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I'm in a county that really has got the wind in its sails
and I'm not talking about sailing boats, I'm talking about windmills,
making use of the winds that rip across this flat landscape you can see behind me.
But where am I, I hear you cry?
Well, join me on Escape To The Country and I'll show you.
In today's show, I'll be helping a couple realise their dream
of a lifetime as they go in search of a new home in the country.
-I'll be whisking them off on a tour of some of the most unique and tempting homes on offer.
I thought you'd like this.
And there's the mystery house that could just make their dreams come true.
-You said you wanted a project.
Yeah, well, come on, you know.
Be careful what you wish for, Des.
Today I'm in Norfolk, where windmills like the one behind me
were once iconic features of the landscape.
They were used for grinding flour and pumping water.
It's thought the technology's been up here since the 12th century,
but there's a lot more that's turning heads around here than just windmills.
Bordered by Cambridgeshire to the west and Suffolk to the south,
Norfolk is one of the six counties
that make up what's known as the East of England.
To the east of the county lie the Norfolk Broads,
created as a result of peat digging in Roman and medieval times.
Today they make a network of over 126 miles of winding waterways
and attract over five million visitors a year.
At the heart of Norfolk is Norwich, the most complete medieval city
in Britain and dominated by its 12th-century Romanesque cathedral.
Over to the east coast is the seaside resort of Great Yarmouth,
which has been pulling in the crowds for 250 years,
with miles of sandy beaches, a proud maritime heritage and plenty of traditional seaside entertainment.
And thanks to a long tradition of mining stone and using local clay,
Norfolk is scattered with some very distinctive red brick and flint properties.
But enough of the bricks and the mortar, how much is all of this going to cost?
Your average detached will set you back around about
9% below the national average in this neck of the woods,
so it's a fantastic county if country living is for you.
It is also a wonderful place if, like me, you love historical buildings,
be they flint, brick or good old-fashioned thatch - whatever your budget, there's plenty on offer.
If you're fortunate enough to be property hunting in the £1 million bracket, how about this 18th century
Queen Anne-style rectory near Norwich, which dates back to 1715?
Set in three acres of gardens with a river frontage,
it has eight bedrooms to choose from and four reception rooms.
Alternatively, this Georgian farmhouse, dating back to 1750
near East Dereham, is on the market for £795,000.
Inside, you can take your pick from the grand vaulted ceiling
and exposed brickwork of a formal dining room
to the classically styled breakfast room.
Or if you fancy something a little more modern, this Methodist church
was built around 100 years later, and dates back to 1866.
Inside, it's been completely refurbished and has a spacious beamed lounge and a cosy open fireplace.
Today's property hunters are IT worker Des and nurse Trudy.
They live in a four-bed house in Hornchurch in Essex.
They've always wanted to make the move and for some, it's going to be
a dream come true, and I'm not talking about Beauty, the dog.
Moving to the country is something that Trudy has wanted to do for...
Oh, since I was a child. It's been my lifelong ambition, really, isn't it, to move to the country?
And Des is after some peace and quiet.
There's too much noise around.
We're looking for more tranquillity.
Slower pace of life, meeting people, being with people who have got a bit of time for you.
You can say hello. It's everyone for himself these days, where we are.
But why Norfolk?
It just seems to be the right sort of place for us, as there's big skies, plenty of space.
It has the right feel. I don't know what it is, but when we go there
-on short breaks and holidays, it just feels like home.
Keen to use the move as a motivation to change their lifestyle,
the new property needs to have a few essential things.
I love my gardening, I like to get out and do some digging, so ideally,
I'd like a bigger plot, somewhere I could grow potatoes, peas, carrots.
Just have some fresh veg on the table for Sunday lunch.
It would also be lovely if we could have chickens, and perhaps even
a pig one day, so we'd need quite a big plot for that.
Well, that's outside sorted, but what about inside?
I think essentially what we're looking for in a new property
would be three or four bedrooms, it would have to have a separate dining room.
Or fireplaces. We have an open fire here.
It would be great if we could have an open fire in the dining room as well as the living room,
-and if we had an open fire in the bedroom, that would be heaven.
-Icing on the cake.
It would, it really would.
So it all sounds quite straightforward, except for a minor detail.
I think I'd perhaps like a bit more of a fixer-upper than Trudy would.
Des is going to want a project. I don't. This house was a project.
It has taken us the best part of five years to get it done up.
I want to move in and enjoy.
A lifetime is a long time to wait to move to the country,
so we've invited an estate agent round to get the ball rolling
and put a current valuation on their house.
This property is located in a very sought-after cul-de-sac.
It's a larger than average semi-detached four-bedroom property.
It's got a nice proportioned rear garden
and I would value this property at £350,000.
So, of that, how much do they have to spend?
For the new property, we're looking up to 350,000.
That would have to have everything that we wanted in the house.
-That would be our dream property.
We would go to 350 for our dream property.
So, there is the challenge.
They want a nice characterful property with potentially three or four bedrooms,
lots of cosy fireplaces, a dining room to enjoy some meals in
and enough of a garden to allow something of a vegetable patch and room for some chickens.
All in all, a home to roost in.
Location-wise, Trudy and Des are flexible.
As long as we can find them somewhere with a good view
of the vast Norfolk skies, they'll be happy,
so we're focusing our search to the countryside south of Norwich.
Over the course of two days, I'll be showing them
a selection of fine rural properties, but I won't be revealing the prices until they've had a good look around.
And last on our tour is the mystery house,
where we throw down the gauntlet to see if our property hunters
might take on something a little more challenging.
