HERE WE DON'T GO: To France on Trafalgar Day; Greece on Lord Elgin's birthday; Egypt on Nasser's birthday; US on Independence Day (nor, indeed, for the World Cup); Argentina from April to June; Italy on the Ides of March; Denmark on anniversary of Danegeld; Ireland over Easter; Scotland on Duke of Cumberland's birthday; Wales on the anniversary of Tonypandy; Germany on Hitler's birthday.

HERE WE GO: Portugal (any day); Germany on Kaiser Bill's birthday; France on D-Day - as long as you take a tent.

TODAY is the feast day of Saint Paternus, a recluse, possibly Irish, who lived in Westphalia in the 11th century. He asked to be bricked into a cell at the monastery of Abdinghof founded by St Meinwerk. From here he prophesied the destruction of the city within 30 days if the inhabitants did not turn from sin, but was dismissed as an alarmist. On the Friday before Palm Sunday, 1058, fire broke out in seven parts of Abdinghof, and the town was destroyed. The monks were saved but Paternus died in his cell.

10 April, 1633: Bananas displayed in London shop.

1778: William Hazlitt, essayist and critic, was born in Maidstone. A serious child, he started to study for the ministry but abandoned it and went to Paris as a painter aged 24. Returning to England he became friendly with Coleridge, Lamb and Wordsworth, and turned to philosophy and journalism. Argumentative, he quarrelled with many of his friends. His first marriage ended in divorce and a subsequent love affair ended disastrously. A second marriage was so resented by his son, whom Hazlitt adored, that that too broke up. He died in 1830, saying he wished he had despised the world more.

1820: First British settlers arrived in South Africa.

1829: William Booth, founder of Salvation Army, born in Nottinghamshire.

1848: Chartists presented their petition to Parliament.

1858: Big Ben cast at Whitechapel Foundry, London.

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