The gardenesque Jephson Gardens skirt the north bank of the river Leam that runs east-west through the centre of the town.
Within Jephson gardens a white marble statue of Dr. Jephson has been erected within a domed Corinthian Temple called Jephson Temple – enduring monuments all, to the wealth and popularity of Dr Henry Jephson: a “strict but kindly” Victorian physician of the governing classes who championed the curative properties of Leamington’s saline waters, prescribing pints of the sulphurous-tasting liquid alongside a diet of meats, plain puddings and sherry.
I’d been advised by Naomi-Lea to have an ice-cream in the gardens and soon located an ice-cream van parked up by the clock-tower entranceway.
It was a sunny spring day and the van was in popular demand.
I took my place in a queue of parents and impatient children and when it was my turn, got myself a 99 (soft serve vanilla ice-cream with a Flake bar insert).
I brought my short-lived treat with me into the gardens.
Along the garden’s meandering walks I encountered a fountain commemorating Dr John Hitchman, an obelisk commemorating the garden’s founder and local landowner, Rev Edward Willes; a duck lake, a boating lake, a sensory garden, floral displays of hyacinth, tulip and viola, and an assortment of exotic trees, such as monkey puzzle, copper beeches, evergreen oak, cedar and cypress – many dating back to their planting in Victorian times.
To find my next participant I held up the below sign with my free hand.
A group of medical students from Warwick University were the first people I encountered who seemed interested.
Rachel, Sophie, Anna-Garcia, Jeff, Josh and Surag were spending the afternoon lounging on the recreational lawn, drinking beer and eating strawberries. I explained about what I was doing and they gave the assemblage an emptied bottle of desperado beer (+ its cap) and then sent me to see their classmate Sam, at Las Iguanas.