The stockmarket may be going through a bout of Armaggeddon at present but that is nothing to what it has coming to it this time next year, if the chairman’s horoscopic adviser has got it right.

“You remember my assistant, Miss Calumnia Brookes, don’t you?” asked the chairman of the impishly-sized investment company Second Coming Asset Management as we met for a couple of bottles of Chateau Sonnbichler at The Splendidly Rich Seam I’m Currently Mining.

“Your special adviser on all things astrological and horoscopic?” I said helpfully. “How could I forget?”Turning to the slight figure by the chairman’s side, I added: “Good to see you up and about again, Miss Brookes. I suppose it was lucky it was only an MFI wardrobe that fell on you rather than anything more substantial.”

“It shouldn’t have been a wardrobe at all,” she replied primly. “My charts clearly indicated a danger of all Librans being flattened by a piano that particular day. That is why I felt quite safe as the wardrobe hurtled towards me from that third-floor window. I don’t know what could have happened.”

“Well, at least you saw it coming – which is a marked improvement on your usual record,” is what I thought but didn’t say. Whatever you may think of astrologers, Calumnia was one of the most clueless – but there was no need to be cruel.

“So to what do we owe the pleasure of her company?” I asked the chairman as Calumnia headed off to the bar for another round. “Actually, no, let me guess – there’s another bout of stockmarket Armageddon on the horizon? Well, she’s only two weeks late on that one, which is actually pretty accurate by her standards.”

“Mock away,” said the chairman. “But the current situation is a walk in the park compared with what Calumnia is predicting over the next 12 months. Change, upheaval, chaos – you name it, it’s heading this way.”

“Well, duh,” I said. “I’m about two weeks away from becoming a father – of course change, upheaval and chaos are heading my way.”

“Not just your way, unbeliever,” said Calumnia, returning with our drinks. “First we have the opposition of Saturn and Uranus, which as any fool knows is one of the most powerful astrological cocktails, and then we’re staring down the barrel of the mother of all stockmarket crashes, which will happen by September next year.”

“Could you be a bit more specific?” I asked. “It would be handy to be able to make a note in my diary.” “The global market crash will take place on 14 August 2009,” replied Calumnia, unexpectedly. Then, sensing she rather had me on the back foot, she continued: “But, as I say, we’ve first got the Saturn-Uranus opposition, which is dynamite in astrological terms.

“Putting it so a small child might understand,” – and she looked pointedly at me – “Saturn is cosmic glue, the planet of stability, while Uranus is the planet of change and revolution. The last time they were in direct opposition was in the Sixties while the two instances before that saw the start of the Nazi movement in 1920 and the collapse of the US economy in 1873.”

“Serious stuff, wouldn’t you say?” said the chairman. “Go on, Calumnia, tell him the date of the next opposition.”

“The day of the US election – 4 November,” she replied .

“So what does that mean for the outcome?” I asked – intrigued despite myself.

“Well, very obviously, it all depends when people vote,” she sighed, rolling her eyes. “If they vote in the morning, when Saturn’s still in control, people are more likely to vote Republican, while those voting later, under Uranus’s influence, will probably vote for Obama. What’s more, that’s just the beginning and I’d really advise you to fasten your seatbelt ahead of some serious turbulence.” “Before putting your head between your legs in the run-up to 14 August,” added the chairman.

“Yes, that’s when Saturn will be within the orb of opposing Uranus,” Calumnia elaborated. “Also, we will have the Sun opposing Jupiter and Neptune, a lunar node in Aquarius and Mars squaring Uranus – and I don’t think I have to tell you what that all means.”

“You see?” said the chairman triumphantly. “You see? Remember where you heard it first – and I trust this has taught you to treat astrology with the respect it deserves.”