28 May 2013

Escaping to the Country

Really interesting watching the airing of the TV show that found us our new home.
Pleased that I didn't come over as too much of a numpty

Our back garden 27th May 2013
Brief outline for those who haven't been following my  Leaning On The Gate Devon Diary - we had a bit of a windfall last year and decided to use the money to buy our own home - preferably with land and stables. We decided on Devon, looked at a few houses but also applied to the house hunt show Escape to the Country for help - and were delighted to be accepted.

The front garden April 2013
The show with Us on it was aired this afternoon on BBC 1
(here's the link to watch again on-line, but I don'thttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006vb2f
 I'm not sure if it works for USA viewers or elsewhere in the world though.
I have been sent a US website - you could try this link

The front gate

So my thoughts on seeing ourselves on TV?

Not giving any spoilers away, but we bought the first house that we saw - I fell in love with it the moment we walked through the front gate. By the time we walked into the fabulously cosy sitting room, I knew this was going to be our home: but while filming we had to keep an open mind just in case something else cropped up. As it happened, the other two houses were not suitable - the mystery house was very nice and will make someone a beautiful home, but it wasn't right for our horses.

View outside my  study West Window
It seems strange typing this in the very same study that Jonnie Irwen showed us!

There was a couple of things wrong and several that have since changed. The budget was a bit more than what we eventually paid (actually a lot more!) and the house we bought has a downstairs shower room and loo, while the show gave the impression it had only one bathroom. Also the idea of converting the Old Dairy is a complete no-no (too small, too impractical & why would we want to pull such a lovely old building down?)

Kathy (and Adam - who didn't feature on the show) is quite happy in the "West Wing", at least for now. There may be alternative building ideas, or maybe they will buy a cottage in the village - that's for the future though. And interesting that at the time of filming (October 2012) Kathy and Adam weren't even an 'item'! Kathy had (more or less) just split from the guy she'd been with so was on her own...

the old dairy
...hence our original idea to find something that could provide a business opportunity for her - a livery yard perhaps, but when we looked into things it became obvious that we didn't really want that, and finding our home (which I call Windfall Farm on line) changed our mind completely. It is too quiet, peaceful and secluded here to even think of running a business in this lovely place. Plus the lane is far too narrow for extra traffic, so the livery yard thought was soon well and truly dropped. Rather pleased it was - I'm enjoying doing what we want, not running around after others!

our new dog, Baz, and the horses 
So we went on the show, bought the property and moved in on January 18th - on the day it snowed here in Devon!

The one frustrating thing about the filming was that every time there was a different camera angle the camera had to be re-positioned, so while it looks on the show that everything is slick, smooth and done in one shot, we lost track of how many times we had to walk into a room and exclaim, "Oh, how lovely!"

By the end I wanted to just be left alone to look round. I don't remember much of the second house - but this might be because it was not what we were looking for - far too modern and "tidy" LOL

And the shots in the car? Mostly we went around with Matt, one of the film crew team. I think we spent about 10 minutes with Jonnie in his car, filming that short sequence. They did give us a whole wadge of other properties that they had short-listed. Some were rejected because the owners didn't want to be on TV, some because they were not suitable for TV (i.e. not film-worthy I suppose) Some were a bit too dark or small for filming - all those sort of reasons.

I'm so pleased that Sue & Richard the previous owners agreed to the crew coming to our new home though - thanks you two - and thank you to the EttC team!

Windfall Farm, Devon, the whole caboodle is the most wonderful thing that has ever happened to us.

The house smiled when we walked through the door and hugged us. The atmosphere is one of welcome - the people who built it in the late 1700's and who have lived here through the years must have been happy, nice, nice, people - for they have left their energy footprint behind - one of laughter that has filled this house for several generations and still echoes round the walls.

Long may it continue to do so!

Mab at my bedroom window

The "Windfall" (our stream)

Training the Exmoor pony to pull a trap -
 who needs a car to drive? LOL


  1. What a lovely blog post! Left work too late to catch the first part of the episode (with THE house in it!) but my daughter and I enjoyed the rest of it and will now go back and catch the beginning online - thanks for posting the link, Helen! What a lovely happy ending!

  2. Really enjoyed the episode, and it was wonderful how you just loved your house as soon as you saw it! It was clearly meant to be!
    Best wishes to you all (2 legged and 4 legged!) in your heavenly home!

  3. I've spent a happy hour tracking you down, the books, the blogs etc. Helen, you came across as a lovely lady about to start on a bright future. A true Escape to the Country - none of the 'oh we can't have that!' we often hear said as gorgeous properties are snubbed for a spurious reason!

    It is good to know fortune smiles kindly on those that appreciate it. Bless you - enjoy.

    1. Shirley you've just made me have a little cry! *laugh* what a lovely, lovely thing to say - thank you!
      I can't understand some of the people on EttC - they can be, as you say, so negative. Yes the 2nd and 3rd houses we saw were not suitable for various reasons, but it was still interesting to see them - especially the modern house because it gave us something to compare with, and made us know for certain that we wanted an old house with a "past" (the new house was very nice, but it had no echoes of laughter from past generations, here at 'Windfall Farm' the previous occupiers are very present in spirit!
      I have just been outside with the family, Kathy and Adam are 'playing' with the tractor, Ron is digging what will become a veg patch and Baz the dog and I have been giving instructions *laugh*. Adam didn't feature on the EttC show as Kathy wasn't going out with him then - they met up a few weeks later (having known each other several years ago & lost touch) Adam now lives with us & is every mother-in-law's dream! SO wonderful to see Kathy happy - indeed for all of us to be so.
      Thank you again for your delightful message - and yes, we very much appreciate and treasure our good fortune!

  4. Hi Helen ,saw you last week on EttC ...and i agree with the above post it was so nice to see someone as nice as you and good luck in your lovely new home to you all ...i shall now be hunting down your books they look just the thing for a nice sunny afternoon read in the garden ..take care lyn .


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