Leamington Spa was my home for less than a year, and for most of that year, Leamington Spa was dark. It was cloudy when I got the U1 bus to campus and it was pitch black when I returned, willing my feet quicker and quicker for that last ten-minute walk to my kitchen. God, how many hungry bus journeys I have endured. How many bus journeys trying not to breathe in petrol fumes and/or steam from people's hot bodies while it rained outside. And how many near-midnight journeys catching the last bus to campus to sleep in a bed in Canley. I once ate a microwave mug brownie on one of those journeys, with ice cream and everything. Every single day I resisted the temptation to buy takeaway pizza/fish and chips/kebab from one of the shops near my house. Though I spent all that potential money on film prints from Boots, and the occasional (wonderful) pizza and sides from Basement Browns. If you haven't been, for God's sake, go. It's just excellent.
My housemates and I went to pub quizzes (and didn't win a single one) and we went to clubs (rated from best to worst: Neon, Smack, Zephyr Lounge, Leamington Assembly). We went to Wetherspoon's and we went to Gusto. We visited other people's houses and acknowledged how utterly terrible ours was in comparison. That cold, draughty, slug-infested, spider-filled, Victorian era, Warwick Accommodation house. Still, we made the best of that place. But anyway, that was winter. Winter is always crap. Summer in Leam Spa though, was beautiful. The U1 became a widely-windowed viewing point for me to enjoy the sight of yellow rapeseed fields. For months, I planned to one day get off the bus, so I could take pictures up close. I finally did during exam season and my tights-covered legs were stung by nettles as I clambered over fences to get my shots. Worth it though. I got back on the bus in the middle of nowhere and continued my journey to campus. Summer also meant walking to the club with my bare arms and legs out, spending evenings in the garden of Procaffeinate with my friends, playing in the playground in Eagle Rec, and even jogging! Me! Jogging! I was that eager to see my strange town. I walked to Warwick along the canal and confirmed that Leam Spa was way more interesting than the heart of Warwickshire, dodging angry and terrifying geese along the way.
And, wow, did I eat my way across that small town in that beautiful hazy slow post-exam period. Elma - Turkish food - so good. Basement Browns - going to keep talking about this place as long as I live. The Steamhouse - overpriced but amazing bagels. Savi's bakery - cheap (I repeat, CHEAP) baked goods that you don't need but want so get. Las Iguanas - wherever there is one in the country, go, please. Gusto - Italian - really good and so much better for the fact that the meal was half price. Wow, I'm actually a snob. But that's okay. I lived in Royal Leamington Spa, I have every right to be. Actually, the people of that town were an equal dichotomy between posh, old white people and very poor, haggard white people. The homeless man who sits by the bus stop opposite the Regent Court restaurants with his sign asking for work breaks my heart every time I see him. The skinny man playing bongos for no obvious reason. Midlands life can be intensely dreary but I also found the rewards in it, and I am grateful for my time in Leamington Spa. Hope you enjoy the photos.
Photos presented here in chronological order, from October 2016 - June 2017. Photos taken on a Nikon EM and Rollei Rolleimat F on ISO 200 film.