Stone the crows, it used to be a house

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So, they are privatising Stonehenge. I read that English Heritage wants to raise pounds 65m to provide decent loos and the like, and thinks half of it should come from the private sector.

A fine idea, you say. Pah! I say. Lily-livered it is when you look at how Stonehenge has, according to various authorities, been used in the past. All we have to do is turn the old stones back to one of those uses, and we have a perfectly good revenue-raising proposition.

My archaeological consultant tells me the most popular theory is that Stonehenge was a computer. It could predict an eclipse (admittedly with an 18-month margin of error) so could surely be tweaked to give a Pentium 486 Mac a run for its money. Apparently the stones would need to be put upright, but that fallen-down look is getting a bit passe, don't you think?

Or it may have been a calendar. Very useful. We would need to make a few more, but they could then be marketed as alternatives to urban clocktowers.

Then there is the theory that Stonehenge was an air traffic control centre. This was propounded by a gent who became aggravated when people wondered why there was no evidence of ancient aircraft. "Of course there isn't," he said. "They were made of wood, so they would have rotted." I'm sure the Civil Aviation Authority would be interested.

Stonehenge may also have been a big house, complete with a roof. Sell it to Bill Gates for a few billion, and he can have a house that is also a computer.

I have an idea that would stop these unfortunate confrontations between police and druids every mid-Summer. The sun falls directly on the altar stone at dawn on Midsummer's Day, because that is how the stones are arranged. So, we should put Stonehenge on a giant roller-bearing that moves steadily round, so the sun always falls in the right place. Combine that with Bill Gates' computer house, and we would surely have something that would make English Heritage drool at the chops.

I Have a trio of late entries for my "things that don't exist but should" competition. Dr A Essex-Cater of Northallerton, North Yorkshire, suggests "O'Eau". It comes complete with slogan: "Tired with carrying water on long walks. Use O'Eau, our new powdered water - light, clean and easy to prepare ... Just add water." Surprised Yorkshire Water hasn't thought of that one.

Peter Sidhom of Dulwich suggests a heated toast-rack. He makes his living singing in operatic entertainments, and has to eat more hotel breakfasts than he would really choose to. "They usually bring you your toast straight away, then you have to wait 10 minutes for the cooked bit to arrive," he says. "By that time the toast is cold."

Magy Higgs of Birmingham comes up with the ultimate gourmet helpmate - a birthday book for snails. She says that "snails born in months with most frost have the most flavour". By providing a birth certificate with each snail, we would know which to eat.

Otherwise, she says, we will have to rely on the traditional method, which relies on an apparent link between speed and flavour. "The keen shopper in the Pyrenees selects the quickest dozen to reach the top of their receptacles. Nothing worth eating is left after about 11.30am, which is why the local buses return to base by noon."

Through the nose

You may have read that Damon Hill has registered his eyes as a trademark - he wants to be paid when they feature, surrounded by his helmet, on T-shirts and the like.

I rang the Institute of Trade Mark Agents to find out what else you can register, and was offered a formidable list. Paul Gascoigne has bagged the name Gazza, apparently, while the Derbyshire Building Society has registered the nose-tapping gesture used in its commercials, although "protection is limited to the promotion of mortgage investment and other services by building societies".

Harley-Davidson has trademarked the exhaust note of its motorbikes, and best of all Chanel has registered the smell of its Number Five perfume. How on earth, I wondered, did it do that? The answer is that it just had to give an accurate description. So if someone says to you, "Don't you just love the smell of my aldahydic-floral fragrance product, darling?", you will now know exactly what to say, won't you?

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