Dick and Angel try to ‘make do and mend’

Thursday: Escape to the Chateau: Make Do and Mend; (Channel 4, 9pm)

By Claire Cartmill
Wednesday, 30th June 2021, 5:00 pm

In theory, the last year has been the perfect time to tackle DIY projects or give our homes and gardens a fresh lease of life.

After all, we’ve been spending more time confined to our barracks, giving us plenty of opportunity to notice all those jobs that need doing or rooms that could use a refresh.

Unfortunately though, not all of us know where to start when it comes to renovation, which is why Channel 4 called in the experts and gave us Escape to the Chateau: Make Do and Mend.

The Strawbridge family

It’s a spin off from Escape to the Chateau, which began in 2016 and follows Dick and Angel Strawbridge as they transform their own 19th-century home in France.

As fans know, the couple have picked up plenty of tricks of the trade along the way, so they were the perfect people to guide would-be DIYers back in Britain, even if lockdown meant they had to do it online.

Dick and Angel certainly couldn’t wait to get going.

Speaking ahead of the first series, they said: “It’s humbling that our audience wants to see more of us and our adventures.

“Between the pair of us we have nearly a century’s worth of ‘make do and mend’ experience and so we are really excited to be making this series.”

Luckily, the experience clearly lived up to their expectations as last week they returned for a new run, ready to help more eagerly waiting non-DIY people.

Tonight, they’re dishing out advice to Nancy and Arthur, who need help to turn their backyard into a boho-inspired garden lounge, complete with a pergola, cocktail-herb garden and macrame lanterns.

But what will Nancy and Arthur’s friends and family be more impressed by – the transformation, or the couple’s newly acquired DIY skills?

Angel also offers tips on painting velour fabric to Sylvia and Paul so they can freshen up their caravan’s seating for just £20 - now that’s a challenge.

However, it’s not just the soft furnishing that need attention, as Dick helps to fix the rot around the windows, so the family can be ready for their holiday when it finally arrives.

Meanwhile, Aqsaa turns to the Strawbridges for inspiration in creating a Ramadan calendar, and ends up with a simple but stylish solution, which involves bags, hanging boxes and a lot of fun.

For anyone who is wondering how Dick and Angel are getting on with their own projects, there’s also a glimpse of life back at the chateau.

Last week, we saw them start work on a pond in the walled garden, and in this episode we discover that their plans are coming along nicely. Admittedly, there is some mess involved as the couple and their kids get to work collecting irises from the marshes and waterlilies from the moat.

It should be worth the family getting their hands dirty though, as they won’t just be introducing plant life to the new pond, but lots of natural eco-friendly organisms too.

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