Well, Des, Trudy, welcome to Norfolk.
-A slightly grey start to the day, it has to be said, but you're up for this, aren't you?
It comes with the territory, doesn't it, the weather?
How long have you been thinking about moving up here?
-We've been looking around for about 20 years.
That's a long time. Normally people to say to me, "Six months, a year".
20 years. What's taken you so long?
I think it's the opportunity of a job.
My firm have just said I can relocate up here now,
-which means, OK, the job we don't need to worry about, house we can concentrate on.
We've got some fantastic places for you to look at, so the sun might come out.
-Let's go and look at some houses, shall we?
To sum up, what are Des and Trudy looking to get
with their budget of £350,000?
They want three to four bedrooms, and a separate dining room.
They're after somewhere cosy with plenty of fireplaces
and to find one in a bedroom would be the icing on the cake.
Outside, they would love a garden big enough to accommodate some veggies,
a few chickens and even a pig.
Nestled in the south of the county,
the first property is in the heart of the village of Banham.
Set around a traditional village green,
thatched and timber houses line the streets.
The 14th-century church of St Mary's was a labour of love,
taking 75 years to complete, spanning the reins of three kings.
As far as amenities go, Banham has managed to hold onto
its village post office and general store,
so let's see what Trudy and Des make of property number one.
We'll start here with this one.
-Ooh, that's a nice gaff.
-A nice gaff?
-That is nice. It's lovely, isn't it?
-It's very, very pretty. It's thought to be the oldest domestic dwelling in Norfolk.
-It goes back 700 years, so mid-14th century or so.
I don't know how you are on that period of history...
-I can't remember it!
-Well, 1348 was the Black Death, OK.
-Oh, right. OK.
Now, whether this witnessed that,
who knows, but it's of that kind of period.
It must've seen a lot of things.
It was a complete derelict about ten years ago and it was taken on
by the Norfolk Historic Buildings Trust, who have renovated it.
-It's got a lot of wow.
-It has. It has got a lot of wow factor.
-Let's go and see what you think of it.
I think you're going to like this one.
Right, come on in.
Squeeze into the corridor.
Let's start in here, then. This is the main sitting room of this place.
-Oh, that's lovely.
-What about that?
-That is a fireplace.
-That's a proper inglenook.
Yeah, really nice, and on a day like today, I'm glad it's on.
-It's a fabulous room.
-It's gorgeous, isn't it? I love that beam.
It's got loads of history. Little details.
Can you see that behind me on the top of that beam, that "W"?
That was carved goodness knows when, to ward off witches.
Ah, yes. I thought that was a witch symbol.
I think that's a lovely reminder of some of the people
that have lived here over the past. It's quite an exciting building.
I want to touch that beam.
-Can you reach it?
LAUGHTER There you go.
-It's not going to fall down in a hurry.
This is a great size room, but it doesn't feel "cottagey", does it, really?
No. But it has a wonderful feel.
It just feels homely, it feels nice.
-Good. Well, that's a good start, isn't it?
We've only seen one room. Let's go and continue with the rest of it. Follow me through here.
Now this is your dining room-reception, too, I suppose, if you like.
-That's another nice big room, isn't it?
-Wood burner, very nice.
-Would you use this as a dining room?
-Yeah, we would.
-There is a separate dining room at the moment and we use that for every meal.
Essentially, this property is divided into three sort of bays.
You've got the first one over there, which is the principal living room
we've just visited, this room, the dining room,
and then through here, we've got the kitchen. Come and have a look.
Now, then, Trudy...
-Very nice, yeah, like this.
-It's another big room, isn't it?
It is, yes, really good size.
Now, this wasn't part of the renovation.
This was put in by the current owner a few years ago.
It's all pretty brand-new. It's hand-built oak,
with beech tops. Some of the other features in here are lovely.
You can see these lime-washed beams, and then the original boards, floorboards, sticking through.
Some have been replaced in other parts of the house, but in here, they remain.
That's a rather nice feature.
Yes. It's got so much character.
I'm glad you like it, because the first property,
it's always interesting to see how you're going to react.
-If this is what you're in to, I think you could be in for quite an interesting time.
-It would work.
It would, it would work very well.
-If I gave you the keys, you'd make it work, wouldn't you?
Right, then, OK. Let's go upstairs and have a look up there,
because very often with cottages, the bedrooms are a bit of a muchness,
but not here - come with me.
'The quirky charm of this unique property definitely seems to be winning Trudy and Des over
'and it only gets better upstairs, where the personality of this house comes into its own.'
Now, this is but one of two staircases in this property.
-You wouldn't think it was big enough to have two.
On the landing, we've got a little shower room.
-That's good, yeah.
-Now, in total, three bedrooms, OK.
Maybe not as many as you ideally wanted, but they are full of character.
That's a little bit of a box room, which I would suggest could be something of a study.
-Yeah, that could be the study.
-But in here, bedroom two,
this is, for me, really where the history starts to come to life.
Wow. This is...
-Magnificent. Yeah, wow.
-I thought you'd like this.
-Can you see these two worked timber posts?
These are crown posts.
They're the key structural support for the roof.
And can you see the blackened timbers?
-This goes to the heart of when this place was built.
Originally, it probably didn't have the floor we're standing on.
-All domestic activity would have happened down below.
One end may have been occupied by animals, potentially, so all the smoke from the cooking
would have drifted up through the then thatched roof, and out.
So, that's why it's all black.
And this floor probably went in, I don't know, but I would guess
sort of 16th, 17th century.
