2nd May 2004
Rembrandt Gardens, London W2 1XB
It does seem a little perverse that the canal-based events featured so far in this blog haven’t actually shown any boats (yet) – on the other hand, it does help to demonstrate that there’s so much more to these gatherings than the admiration of Narrowboats and their owners.
The peaceful and picturesque area known as Little Venice, so near yet so far from the bustle of Paddington Station, annually holds one of the IWA’s main events over the May bank holiday (well, it’s been holding this sort of gathering since 1983, go back a bit farther in time and you get a very different sort of event; go back even farther and it’s a very different place altogether).
Apart from being a spring get-together for over 150 narrowboat enthusiasts, with appropriate stalls and canal-based activities (including a boat handling competition and an illuminated night procession), there’s also plenty of music, food and family activities akin to a typical English spring fete.
Amongst the activities (programme for another year here) are a Teddy Bear’s Picnic (life-size bears creating balloon sculptures an added bonus), in which children are encouraged to bring their favourite small furry companions along, presumably as a nod to the local station’s most celebrated passenger. There’re lots of versions of the famous tune to choose from, including Fred Wedlock’s very of-it’s-time interpretation, and Mojo Filter’s rather groovier take.