Happy New Year's Monday Bank Holiday. I thought you might find a list of 2011's significant Monday anniversaries useful. Today is the 90th anniversary of the first radio weather forecast, broadcast on 9XM, the University of Wisconsin's radio station. I am trying to discover whether the forecast was accurate. What's your prediction? Monday, 4 March, is the 200th anniversary of the death of the Duke of Grafton, the only British prime minister, as far as I know, to have lived incognito with a courtesan in Woodford. Monday, 27 June, is the 10th anniversary of the death of Jack Lemmon, the only Hollywood star, as far as I know, to be born in a lift at the hospital because his mother had been reluctant to leave the bridge table (she later bequeathed her ashes to the Ritz Bar in Boston). More anniversaries as I have them.
Actually, it will be 20 years on Monday, 18 May, since Helen Sharman became the first British astronaut. And, in other space matters, I see that British scientists have proposed a mission to Uranus, first spotted by William Herschel in his back garden in Bath in March, 1781. This was not, sadly, a Monday; I am also disappointed to report that I was misinformed in Year Nine: Herschel did not get the idea for its name after a neighbour heard his excited cries and responded: "A new planet? Your anus!". In fact, he wasn't sure it was a planet at first, and then wanted to call it George's Star after George III, the name by which it was known to the Nautical Almanac Office until 1850. Uranus was a German suggestion. Something else you might care to drop into conversation, casually.
I note that Margaret Thatcher was advised by her press secretary, Bernard Ingham, against a "good news" campaign in 1980 on the grounds that there wasn't any. Typical Yorkshireman. As it happens, the leading Croatian newspaper, 24 Sata, has just published an edition containing only good news. Here is my modest contribution: 1. Easter eggs are on sale. 2. A universal phone charger is on the way. 3. Only two people were treated for crocodile bites in British hospitals last year. 4. The Archers will never be the same again. 5. Today, 50 years ago, the millionth Morris Minor rolled off the production line.