I heard an interesting article on the radio this morning which wonderfully illustrates the whopping difference in scale which exists between the millions, billions and trillions of pounds that we tend to talk about so glibly in these dark days of the credit crunch.

It was explained using a common time analogy which anyone can grasp:

1 million seconds = 11 days

1 billion seconds = 32 years

1 trillion seconds = 32,000 years

So the next time we hear the 'T' word being used with numbers attached, we need to be jolly respectful - or even a little afraid.