Lenny's castle.

I went buying with my Dad on Friday . . . and it was good! Our first trip was to a new chap called Len in his barn, we trundled up a dirt track in the arse end of nowhere, not quite knowing what to expect.
I still can't quite compute what happened up that track.

Firstly we met Lenny, the proprietor: a spritely man, nut brown all over, with legs I'd fight for and a smart Mr Wippy puff of white hair.

I'll describe him plainly; in description he could easily come across as plain nuts, which he isn't, he's all kinds of wonderful and inspiring nuts. Over the course of our visit I grew immeasurably fond of him.

He prefaced our tour with the information that he only sells something if he has it twice - if he's only got one he can't sell it because then he wouldn't have it anymore. Fair enough I guess.

We started with a tour of the grounds, a kind of warm up.

There are a series of sheds set up, each with a comfy chair to sit in.
Then finally we were allowed into the main barn . . .

The whole place is a huge, overwhelming installation with mannequins put around for good effect.
And the whole while Lenny stays with you; explaining objects, cracking jokes, making sure the record with the old fashioned plinky-plonky music is still going in the player. He was keen for us to understand that he hires things out a lot for prop use, then later admitted that he often lets people use things for free, to keep them coming back. Essentially he's a man who's built his own piece of heaven and isn't happier than when there's someone to share it with.

There are several bar set-ups around the place though Lenny himself has never touched a drop, they're all for theatre.
And I was allowed to actually buy a few things . . . 
His whole collection of snow domes, woop! I feel like I've got a souvenir of my visit rather than bought something from a shop.

I loved the glass set up in front of the light and told Lenny so - 'none of those glasses are old, they're all rubbish' he told me proudly 'it's just for show'.

'She puts that coat on in the winter'

All of the stuff in there is for show really, there's very little that's actually old or uncommon - the wonder lies on the quantity, the arrangement and most of all the proprietor.

At one point I got a bit carried away, turning corners ahead of the tour, and Lenny had to call me back 'oi, aren't you going to look in that room there?' and to my right the lights came on in a little cubby.

It was the cinema.

Complete with attendant, with her torch.
And captive audience; some of whom, despite their youth, were growing a little bit moldy. I love that some have bumper cushions to raise them up a bit.
And when I looked up there was a hole in the roof, through which you could see chairs piled three deep on the floor above.

Back outside, the windmills we are told relate to Lenny's time spent in Holland during the war.

At this point Lenny reveals to us that he is 85! Lawks! . . . hold on, what's that you've got there? What are you smirking about Lenny?
Bloody hell man! You can't just have that lying around! You crazy fool!
Oh it's alright, it's just some bits of wood wrapped up with photocopies stuck on the front, another of Lenny's prop successes. Would I like my photo taken with it? Yes! yes I would!

This is the shed with a bed he built for hobos.
Now Lenny's in full swing.
A young neighbour brings him his lunch, a very fine lunch, it's nice to realise that Lenny is well appreciated in his environs and cared for as the treasure he really is. 
He explains to us that they look after him well and in return he buries bodies for them in his grounds . . . it's a joke, we just laugh in time. Being caught out by an 85 year old wasn't something I had expected that morning.
You see the glass salt shaker to the left of centre, quite near Lenny's skull that he uses 'for scaring women', that was my free gift, another lovely souvenir of my time.
Our visit draws to an end but Dad and I are ecstatic, hooting and re-living it all in the car.
I find it very heartening to know that people like Lenny exist and are nurtured in this fine country of ours.


  1. I loved your story! The best part was to learn that his neighbors look in on him and bring him meals. Warms my heart!
    Thank you for sharing!

    (your blog is lovely!)

  2. Oh. My. God. This is taking things to a whole new level...

    The cinema is going to give me nightmares for months. What films does he show there? Bride of Chuckie? Re-runs of 'Tales of the Unexpected and 'The Twilight Zone''? That creepy film with Anthony Hopkins and the ventriloquist's dummy?

    Were you tempted to seduce Lenny, marry him on his death-bed and inherit his empire of junk? You could be the Anna Nicole Smith of the Toot world...

  3. Thank you Jacqueline for your kind words and thank you Josh for your charming idea, I think I will marry Lenny. I reckon he'll out-live me by far though.