Maison Jenny is one of those curious Belgian abandoned houses with several names (other common code-names being Villa Delsaerd or Huize Meuris). This house is filled with personal belongings, enabling detailed insight into the inhabitant’s lives. An awkwardly positioned bed in the living room, medical oxygen canister and various medicines and unknown potions in bottles tells us that an elderly or infirm person was likely the most recent resident.
Clearly the inhabitant (or inhabitants) of Maison Jenny were keen pigeon racers. A huge bookcase stands in the living room, prominent and clearly housing some of the owner’s most proud possessions. On the bookcase sits numerous pigeon racing trophies and ribbons, many of which are for 1st place and spanning several decades of racing glory. Alongside these are various pigeon racing almanacs and annuals dating back to the 1960s and running until the mid-1990’s. There is notably no television in this house, and very few novels or books.
There are several antique-style pigeon racing clocks on some shelves in the kitchen. Traditionally rings with unique identification numbers were attached to the pigeon’s leg; the number was recorded, the bird was released and the clock was set and sealed. The bird would then fly home, where the ring would be placed into a slot in the clock and the time recorded would be the official timestamp for the race. The winner would be announced once the average speed has been calculated for all returning birds.
There are also cook books, cycle touring guides and several black and white photos scattered around the lower floor. Upstairs there are two bedrooms and one room with several paintings leaning against the wall, all with bright and bold wallpaper that also extends over the ceiling. There is a framed large certificate/document with a black and white photo of a clean-cut young soldier; a memento of service in World War 2. In the basement is a very impressive collection of pickles and preserves, all crammed tightly but neatly onto large wooden storage shelves.
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