Lunch At La Barca


Standing train passengers

Jackie delivered me to New Milton Station this morning for me to catch the train to Waterloo for lunch with Norman. I didn’t get a seat until Southampton. I was lucky; many didn’t. The man in the foreground had recently received a replacement hip. At Southampton Central four more coaches were added, but they brought another load of cattle with them.

Norman and I met at La Barca, just around the corner from the side entrance to Waterloo Station on the Taxi Approach Road. The brief walk across this road, down the steps to Spur Road, and round to Lower Marsh is, on a sunny day, not a pretty one. Today wasn’t sunny.

Taxi Approach Road

The wall opposite the station offers a view containing the forest of cranes that is a fairly common view in the capital today.

Taxi Approach Road

Taxis ply their trade in both directions,

also queuing along Spur Road.

Spur Road

Baylis Road, opposite the end of this, runs past Westminster Millennium Green, featured a number of times since it was described by Steve White as ‘A Beautiful Setting’. The Italian flag flying on the right of this photograph shows how close the restaurant is to the station.

Protective cage

This protective cage may seem a little excessive, but it hasn’t escaped the graffiti merchants.

The lingering touch of autumn does its best to brighten Baylis Road where brickwork is receiving the attention of workers on a large telescopic platform.

Lower Marsh

The cheap and cheerful Chicken Valley rubs shoulders with the more upmarket La Barca doing its best with seasonal decorations. The snowflakes on the ground are in fact gobbets of chewing gum, found on many of our pavements and station platforms.

Man eating in street

This young gentleman dined alfresco.

Across the road the La Cubana’s stall was taking a delivery from an open van.

Veal cutlet

Norman and I preferred to eat in comfort. We each enjoyed a superb leek and potato soup followed by a splendid veal cutlet served with an asparagus sauce, truffles, and roast potatoes. Our shared bottle of wine was an excellent house red Montepulciano. I needed nothing more to eat later.

The outside temperature shown on the car dashboard when Jackie collected me from the return train at Brockenhurst was 13 degrees. No wonder I felt overdressed.



  1. Sounds like a good day spent between two friends. But I’m curious, is there some significance to dropping your gum and the ground?

  2. Thanks for a detailed look at your day, Derrick! So many interesting aspects, like the gum on the ground, the crowded travel, and of course the splendid meal you managed to locate!

  3. All that gum spat onto the pavement is so ugly – it speaks volumes about attitudes. Would it bankrupt British Rail to put another couple of cars on busy runs? I feel a tad belligerent on your behalf Derrick 😀

    1. Thanks, Pauline. Sadly, British Rail is no more. The ‘services’ are run by a myriad of competing companies. The train operators and the rail one are different, and if one disrupts the other they are fined. Re the gum, you might like to follow TanGentle’s link (see his comment)

      1. That was quite a story about the gum painter. I love that he does it, but if I were out there spending all that time on a task, I think I would just peel the gum off and be done with it. I am too practical to be a real artist, I suppose.

  4. That ‘sea’ of cranes reminds me of Melbourne. I’m surprised there’s so much chewing gum on the pavement. Is that an English habit in the area?

  5. I do like all the variety of street views and life. Sorry for your seat-free ride! Ugh. In the past few months, I have noticed people offer me seats more often than they ever did. I couldn’t figure it out until I looked in the mirror and saw I’d had an aging growth spurt! I suppose it has some benefits, but it didn’t help you or the poor guy with the hip replacement!

  6. I loved this post, Derrick, but not the snowflakes on the ground. That’s so low class. I suppose all it took was a few gobbets before other morons added to the accumulation…very sad.

  7. Your photo on the train was well done. Viewing it, really imparted the crowded feeling of the ride. I enjoyed seeing the taxis, which are so different from ours in the US.

  8. Thanks for the tour, Derrick–even the chewing gum. Yuck!
    The worst thing is stepping on chewing gum that someone has spit out, and then having it stuck to your shoe.

  9. Looks like a bustling city. I was about to ask the same question as the person above. The lines seemed hilarious to me, like someone had a good filling of wine before starting on their painting job 😀

  10. By gum, the local rabble are uncultured and inconsiderate. If caught, would it lead to a sticky situation for them?
    I can’t stand trains where I have to stand.
    La Barca sounds like a female French Poodle!

  11. Brrr-r! We have had some bitter cold days and nights lately!
    The Cubana food truck was in a colorful, pretty setting, Derrick. I like the delicious sounding veal with its presentation being quite appealing! Thanks for the numerous street photos!

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