La Goulette, Tunisia, an odd and alien place to be on Boxing Day. Outside the National Museum of Carthage an ‘art installation’ of ruined cars commemorates the revolution of 14th January 2011. On the inside the ruins date from Phoenician Carthage, destroyed in 814 BC and Roman Carthage destroyed in AD 692. Nothing is permanent.
The archaeological remains at Carthage have a direct parallel with the bomb sites that made up a large part of the Manchester I grew up in during the 1950s; the Roman Antonine Baths, the Amphitheatre, the Punic Port, the sacrifice site at Tophet and the American War Cemetery which commemorates the 6,564 Americans who died in Africa during World War II. The Ruins of Time surround us.
Nowhere more so than on MV Arcadia but there is a brighter side. Each evening at the entrance to the restaurant there are lines of abandoned mobility scooters, parked as in a deserted street. “To be sure, to be sure! Holy Mary, Mother of God, I smell food, I can walk!”. My Christmas message? There is hope, particularly when Baked Alaska is on the menu.