegetables
really crunchy and to create the right environment
for the lacto bacteria to grow,
multiply and do their work to make our delicious kraut.
I'm going to give you a cabbage here, both of you.
So we are using a hard cabbage as the base for our kraut.
We're going to add some salt because the salt is going to draw the juices
out of the cabbage,
and we're going to do a kind of scrunching movement.
Our scrunching is getting the juices running as well.
Until we get it to the point where we can hold it up,
squeeze it and we get the juices running.
So that is just cabbage juice.
To ensure nothing interferes with the fermentation process,
Katie opts for vegetables that are free from pesticides,
so the bacteria can thrive.
While Annie scrunches,
Katie adds spring onion to the cabbage, followed by wild garlic,
then it's over to Terry to sample.
How does that taste to you?
-Quite salty, yes.
Quite salty. I can taste the salt,
but it's not enough for a fermented kraut.
So I'm going to add a little bit more salt.
-Once happy with the balance of salt,
Katie packs the cabbage mixture firmly into a jar,
as airtight as possible, before she adds a layer of wild garlic flowers.
I really like wild garlic flowers, I think they look really pretty.
So the secret for good,
crunchy krauts is that you keep all the vegetables under the liquid,
away from the air. So we're going to do that by using our reserved
cabbage leaf here,
just to hold all the vegetables down then we're going to use the end
of the cabbage because that pokes up inside the concave of the jar top.
-Then we're going to close it.
So here we are, so you can see all the juices now,
covering up the cabbage.
-It looks wonderful.
-It will be ready to eat in three to five weeks.
In the meantime, Katie has a selection of fermented vegetables
ready for Annie and Terry to try, including
South Korean kimchi,
and rhubarb fermented with ginger and cardamom.
So, Katie, what would you eat these with?
With all of these, you can eat them just like you would a pickle or a
chutney. You'd have them on the table.
For example, when we've got a soup, this is a cauliflower soup,
then I might add a little bit of this piccalilli to it.
And eating it with something else just means that you're not going to
-get the full thwack of that sour flavour.
It's absolutely delicious.
-You've got the crunch.
-Which is lovely.
-And the texture and the flavour.
And that's because we've got the right amount of salt to keep the
vegetables crunchy under the liquid, all that time.
Katie believes the benefits of fermented vegetables are huge.
They are packed with all the essential vitamins of raw produce,
but are far easier to digest.
And with research telling us how important a healthy gut is to our
overall wellbeing, it's no wonder such veg is cropping up on menus
across the UK.
If it's OK with you, can we stay for lunch?
-We can carry on eating.
-You're very welcome.
We're in the West Country with Annie and Terry, who have sold their
property in Yeovil, and, desperate to ditch their rental
accommodation, are searching for a countryside retreat of their own.
Armed with a budget of £425,000,
the pressure is on to find them their dream property.
Still to come, our mystery house reveals a sight for sore eyes.
-How's that for a surprise?
-I'm absolutely gobsmacked.
And I take to the skies to enjoy a beautiful bird's-eye view of the
region. This is quite something to be seen, it?
Not bad, is it?
It's the second day of our house hunt here in Somerset,
and I don't think we've hit the mark quite yet.
Between us, we may have exhausted the search
in this part of the county.
So we decided to take Terry and Annie a little bit further afield.
But will our mystery house be a step too far, I wonder?
Interesting one, that.
But first, I'm going to show them a real rural retreat,
with views to match.
We're border-hopping into Dorset for our next property.
The small village of Seaborough is on the edge of the county's
Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The nearest shop is a ten-minute drive away in Broadwindsor,
but the closer village of Drimpton has a pub,
and is perfectly positioned for a number of the county's popular
walking routes. These include the local Drimpton trail,
and the long-distance Monarch's Way footpath,
which traces the escape route of Charles II
after his defeat in the 1651 Battle of Worcester.
But let's hope the next property won't send our buyers running for
the hills. Now for something completely different.
Yes. I like this.
-I like this a lot.
-It's great. It's lovely.
And, as you can see, we are nestled on the top of a hill,
surrounded by borrowed views.
-Yeah, and it has a rill.
You're right. It's an unusual word as well, isn't it?
You know your gardens. You know your streams.
So, that's a very strong start.
Let's continue inside.
This house is an interesting mix of period character,
with some more modern additions and styling.
The main entrance is via a conservatory to the front of the
house, which leads to the original entrance hall.
So we have two sitting rooms off the front door.
This is the smaller of the two.
So you've got the original floor.
-Look at those flags, fabulous.
