New Channel 4 series of Escape to the Chateau sees Dick and Angel reveal the fruits of their labour

The story of the lovable and hard-working couple British couple who swapped their two-bedroom flat in Essex for a crumbling French chateau is back on our screens.

The fifth series of the Channel 4 television show Escape to the Chateau sees Dick Strawbridge and his wife Angel finally striking a more comfortable work life balance after spending years in what was effectively a building site as they renovated their 45-room home.

Speaking exclusively to MailOnline Property and This is Money, Dick - a retired lieutenant colonel - explained that after years of major renovation work, the family can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. 

He said: 'We can see the light of comfort in the chateau and that is what this series is all about. The chateau is really turning around. We have removed the building site from the chateau.'

Dick Strawbridge and his wife Angel return to our screens for the new Channel 4 series of Escape to the Chateau

The new series picks up in the spring of this year with the couple's new glamping business under way. 

But as with everything that the couple undertake, there is something unusual about the venture as one of the domes is on land while the other floats on the chateau's moat.

Dick explains that he took the couple's five-year old son Arthur on his first camping adventure, which was in a smaller family tent farther away on the other side of the moat to help mark the launch of the business. 

'It wasn't far away, so that Mummy could still watch,' Dick said.

The father and son duo enjoyed sausages and beans, with a quail as well. 'It was all very proper,' explained Dick.

Having broken the back of the major works at Chateau de la Motte Husson, it means most of the dirty work at the chateau is coming to an end - although there are still some projects to be done, such as the windows. 

Dick and Angel continue to live the French fairytale in their 45-room renovated chateau

Their latest business venture is 'glamping' which includes one dome on land

The luxury interiors include a pretty swing overlooking the chateau's grounds

It means the couple can focus on the businesses - including an established wedding offering - and allow themselves some more family time.

Angel explained: 'We have established the weddings business, and now have a very capable team in place.

'It is not just the two of us working 22 hour days for three days consecutively whenever there is a wedding.

'It has been a very productive year with around 1,000 happy guests passing through the doors of the chateau.'

The glamping experience has an outdoor seating area specifically designed for guests

Luxury touches include comfortable armchairs overlooking the moat and a hot tub

There is plenty of privacy for guests booking to stay in one of the two glamping domes

The number of days that the couple run the weddings is not significant, totalling around 25 days. 

While they are 'totally committed' to the business on those days, it means that they can now enjoy a life work balance with their younger children.

The glamping business runs from May to September, with the domes never occupied at the same time as a wedding being held at the chateau. 

A magical experience: One of the domes floats on the moat surrounding the chateau

The couple's journey began with the purchase of the derelict chateau in 2015 for just €390,000, the equivalent of £340,000.

They'd spent four years looking for the right property that ticked all of the right boxes before deciding on the 45-room chateau called Château-de-la-Motte Husson, in north-west France.

Three years on and the major renovations include a new lift, bathroom suites and a walled garden - and their adventure has been documented on Channel 4.

Dick and Angel - who first met in 2010 and were the first to get married at the chateau - have tackled most of the work to the 19th century building themselves.

The parents-to-two have won a legion of fans as they've undertaken the work on a tight budget. 

For those who want to avoid having to renovate a property, here is our pick of luxury chateaux for sale in France - but with multi-million price tags, buyers will need deep pockets.

This enchanting chateau has been restored from its 15th century origins as a glass factor.

It is one hour from Nice airport, with the sale being handled by estate agents Home Hunts. 

This chateau is only five minutes from the Terre Blanche in the south of France

The interior has been beautifully restored to provide a unique family home

The elegant bedrooms have been restored to showcase the patio doors and wooden beams

The sale of this renaissance chateau in south-central France is being handled by Vitruve Associes (who declined to confirm the number of bedrooms at the property)

It includes a 17th century orangerie and other buildings that could be renovated.  

This impressive Renaissance chateau is in the south-central region of France

The grand interior includes decorative wood panelling and beams on the ceiling

There is a large dining room with seating for 10 and a grand stone fireplace 

This charming chateau is on a Provencal hilltop village in the region of Uzes in the South of France.  

It dates back to the 17th century and stands on more than two acres of landscaped grounds. It is being sold via estate agents Home Hunts. 

The chateau dates back to the 17th century, with the towers added in the 19th century

Plenty of space: The chateau covers more than 9,260 square feet of living space

The interior has recently been redecorated throughout and includes some carved stone

This medieval chateau was reconstructed in the 18th century and today includes a heated swimming pool and jacuzzi.

The sale of the property being handled by estate agents Home Hunts.   

This medieval chateau is 30 minutes from Chambéry Airport and one hour from Meribel

Leisure time: There is a heated swimming pool in the extensive grounds of the chateau 

Today the chateau has seven complete suites with views of the landscaped gardens

This 17th century chateau is an hour from Lyon and has been fully restored.

The sale is being handled by estate agents Agence Clerc.  

