Chocolate Charlie

From the same trip as the previous post, this is ‘Chocolate Charlie’ on his narrowboat, Mendip, moored near Preston Brook in the Spring of 1977.  Charlie Atkins aquired his nickname from the cargo he carried for much of his working life – chocolate crumb from Ellesmere Port to the Cadbury’s factory at Bourneville, Birmingham.

This is another strong face which has endured a lifetime on the cut – it is deeply lined and reminds me of the poet, W H Auden:

Comrades, who when the sirens roar
From office, shop and factory pour,
‘Neath evening sky;
By cops directed to the fug
Of talkie-houses for a drug,
Or down canals to find a hug
Until you die.

W H Auden – A communist to others – 1932.
(I feel sure Charlie would have come up with something more cheerful).

Chocolate Charlie

In his final years Charlie also became a minor celebrity – the revival of the English canals sparked an interest in the dying breed of men who worked the system. He is also remembered in song:

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