Escape to the Chateau review: an inspiring fairytale about crumbling walls

(James Higginson) #1

This looks like a laugh, do you watch it?

(stella wood) #2

sounds like fun… this is an interview in 2016

(David GAY) #3

I have seen it. I find Strawbridge profoundly annoying. I think what annoyed me most in the couple of episodes I watched was his use of techniques like dry lining walls instead of doing a proper job with an appropriate lime plaster. He has no concept of conservation and just ploughs on digging through floors to install a lift covering up internal walls with modern and inappropriate materials etc. I presume the building will be sold by the production company so some lucky individual will have the pleasure of correcting his nonsense.

(Stirling51) #4

Hi David, as I understood, strawbridge and wife bought the chateau as their own project to enjoy with family and friends. Lime plaster would be my own preferred material, but budget and insulation considerations bore a large part in the couple’s undertakings to renovate a crumbling mid-nineteenth century pile. Such places are unremarkable here in France and I do believe that strawbridge has done an excellent job. Do you think that the production company now have an interest in the building’s Deeds?

(David Martin) #5

Take it for what it is, TV ‘reality’ entertainment for the masses. Anyone who has done any renovation work or run any business in France will have seen that it lacks credibility as a genuine project. If it’s your thing, enjoy. If not, avoid.

(James Higginson) #6

Hi! Glad you found us. Welcome

Please can you do me a favour and add your full real name to the relevant bit on your profile page :slight_smile:


(Paul Flinders) #7

As far as I can tell it is a genuine attempt to run a business, not just frippary for TV. They have a website at

Apparently they wanted an old fashioned lift which was more sympathetic to the building but could not fit one.

By all accounts Strawbridge is a WYSIWYG type of guy with no fear of getting on with the job.

His techniques might not be perfect but he has brought a crumbling building back into use - is that wrong?

EDIT: Just looking at the website I note that they claim to be fully booked for weddings for 2018 and are taking enquiries for 2019 - that does not look like a business which “lacks credibility as a genuine project” though not every business gets free advertising on TV to quite the same extent.

(jennie sweeney) #8

I lived near to their chateau for many years. It is nice to see it being “restored” as it had been left to decay for decades and in the words of the locals, just waiting for some crazy Anglais to come and buy it. Good luck to Dick and his wife for taking on such a huge and costly project as if they manage to complete the job, it will never be worth the amount spent on it in their lifetimes,most of these projects are love and not monetary gain. I enjoyed watching the series, brought back memories.

(David Martin) #9

I know that he is a ‘genuine chap’ because he is well known to many of my old school mates who drink in the pub he uses in Tywadreath in Cornwall. However anyone who has watched the programme will have seen how he often brought over builders from the UK to carry out work and their early functions certainly lacked the necessary health and safety rules demanded for catering in France. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great project but it’s still a reality TV phenomenon.

(Mary Wolcott) #10

“…they get 45 rooms, two turrets, six chimneys, 12 acres, a walled garden, an orangery and a moat. Sadly no drawbridge, because then it would be Dick’s Drawbridge.” Hee hee.

Seriously though (sort of), there ought to be a section in amongst all those rooms where an artist could have a nice little studio… But then again everything isn’t all about me, is it? :slight_smile: Dang.

(Paul Flinders) #11

Yes, I’ve seen the programme and the lack of French contractors struck me as well. Some of this was dealt with during the series and expanded on in the comments on the website. Essentially he had difficulty getting the French artisans in to do the job - he mentioned several times how long it took him to get someone out to install a fosse - although he was quite complimentary as to how hard they worked when they did eventually arrive. Having tried to get a plumber out to look at our heat pump when it was on the blink I sympathise. In contrast getting the satellite dish sorted was plain sailing - emailed the guy, suggested a date, he turned up did the work and charged me less than his original devis. I tried to get he plumber to quote me for new work and he just ignored the request (I did it myself eventually, much as Dick Strawbridge did).

I’m not sure whether it is just different attitueds to life & work or whether there is any subtle (or not so subtle) racism at play.

(Rik Newell) #12

I just enjoyed the programme for what it was. Something not to be taken too
seriously. Some of was good but yes there were a few cringe worthy moments in there as well. Apparently he had a number of electrical companies supplying kitchen appliances either free or dirt cheap who were very keen to have some product placement. You have to hand it to the guy, product placement and being paid by a tv company must have gone a long way to helping his budget. And let’s face it if he did everything as he should have done and everything went to plan it would not have made good tv.

(stella wood) #13

I see that Dick Strawbridge is no new-comer to TV…and this latest offering can only help publicize the business side of his Chateau.

I wish them both every success…

(Jane Williamson) #14

He had a very hard working wife in his series of doing up his house with eco credentials in Cornwall.
Looks as though she has been traded in for a newer model.

(David Martin) #15

He had a son who was his sidekick on some cookery programmes as well. He too has been replaced.

(Chris Kite) #16

He’s hanging on to the moustache though…

(Maureen McSheehy) #17

I live in Tournus, I have a brilliant plumber who turns up within the hour. No call out charges and he has a large and successful business.

(Chris Kite) #18

New series starts tonight :hammer_and_wrench:

(Paul Flinders) #19

Sadly that’s about a seven hour drive from us so I suspect he might want that call out fee if I asked him to look at our plumbing. :slightly_smiling_face:

To be fair I contacted the guy who’s name was on the sticker on the system but he just got another firm in to do the heat pump work which is probably why he was not that interested, but he could at least have replied to my request for a devis not just ignored me.

Since then I have collated more documentation on the system so would be more confident to tackle problems myself and there is at least one other plumber locally who claims to be able to install & maintain heat pumps so I’ll try next time (if there is one).

(Paul Flinders) #20

Yes, entertaining enough but the novelty is wearing off. Notable use of British labour again (not clear if based in France or shipped in). Brief admission that the business isn’t profitable yet.

I still take my hat off to them for the sheer amount of work that they have put into this project.