This 17th century chateau is an hour from Lyon, between Lyon and Chambéry

The property has been fully restored with great care, according to the estate agents

The large rooms include a grand dining room with wood panelled walls and ceilings

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November 09, 2018

Sources: Daily Mail

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  • Primark pulls through Christmas to sweeten parent firm ABF where sugar sales have soured

    Primark pulls through Christmas to sweeten parent firm ABF where sugar sales have soured

    er, High Street darling Primark pulled through to deliver a better-than-expected performance over Christmas. </p><p>Primark sales rose by 4 per cent over the last 16 weeks thanks to new store openings</p><p>While total sales were boosted by new store openings, the firm said it suffered a 'modest decline' in comparable sales over the all-important 'Golden Quarter'. </p><p>Improved like-for-like sales in September, October and December did not quite offset its weaker November.  </p><p>Investors breathed a sigh of relief today, however, sending shares up by more than 5 per cent in early trading to £22.88, helping to restore some of the damage done after its hair-raising update last month. </p><p>Primark suffered a 'modest decline' in comparable sales over the all-important Golden Quarter</p><p>ABF - which also has a sugar business and a grocery division including Twinings and Ovaltine - said group sales improved by 2 per cent during the period.</p><p>Tom Stevenson, investment director at Fidelity, said it was a 'sweet and sour' update, with retail remaining 'the star turn'. </p><p>SpreadEx analyst Connor Campbell said Primark is 'bucking the recent retail gloom' as its aggressive expansion countered a slight dip in like-for-like sales.  </p><p>Primark 'looks positively robust compared to its peers', he added.</p><p>However, Neil Wilson from Markets.com flagged that Primark's 'gravity-defying' UK growth is slowing.  </p><p>'We are seeing much less impressive growth than in previous years,' he said.  </p><p>'Ultimately the lack of an online offering will cap sales growth, but as long as it can maintain margins and be the go-to high street brand for affordable clothing it should be relatively OK,' Wilson explained.    </p><p>ABF is holding firm to its forecasts for the full year, with Primark still expected to post a rise in profits despite raising the red flag in November. </p><p> The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline. </p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p>Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p> We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.</p><p>Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday &amp; Metro Media Group</p>

    1 January 17, 2019
  • Billion pound inflation blunder costs commuters and students, says House of Lords report

    Billion pound inflation blunder costs commuters and students, says House of Lords report

    thanks to a billion pound blunder in the way a key measure of UK inflation is calculated, a Lords committee has warned.</p><p>The committee said the flaw in the Retail Prices Index measure of inflation created clear 'winners and loses', while it called the Office for National Statistics' failure to fix it 'untenable'.</p><p>It is estimated the error, which has artificially increased the rate of RPI by about 0.8 per cent, has boosted holders of inflation-linked government bonds to the tune of around £1billion more a year in interest. </p><p>Students and rail passengers are being unfairly penalised by an openly-admitted error in the way a key measure of UK inflation is calculated, a Lords committee has warned</p><p>But it is costing commuters and students dear, as RPI is used to calculate annual increases in rail fares and student loan pricing. Train fare prices increased again this year, rising by 3.1 per cent.</p><p>The increase outpaced the 2.6 per cent rise in the average wage in 2018, and led to hundreds of pounds being added to the cost of some season tickets.</p><p>The committee also called on the Government to agree to use a single measure of inflation to prevent 'index-shopping' – where it cherry picks the measure that suits it best.</p><p>Lord Forsyth of Drumlean, chairman of the Economic Affairs Committee, said: 'The UK Statistics Authority's refusal to fix the problems it admits RPI has is untenable.</p><p>'By continuing to publish an index which it admits is flawed, it is arguably in breach of its statutory duty to promote and safeguard official statistics.'</p><p>This is Money has long argued that RPI is unfairly penalising commuters.</p><p>The ONS has used CPI as its preferred official measure since 2003 while RPI hasn't had 'national statistic' status since 2013.</p><p>Train companies are allowed to increase fares by RPI - and it has added hundreds of extra pounds onto the already sky-high annual cost of commuting.</p><p>He added: 'This is not just a technical debate. The authority's error created winners and losers.</p><p>'For example, commuters and students pay more because rail fare increases and student loan interest rates are linked to RPI.'</p><p>The committee claims the ONS openly admits the RPI error, but has refused to ask the Chancellor to approve a correction as it believes the Treasury will not want to upset financially index-linked gilt holders.</p><p>An ONS spokesman said the authority was aware of problems with the RPI, but confirmed it had still not written to the Chancellor to correct the error.</p><p>He said: 'We agree the RPI has significant shortcomings.</p><p>'We will therefore continue to work closely with our counterparts in Government and at the Bank of England and respond to the committee.'</p><p>The RPI error has been caused by a change in 2010 to the way clothing prices were collected, which has widened the difference between the RPI and the Consumer Prices Index.</p><p>The gap between the measures has encouraged so-called index-shopping, with the Government controversially switching from RPI to the lower CPI rate in 2011 for annual increases in benefits, tax thresholds and public sector and state pensions.</p><p>Lord Forsyth said: 'When the Government gives money to people it is generally opting to adjust payments for inflation using the CPI.</p><p>'But when it takes money from people, it is generally opting to use the RPI, which has been around one per cent higher than CPI in recent years.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p>Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p> We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.</p><p>Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday &amp; Metro Media Group</p>

    1 January 17, 2019
  •  China says economy czar to visit Washington for trade talks

    China says economy czar to visit Washington for trade talks

    shington on Jan. 30-31 for talks aimed at ending a costly tariff war over U.S. complaints about Beijing's technology ambitions.</p><p> The announcement Thursday that the official in charge of the Chinese side of the negotiations will participate in person is a possible sign of progress following talks in Beijing this month between lower-level officials.</p><p> Liu will visit Washington at the invitation of the U.S. Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, the Ministry of Commerce said. That suggested Lighthizer also might participate, a step economists said earlier would be a sign of determination to reach a settlement.</p><p> The two sides have raised tariffs on tens of billions of dollars of each other's goods in the fight over complaints that Beijing steals or pressures companies to hand over technology.</p><p> The three-day meeting this month in Beijing ended with no announcements of firm commitments or details of what the next step might be.</p><p> The talks are aimed at carrying out the Dec. 1 agreement by Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping to suspend further tariff increases for 90 days while they negotiate, said Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng.</p><p> Chinese exports to the United States held up through much of 2018 despite Trump's tariff hikes. But they fell 3.5 percent in December compared with a year earlier as the penalties began to depress demand.</p>

    1 January 17, 2019

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