So farewell then, Hale-Bopp. Here's what we should have done with you, and the other comets that pay fleeting visits to our sky.

John Dolan suggests using them to spin-dry space suits, cool drinks, or help improve the Circle Line service. Geoffrey Langley proposes an amendment: "Since the timekeeping of comets is flawless and they need no drivers, they should be fitted with flanged wheels and leased to South West Trains. The fact that they will appear only every 4,000 years or so will not cause undue surprise to passengers." He also thinks that Hale- Bopp, being "fuzzy, temporary and rather dim" would provide appropriate illumination for the millennium dome at Greenwich. "Music provided by the Halley orchestra."

Steve Warner reminds us that the word "comet" comes from the Latin for "hairy star". Or, he suggests, it could be an acronym for Confused Orbit Making Elliptical Trail, or Collapse Of Major's Eccentric Tories. On which note, Duncan Bull suggests renaming the Conservatives the "Hale-Bopp Party", owing to the comet's resemblance to a moribund flaming torch which will shortly disappear for aeons. To preserve political balance, Philip Marlow suggests that the Labour Party should adopt the comet as a symbol, "because Labour governments are seen as frequently as comets and both create an air of expectation before fading out of sight".

Cheryl Bell prefers jewellery to electrical gadgets and proposes shrinking all Comet stores to tiny proportions, then locking them together into a charm bracelet.

"Why should streaking across the sky be tolerated any more than it is across the cricket pitch at Lords?" asks Susan Tomes.

"Hale-Bopp is a famous comet,

So video and CD-Rom it," advises Bert Overton. More ideas in brief:

"Their ability to wipe out dinosaurs could usefully be employed on the ruling bodies of several English sports" (Stuart Cooper). "Lasso it, to give the people of Earth an interesting tour of the universe" (Adrian Banfield). "To transport radioactive waste, media pundits, football commentators and other unwanted garbage into outer space" (Richard Jones). "Heat source for impromptu barbecue" (Jon Torrens). "Attach washing line; collect dried clothes on next appearance (Mike Small). "Hale-Bopp is a prime utility ripe for windfall taxation" (Mike Peart). "Use ice core in celestial gin and tonic, tail as stirrer" (Neil Hudson). "Harness two of them to the front of space capsules for headlamps" (Judith Holmes).

Finally, John and Fiona Earle point out that comets have pioneered bungee- jumping into space. Prizes to Geoffrey Langley, Neil Hudson, and Bert Overton (best rhyme for "comet").

Next week, things to do with sneezes. But now we seek uses for golfers. Ideas to: Creativity, The Independent, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL. Chambers 21st Dictionary prizes for senders of those we like best.