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BIG SULKS: the Israelites' bad behaviour frequently put God in a grim mood; Achilles refused to fight the Trojans after his captain, Agamemnon, stole his slave girl; Henry VIII wouldn't go to church after the Pope denied him a divorce; Hamlet preferred to skulk alone on the battlements after his mother's remarriage; Thomas Hardy wrote no more novels after Jude the Obscure was virulently attacked; Greta Garbo wanted to be alone from 1941 till her death in 1990; China refused to participate in the Olympics or other international events or UN bodies which recognised Taiwan; De Gaulle adopted an "empty chair" policy in Europe; opponents of the ordination of women defected to the Roman church when they lost the Synod vote; Edward Heath has been in a huff for 20 years since Margaret Thatcher overthrew him; Margaret Thatcher has been in a regal sulk since ousted in 1990; Norman Lamont has continued to resent his own resignation; John Major, not invited to the St Patrick's Day party, may telephone Bill Clinton today ... or he may not.

TODAY is the feast day of Saint Joseph, father of Jesus. He was a carpenter and was told by the angel that Mary's pregnancy was divinely ordained. One visionary biography tells us that he was 89 at the time he married Mary and was celibate throughout his life; another, by a 15th-century nun, that he was 33, occasionally ate meat and died happily. In 1933, Pius XII designated him Joseph the Worker and gave him a second feast day on 1 May as "patron of those who combat atheistic Communism". This is in addition to his other duties as patron of carpenters, fathers, happy deaths, several countries including Vietnam, and, because of Bethlehem, house-hunters.

19 March 1872. Sergei Diaghilev (above) was born in Novgorod, Russia. For 20 years, 1909-29, he was the most brilliant, creative and exciting of artistic impresarios. His Ballets Russes, drawing notably on the talents of Igor Stravinsky, Anna Pavlova and Vaslav Nijinsky, transformed the world of dance. Diaghilev trained as a lawyer in St Petersburg and it was not until he emigrated to Paris in 1906 that he found his vocation, marrying the new artistic movements in drama, painting, music and the dance to create an entirely new style of ballet. The Ballets Russes went on to tour the world, but Diaghilev never revisited Russia after the Bolshevik takeover.