New Year's greetings, putrid serfs. By nature I'm a glass-half-full sort of chap but it does seem the prophets of doom are gaining the upper hand in 2008. So please find herewith Olde Pumseye's 2008 Almanacke. 

Despondency gives way to revelry over Yuletide growth of 3.5% instead of the 3.4% feared.

A shadowy figure bearing gold from the East (Canary Wharf) makes dark representations to My Lord Sainsbury. A plague of locusts descends on the Holborn Coliseum.

The Sage of Southampton Row pronounces his verdict on the merchants of Albion. Old Pumseye divines gnashing of teeth from journeyman economist Andrew Simmpel as Dr Davis finds Britain's grocers are a "jolly decent lot".

Sir Terence of Kirkby proclaims his tithes for 2007 to be greater than last year. Her Majesty's fourth estate dissolves in righteous indignation.

Pestilence descends on the land as a swan coughs in Herefordshire. The Guild of Peasants demands a doubling in the price of quail flesh.

Summer is icumen in, loude singe the Red Baron of Leeds, with £174bn in " rollbacks".

The rainy season sets in. Floods cause panic-buying of microwave gruel.

Earl Markup de Price invests in a new 4x4 landau after temperatures rocket to 19C one afternoon. Sales and prices of Pimms and strawberries triple overnight.

Dr Davis announces a new Queen's Inquisition into the grocery market.

Morrisons makes a bid for Carrefour. Or so my tealeaves say.

King Justin abdicates following a palace revolt among the ladies in waiting.

The scribes of Fleet Street predict the worst Christmas in 30 years (see January).