-Can you imagine waking up to that in the morning?
This room is set up as something of a study-cum-bedroom.
You'd probably want something separate.
Come with me through here and let's look at the master. Duck.
Watch your head on that beam.
Quite a thing.
There's the second staircase. That goes down to the dining room.
But this end of the house, not only have you got the master bedroom, but also this family bathroom.
-Yeah, that works.
-Oh, yes, not a bad room.
Not a bad size, is it?
-Now, I know that en suites weren't on your list, which is quite unusual these days.
-We've got legs.
I like your thinking, because everybody wants an en suite these days,
and it's not always easy to find, but you are right next door to your room.
Come and have a look. This is the master.
Tell me how you would feel waking up in here.
-Inspired, I think.
-Wow. Just starting the day.
-Wow. Oh, my fireplace.
-You said you wanted a fireplace.
I wanted a fireplace in the bedroom, yeah.
-Is that big enough?
-That is fantastic.
-I think so.
It's a nice room. It feels really nice, doesn't it?
-It has a good feel to it.
-There's a little bit of garden, not acres.
Let's go outside and finish off down there and then we'll talk about how much it's going to cost you.
Right, let's go outside the back of this place.
The garden, I have to confess, is not the biggest in the world.
-It's not that deep, is it?
But you've got the front garden, obviously,
but this is the more private end of it. It's not acres.
I know you've got some ambitions in terms of chickens and so forth.
A pig, even, but I wouldn't fit the pig in here.
You'd get away with the chickens, but I don't think you'd get away with the pig.
That's its drawback, I suppose, to be honest,
but by way of compensation, you do get one of the oldest dwelling houses in Norfolk.
The garden's nice and private, it's secluded.
It's not overlooked.
Nothing's been done to this since it was done up.
It's crying out to be a really busy colourful cottage garden.
Which would suit this house. It would be lovely.
Yeah, and if you're up for a project, then you could have a lot of fun here and have enough to keep you busy.
Yeah, I know who's going to get that job.
Right, you've got £350 grand or so to spend. What do you think this would set you back?
I don't think I'd get any change out of that.
I would like to think you would get some change. I'm going to guess 320.
320? So, optimistic?
Because you're both right, actually.
-Yeah, it was on for around about 350 or so, and it has now been reduced to 320.
-How about that?
-Makes it very interesting, doesn't it?
-Not a bad start.
-Not a bad start. Well, go and have a look around.
See if you want to part with £320,000.
-I'll catch up with you later.
-OK, let's have a look, come on.
This 14th-century character cottage is on the market for £320,000.
It has three bedrooms and two reception rooms.
It's a truly unique property with distinct beams
and exposed brickwork throughout,
and especially for Trudy, there's even a fireplace in the bedroom.
The garden is small,
but for a fine period house, it's well within budget.
I love this house.
It's the typical chocolate-box cottage in the country.
As soon as we pulled up outside, I could see it just had the wow factor
and it hasn't disappointed internally.
It's been done superbly well, renovated, restored,
whatever you'd like to call it, by people who knew what they were doing.
-I love the beams and the windows.
-It's so cosy. It's a big room, but it's really cosy.
I especially love the witch marks over the inglenook fireplace.
I love the upstairs, this kitchen,
but I can see that we'd have to compromise on some things.
For example, where would we fit all our modern day appliances?
Other than that, I think I can see myself living here.
Overall, I think it's a very good start and I've got a silly grin on my face.
Hey, how was that, then?
-Well, pretty good.
-Pretty good, not a bad start.
-I thought you'd like it.
-I don't know how you'll top that one.
Right, come with me.
Trudy and Des fell in love with the market town of Diss
on a holiday 20 years ago,
so they're returning to visit their favourite places.
Situated to the south of the county, on the Norfolk-Suffolk border,
Diss has been a thriving market town since the 16th century.
As well as a beautiful 13th-century church,
it has a award-winning museum and lots of local independent shops.
-I love these little places, don't you?
Diss's centrepiece is its six-acre mere lake
which is a 60-foot deep hole that formed during the Ice Age.
Diss gets its name from a Saxon word meaning "ditch of standing water".
Everything's so gorgeous... Hello, duck. ..isn't it?
That bread's caused a kerfuffle!
For some more exotic wildlife, just a 15-minute drive from here
is Banham Zoo, which has been voted Norfolk's best visitor attraction.
The zoo is home to more than 1,000 animals, set in 35 acres of land,
with everything, from tigers to penguins.
Recently, a new giraffe house opened, complete with high-level walkway
so you can see them close up.
She's hamming it up for the camera, I think!
Pretending she's starved.
Quite a large tea for them. Again, they have as much...
Another local must is St George's Distillery, the only whisky distillery in England.
You can go on a tour to see the complete production process
and, of course, taste the finished product.
You get a little bit of vanilla and some toffee, butterscotch,
without sounding too flowery about it.
All those kind of things are there.
Some of these barrels you see in here,
they're going to be in here for 25, 30 years,
pretty much untouched.
The distillery only opened two years ago,
and as it officially takes three years to mature a whisky,
the first batch won't be ready to quaff for a while,
but in the meantime,
they've come up with this 18-month-old single malt spirit.
I can't wait to try the product when it has matured, so thanks very much.
Thanks. It's been a pleasure to meet you.
Our next property is on the outskirts of Wymondham,
nine miles southwest of Norwich.
Wymondham is a historic market town with some beautiful timber-framed buildings.
The town's abbey was originally founded as a Benedictine monastery in 1107
and its two tall towers dominate the landscape.
