Creativity: Game, set and match to Madam Speaker

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LAST YEAR, we creatively employed tennis rackets as chip-cutters or humane fly swats; now it's time for the rest of the Wimbledon paraphernalia.

Umpires' chairs: for use in garden of enthusiastic members of neighbourhood watch (Robbie Jones); ensuring a good view at the theatre, supervising family rows, finding lost golf balls, or transformed, with a few yards of canvas, into a jolly wigwam for a ball-boy to live in at non-Wimbledon times of year (all Paul McHugh).

Upside-down waterproof umpires' chairs: for synchronised swimming judges.

Tennis balls: invaluable for encouraging the soft-haired variety of the duck-billed platypus to go broody (Michael Rubinstein); thrown into the sea to indicate whether the tide is going in or out (R Jones); glued to the backs of slugs which can then be sold to gullible French restaurateurs (Stuart Cockerill).

Wrist bands: sponsored Yorkshire terrier collars (F & J Earle).

Electronic beepers: redistributed as burglar alarms for the homeless (S Cockerill).

Drinks machines: could be placed in strategic places in supermarkets (R Jones); flown urgently to the USA to provide World Cup footballers with much-needed

refreshment (Nicholas E Gough).

Net: skin for extra-large salami (P McHugh); with balls as floats, use as drift net, ecologically sound in that it would catch only very few fish; or draped around kitchen walls then spray-painted for instant tile effect; or suspended in bath as ladder for very large spiders, with balls as lifebuoys (all Paul & Steph Dibden).

The original Paul & Steph, from Southampton, suggest: 'It could be cut into pieces to make a puzzle, provide ideal housing for mice, or be spread, appropriately treated, on lawns as artificial fertiliser.' But they're on holiday in Spain and sent their suggestions in early before they knew what the object was. We apologise for the break in coverage, we are now ready to go back to the tennis.

Scores: recycle the love in love- fifteen etc, after the score has been used, to increase the amount of affection in the world (F & J Earle).

Line judges: re-employed as traffic wardens.

Courts: replanted with strawberries (S Cockerill, hereinafter to be referred to as S C).

Sweat bands: could be placed in strategic places in supermarkets (R Jones); gags for television

commentators (Mollie Caird).

Skirts of lady players: handkerchiefs for Barbie dolls (S C).

Steffi Graf's tennis kit: Ms Karyn Vitali writes: 'It would be the ultimate honour to wear Steffi Graf's kit, headband included. I'd fancy towelling myself down with one of Pete Sampras's towels between games. I think my boyfriend would prefer the opposite.' But wouldn't he look silly wearing Pete Sampras's towel and trying to dry himself on Steffi's headband?

Finally, R Jones proposes a re- design for Prime Minister's Question Time, with the electronic scoreboard recording the state of play, the net symbolically placed between the two front benches, Madam Speaker in charge of the heavy roller, and the Member for Bolsover rebuked for racket abuse. Coincidentally, Paul McHugh proposes installing Ms Boothroyd on an umpire's chair with a supply of balls 'to subjugate the unruly and reanimate the comatose'.

Next week, we shall have some interesting things to do with spiders. Meanwhile, you might like to think of creative uses for the collected works of Jeffrey Archer. All ideas will be welcome at: Creativity, The Independent, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB.

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