Happy Monday. Tomorrow is the 528th anniversary of the first Mass celebrated in the Sistine Chapel.
Goethe, you may remember, said: "Without having seen the Sistine Chapel one can form no appreciable idea of what one man is capable of achieving." That sentiment was echoed only this year by Robert Burns, a Brighton decorator who has painted the walls and ceilings of his council house in the style of the Italian masters: "The ceilings are tricky because the paint drips down the brush." Exactly.
Many of us, I note, are having difficulty getting to sleep at night: on average, it takes Britons 37 minutes to achieve it. Here's how to speed up things a little: 1. Count celebrities. 2. Work your way methodically through the Carlos Tevez transfer "saga". 3. How many Milibands can you think of? 4. Has anybody recounted a fascinating dream to you recently? 5. Try to remember the conversation at the last dinner party you attended. 6. Mentally run through Shane Warne's grooming programme. 7. Imagine James Naughtie has just started to ask you a question. 8. How many service stations begin with "M"? 9. Join in the Olympic countdown. 10. Camomile tea.
Would you care to undertake an experiment to discover how nice a person you really are? Just monitor your reaction to the following: a) Only seven out of more than 30 runners completed a charity triathlon in Padiham, Lancashire, after someone turned signs in the wrong direction; b) A postman in Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan, has been attacked by a chicken; c) Paul Daniels has visited hospital after being hit with a flying pizza by Sooty; d) Paul is fine.
The great British physicist, Paul Dirac, Nobeler and positron positor,was born 109 years ago today. He kept his scientific rigour about him at all times. A colleague making conversation, for example, mentioned it was very windy. Dirac got up, went to the door, stepped outside briefly, returned and said: "Yes".
Finally, I like to keep an eye on the unintended. Last week in Newcastle-under-Lyme, some anti-burglar gates worth £14,000 were stolen by burglars. The week before, off the Mull of Galloway, rowers raising money for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution were rescued by a lifeboat. Happy Monday.