Another gem of Wymondham is the town's market cross, built in 1617
for the princely sum of 25 quid.
But we're heading to property two,
which is in a rural location, three miles from the centre.
Now, come and have a look at this.
This is different to what we've seen earlier in the sense that it's a barn conversion.
Yes, it's very different.
It's very, very different. How do you feel about barn conversions?
People either love them or hate them.
To be honest, I'm not a great fan, really.
I think it's the lack of compartments,
too much open space living.
-I like the walls, I like things to be just where they're supposed to be.
And how about you, Trudy?
I like that big open space and I still think they're very workable spaces.
-Come and have a look. You get that garage too, incidentally. Over there, that's yours.
Right, now, come on in here.
Trudy, the kitchen.
-Bigger than what we've had before.
-Yeah, room for all the appliances, that's good.
It's all pretty new. This is currently used as something
of a kind of holiday let, so it's relatively unencumbered
with a family's bits and pieces
but it gives you an idea of the kind of space you've got.
Des is still looking unsold on the whole barn concept.
I'm just going to see how it goes.
There's more cupboards than the previous place.
-Bags of storage.
Part of the interesting thing about this property is that it's slightly upside down,
because you've got a mixture of bedrooms on various floors.
You'll see what I mean.
Off of the kitchen, through this corridor, downstairs bathroom -
shower room as well. Have a look in there.
-Wow, that's a shower.
-That's pretty fancy, isn't it?
What that doesn't clean, mate, isn't worth doing!
But let's go next door.
We've got four bedrooms here for you. One of them, technically, is down here. Come and have a look.
Ooh, this is a big room, isn't it?
-This is more like a master bedroom, isn't it?
Well, it certainly could be a master suite
because you've got connecting doors through here.
You could make that an en suite and treat this as your master bedroom.
-But it's not the master, it's just one of the four bedrooms that are here.
-This is good.
-This is a very nice room, isn't it?
-It could also be a dining room.
-Yeah. It could, couldn't it?
-Right next to the kitchen.
-If you wanted it to be.
-It's gorgeous, yeah.
-Ah, so, Des?
-You know, we're warming up a bit.
-Yeah, no, it's a good room.
Good. If you like this, you're going to love the rest of it.
I really hope so. I've put my neck on the line, there! Come on.
So, that was one bedroom, or maybe a dining room, depending on what you want it to be.
Two more here, very much mirror images of each other.
One in there, but come in here and have a look at this one.
-Ooh, that's nice.
-That is good.
Unexpected, isn't it?
Effectively, it's the exterior wall, I think, or exterior beam arrangement of the old barn.
What they've done is they've infilled it with a mixture of new and reclaimed brick
in a kind of period herringbone fashion. I think it works a treat.
Yeah, I think it's really good.
Let's have a look at a living room for you. Come through here.
Right... Now, Des, this may challenge your thoughts about barn conversions
in terms of space, et cetera.
-How does it feel?
-It's a big room, it's a big room.
It's a gorgeous room. I love it.
We talked about a separate dining room maybe in that other large bedroom, but you have got one here.
It also makes use of those double doors and the view out to the garden and so forth.
I think we probably would use this as the dining room for every meal, as we do at the moment.
-Well, it's a shame to waste it, in a sense.
Come through here, because this herringbone brickwork, this is the back of the bedroom
-that we looked at.
-Right, I see.
And then you get into this space. Lovely wood burner,
nice and warm today, and then you've got all that.
-Oh, a nice little gallery.
That's your landing, effectively.
-I could see us living here, yeah.
-How about you, Des?
It's going to take me a bit of time.
-I can see bookshelves up there.
I can see you up there, because that's the master bedroom. Come with me.
'It's obvious that Des isn't a big fan of barn conversions,
'but I suspect a combination of Trudy's enthusiasm
'and the treats in store upstairs, will work some magic on him.'
I love this view.
-How about that?
That is good, isn't it?
Yes. Yes, I love that view.
You do appreciate it, don't you?
This is really the kind of...
master floor, if you like, because only you are up here.
Now, then, Trudy and Des, your des res, Des.
It's pretty good.
-It is, yeah.
You've got beautiful views out there, you know,
through those huge panes of glass, and you've also got the en suite.
You don't really want one, but there it is. Go and have a look.
It's all for free if you buy the house.
That's a good size, isn't it, for an en suite, yeah.
And you've still got the beams of character.
Yeah, loads of beams. Again, a mixture of old and new, as it's been renovated.
How does it work as a master suite for you?
-I think I prefer the room downstairs.
-That big room downstairs, yeah.
-You've got a bathroom to go with it.
-So this would be a guest room?
-This would be the guest suite, yeah.
-I'm coming to stay!
Now, let's see about the price, shall we?
That's going to cause a stir, I'm sure,
but not before we've looked at the garden. Come and have a look outside.
Right, now, in terms of garden, Trudy,
-this may disappoint you.
-It's not very big, is it, no.
What you see is what you can put in your pocket, really.
It's not pig country.
-It's definitely not, is it?
Maybe not even chicken country. Maybe a few chickens, possibly.
Go on, make me an offer on this one. You've got 350 grand to play with.
I think it might be outside our budget, this one. I would say 375.
375, OK, yeah.
I think with my reservations and my drawbacks, I wouldn't want to pay more than 310.
310? Gosh, that's harsh, isn't it?
£60,000 or so between you.
OK, well, here it is.
-Mm. I thought it was going to be a lot more.
Well, you know, times are changing.
