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A happy and creative new year to you all - but what shall we do with it? Mike Peart points out that 1996 saw many excellent ideas in this column, and proposes that "1997 should be the year when at least when we resolve to put at least some of them into practice". As a start, he recommends solving BT's problems by introducing a new 01997 code for London, and, as lines get used up towards the end of the year, 01998 will be ready to fill the gap.

John and Fiona Earle, however, have already put their 1997 resolution into practice. They think it's a good year for teaching a Japanese girl to play the bagpipes. Lucy Hutchinson proposes postponing 1997 so that we call all enjoy the millennium celebrations a year earlier. Sean Cunningham has decided to declare it the International Year of the Ostrich "and ignore it in the hope it will go away." Duncan Bull wants to cancel it altogether in order to avoid the "gratuitous global warming" caused by the inevitable hot air of election year. As a compromise, Maguy Higgs proposes washing it too hot and shrinking it to six months. Failing that, she recommends turning it upside down and calling it L661.

"Add the numbers together," advises Harry Karstens, "to get 26, then subtract the first and last digits (26 - 8 = 18) and you get a number equal to the total of the middle two digits. Is this eerie, or what?" He further points out that if you subtract 19 from 97, you get 78, which is the year he passed his driving test. "Can this really be a coincidence?" he asks.

"Add all the numbers together and multiply by two," says Derek Norman, "as a useful reminder of the number of weeks in a year."

"Take the two nines and cut off their supports," suggests James Hickey. Using the `1' as an axis, you carefully place the inverted `7' on to the middle seating area to create the first environmentally friendly numerically recycled vehicle" (detailed plans available). Prizes to Harry Karstens, James Hickey, and Leslie Hughes, who has supplied us with a splendid list of objects to be creative with during 1997.

Next week, we'll be telling you what to do with your left-over Brussels sprouts. Meanwhile, we seek things to do with doorbells (thank you, Leslie Hughes). Ideas to: Creativity, The Independent, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL. Chambers 21st Dictionary prizes for the best ones.