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Chris Slatter

My Blog



Rune of the Day: Fehu, wealth


Those of you who follow this blog will remember that last August I wrote about being in Lyon during the European holiday month. Deserted streets, shuttered shops and restaurants and empty apartments predominated because the majority of Lyon’s population had left to enjoy their breaks on the beaches of southern France.
I also wrote of the emptiness of Rome which suffers from the same condition, which in Italy is known as Ferragosto. I was in the city just a day or two ago and marvelled at the Romans’ willingness to abandon their homes and businesses for a month. There’s no shortage of trade: tourists abound, most of them wondering why they can’t get a cup of coffee, or a meal in spite of the fact that their pockets are stuffed with  euros.
But where have they all gone? The French as I mentioned before are adorning the beaches of Antibes, Bormes Les Mimosas, Cannes, Saint Tropez and others. The Italians from other cities have left for various places; the Romans have come to Ostia Lido.
Most foreign tourists who visit Rome have little idea that Rome has a beachside suburb connected to the city by train. As it’s part of the Roman comune Ostia benefits from cheap travel. A ticket that works in Rome will also work in Ostia. For one euro you can travel to Ostia from the Vatican, a journey of around an hour, involving a bus journey that will take you past the Coliseum, the Roman Forum, the Baths of Caracalla and Circo Massimo and then to Porta San Paulo where you catch the train. It’s the travel bargain of Europe, but few tourists seem aware of it. The Romans though know what wonderful value it is because they flock to Ostia in their thousands.
The good people of Ostia, realising that God has given them an opportunity, open their shops and bars at 8 am and keep them open until lunchtime when they will close to avoid the heat of the day, re-opening at around 5.30pm and remaining open until 9 or 10 pm. Unlike the retail outlets in the city, these establishments are jumping with activity. The other day, at our local bar, the fabulous Bar Remondi (no, they’re not sponsoring me), the customers were four deep, everyone screaming for their cappuccino, or café macchiato while the barista tried to keep up. And he did, although the experience was not a pleasant one for him judging by his pallor at the end of the rush. As an aside, if you have never had one of Remondi’s cornetti con marmalata, pastries which magically combine doughiness and crispness and ooze apricot jam, then you should get your tush over here before you die and miss one of life’s treats.
While you can park your car just about everywhere in Rome in August, in Ostia locals play a game of hunt the space. I used to begin at 6am and I was not alone as I patrolled in convoy around the streets, sharing the experience with other residents, garbage trucks and street cleaners. At the end of the first week of August I gave up on this early morning exercise after finding a space on a residential street not too far from where I live. I left my car there. I have returned a few times to check whether it’s okay and have noted the steadily thickening coat of seagull and pigeon guano, leaves and handbills that combine to give the impression that my car is abandoned. I will return soon with a bucket of soapy water and a sponge to clean it down, but I will not move it, not one centimeter, not until August is over.

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About Me

I have been an advertising copywriter, film director, teacher of screenwriting and a television producer. I have worked for some of the world's largest advertising agencies in Australia and the UK before attending the London Film School for two years.

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