Think about a sensible offer, because everybody's open to offers.
Who knows. Go and lap it up, because I know you love the inside.
-I do, yeah.
-Go on, twist his arm.
Go on, off you go. Enjoy.
Coming in well under budget,
this barn conversion has a price tag of £325,000.
It has four bedrooms, an impressive vaulted beamed reception room
with gallery and separate dining area.
The garden is small but the property is set in a rural location,
so what's the verdict?
This is a big room, isn't it?
-It's impressive, isn't it?
-Nice high ceiling. That is just monster, isn't it?
-Huge burner there.
There's such a lot I like about property number two.
It's got so much character.
I like this exposed brickwork in this room, I love the exposed beams.
The master bedroom is a bit of a disappointment, a bit smaller than I'd have liked,
and I must say, the outside space lets it down.
The garden is really too small, but on balance,
I think there's more that I like about this property than I don't like.
This property gives me mixed feelings.
I do like to see the exposed timbers.
I do like to see the exposed brickwork.
But it just wouldn't give me that warm and fuzzy feeling when I came home.
Right, well, that was the end of that one.
-A lot of space.
A lot of space. Have I sold you on barn conversions?
I'm not convinced.
-I think I am.
Right, I can see that debate is going to rumble on, but it's not over yet.
There's still one more property to see, the mystery house, of course.
Who knows, I wonder how that one's going to go? Come on.
With night drawing in,
the mystery house is going to have to wait until tomorrow.
But back at our hotel,
Trudy and Des are busy reflecting on today's properties.
An interesting day, wasn't it?
The cottage was gorgeous. What did you think of it?
-As soon as you drove up...
-It just had the wow factor. Chocolate-box.
Definitely. Be really special, wouldn't it...
-..to live in that, and to look after that.
-Yeah, did have some reservations
-about the bedrooms and the sloping ceilings.
-And the garden wasn't enormous.
What about the barn conversion?
-Didn't grab me.
-I loved that exposed brickwork...
-..in that bedroom.
I thought that was really nice.
I like that herringbone pattern.
But I just didn't feel that it was right for me.
-But some of the room sizes were fantastic.
Would we find room sizes that big in another property?
-I think they'll be pushed to find us something with those proportions.
So, the search continues.
-Looking forward to tomorrow!
-See what tomorrow brings!
Trudy and Des from Hornchurch, Essex, are looking to fulfil
one of their lifelong ambitions and make the move to the Norfolk countryside.
With a budget of £350,000, so far we've found two unique properties which have inspired them.
-You said you wanted a fireplace.
-I wanted a fireplace in the bedroom.
But still to come, Trudy finds the perfect home for her chickens.
This is more like it, isn't it? This is a proper garden.
And we find a project for Des.
-The word would be fixer-upper.
Trudy has always wanted the space to have a few chickens, and with their move to the country imminent,
her dream could be a reality sooner rather than later.
So, we've called into Melsop Farm Park just west of Norwich
to meet owner Keith Stone and his menagerie of feathered friends.
Well, look at this lot.
-I could cuddle them.
-All different shapes and sizes.
You've got some wonderful things in here.
We've got browns, blues, whites, blacks.
How many breeds have you got here?
We normally keep about 25 to 30 different, all rare breeds, at one time.
Right, so these guys do want a bog-standard couple of chickens and maybe something else to go with it,
-you're the man to come and talk to?
You've got some willing customers.
Show us around. Let's have a look at what we've got.
'Your average brown laying hen should lay an egg a day, but rare breeds such as this Brown Yokohama
'and this handsome Silver Sablepoot, will only lay about four eggs a week from March to October,
'but there's no reason why you can't have a few of each and mix things up.
'These Gold Laced Polish chickens are real lookers, with their handsome crest of head feathers
'and no surprise, they're bred primarily as a show bird.'
-These look extraordinary.
You haven't just sprayed up some common garden chickens...?!
They look as though they're hand-painted!
-So, do you fancy some of these pretty Polish chickens?
-I fancy a larger fella, really...
-What, a kind of Big Bird kind of thing?!
Saying, "Here I am"!
"Hey, boy... I say, boy..."
-Have you got anything bigger here?
-Yeah, in this next pen.
-Now, is that what you had in mind?
-Yes, I mean, that size, yeah.
-That's a beautiful looking bird, isn't it?
-So what sort is that?
-This is a Gold Brahma, large fellow.
-A Gold Brahma?
-I like this one. Very... Very friendly, isn't it?
-Soft and warm.
-Soft feathers, yeah.
These rare breeds, will they all live together quite happily, or are there some you need to separate?
Most of them all mix quite happily together.
There are one or two, like the Indian Game and the heavier breeds, which I wouldn't mix,
but on the whole, most of them will mix quite happily in the same pen.
-That's good. I don't want any fights breaking out!
Now how long are you going to enjoy the company of a bird like this for?
I think probably the average age is probably about five years
but you never know in chickens. Chickens are funny things.
I'd probably say anywhere between two and six years, really, is a good indication.
I think that one of the key lessons we're learning
is that your rare breeds are all well and good,
but they're probably not the thing if you want to have lots of eggs.
However, Keith here does have one or two other breeds around here which lay fantastic eggs, don't you?
-Shall we go and have a look?
Come on. Wait till you see this.
-Oh, you'd better leave that behind.
You were hoping to get away with that, weren't you?
Now, Des wanted a big bird,
but maybe these fellows are a little too large, even for him.
-Look at that.
-That would make a big omelette.
-That's a rea egg.
-A rea egg?
