It has been very cold these past few days in Beausoleil, and I daresay also in Monaco. That bitter wind has made me yearn for temperatures to rise well beyond single figures. If, for example, it had been seven degrees warmer we wouldn’t have had to suffer and put on coats to leave the villa. If my old-fashioned arithmetic serves me right, 9 plus 7 is 18.
However, come the summer months these extra seven degrees would take us from very hot indeed to unacceptable. One morning last summer in July at five in the morning it was 29 degrees and had been close to that all night. I couldn’t sleep, and it was so bad even the mosquitoes gave it a rest.
And yet this is what two independent experts told the prestigious Monaco Press Club this week. Europe, they said, will see temperatures rise by four degrees by the end of this century, while Monaco – trapped by the mountains and facing south – will suffer a seven percent increase.
So 35 plus 7 makes 42, and it will be time to leave… unless the Government has a plan to save the Principality from permanent heatwave disaster. Perhaps a large protective dome made of recycled plastic or cigarette butts? Another possibility would be to turn all the underground parking into apartments and keep the cars above ground in former flats.
I was so shaken by this figure that I went online to read the Guardian. I read this shocking knee-jerk leftist newspaper to find out what all my woke friends are thinking before they tell me, but it’s reliably hot on climate.
I was even more shocked than I had been walking out of Hotel Hermitage after the Monaco Press Club revelation.
“Cacti replacing snow on Swiss mountainsides due to global heating,” the headline said.
As it wasn’t April 1 and I had not yet had a tipple I read on.
“The residents of the Swiss canton of Valais are used to seeing their mountainsides covered with snow in winter and edelweiss flowers in summer. But as global heating intensifies, they are increasingly finding an invasive species colonising the slopes: cacti.”
The cactus variety in question is called Opuntia, and the countryside around the town of Sion is about 25-percent covered with it. And, the plants don’t like snow and they prefer to be kept dry!
Opuntia plants reproduce easily, growing back even when felled, stepped on by hikers or left dry for months, and recover quickly after they are uprooted, the terrible Guardian says.
“We can restrict them,” said one expert. “But I don’t think we can get rid of them.”
So, myself and Betsy have decided not to be in Beausoleil/Monaco in July and August, at the very least.
We are planning to spend time in Scotland eyeing up suitable land for a vineyard. You heard it first here, Chateau Peebles here we come.
PHOTO: Peter Oliver Baumgartner