BUNHILL : Got a licence for that thing?

If this column were written by my esteemed colleague Captain Moonlight I would be busy filling it with daft captions for this photograph. I will not, however, tell you that this is the product of an unlikely liaison between a Jump Jet and a Tiger Fish because the truth happens to be almost as bizarre.

Yes, it is a Harrier Jump Jet. Yes, it is striped. Yes, it did spend last Monday suspended from the world's tallest bungee jumping tower, just by Chelsea Bridge in London. And yes, there is a business link to this story: it is the first ex-RAF jump jet in commercial use.

Specifically, it will soon hang from the ceiling in a new entertainment for young people called SegaWorld. This ghastliness, near Piccadilly Circus, uses virtual reality and such like to make people's hair stand on end. I do not want to lose my wig in such an undignified manner, so I shall not be attending.

The story of the Harrier is more interesting. Sega bought it, for about 30 grand I'd guess, and had it stripped down at Greenham Common. Just as the conversion was being completed, a fitter found a black box in the cockpit. It contained explosives for the ejector seat that had been left in by mistake. Much panic ensued. Sega then asked Mrs Virginia Bottomley, who works for the Government, if she would mind if it suspended the plane in Trafalgar Square. She said fine, but Mr Plod said no: apparently it would have given Admiral Nelson vertigo.

At last! (Part One) you are starting to send me ideas of things that should exist but don't. Here are some (these all get fizz, but I have more in the fridge).

From Rod Turner: children's clothing with built-in electronic locator; rolls of clear sticky tape on which you can always find the start; beach shoes with a built-in pollution alarm.

From Laurence Manning: reinvent the solid tyre for cars - modern suspension systems do not need pneumatic tyres and solid ones would banish punctures once and for all, as well as piles of old tyres littering the countryside.

From Lesley Rasche: a poodle parlour especially for small children. "Oh the joy of collecting them after two hours, their hair freshly styled, faces scrubbed, nails trimmed and cleaned ..." Now surely that one really comes from the heart - someone please oblige.

Retch for the skies

At last! (Part Two) I can reveal the winner of the Great Bunhill/easyJet What to Put on a Sickbag competition. You may remember I asked you to think of a way of decorating the unacceptably blank sickbags the airline easyJet uses. Stelios Haji-Ioannou, its boss, has now looked at the many suggestions and has declared himself delighted with their quality.

Several never stood a chance of winning but make excellent adornments to this column. Gary Byrnes, of the Dublin design company Big Design, produced two beautiful dummies. The tagline is "Inflight defuelling system", and the instructions say that if you fill the bag, you should mail it to the Prime Minister. A problem for Stelios's knighthood prospects, that one.

Loads of people came up with variations on "sic transit", while Andy Hibbert wanted a scratch'n'sniff patch inside the bag. Among the more practical suggestions was one from Sarah Christopher, a woman chess master, who says chess puzzles should be printed on one side and the answers on the other. Mark Hastilow wonders if a colour-in 737 for children would be a good idea. Ruth Coppard and family sent some delightful drawings, but the winner is ... Brian Lawrence of Leeds. He suggests: "Sick of paying for travel agents? Note our number or keep this bag." Mr Lawrence will be contacted by easyJet and offered a free flight - but the real honour, surely, is knowing that he has decorated a sickbag. It gives me the vapours just thinking about it.

My Northern mole has been burrowing into the strange story of Euro 96, the Bulgarians and Scarborough. You may have seen that the local council agreed to provide a subsidy of pounds 25,000 if the football team agreed to shack up in this fragrant resort. The Balkanisation of Yorkshire was expected to be completed by the arrival of 5,000 fans.

First the fans were kept away by a currency crisis. Then last week the nation's footballers decamped to nearby Darlington, saying that Scarborough was too dull. So far, so well known. I can, however, reveal that if the episode is wounding to Scarborough's civic pride, it is appallingly embarrassing for a local millionaire.

Don Robinson is a well-known figure in Scarborough and ... Bulgaria. The former because he has been leading a fight against Yorkshire Water for creating smells in his bit of town (well, I did say it was fragrant). The latter because he has been busy helping Bulgaria and its emerging economy develop leisure resorts "and is regarded as a bit of a god there".

It was he, I am told, who fixed the original international twinning, though it is unclear whether he put up any of the money himself. Whatever the position, he is now keeping an extremely low profile. And who can blame him?

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
Bafetibis Gomis of Swansea City is stretchered off at White Hart Lane
football
News
Jerry Seinfeld Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee
peopleSitcom star urges men to be more supportive of women than ever
Life and Style
Living for the moment: Julianne Moore playing Alzheimer’s sufferer Alice
health
News
Jay Z
businessJay-Z's bid for Spotify rival could be blocked
Sport
footballLouis van Gaal is watching a different Manchester United and Wenger can still spring a surprise
News
The spider makes its break for freedom
VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Voices
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
Arts and Entertainment
books
News
people
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle v United player ratings
Life and Style
love + sex
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Graduate Application Support Analyst

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Reach Volunteering: External Finance Trustee Needed!

Voluntary post, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Would you ...

Christine McCleave: FP&A Analyst

£36,000 - £40,000: Christine McCleave: Are you looking for a new opportunity a...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot