Property series. Nikki Bedi and Ed Hall travel to Bristol in search of the great green dream.
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Climbing the metaphorical property ladder can be fraught with dangers.
And if you've been away from said property ladder for a while,
it's best to take your time, make sure you make the right move.
Sometimes you've got to cast off your shroud of doubt... and take the plunge!
Not bad at all, Ed, though I am completely soaked! Thank you.
I'm sorry, but you did get to see some absolutely fantastic bombing!
-Athletic prowess, you mean?
-Yeah, it was lovely.
-Why exactly are we here?
-Well, Nikki, today's house-hunter volunteers here,
and I figured, as it was so sunny, why not come down here and get a chance to swim whilst working?
-What are you doing?
-It's finished, it's empty.
Have you not heard of the phrase "reduce, reuse, recycle"?
Nikki, recycling one aluminium can can save enough energy to run a television for three hours.
-Well, that's all this week's To Buy Or Not To Buy and some! That's amazing!
-It is an amazing fact.
-Why do I feel a green theme coming up for this show?
It's not all green today as our buyer's name is Rachel Brown.
Tired of living in rented accommodation in Portishead near Bristol,
she's decided to make the plunge back into the property market.
At work, Rachel's an environmental manager, but in her spare time volunteers at her local lido.
-Along for the ride is sister Lorna.
-Ed, have you noticed how tall both our house-hunters are?
I'd say both ladies are a gorgeous 6 foot 3.
Luckily, I'm wearing my heels so I don't think it'll be a problem for me.
-You, on the other hand...
Now, Rachel, are you a stereotypical eco warrior?
Absolutely! Can't you tell that I am a tree-hugger?
You look lovely, gorgeous, and your sister... you both look beautiful.
So what sort of areas do you first of all like? This is gorgeous.
Kind of Knowsley, Backwell area, cos there's a train station there.
-Long Ashton cos that's easy to get into again with the buses.
-What sort of property are you looking for?
Do you want something that's period? Are you happy to go modern?
-Do you want detached? Give us some clues.
-Do you know what I want?
I want a decent-sized garden, and the house that's in the decent-sized garden...
-I don't mind about almost...
-You don't mind about? You really are into this eco world!
-Tell me that you want to live off your own land and grow veg and stuff...
-I would, yeah!
Three bedrooms, but two is fine as long as there's a decent garden.
-This really is quite flexible, then, isn't it?
-Ridiculously so! This is why I can't find a house!
What about being overlooked? Have you got issues about that?
-Yeah, I don't want to be overlooked.
-I'm not fussy at all.
-Is that because of what you'll be doing in the garden?
-Are you a naked gardener?
-No, I'm not!
-Presumably with your height, well, both of you, actually, a cottage would be out of the question.
I'm not raising ceilings or lowering floors so I can get through the door.
I'd like to be able to stand up in my own house!
So, Lorna, you seem like you're very close as sisters.
Yeah, we're pretty close, yeah. We've lived together for a while so we know what we've liked
in houses that we shared and not liked and so on.
How will you be able to help on this day of house-hunting?
I'm going to nudge her past that stubborn streak when it's got most of the things that...
-With that hand movement?
-It's more like a shove rather than a nudge!
-I'm not looking forward to this!
No, but I'm interested! Budget, what is your budget?
I've been looking up to 400,000, but I can't afford that much. So really it's 375.
Should we be able to achieve it for 375 today?
I think you should, yeah, I think you should.
-In the given area, I think it's a challenge you could rise to.
-All right, thank you.
-We are going to leave you now. Wish us luck.
-Thank you very much. We'll see you later.
-Can't wait! See you later.
-I find them quite inspiring.
-Very inspiring, I would say.
And for the first time since I've been doing this show,
I actually think that the garden may be more important to them than the house.
It is true. They are women after Alan Titchmarsh's heart,
metaphorically speaking, of course, not literally!
Now, remember the recycling thing that we were talking about,
-and I said about the aluminium can, if you recycle that...
-Taken it onboard!
..Three hours' worth of energy... We could do some recycling today right now on television.
We're going to. Here's some recycled footage for you!
Bristol's most famous landmark has to be Brunel's Clifton Suspension Bridge.
It's seen here in 1970 with one of his renowned ships, the SS Great Britain,
which has since been beautifully restored within the city.
Other notable engineering feats from Bristol include the maiden flight of the British Concorde in 1969,
and, of course, hot-air balloons.
Today, Bristol is a hustling, bustling city, full of culture,
and almost half-a-million environmentally clued-up inhabitants.
From stylish city-centre apartments
to the iconic coloured terraced houses of Clifton, there's something here for everyone.
And if being green is right up your street, how much will eco-living cost you around the UK?
This beautiful eco-friendly four-bed barn conversion is near Newick.
The heating for this place comes from a ground-source recovery system
and the used water goes into a biodigestor. All of this
and lots more for...
This unique two-bed detached cottage is situated
within the Amesbury conservation area.
The rainwater-harvesting system supplies water to flush the loos and to water the garden.
And solar panels power the first-floor radiators.
Sustainable living for...
This eco townhouse also has a rainwater-harvesting system.
Situated in Bushey Heath, Hertfordshire, this futuristic house
benefits from a solar-heated hot-water system. Hot stuff!
In 2009, Bristol was shortlisted as a finalist in the European Green Capital Awards,
acknowledging it as one of the greenest cities in the United Kingdom.
Since 2004, the local council has managed to achieve a 10% reduction in household energy
and a 20% reduction in the energy used by the lovely local businesses.
Did you know that the average person in the UK gets through 38 kilos of newspaper per year?
But the good news is that 80% of the raw materials that go into making this come from recycled paper.
Bristol residents have attempted to reduce a growth in transport emissions
and they're doing pretty good. A recent survey has shown a 40% rise in cycle use in the city centre.
Not exactly the most glamorous location I've ever been on for To Buy Or Not To Buy,
but did you know there are 50,000 bottle banks like this across the UK
and by recycling just one bottle like this, you could save almost enough energy
to power a 100-watt light bulb for almost an hour?
Less waste and more recycling. Bristolians now produce 20% less waste per person
and recycling rates have doubled.
Do you feel a little bit greener and a little bit more ecologically attuned?
I would say thoroughly so, inside and out.
Now property number one in the property game is a former animal storage unit...
or barn, to give it its proper name. I am very confident about this -
the picture does not do it justice at all.
It just looks like a barn, if you will, from the outside,
but there's so much more on the inside. It's in a lovely-named village
-and the back garden has a little treat to it. That's it!
I have a three-bedroom 1950s property which has been thoroughly modernised.
It has a little water feature in the back garden, and it's in the village of Backwell.
Okey-dokey! Now the wild card, the wild card, most people love the wild card...
and why wouldn't you love the wild card in a place called Kenn?
That is where the wild card is. It is a former schoolhouse, it is very lovely
and, again, it is in a place called Kenn. So, Nikki, where should we start the property journey?
-No, mine, the barn.
Hold your horses, Nikki, my turn first!
Here's hoping Rachel could make herself at home in this former animal house.
A spot of rural living will surely inspire her to live the good life.
Rachel and Lorna, Lorna and Rachel, walk toward property number one
which is a barn in Barrow Gurney which is a brilliantly named place!
If you have any American relatives they would really like to see that on a Christmas card.
-Using your recycling, reusing, whatever...
-..We are... See?
-What a tenuous link!
Right...nothing has been damaged. Now we are reusing it in a different way for human stock!
So what do you think?
We're a little bit out of Bristol but we're going to be using the park-and-ride if we live here.
So, what are your thoughts?
It looks lovely. Not the kind of thing I'd thought about at all,
but it looks really nice. I like the kind of trees and everything around it as well, it's very scenic.
-Lorna, is this good enough for your sister?
-Yeah, I think an ex-stable is perfect!
-Not a pigsty?
-OK, are you coiled and ready and excited?
-Three, two, one, explore the house!
-Let's go! Thank you.
Oh! Oh, now, this is nice.
Oh, that is nice. Lovely and spacious.
Nice, big room!
-There's no fireplace.
-You could put one in.
It's a barn! The cows did not warm themselves by a fireplace!
Pigs never toasted marshmallows over a fireplace!
-Oh, this is nice out here.
-No, no, not at all.
You'd think you'd clear that away so you've got the water feature properly.
You can hear it tinkling!
-You could feel closed in with the hills on either side, but actually it feels kind of cosy.
-I have normally heard a boxroom described as cosy...
But I have never heard a garden described as cosy before.
Oh, nice kitchen!
-That is nice.
-That's a good size, actually.
Cos I don't like them too big cos I just make them really messy.
-So nice! You've got this area for your table...
-And that's where you could fit all the children's toys
-when they come out to play.
-Yes, because you can then just shut them away,
-but keep an eye on them through the glass door.
She's imagining the children being there...cruelly saying that she'll lock them away, but really that's...
-I think the mother agreed with that too!