Do you like the idea of having two reception rooms?
Yes, that makes life more adaptable.
So we can decide whether or not we want to keep it as such
or change it, and maybe have it as a study or whatever.
We'll have to see how big the other one is.
-The study word.
Hm. It's always been taken away from me.
-This would make a fabulous study.
-OK, well, first room - so good, so far.
Let's see how we get on next door.
This is your second sitting room, leading on to a dining room.
-Characterful, isn't it?
-It is, it is.
And I like the log burner.
It's a very strong house, with lots of characterful features,
like the chimney breast here, and the exposed wall.
-Which will take us to the kitchen.
So it flows, the kitchen, into the dining room.
Quite handy for when you are entertaining.
Yes. I do like this.
-There is a lot of storage here, by the look of things.
So that's great. But, yes, we haven't been able to use any of our
-equipment for some time.
-What did you take with you
when you packed everything up from the kitchen?
Oh, the essentials. Knife, fork, corkscrew.
-That's about it.
-That's it. Knife, fork, corkscrew!
Corkscrew! The essentials.
The upstairs of the property should have more than enough
space for their belongings,
with yet more high ceilings and three double bedrooms -
one already in use as a study.
There's also a large, modern family bathroom
with separate bath and shower.
Master bedroom time.
That looks like a king-sized bed.
-The bed, yes!
-And look at the way it's facing - you wake up,
-and you've got the views again.
I'm happy if you're happy.
-May it continue outside.
It's a thumbs-up for the inside,
now to find out if the garden gets the go-ahead.
The rural setting means the outside space enjoys great privacy,
there's a patio seating area, surrounded by a raised lawn,
and plenty of space to build an outbuilding for Terry, if required.
So here is your back garden.
A nice space.
Wonderful spot, looking out.
It isn't the biggest of gardens.
The front certainly is a lot larger than the back,
but with these borrowed views, you might not mind too much.
-Yes, well, I agree with you.
-It's the best of both worlds.
Now I'm going to have to focus your mind on the price.
-What do we think?
-I think I would go 390.
OK. Well, the asking price is...
-..a little bit above that.
It's at the top of your budget.
-Would you like an opportunity to have another little wander around on
-your own this time?
-It's worth it, isn't it?
-See you later. I'm going to sit here in the sunshine.
Bang on budget, this detached house would give Terry and Annie
the two bedrooms they asked for,
and options for a music room on the third,
or in one of the downstairs reception rooms.
The modernised interior offers plenty of entertaining space,
with yet more outside.
It's in a picturesque rural spot, just a mile from the nearest pub.
I love the facade initially, from the outside.
As soon as I walked in, I thought,
"Gosh, we've got high ceilings."
I must mention the flag floors as well.
In the sitting room, I love that.
Because then you really get a feeling for the age of the property.
I think the location is probably a little more rural than we would have
considered, but having said that, it's not isolated.
As long as there's a pub that's not too far away, then it's all good!
Are you happy, happy you've seen enough of the house?
If we have to go, we must.
-Yeah, it certainly ticks a lot of boxes for us.
Good. Good. Let's go.
Just across the Somerset border into East Devon, Dunkeswell Aerodrome is
set in the heart of the Blackdown Hills.
Built in 1943, it was used by the US Navy during the war,
then later by the RAF.
In the late 1950s,
it was decommissioned and it became a popular civilian airfield.
Somerset Microlights was set up here by Jim Greenshields in 1985.
Today, he's invited me along to get a taste of the high life.
I am very, very excited about today.
-So am I!
So, tell me, how long have you been flying for?
Cos I know I'm in good hands, but how good hands?
I think it's just coming up to 40 years.
-I first started when I found out that my uncle was in
the Battle of Britain.
And I thought, "Well, that's quite a big deal."
And I found out that my father flew after the Second World War,
and I also found out that my great-uncle flew
in the First World War.
So I thought, "Oh, well, I'd better go flying, then,
"because everyone else has been doing it,"
and it kind of started from there. That was when my interest started.
I'm just wondering - is it a hobby that once you start,
you just can't stop?
Very much so. I guess it's the old cliche about feeling freedom.
For over 30 years now, Jim has been flying microlights,
one- or two-seater aircraft, which weigh around 265 kilos at most.
Inspired by hang-gliding in the late 1970s and '80s,
microlighting became a more affordable way
for pilots to get airborne.
And there she is!
First impressions, it's much smaller than I thought it was going to be.
It's not a 747, is it?
No, no. What's it made of?
Mostly Duralumin, which is a very strong form of aluminium.