There are reas and emus in here.
Emus are the darker ones, the blacky coloured ones,
and the reas are the grey coloured.
Amazingly, reas and emus lay twice a year, producing on average 30 eggs at a time.
We know where to come for Easter!
-We'll come and see you. Thanks so much for showing us around.
-Thank you for coming.
At long last, I can reveal the mystery house to Des and to Trudy.
So far, everything we've shown them has been ready to go,
ready to move into, but Des did say he was up for a project.
I just wonder how much of a project.
Last but not least, folks, it's the mystery house.
Yeah, can't wait to see what it is.
-I don't know what you've got up your sleeve.
-I've no idea.
Well, they're always, you know, very different.
Who knows what you're going to make of this one.
I think it's quite interesting, but we're heading out in this Norfolk gloom.
-It's all going to add a bit more mystery to the mystery house, I think.
-More mists than mystery.
The mystery house is in a rural location
just one mile from Trudy and Des's favourite Norfolk market town, Diss.
Although this is a tourist destination, it's also highly valued
by locals, as it provides somewhere to catch up with the neighbours and do a weekly shop.
All the basics are well catered for here,
with a post office, ironmonger's and even a fresh fish stall.
Trudy and Des love this place, but will they also fall in love with the mystery house?
-Now, very different to what we've seen before.
-Very different, yes.
-It is, essentially, a straightforward old farm worker's cottage.
The reason I think it's a good mystery house for you two
is that it is something of a blank canvas
in terms of what you can do with it.
Des, particularly, I think this could be quite exciting for you.
-Let's go and look at it, then.
-Come on, then.
Right, come round here, through this little pathway.
Right, let's start in here.
Now, this is currently set up as the dining room,
but I think it gives you a sense that it's a place that's crying out for some real love and attention.
Definitely, yeah. Yeah.
I think the word would be fixer-upper.
-That springs to mind, yeah.
-It is a fixer-upper, but it's largely, I think, a cosmetic job.
-The ceilings are a bit low for my liking.
-That's cottages for you.
-Very useable-sized dining room.
-Yeah, nice enough room for that.
Come and have a look at the kitchen, because again,
whether you want to screen this off on a more permanent basis,
or keep it as it is, in terms of size and space...
-I think you need the wall back in...
-I think so, too.
-..to give you more wall space, because you've got a decent width,
-so you can afford to have cupboards and workspace here.
-Because that's wasted space.
-I think so.
-It's a project, you know.
-That's why it's the mystery house.
-You said you wanted a project.
Be careful what you wish for, Des!
Especially on this show. All right, come through here.
You get the sense that this ground floor layout is something of a circular route.
We started over there at the front door and we've gone round through the kitchen and now back into this,
but one of a number of living rooms that this house has to offer.
-That's all I'm going to say.
-That sounds interesting.
But, of course, it's dominated by that wood burner.
I have to say, I quite like it.
I like the brass and all that that's going on with it.
In terms of size, it's quite nice.
I think the point about this is that you need to see it as a whole.
You're only going to get a real sense of whether it's for you
when we've seen the rest of it, so follow me.
Right, so we've got this sort of lobby area, as it were.
Downstairs loo, and then it leads into what I would call
a kind of a link between the old cottage, and this room in here...
I mean, you tell me what you want to do with this.
-It is a big room, yes.
I mean, it's got that...
Somebody pinched that off the set of The Great Escape, I think.
As a wood burner, I think it's lovely.
-We need to go underneath there somewhere!
-There's a tunnel!
-There's a hole and a wooden ladder!
-It could be a fabulous space, couldn't it?
-It could be.
It could be a fabulous big living room, couldn't it?
-Well, there's more. Come through here.
'Leading off this room is what's referred to as a bedroom,
'but I think that does require a leap of imagination.
'It's probably better suited to a study area, which leads us into the garage.'
Now, Des, what about this, then?
-That's incredible. There's a lot of space, isn't there? Double garage?
-And a kind of workshop space?
-That's your workshop, isn't it?
-I'm not quite sure what the idea there was.
-To be partitioned, isn't it.
Yes. I, personally, wouldn't bother with it.
I'd just get rid of it and if I needed a workshop, put benches along the back and keep it simple.
Then if you want a garage for two cars, you can. But it's not over yet.
Let's have a look upstairs. See what you make of that.
Right, back through here.
'Admittedly, there is plenty of work to be done here,
'but I'm hoping Trudy and Des can see what a great home this could be with some tender loving care.
'Upstairs, the family bathroom is a great space to work with, and then there are the bedrooms.'
Now, you know, it's a bedroom, overlooking the lane.
Nice and light.
Nice views out of both windows.
My sense is that underneath all this pine, you've got some nice old beams, ready to be exposed.
-You think that's just clad over the top?
-I think it's just clad over.
-It would be interesting to find out.
-You'd get a lot more character out of these rooms,
and next door is no exception. Come and have a look at this.
Through this sort of little corridor arrangement.
-Again, very similar to what we've just seen.
Take the cladding off, I'm sure you'll find something a lot more exciting underneath,
and again, you get an idea with this sort of thing.
There's a similarly sized one next door with a kind of built-in bed arrangement.
No, I think it is do-able. If these are just stud walls, then a little bit of imagination, away it comes.
The other thing this house has, which we haven't yet seen really,
-I don't think, is a half-decent garden.
-Let's see if the garden persuades you.
We're going to pop into the garden right now, but the more I think about it, this room,
I think, lends itself to being the kitchen.
-It's a big room.