-Yeah, that's true. Well, let's say in a lovely way.
-This is the children's staying-over room.
-Well, it is, actually. It would have to be. Because for us,
-there's actually quite a small useful space in here, isn't there?
Yeah, another... This one's bigger, isn't it? That's what I was just comparing.
-Got beams again.
-Out on to the garden.
-Oh, look in here!
Oh, wow, cool! It's really nicely done as well.
-That's nice. Clear and light and all that.
-Right, one more to go.
-So I'd say this is your master.
-This is nice.
Is that another en-suite in there?
-Oh, that's nice!
-That's a huge shower.
-That's really nice.
-That's like a holiday shower to me!
-It's like the kind of thing you get when you're away.
"Oh, Rachel, what are you doing today? Are you going to work?"
-"No, I'm on holiday...
-In my shower.
-Then I'm going to work!"
So, yeah, this is a good-sized room.
It's a really nice aspect, it's a lovely location.
-I wonder how much it is!
-Let's go and find out.
So, Rachel and Lorna, what is it like to hypothetically live as a 21st-century animal
in a lovely barn like that?
It is lovely. It's a good choice, Ed.
-Well done! It is a good choice.
-And the water feature in the back garden...
-It's fantastic, yeah.
-Do you notice we're all speaking a little bit loud because there are cars going by?
Let's deal with the cars. Is it an issue?
-Not until you start talking about it.
-Not until you start talking!
-I can't change that.
-And you love the water feature.
-Yeah. We need to make more of it.
-So...shall we do it?
-Guess the price. Who wants to go first?
-Lorna, you're going to go first.
-I'll go first and I'd say...365.
I think I'd go less than that, actually. I think there's some inconveniences.
-I'm going to say 350.
Someone is bang on the nose. Your maximum budget was £375,000.
-and, Lorna, you haven't won. It's you, Rachel!
-And what a victory for £350,000!
It's a good price, and at that price, and thinking about the things...
Obviously, as you say, there are kind of inconveniences...
-for £350,000 I think that's kind of factored into the price in a way as well.
-Yeah, I think you're right.
I can envisage you using all those nettles for nettle soup or nettle tea!
-Nettle soup's lovely!
-See? People do eat nettles.
-I'm sure it's lovely. I'm sure people are salivating.
Go to property two! Oh, nettle soup! Mmm!
My property may not be as rural but it has everything Rachel needs. Great rail links into Bristol
and a great-sized garden for her to sink her trowel into.
Well, Rachel, Lorna... property number two.
This is my property. Do you know the village that we're in?
-We're in Backwell.
-But I don't know it well. But it's got a train station. We like that about it.
-There you go. And is this an area that you'd considered, then?
As you can see, there is a huge amount of frontage in the garden. Wait till you see the back!
-And I've got a water feature too!
So...are we interested?
It looks good, it looks big. I'm slightly concerned about how it can have a decent-sized garden.
-From the outside.
-I think that's a good concern.
-It looks like it must have a small garden.
-Would you say it's a small garden or a decent-sized garden?
-Small side of decent.
-Yes! Yes, I would say this is the indecent side of small.
-Shall we send them in?
-Aye! In you go.
-Erupt through that door.
-A nice, bright hall again. Lots of doors...
-..To have a look at.
Oh, nice room.
-That's a lovely fireplace, isn't it?
Oh, lovely garden! Oh, the water feature!
-That's a nice little area down there as well.
With your gin and tonic of an evening.
Is the sun going to be in the right place for that? No...
Gin and tonic in the morning.
Would you be relaxing and drinking a gin and tonic at this sort of time in the morning?
-At 11 o'clock in the morning?
-If I was, I'm not going to admit it now! All right?
I wouldn't...I wouldn't.
-That's a lovely room again.
-Yeah. I mean they're big rooms and decent-sized ceilings.
-Height of the ceilings again. I can jump up and get through the door.
-Oh, nice kitchen! I do like these freestanding units.
-Oh, and look around!
A lot of money in this one, I'd say, in the kitchen.
-This is big for a utility room, isn't it?
-Wow! Look, you could have all your seedlings on here.
-It's like it's a greenhouse.
Women excited about a cleaning area! Really...really, gentlemen, need I go further?
Oh, look at this bath, Lorna!
How long is it as well? Is that longer than normal or is it just prettier than normal?
-You could lie back in your bath there with your magazine...
They've imagined themselves in an advert in the 1980s where a chocolate bar is consumed
and water is gently lapping over the thing, because they haven't got a care in the world as they're...
stuffing a chocolate bar into their beak in a bath!
