Creativity: A fencing mask saved my hamster

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The Independent Culture
TEA-STRAINERS have produced a greater variety of uses than any previous object in this column, writes William Hartston. So here goes . . .

Fencing masks: For hedgehogs, hamsters, garden gnomes, mice etc (several readers).

Household: Safety net for kamikaze fridge magnets (M Ryan- Smith), soup spoon for people who don't like soup (several) or those on a diet (Joanne Shipton), to fish contact lens out of soup (Mrs M Bishop), to fish tea-bag out of mug (Margaret O'Brien), nipple-protector for breast-feeding mothers (several), lined with cotton wool to prevent ears burning under hair drier (Linda Browning).

Culinary: Removing ball-bearings from custard (Paul McHugh), basket for frying microchips (Peter Ayers), with darning mushroom to make particularly fine spaghettini (Geoffrey Langley)

Educational: With bulb as portable planetarium (Jane Bidgood).

Strainer: Filtering burnt bits out of chip oil (Helen Fearnley), draining scrambled eggs made with milk (Olive Osborn).

Sporting: Guinea pig's baseball cap (Helen Fearnley), racing snail's crash helmet (S Cockerill).

Clothing: In layered array as quick-drying, air-conditioned hula skirt, suitable for monsoon climates (Wendy Southcombe), a rather sad codpiece (S Cockerill), underwear for budding Madonnas before they graduate to a pair of funnels (Wendy Bishop).

Bestial: Two together as protective enclosure for small fish (Henry Nottage), rescuing ladybirds from ponds (Paul McHugh).

Cosmetic: Place over cheeks while sunbathing to produce freckle effect (Robin Brown).

Musical: Metal strainers as castanets (several readers).

Cruelty to Yorkshire terriers: giving water to a thirsty Yorkshire terrier (Alice Gude), fencing mask and pooper-scooper for sporty Yorkshire terrier (Mollie Caird).

Penultimately, we have received two letters from different couples called Paul and Steph, both from Hampshire. Paul and Stephanie Dibden (Eastleigh) suggest a steamer for individual Brussels sprouts, a hanging basket for a bonsai garden, and an ant-strainer for the canteen drinks machine. Paul and Steph Stephanpaul (Southampton) suggest lacrosse sticks for rabbits, golf club attachments to scoop balls out of holes without having to bend down, or to alter, unobtrusively, the lie of shots landing in the rough.

Next week, we'll report on ideas for the Channel tunnel. Meanwhile, you might care to send us things to do with the perforated strips from the edge of computer print-outs. All ideas to Creativity, at the usual address.