-It could, couldn't it, be a huge kitchen?
Work surfaces all the way through. It's just wasted, really, as a living room, in some senses.
-Yeah, you could say it's too big for a living room.
-Just a thought.
-Just a thought.
Right. Now, then, out we come.
In truth, I suppose, this is the first proper garden
we've had a chance to really look at on our tour of these properties.
Somewhere where you can wander.
This is more like it, isn't it? This is a proper garden.
It's a proper garden, and listen... Hardly any noise at all, really, from very much.
Going back to the idea that this was once a couple of farm workers' cottages,
this would have been, once up a time,
probably full of vegetables and chickens
and all that sort of stuff. I imagine the soil here is really, really good.
-It's probably had years and years of working and manureing and all that sort of stuff.
-I like it.
-I like it.
-Love the garden, yeah.
Good. So it's all building, then, to some conclusion. Whether it's for you or not, who knows,
but money, cos that is really what this is about, I think.
Let's have a think, shall we?
Go on, Des. We put Trudy on the spot.
OK. I'd like to see it at about 280.
Yes, I would like it to be less than that, but I have a feeling it's probably more.
I reckon it's probably about 325.
You're really good at this.
-Have you been reading my notes?
OK, yeah. It is on the market at 325, OK, which is a very interesting comparison with our last property,
-which was also 325, of course, the converted barn.
However, it does need a lot doing to it.
My sense is that it is open to fairly serious offers.
-Shall we wander around the rest of the garden?
Go and check it out, explore, and I'll catch up with you a bit later.
This farm cottage will leave them plenty of change at just £325,000.
It has three bedrooms, a large room to the back of the house
which could be converted into a great kitchen area, a double garage,
and a large garden with space for a few roosters and a pig for Trudy.
I think he was right - this is the best garden.
-Oh, it is.
-Definitely the best garden.
Fantastic vegetable patch we could have here.
We could grow herbs, we could have all those lovely cottagey flowers.
The mystery property is interesting.
I love the garden.
The long room at the back would make a fantastic kitchen.
But the rest of it doesn't really do it for me.
In my opinion, it's too small,
and I think it needs too much work done.
But I think Des would probably like to take it on as a project.
I think it's the sort of property Des would walk in to
and think, "I can do a lot with this".
There is potential.
I can see that the end product would be a fantastic home.
I don't think this would work, no, because I'd like to make
a big country kitchen, and I'll do things to make a lovely country kitchen.
-This isn't big enough. The long room is.
Make a fabulous country kitchen in that.
What would happen with this?
-Knock it through, make a bigger living room?
-I see, yeah.
I'm a little bit scared of committing our resources,
which are finite,
and this is going to be our last move.
It's going to be our forever house, and it's got to be right,
and I'm having doubts - doubts are creeping in there.
I think it's a good choice,
and it's a very interesting carrot to dangle in front of us.
-Lots to think about.
-Lots to think about?
-Well, that's it, guys, property tours are now done and dusted.
-Lots going through your minds, I suspect.
Let's get you somewhere where you can explore all the options
we've shown you, and then maybe you'll have made a decision.
-You never know.
-Maybe. Come on.
Having now seen all of the properties, I've given Trudy and Des
some time of their own to consider their options
and see if any of the houses are right for them.
Now, one thing that East Anglia, and in particular Norfolk,
is famous for are these great big, flat, wide open landscapes.
They lend themselves not just to beautiful skies and sunsets -
the kind of thing that Des and Trudy are so keen on -
but also represent an area of very intensive arable agricultural production,
and at its heart is grain.
For many years, this part of the UK has been known as the bread basket of Britain,
and this is why.
This is what it's all about.
This huge pile of grain
represents just some of the many millions of tonnes
that are produced in the UK every year.
This lot is going off to an industrial processing plant
to be turned into the biscuits and bread that we know and love so much.
But, of course, the landscape here in Norfolk
has lent itself for centuries
to an altogether different form of industrial processing -
something powered not by engines and fuel
but by the wind.
This is Denver Mill in north Norfolk.
Built in 1835, it's one of the few working windmills in the country,
and to find out more about this magnificent piece of engineering,
I've come to meet head miller, Mark Abel.
-Nice to see you.
What a beautiful structure.
We like to think of her as sort of a great big agricultural beauty.
It's all of that, isn't it?!
What's the best way to understand how one of these beauties works?
Right. It's quite simple.
-You get your corn up to the top...
-..and then you let gravity do the rest.
The simplest thing is to get a sack of corn on the way up
and then we'll follow it as it comes back down again.
How are we going to get one of those up there?
Quite simply on the sack hoist.
-So, wind is used for every part of the process.
-It's the only way of doing it.
-Look at that!
It's driven right from the top from the sails.
There she goes.
That's going to go all the way to the top? ..I love this noise.
CLANKING AND BANGING It's all alive, isn't it?
-More trap doors?
-Third one, then we stop it.
Now I'll let it back down.
-So, you know that's at the top now?
-She's now on the third floor.
-On the way, we can have a good look at the workings of the mill.
-After you, sir.
-Up we go.
It's like climbing up through the heart of an animal.
-What are we looking at here?
This is the bottom of the production line.
-We've got the bottom of the grindstones above.
Yep. And as the corn is ground,
it passes through the stones and then comes down this chute.
It falls out the bottom, which is what it'll do if I don't put a bag on it.
Fantastic. Right, so...
Shall we continue?
English windmills date back to the 12th century
and were popular in the windy flat lands of East Anglia.