So is maybe this one your children's room, then, Lorna? You're not sleeping then ever, obviously?
-No, it's just when I'm on the razz.
-When you're on the razz! You're too old.
Isn't this lovely? She's just, like, Auntie Rachel, but she's really factoring in Lorna's kids.
Visits from the children, yes. Babysitting.
That's a good-sized room, isn't it?
Do you think they'd leave the wardrobe as well? I like it!
Maybe they can't get it out the door and they've got to leave it!
-So this is the master, presumably?
-Oh, blimey! I think this might the master, actually.
-With its little balcony.
-And this isn't overlooked, is it?
-Oh, this is lovely up here.
-Yeah, it's a really nice feature.
-I think it's going to be too much, though...
-..With all the big rooms and stuff,
-and so close to the railway station.
-It's a big house, isn't it?
-Shall we go and find out?
-Yes, let's go and see.
Well, my water feature, the lily pond!
-And we loved it.
-We did, yes.
-But what did we think of the house?
-The house is fantastic.
-Yeah, really deceptive as well. You just don't realise what you're going to get
-as you come in. It's huge inside.
-It's a lot of...lot of... lot of house!
-Nice features, as well. It's lovely.
-We liked the fireplaces.
-We liked the fireplaces and the bath!
-I mean, you were like two giggling girls.
-Right, how much does it cost?
Because I felt there was a quiver of "Is this too expensive?" coursing through both of you. Now...
we're playing with £375,000 as our maximum maximum. What is this on the market for?
-Well, I'd say the maximum, 375.
-375, with confidence. Lorna?
-I think a little less.
-I'm going to go 365 again.
-OK. Well, it's going to be lucky at some point maybe...
You've just evened the score!
-Lorna, you were spot on!
-How about that?
-365,000, well done.
-Exactly the price. You were both very good.
Exactly right last time, exactly right this time.
Knowing the price, what do you think?
-Do you know, I'm sounding hesitant because there's something,
but I can't put my finger on what that something is, do you know what I mean?
That's good. If you decided to buy this now, the viewers would be livid
-because they didn't get a chance to see the wild card!
-We want to see the wild card!
-Shall we go? It's this way.
-Let's! Come on.
-I just love this wild card!
-Me too. What else can we say? It's full of charm and character...
-A bit like me!
-Mmm...yes. But have we found Rachel a big enough garden
or will we both be heading for detention later?
Now, Lorna and Rachel, it has often been said, and mainly by me,
the wild card, the wild card, everyone loves the wild card. The wild card is over there.
-It is a beauty, and its former use was...
-It looks a bit schooly, doesn't it?
-It was a schoolhouse, built in 1841.
There we go. So we have recycled a schoolhouse for you, continuing with the green theme.
-Do you know this village?
-Not at all.
-OK, so we're in the village of Kenn.
-Which is twinned with the French village of Barbie!
-Look at you!
-Of course it's not true!
It's not Kenn and Barbie!
I delivered that so convincingly! All right, it isn't twinned with the French village of Barbie!
-I thought you'd done loads of homework!
-Well, I have!
-You are five minutes away from the train station.
-Which is in Yatton.
The quickest one is 19 minutes, the slowest one is 22 minutes.
-So that's good, I'd say.
-That's a doable commute for you, isn't it?
-First impressions are pretty good, then?
Lorna, do you think this is the kind of property you could see your sister in?
Yes, she's very strict and schoolmarmy!
-So I could just see her in there.
-You are going to fall out by the end of the day!
-I'll tell Mum!
All right, then, you can work that out on your way round the house.
-Enjoy and be good.
-Otherwise it'll be the cane for both of you!
-Look at this!
-These lovely doors!
-Yes. And a really handy space straightaway as well.
-The doors are so nice!
-The children would have looked at those doors, "I don't want to go to school!"
-Through these huge doors.
Now those doors are welcoming and friendly.
Look at this! Oh, wow! It's got a fireplace. And it's a really nice size.
And nobody is building there.
-Because so often when you see these houses and they've got lovely views,
-it's also prime building land.
-Lovely quiet neighbours.
Lovely quiet neighbours, yes!
-That's a decent size.
-Oh, it is actually.
-Cos when you come in, I thought it was going to be really pokey.
-You have got to do the hatch!
I can't open it... I want to see... Oh, there we are! Dinner is served!
Think of all the personal energy you'd be using up walking round to deliver the meal
when you can actually efficiently use your energy, saving at least 10% of your own effort,
-by having a serving hatch! I think that's what Al Gore was talking about, wasn't he?