The sail is Dacron, that's the ripstop Dacron, incredibly strong.
And it's easy to handle when you're up in the air?
-Very easy to fly, yeah.
-So how does it actually work?
Well, it's tandem seating, so we're going to pop you in the back-seat
today, I'll be sat in the front,
and I'm holding on to the control frame,
which is exactly the same as a hang-glider.
So you're actually holding this?
Yes, so I'm sat, holding on to the bar at the front of it,
and then we are moving the control frame around to give us
-the desired effect.
Microlights make up around 20% of the UK's civilian aircraft,
with more than 2,500 registered pilots.
-Put your left foot on the foot rest over there.
And just lower yourself into the seat.
Do you know what, I've got butterflies!
To qualify for a National Private Pilot's Licence,
Jim tells me it would take around 35 hours of training.
And once you're qualified, the world is your oyster.
This is it! Here we go!
See what I mean? It goes up really quick.
It goes up REALLY quick!
With the most incredible view!
Not only is he a first-class flyer,
but Jim also holds a number of world records,
including the most aircraft flown by one person in one day -
an incredible 43 planes.
We're just coming up to the edge of the Blackdown Hills here and then
we'll be turning right towards Taunton, roughly.
People talk about the countryside looking like a patchwork quilt,
and that's such an accurate description, isn't it?
It is at this time of year.
In the winter, it's kind of uniform green, and then in the summer,
it all goes very patchwork-y as they cut the grass.
That's good, just climb above the cloud.
As we reach a height of 2,500 feet...
This is quite something to be seen, isn't it?
Not bad, is it?
..Jim passes control over to me.
-Put one hand on there.
-One hand on there.
-Your mission now is to fly in a dead straight line.
-So, relax again.
-Nice and relaxed.
-I'll have a little snooze now, then.
You're my ears and eyes! You're my safety blanket!
-I'm enjoying this.
A microlight like this one could fly for up to five hours nonstop at
speeds of 70 to 90mph -
that's the equivalent of going from here to the South of France.
But it's time for me to head back down to earth and get back to the
pressing matter of property.
Oh, here we go!
That was smooth, sir!
That was smooth!
I don't know, I had my eyes shut.
-Wonderful. Thank you.
For our mystery house, I'm taking Annie and Terry to South Perrott,
a village they are very familiar with,
as it's just three miles from North Perrott,
where they are currently renting.
The picturesque village has a population of around 250 and takes
its name from the River Parrett that runs through it,
whose banks are lined with pretty 17th and 18th century
Our mystery house lies alongside the Grade I listed village church.
So the final house on our house hunt is always going to be a mystery
property, and here she is.
-You know it, do you?
-I know it very well.
-You know this village.
-But we haven't seen this house.
-Have you not?
-No. Looks good from the outside.
I'm looking at the size of the windows and thinking they are
a good-sized window, really, for a cottage of this age.
So, I'm hoping it's going to be light inside.
Well, let's see if you are right, shall we?
-For the final time, step inside.
This attractive, thatched cottage was built in the 1800s from local
hamstone, but as it's our mystery house,
there's more to it than meets the eye, which I'll reveal in good time.
For now, I want to show them the interior,
which has been brought right up-to-date,
a balance I think will suit our couple.
The one thing I like about all the properties we've shown you is
every single one is very different.
-This is lovely.
-Oh, what a great fireplace.
-The flagged floor is fabulous.
-This is a good choice. I love it.
-It's a great size room. I love it.
Right. OK, if you'd like to follow me.
-More flags as you come through.
Ooh. Nice hallway, yeah.
Oh, I love it.
-It gets better.
-Yeah. It does get better. Great.
Well, you've excelled yourself.
Now, of all the properties that you've seen,
and we guess it's about 30,
-I think it probably is, yeah.
Have you had this reaction before?
-No, hand on heart, no.
There is no way that we've walked into and immediately both looked at
-one another and thought...
This is... Excited. It's fabulous.
And it's right on our doorstep.
I know! How has this happened?!
-I don't have to sell you the area, do I?
-You know it well, you're locals.
Annie and Terry's faces have positively lit up.
And to think, this property was right under their noses.
So do you want to tell me about this room?
I love it. I love the clean lines,
the window. Stable door, fabulous.
-Oh, that's a nice feature.
And at the end, you've got a downstairs cloakroom.
-And there's enough space for two or three people to
work and you can still have a chat in the dining room while people are
-in the kitchen.
-The space works really well.
And it continues all the way round,
so we're going to go back via the sitting room and then I'll take you
-upstairs and show you the bedrooms.
