Creativity

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It's uncanny. When asked what to do with buttonholes, both Mike Peart and AJ Brewer point out that the European butter mountain could be broken up into small butter knolls. Mr Peart believes this would contribute towards a more equitable distribution of butter throughout the Community. Mr Brewer says that a buttonhole can be worn in a buttonhole.

Norman Foster's local vet uses buttonholes to repair damaged peacocks' tails. Mr Foster's sister always carries spare buttonholes with her to be used as instant eyeliners, while the local WI adorned the cats' eyes in the road with surplus buttonholes, thus contributing considerably to the Best Kept Village award. Leslie Hughes find neighbours' buttonholes particularly useful in Tube trains when you can't find a strap. "Colour them black and send them to Stephen Hawking," says Duncan Bull.

"Buttonholes are meant to be

Soaked in gin and served in tea," (writes Maguy Higgs)

"As they're only filled with air

They have calories nowhere."

John Donnelly wonders whether any readers have noticed the remarkable coincidence of the spacing of buttonholes and buttons. He thinks this could be of significance. Martin Brown says that the most obvious use for buttonholes is to stack them on top of each other, then push them underground as designer tunnels.

RJ Pickles wants to put buttonholes into balaclava helmets, for people with button noses. He also mentions the pearly buttonhole kings and queens one is liable to encounter in an anti-matter universe.

"They're for peeping through at pantomimes, when Buttons sings his risque rhymes," continues Maguy Higgs.

Michael Riggs believes they are invaluable for impoverished explorers who cannot afford a Swiss army knife: just insert, into your waistcoat buttonholes, knife, fork, spoon, screwdriver, tin-opener ... He points out that by adopting this simple expedient, Cardinal Wolsey could have carried 39 Articles in 1571. Or, he says, buttonholes could be used as vaginas for Barbie dolls. (He's hoping for a Sex Education Grant from David Blunkett for that one.)

"Use with string to practise threading a needle," says Lawrence Riley. Nicholas Gough wants to fill them with blue flowers to celebrate someone called Chelsea winning something called the FA Cup. Mollie Caird suggests stringing them together to make worry beads for ex-MPs who no longer need them for buttonholing purposes in the lobbies.

Prizes to Norman Foster, Michael Riggs and RJ Pickles. Next week, curious and entertaining things to do with dust. Meanwhile, we are looking for things to do with electrical plugs. Ideas will be welcome at: Creativity, The Independent, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL. Chambers 21st Century Dictionary prizes for those we like best.

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