Oh, look at this!
-Oh, look at this! It's so nice!
-I can really imagine being in here.
-I can imagine you in here.
You know, it's very your style, isn't it?
-This is nice.
-I mean, I think I would want to take these up. I don't know how much of a big job that's going to be.
If they're just plonked on top of the soil...
and you might get quite a lot of money for recycling them.
Well, slap my hand with a cane! They love the garden!
It's getting low, Lorna!
-Hard hats required!
-That's a nice size, isn't it?
-It's a nice size, yeah.
It's not gorgeous, but it's absolutely fine.
-Oh, yeah, and surprisingly high!
-It is a good office space, isn't it?
-Yeah, it is.
Award us a gold star and say, "Well done, Nikki and Ed." This house has gone "incroyably" well!
-That's good, "incroyably".
-That's what they say in the French town of Barbie!
-No, they don't!
-Oh, gosh! Look at the size of this room.
-And you could get a double in there as well.
Two singles is a nice way of doing it too.
Mind your head!
-Oh, look at this!
-Oh, wow! That is unexpected!
-That's a nice big room.
-There's something through here as well.
That's really handy, isn't it? I mean, it is like a dressing room.
-Oh, an en-suite!
-It is nice, but it's very hairy.
-I do like it, though.
-I'm a bit worried about the price.
So, Rachel, Lorna... the old schoolhouse, the wild card!
-It's gorgeous! It's lovely, especially downstairs!
-We got so excited, actually.
-Yes...we've been cooing.
Our nerves outside were about the area we're in. What do you think?
To be honest, it's smaller than I'd like, but I think that's made up for by the house and location.
Having said, "No, it's the garden that's the only important thing..."
-This is interesting. That's the interesting thing about the wild card, it's gets into your head.
-Well, do you want to guess the price? What are we, 1-1?
-We're neck and neck, this is it!
-Do you want to go first this time cos I went first last time?
I think 385.
Mother of pearl!
I think it's over budget but not that much, so I'm going to say 380.
380? OK, neck and neck. The actual price of this beautiful old schoolhouse is...
Which is the cheapest of the lot, and it means you've won, Rachel!
And also you've won with this.
Because for all the things you would want to do, refreshing-wise to the property
and the garden, it's kind of catered for within your budget!
-Not so bad.
-It's lovely. You're at the point where you have to go and make the biggest decision
of your adult lives, about which one you wish to test-drive.
-Are you prepared to do that?
-Good luck. Wander into the house and do whatever you've got to do...
-We'll see you later.
-Here we go.
-I'm just delighted that they love it.
-I am delighted.
-But will they choose it?
For all of you at home, here's a recap of what we've seen so far.
Will Rachel choose my blank canvas, waiting for her green-fingered touch?
Complete with tinkling stream and a three-bed barn conversion.
Or will she choose my mature and versatile dual-aspect plot?
Will the lily pond and three-bed detached property swing it for...
Call me crazy, but will the wild card property be a lesson for us all?
Everyone loves the wild card, but will it be top of the class for Rachel?
At the gorgeous price of...
Well, heavens to Betsy, it's back to the schoolhouse for our eco-friendly sisters!
And with both of them working for the Environment Agency,
they're going to be all over the eco-friendly potential of this place.
-That's a shame, but it is a double thing.
-One good thing, I think it's all double-glazed.
-So that'll cut down on heat loss.
How about the fireplace? Do you think if this works it would take wood?
-Because if it does take wood, that's the best fuel carbon dioxide-wise.
-Now I can feel a spin-off programme coming on here!
Rachel and Lorna present How Green Is Your House?
A quarter of the carbon-dioxide production in the UK is from heating and lighting and powering houses.
-Houses? Is it that much?
-Yeah, it's more than transport.
See? Lorna knows her stuff, doesn't she?
-I think you could put solar panels on here.
-I was thinking that!
Well, I think overall it's probably fairly positive.
You picked the wild card. Why did you pick the wild card?
Because you were interested, I felt, in all three of the properties today. What was it about this?
I think it's just the character of it. It's just there is something about it,
and it's the feel when you walk through the door.
-Even though it doesn't meet your original criteria, it still does in another way?
-Shall we do it, then, Nikki?
-Are you sure?
-I'm going to be crossing the fingers.
-All right...to buy or not to buy?
I'm delighted, I really am.
And I think we both... even though we had our properties, we both really loved this one.
Everyone loves the wild card! Lorna, is this right for your sister?
I can really imagine Rachel here. I think it's a good house for Rachel, definitely.
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