I'm thrilled our buyers already seem at home in our mystery cottage.
Hopefully, they'll find the upstairs just as comfortable.
There are two well-presented double bedrooms and a large, light,
modern family bathroom.
Your main bedroom.
-Is it big enough?
-Oh, it's big enough.
-It's big enough.
-It's a big yes from me.
Hands up if we like this room.
-Without a doubt, look at the space.
They've chosen not to put any wardrobes in here.
The good news is, behind that wall, because of the eaves,
they've made it into a cupboard. All along there is storage space.
-Good to know.
-I'm feeling quietly confident.
-I wonder whether I should.
Outside, the property benefits from a single garage to the side,
which could be Terry's man cave,
and there's an enclosed garden to the rear,
with a number of raised beds,
plus a patio area to soak up the morning sun.
So, from the back door, you have
pretty private garden.
Yes. Not overlooked at all, actually.
-No, you're not, are you?
-Do you like it?
I would like it to have been a little bigger, but that being said,
the house is fabulous.
So maybe it's a compromise that maybe we are willing to reach.
-I am so pleased you said that,
because it is the mystery house...
-..so there's always something else up our sleeve,
and if you'd like to follow me, I'll show you.
Now, I think you should lead.
Just across the lane to the side of the property, behind the garage,
our mystery house comes with a separate and very special
Wow. Look at that.
Oh. This is...
This is... This is with the house?
-Does this actually belong to the property?
How's that for a surprise?!
-I'm absolutely gobsmacked.
-So now we've got the heart beating...
-Nearly everything that you've wanted,
I'm going to have to bring you back down to earth
because we've got to put a price on our mystery house with this rather
I would think about £435,000.
So £10,000 above your top budget.
-I would say round about the same, 435,
440 even, because of the...
Maybe it's because I love it so much that I think I can't have it.
NICKI CHUCKLES I can hardly contain myself.
I'm going to get straight to the point. The asking price is...
-For all of this?
-For all of this.
-You are kidding.
Well, that's it, then.
-I am absolutely blown away.
-I feel rather emotional.
I know, I can see.
You're going, aren't you?
This is the house.
-It's absolutely gorgeous.
Thank you. Thank you so... Oh, it's gorgeous.
You're allowed. You haven't had a home for many, many months.
-And hopefully we've just found you your new one.
I think those tears say everything, so on that note,
-enjoy your second viewing.
For a staggering £50,000 below budget,
this beautifully presented mystery cottage
has blown Terry and Annie away.
It's got two bedrooms as well as two separate gardens.
It's in a quiet village
just three miles from where they're currently renting.
We know the village, but we didn't know this house existed.
I immediately felt, "Oh, my word, I can picture myself here."
It was like a physical feeling, as though...
"We've found it. I think we've found it."
-That's how I felt.
-This is the one for us.
Once we walked through and into this fantastic garden,
I was in disbelief.
I'm going to have to drag you two away, I'm afraid.
Oh, must we go?
Yeah, you do, and I should think you need some time to mull things over,
Well, I was just going to make some gin and tonics!
-Let's hit the road.
Well, emotions were definitely running high with Terry and Annie,
but I wonder - now they've had a little while to think about it,
do they still feel the same way?
Let's find out.
Well, this all looks very nice.
Terry and Annie, it seems like it's been quite a long house search,
doesn't it, for this next property of yours.
We've only come in at the tail end of it,
but I wonder whether there's been a conclusion.
It's been a great week because we've seen properties that have started
probabilities, and now we've got to the mystery house and, for us,
we think that could be ours.
So much so that we've actually made an arrangement for a second viewing.
That is the best news. How quickly are you going to go and see it?
We don't want to risk losing it. Yes.
The garden has been the clincher, really, there, with that property.
-Once we saw it...
-..it was a done deal, really.
I think exciting times ahead
and I can't wait to come back and visit you
-in your mystery house, how about that?
-That would be wonderful.
It has been fantastic.
-Thank you, both.
-It's been wonderful.
So, what a conclusion and I am thrilled for Terry and Annie.
We showed them such an eclectic mix of houses, and it just goes to show
it really does pay to push the boundaries,
especially with a garden like that.
I'll see you again soon on Escape To The Country.
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Nicki Chapman is country property-shopping in Somerset with a couple who have already sold up and are desperate to invest £425,000 in their perfect rural retreat after months of staying with friends.
While in the south west, Nicki visits Dunkeswell Aerodrome, a former RAF airbase which is now a civilian airfield, where she takes to the skies in a microlight and sees the countryside from a completely different perspective.