Jon and I first looked at The Old Chapel in 2005. We liked it, BUT . . . It had been converted from a chapel (Methodist of some sort, more of which later) in the 1970s to a house and an art-gallery, selling, as far as we could tell, a load of cheap tat. The conversion had been done badly and unsympathetically. I mean, who shoves an integral garage with a metal up-and-over door in a chapel and crams in lots of rooms so that the sense of what it was originally is completely lost? And why stick a wall in such a place that one of the pretty arched windows is divided between two rooms? It was also empty, dilapidated, unloved and far too expensive for what what it offered. We decided we could do better and continued to look for houses round and about the North York Moors National Park. One year later we were still looking . . . .
. . . and the Old Chapel was still for sale. Since then, we had decided that Rosedale Abbey remained our favourite village of all in the whole of the North York Moors. We arranged another viewing. The place was even more unloved and the garden was a total jungle with thigh-high nettles and thistles posed, triffid-like, to take over. And yet, despite everything we loved it even more. There was something about it we couldn't put our finger on. Something that spoke to us. Airy-fairy and Romantic? Perhaps? We had to be practical. After all, this was where we hoped to spend the rest of our lives. But still we hesitated. Then Jon had one of his inspired decisions. We would rent a holiday cottage in the village for a week, I use the time to get a 'feel' for its daily life. I was briefed to wander up to the chapel at different times of the day to check on traffic volume, how many tourists wandered past its doors, the way the light fell on it over the course of a day. This I did and as each day progressed, I fell more and more in love with the village itself and the chapel in particular. I even sneaked into the garden and wandered about, feeling exactly like Mary Lennox in 'The Secret Garden'. I even sheltered there during an evening thunderstorm that lowered over the moors. When Jon came to join me at the end of the week, I had made up my mind. I had to have it.
And so the story begins.