It’s been very sunny and hot, with the bluest of blue skies above and the greenest of green mountains around me; in fact, it does not get any better than this. The farmers have cut their grass and packed it for the winter’s feed, soon the cows will be coming down from the hills, and the Swiss franc will continue going through the roof. Life is now so expensive in Switzerland that even the rich are starting to complain. Forty pounds for a grilled cheese on the terrace of a top hotel is a bit steep, unless one has access to the Gaddafi sovereign wealth fund, which some Swiss bankers I am sure do. Still, I know worse places to be, such as the Hamptons during Labor Day weekend; in Tripoli, while the mongrel dog and his eight perverted children are still on the loose; and if one’s really unlucky on the Carlton Hotel terrace in Cannes, watching rich Russians guzzle warm champagne in the afternoon sun.
So, for the moment I’m sitting pretty on my lawn, trying to make some mischief. Which I failed to do last week by announcing Saif Gaddafi’s arrival at the Palace hotel; no one in their right mind took it seriously, not even the hacks, who 20 years ago believed me when I wrote in these here pages that Mrs Saddam Hussein had moved in for the duration. Journalists arrived and began snooping around. The owner, Ernst Scherz, a very old friend, found it amusing and refused to deny it. The hacks drank copiously at the bar and everything was hunky-dory until the powers back home froze their expense accounts. Gildo, the greatest maître d’ ever, still talks about it when he’s not singing arias from Don Giovanni, which he knows by heart.