Saturday, December 23, 2006


As usual I have to educate the grown-ups about Father Christmas. The REAL Father Christmas is on board the Narrow Boat Europe and is not to be confused with the flimsy fakes at Rackhams, Pallisades or Lewis' at Solihull. He can be seen in Lapland if you have loads of money but he spends most of Christmas with the Tooth-Fairy*.
I spent my time on the Europe this year with some of the most beautiful girls you can imagine and rather than spend all my time taking photos of the other boats I took lots of the crowds watching... and were they brave with the weather being as it was! I have posted just a few photos of the onlookers but have a good look, you could be there... I saw some of the listers as we passed by.
Walking along the towpath by the boats I bumped into some of the most incredible characters, but just take a look and enjoy.

*For the uninitiated read some of Terry Pratchett's excellent Discworld novels.

ps Sorry about the late posting of the event but I have been unwell, probably PMS (pre Merriness Stress)


A view of Gas Street Basis before the light parade started. Although difficult to make out there are spotlights arcing across the sky in the background.

Today's story starts with the Narrow Boat Europe, here moored under the bridge connecting the ICC to Brindley Place because some sod had pinched our moorings back down the Birmingham Mainline where we were to assemble for the parade. Eventually we managed to nearly squeeze into our appointed place although we had a 4 foot gap to cross to board the boat. The NB Europe belonged to Second City Canal Cruises, a company which sadly closed in 2008.

The NB Europe was sponsored this year by the Kinnaree Thai Restaurant of 22 Waterfront Walk in the Mailbox, 0121 665 6586 and soon-to-be website

The real working lighthouse at Old Turn Junction by the NIA.

The lighthouse is on the "roundabout" at Old Turn Junction, the junction of the Birmingham-Fazeley canal with the Birmingham Main-line. On the right is the Malt House Pub, at the end of the clip the beam lights up the NIA. (*few minutes walk Gina)

The Rocket Club sponsored the NB Brown Weaver (but I was on the NB Europe, more fun, see later!!!!!)

A sign of what is to be expected.

This boat says it all "Unbelievable Birmingham at Christmas"

An aptly themed boat.

This is the NB Zodiac, named Bag End at the front, and sponsored by by Shire Productions. Go to
They won the parade competition with their "Unexpected Christmas Party" theme on the boat.
See also my blog on the 2005 Tolkien Weekend at

I try to get a clear picture of Gandalf the Grey (with a hint of blue) but somebody resembling Peter Jackson tries to get in on the act... maybe I have inspired him.

Gollum checks his Christmas cake for Elven ingredients.

Kermit and friends on board the NB Bewicks Swan.

...and more muppets...

...and there's more!

Spearheading the festive season.

A first view of the girls of Kinnaree Thai Restaurant braving the wind and rain before boarding the boat.

Beware strangers on the towpath.

Two of the girls posing with Rudolph on the NB Europe.

Father Christmas (the real one) surrounded by a bevy of beauties from the Kinnaree Thai Restaurant. The Tooth-Fairy will be a tad miffed when she sees this.

The skipper (Pete Trance) and Father Christmas (Santa Richard Clause) embrace boat owner Joe Brace. They all worked very hard to make the day so special for the passengers (mainly myslelf and some beautiful girls).

One of the girls poses on top of the Europe.

An appropriate message from one of the boats.

The lighthouse at Old Turn Corner... and it really worked! No discrete snogging on the Malthouse pub balcony and not a sniff of a president having a quick pint!

...even more on the towpath...

...still more on the towpath...

...and on the bridges.

A party atmosphere on board the NB Europe.

The mailbox area.

Illuminated foliage on the approach to the Mailbox.


Fireworks from the top of the Hilton Hyatt Hotel, the parade as such is over.

My favourite photo, myself with some of the Thai beauties of Kinnaree Thai Restaurant on the NB Europe.

The Scouts give a friendly wave.

The Scouts boat.

Another view of the Lea Valley Scouts Boat.. 100th anniversary... and by the Mailbox.