Most villages had a mill to grind corn, but by Tudor times,
some were adapted for paper-making, lead-smelting
and, most dangerously, gunpowder-making.
Now, this is the stone floor, basically where it all happens.
This is the heart of the process.
These are the actual grindstones.
This is what changes the corn into flour.
Upstairs, we'll see where we put the corn into the bin.
-That feeds this chute.
Sits in this box, which then distributes down to what I think
is the most wonderful bit of engineering you're likely to see in your life.
This gadget is called the shoe.
-It works something like a flour sieve.
It IS an old technology, not very commonly used at the moment.
How do we know how it all works?
-How do you repair it?
-It's largely common sense.
You're talking about 500-year-old technology,
It was a time where it was critical to keep stuff working.
For a miller,
no wind, no flour - no flour, no money.
No money, no food.
-So that old adage, necessity is the mother of invention...
We'll get the corn running up the top
and then see if we've got enough wind for the stones to be turning.
By the start of the 19th century,
windmills were responsible for milling almost all of the country's flour.
But wind is fickle and as steam power developed,
it marked the steady decline of these magnificent machines.
There's our sack. Put it into the corn bin here.
Right, here we go.
Wait till you've got half a ton of it to do!
Look at that.
-That...is soon going to be flour.
Now, then, we're almost at the top.
-That's the most exciting bit of all.
-Come on, then!
-Let's go and see some engineering!
-Watch the chain.
This is it - this is the top.
That is extraordinary!
-So, that huge chunk of oak, presumably...
-..that's going down to that big wheel we saw in the...
-And it's all connected directly through...
-Yep, to the sails.
This cast-iron shaft - wind shaft -
goes right from the back, out the front,
and the two stocks that the sails are bolted onto
fit onto the end of that shaft.
I mean, I do just love it.
I love the fact it's so solid,
these great big lumps of timber and these great big iron bolts
and the cogs and the noise.
It IS just this wonderful celebration of pure simplicity
with a real practical purpose.
Let's see if we can get the stones working!
I was going to say! Let's get some flour.
Try and get some bread.
As we are making our way down, so is the grain.
With the help of the wind to drive the sails,
the cogs are powering the drive shaft, rotating the grinding stones.
Our grain is being ground down and pushed out of the sides.
It then drops through the chute into the bag we strapped on.
Let's take a look.
-Look at that.
-Nice, soft, fine.
-It really is quite a long way down from the top of there.
Do it a few times and you feel it!
-Look at that - that's the real thing.
That's absolutely fantastic.
I still find it thrilling that this was corn hours ago.
Mark, thanks. It's been a really, really fascinating insight.
All I can say is, I hope the wind keeps up.
Thank you very much. It's been a pleasure.
At long last, it's decision time for Des and for Trudy.
You may think sitting at home that making your mind up
as to which property you may go for is fairly straightforward, but don't be fooled.
There's an awful lot riding on this, a whole lifestyle change
and an awful lot of money, so let's see if they have made their minds up.
Now, Trudy, Des, 20-odd years ago you came up to Norfolk
and fell in love with it.
-And 20 years on, you've decided to come back,
but have we convinced you of any of the properties?
It all started with, allegedly, one of the oldest dwellings in Norfolk,
that extraordinary 14th-century building. What did you think of that one?
I couldn't believe it when we pulled up outside.
-No, what a looker.
-Yeah, couldn't believe that we were going to look at that property.
-And the money...
-Not bad, eh?
-Very, very good.
What did you think, Des?
I think it was a picture postcard, chocolate-box, beautiful house,
but there were pros and cons.
With the upstairs, the building wasn't designed to have a first floor,
so consequently, you're living in the roof space with the sloping ceilings,
which then restricts what you can do, say, for wardrobe space.
Mm. But 320.
-Not bad, though. All that history...
-A good price a piece of history, really.
-A unique property.
Well, then we went onto the barn conversion.
-I know you had some reservations about them, you loved the idea of a barn conversion.
Let's do the good news first. Let's hear about your take on it.
I loved it. I loved the space.
I loved the open beams, I loved the exposed brickwork.
The size of the rooms was fantastic.
There was that huge bedroom downstairs.
I'd have preferred to use that instead of the master.
-I just felt there was just too much open planness there.
OK. There's no pleasing some people! Is he always this difficult?
Finally, of course, it was time to go and visit the mystery house.
Very much a project.
-Which I thought you would respond to, Des.
Let's hear from you, first.
Which I did, initially, and then walking round,
I think I lost my nerve a bit, halfway through,
and I thought, "Well, perhaps this is a step too far".
I had to bear in mind what Trudy's feelings were as well.
Well, let's hear those. Come on.
Unfortunately for me, the mystery house just didn't do it.
-Didn't do it.
-It didn't do it at all, no.
I could see there was potential.
I could see that the long room at the back of the house could have made a fantastic kitchen,
a huge kitchen, but the rest of the house didn't do it for me.
Well, what happens next, I suppose, is the burning question.
-I've got a rough idea, but go on, you tell me.
-The search continues.
-Yeah, we'll carry on looking.
-We love Norfolk.
-Yeah. It's been a very valuable process.
It's been very interesting, we've enjoyed it a lot.
-Thanks very much for coming.
-We've really enjoyed it.
It's been great fun. Best of luck with the search.
-We'll keep you informed.
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Jules Hudson is in Norfolk helping a couple in search of the good life in the country. They are looking for a character property with feature fireplaces and a garden suitable for raising chickens and pigs. Jules shows them a 14th-century character cottage, a barn conversion and an old farm cottage.