"Take them to the zoo," says Peter Holmes, "or sell them into slavery." Nicholas E Gough suggests that I should "love them unconditionally", and "treat them with respect, raising them to become autonomous", which oddly enough is exactly what I had planned to do with the seashells.
Jean Lawes, however, has given me a better idea: "Sell the seashells as holiday homes by the sea for snails." Neil Staten prefers to "put them all in a large box to provide a hostel for distressed hermit crabs". Another of his ideas is to "place them in lines to act as sleeping policemen to slow down speeding snails racing across pavement cracks on spaghetti suspension bridges".
"Hoard them shellfishly," says Roy Askew, or "frighten them to see if they get shell-shocked". James Hickey sees them as altitude-friendly breast implants, or: "take three seashells, 7ft of steel chain, one padlock and a pack of wine gums to make a waterproof, saltproof and lobsterproof chastity bikini for Ms Sian Cole." The wine gums, he explains, are "just in case we get bored". But Sian Cole herself (thanks for the photos, by the way; you look delightful in - or, to be more accurate, mostly out of - white) proposes using two oyster shells and one scallop for much the same purpose, though she avoids any mention of chastity.
Sarah Alldred wants to use the shells for a Princess Lea wig, or Mr Spock ears, or (using spiral conches) as an imitation Douglas Hurd hairdo, or a cat's cycling helmet. Tony Bremner hopes they are Seychelles seashells which could be sold by the sea shore.
More ideas: housing for homeless snails (John Jones); homes for sea slugs (Luela Palmer); add to overcooked pasta to regain that al dente texture (Duncan Bull); earphones for listening to Vaughan Williams's Sea Symphony (RJ Pickles); for decorating shell suits or for three-dimensional copies of Botticelli's Birth of Venus; to dot over your carpets as a constant reminder of the seaside (Rosemary Bell); for making patterns on the icing of a cake, or making into a xylophone (John and Fiona Earle).
Finally, Maguy Higgs wants to use seashells as a spelling mistake for Seychelles or a ballast for coracles, or a counterweight for sandpaper. Prizes to Jean Lawes, Neil Staten and Peter Holmes. Next week, things to do with compact discs. Meanwhile, several readers have asked for the correct, formal style for addressing a letter to a Creativity column and signing off at the end. Can anyone help? Ideas will, as always, be welcome at: Creativity, The Independent, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL. Chambers Dictionary prizes will be awarded for those we like best.Reuse content