CG Noel has the broken clock in his car set to 12 o'clock, so that it is always lunch time. He has also tried turning it back, in the hope that motorways will go away. John and Fiona Earle use broken clocks to calibrate stop-watches, stop lights and stop-go economies. Mollie Caird dismantles her broken clocks, using the hair springs in beauty salons to create curls and offering the mainsprings to Yorkshire Water in dry summers.
"Broken alarm clocks," says Jill Warner, "make excellent gifts for people who enjoy a lie-in." Pauline Fleming says they make idea gifts for people who like timeless presents. RJ Pickles bought his broken clock in a second- hand shop. Tony Toombs advocates using the spare hands to get rid of tics. The rest he sees as a headstone for a dead cuckoo.
Susan Tomes says that broken clocks would make ideal civil servants, "as they are guaranteed not to strike. They are also imperturbable, as you can't wind them up." George Tzilivakis says: "With a dozen broken clocks, you could place them in a line along your mantelpiece, and adjust the hands to spell "What's the time?" in semaphore. He also suggests that they could be a useful tick repellent in the summer.
Michael Hyde advises anyone with a broken clock to programme a music synthesizer to chime on the quarter-hours. Tony Bremner suggests hanging broken clocks in groups of six from wire coat-hangers, to be hung in doorways or windows to act as wind chimes in breezy weather. Robbie Jones says they may be used to convince someone you don't like that they are in fact dead. Marginally less cruelly, he recommends training unemployed youths to move the minute hand every 60 seconds on broken municipal clocks, thereby giving them valuable work experience.
Prizes to George Tzilivakis, Tony Toombs, Susan Tomes. Next week, double- sided sticky tape. Meanwhile, we are looking for unusual things to do with cuckoos. Ideas will be welcome at: Creativity, The Independent,
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