GLOOM, gloom and more gloom settles over us because of that dratted snow – dwindling grit supplies, an acute gas shortage, train cancellations, firms left in the lurch by snowed-in staff, the spiralling economic cost for small businesses… the list goes on and on.

But there is hope on the horizon, according to a frisky little note that arrives courtesy of usually sedate IHS Global Insight economist and City A.M. shadow Monetary Policy Committee member Howard Archer.

Yes, apparently there’s another benefit to the big freeze, apart from the seemingly endless “snow days” currently being enjoyed by many an out-of-town-based City worker.

“Of course, some sectors will benefit such as providers of thermal underwear, scarves, hats and
other winter clothes,” writes Archer, the hint of a mischievous twinkle in his eye. “And there may also be a baby boom in nine months’ time!”

Definitely a reason to put out the bunting.

The ability of the Church of England to adapt to the modern world never ceases to amaze. Religious readers out there may wish to pop along at 12.30pm today to St Lawrence Jewry church, next to the Guildhall, for an annual Plow Monday service with a difference. This service provides an opportunity to bless tools of the trade, which traditionally involved a village plough being brought to the church door and blessed. But, as the church’s newly-appointed vicar Canon David Parrott explains, times have changed.

“We’re nowhere near a field in the City so I thought it would be a good idea to bless our basic working tool instead – technology,” he tells me. “It’s all part of wanting to ensure our services are fresh and lively for the City.”

At the very least, this one will be a novelty – Parrott will be asking the congregation to raise their Blackberrys, mobile phones and iPods into the air during the service in order to be blessed.

Being a soft soul at heart, The Capitalist is always touched by tales of endeavour in aid of a good cause – and this one is right up with the best of them.

Peter Thanni of accountancy firm KPMG is determined to give a helping hand to the family of his erstwhile chum Ian Spiers – who, having worked in recruitment in the City for nigh on 20 years, developed early-onset dementia last year in his early fifties and is now in a care home.

Thanni, weighing in at a hefty 18 st 12.6 lb, will be putting himself through a gruelling diet regime for the next 40 days in the hope of raising money for every pound lost.

“For someone who loves their food as much as I do, this will not be an easy task,” he jokes, “but raising money for Ian’s family will be just the inspiration I need to make the weight fall off.”

He’s already joined a gym and Weightwatchers in preparation for his ordeal, so for details on how to sponsor our slimming champion, email