Kitchener’s last gunboat – Al Melik

Kitchener’s last gunboat lies half hidden under some trees on the banks of the Blue Nile in Khartoum. Silent and slowly decaying.

The Melik has served as the headquarters of the Blue Nile Sailing Club since its retirement from military service in the 1920s. It was moored in the river until an unusually heavy flood in the late 1980s left it high and dry. Ironically, the flood may have saved it from slowly rusting away. Continue reading


Khartoum Streets (part two)

Pictures of the Kushite ruins of northern Sudan always remind me of Shelley’s poem Ozymandias:

“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:

Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”

Nothing beside remains.

Round the decay Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare

The lone and level sands stretch far away.

In this poem the art of the sculptor has survived long after the dynasty and empire of Ozymandias has crumbled. History is indeed littered with fallen empires. Looking through old maps of Khartoum reminds me of the decline and fall of the British Empire and the Egyptian Khedive. Continue reading