As a kid Dan used to be interested in numbers, big numbers. Once he acquired a large notebook with wide plain pages and he began adding numbers together 1+1 = 2, 2+2 = 4, 4+4 = 8, doubling as he went, through 1,024, 2,048 and so on, filling the pages until he ran out of room. He didn’t understand it then but he was adding together powers of 2, increasing exponentially: 23=8, 24=16, 210=1024.

This fascination stayed with him, until, twenty-five years later, he stumbled upon the largest number, apart from infinity, that he’d ever thought of.

The Chenille Tablecloth, by Jo Walter


One Tree Cottage, a stone cool centre in a busy world, is tucked away in the rolling fields at the edge of the lake district.  The living / dining room, was a place of calm, centred stillness, the hub of the home, warmed by the range which was lit much of the day for most of the year. The dining table protected by the chenille tablecloth. Soft yet hard wearing, a luxurious, sensuous feel shared with and exuding the loving warmth of family, uncle, aunt and adorable cousins. He could remember such laughter around this table when he was young, and much fun even now. He wrote poetry there, loving the space and the shared joy of being.

His uncle had been partly replaced by John, a tall, firmly built man, with a broad welcoming grin and a strong presence, aunt Penny’s current partner. John liked playing with his new Apple Mac and offered to help Dan with his vision for a logo for Making Connections Matter. This consisted of the lower case letter ‘c’, held between two capital Ms, McM with the c raised to a power and in italics as if holding onto the two Ms. John set to work designing and working with subtle differences, in Times New Roman, adding extra curves to the ends of the letters and almost hooking the c over the Ms, like a child holding the hands of two mothers and swinging between them, or perhaps two aunts.

But he came to realise that the number, translating from roman numerals with M for 1000 and C for 100, raised as a power, was colossal. 1000 multiplied by itself 100 times multiplied again by 1000, or 10 to the power of 303. 10303. 1 with 303 zeroes after it!

He set about finding out exactly how big this number was. He’d learnt at school, how many atoms in a molecular gram of carbon? 6 x1023 (Avogadro’s Number). How many atoms in the earth? How many stars in space? He discovered that his number was many, many, many times bigger than the estimated number of atoms in the universe which was held to be only (I say ‘only’) 1070.

John’s Mac took a long time to refine the contours of the letters and even longer to print and save the images to floppy disc, two discs. Back then, a single megabyte was a huge file, and the floppy disks would accept only 1.44 MB of data each.

The logo was beautiful, blended in silver and green. Dan would treasure the files for the rest of his life, in different forms, even when he could no longer read floppy disks. The logo represented the key to his thinking of the scale of being, not only within, but outside the universe. An inkling of the power of creativity and spirit and of the connections which are woven through, around and between us.


Daniel remembered how the moment seemed greater then, greater than he’d ever imagined, how everything seemed to become so much more significant, as if he were playing a part in a much bigger story that he had still to understand.

Daniel realised he’d almost overstepped the mark, trying to dissuade Dan from letting circumstances run away with him. ‘Dan, I simply want you to breathe, relax, connect with all that is good, with what matters, and know that it will happen in good time’, Daniel urged.

‘But I can’t bear to wait’, Dan blurted out a thought, almost audibly, ‘I can’t believe that change for the better will happen just by itself!’ He exclaimed, in silence.

‘First, you have to be grounded’, Daniel said, ‘people have to believe enough, to ask for enlightenment, and be willing to go with the flow, then doors will open,’ he concluded, wondering if he wasn’t sounding a little bit fanciful himself.

Horizon 2040 – Chapter 14 – The Chenille Tablecloth