Laver bread, lava-trees and vol-(can)-au-vents featured in several responses, which we have chosen to ignore for fear of starting a prolonged correspondence on the correct plural of vol-au-vent.
"Bring it to Britain," advises Duncan Bull, "as a safe incinerator for BSE beef carcasses." Richard Ell has similar motives in suggesting their use as "grazing areas for mad cows". He thinks it might even produce the bonus of a Guinness Book of Records entry for the largest barbecue. Barry Johnson suggests bringing the Montserrat volcano over here and leaving it near the M25. "The lava would be directed to previously dug channels and when it has cooled a few simple white lines would produce the six- lane superhighway around London." Quite apart from the savings in time and cost, he points out that molten lava would be very effective at deterring environmental protesters. Susan Tomes has a similar plan, but wants to leave her volcano to the Millennium Dome. "When the volcano erupts, it will cover the dome with lava cooling to stone, thus converting it into a permanent structure at no extra cost." She does, however, warn that the scheme could be unpopular, owing to a general dislike of volcanoes dating back to Biblical times: "Crater love hath no man ..."
"Turn your unwanted volcano upside down in the sea," advises Maguy Higgs, "and catch ready-cooked fish." Fiona and John Earle, however, say: "Turn upside down in the sea to make life less chilly for scuba divers." Norman Foster thinks that small volcanoes would make nice traffic cones. He is, however, currently searching for two identical volcanoes to complete his effigy of the delectable Ms Sian Cole. Tony Chilvers points out that with the addition of a single "E", you can turn Montserrat into "Remonstrate". More helpfully, he suggests having the current volcano plugged by Radio Montserrat. More ideas:
Vindaloo Walnut Whip, Bolt-hole for a dyspeptic dragon, or tee for inter- galactic golf (Peter B Thomas); to provide ashes as consolation for English cricket teams (AJ Brewer); Waste disposal unit (Nicholas E Gough); Rename and twin with Sellafield; (Paul Burns); build honeymoon hotels on them to ensure that the earth moves (RJ Pickles).
Martin Brown sees volcanoes as ideal for thrill-seekers: "Airlift to the top and surf down the lava flow." For added frisson, he says, you can do it without protective kneepads. Peter Lusby Taylor advises placing several volcanoes together inside the San Andreas fault "so that the lava flow can glue its sides together".
John and Renee want to sprinkle it with scented oil to make the largest aromatherapy session in the world, or hang a bulb over the top for the world's biggest lava lamp, or cap with huge plastic nozzles to make giant aerosols.
Finally, a list of ideas from Bruce Birchall: Short-cut to making a "Last days of Pompeii" theme park. Oven for jacket potatoes. As a diversion to disguise a belch at a polite dinner party. A nozzle for piping geological icing on the earth's cake. Crazy Golf for giants. Educational toy to show children how to burst boils in the bathroom mirror. Spittoon for monsoons. Peashooter at passing asteroids.
Prizes to Bruce Birchall, Mary Flavin and Susan Tomes. Next week, things to do with an unknown object. Meanwhile, a recent news item concerned a scientist's diagnosis from the repetitive nature of Ravel's Bolero that the composer was barking mad. What other hitherto unsuspected disorders can our readers detect in the perpetrators of well-known works of art or culture?
Diagnoses to: Creativity, The Independent, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL. Chambers Dictionary rewards for the ones we like best.Reuse content