Having moved to London from Durham with his mum, Lenny finds his new environment somewhat scary and daunting. Matters are seemingly made worse when he spots the rather fierce-looking elderly neighbor, Mrs. Portman, glaring at him from behind her dirty windows. Telling his mum, she is inspired to start a cleaning company, and Lenny is persuaded to help his mum sort out the rubbish in Mrs. Portman's pantry. There, the discovery of an old recipe book leads to Mrs. Portman teaching Lenny how to make apple crumble, which he subsequently shares with his class at school the next day. The sequence of events helps Lenny to realise that things are not always as scary as they may at first seem.