creativity : Jane Austen and the rasta porcupine

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"I cannot believe," wrote Wilnard Bernson last week (but we didn't have space for it), "that I am the only person who has been stranded on the hard shoulder of the M6, four miles from the nearest services, in the dead of night, in the middle of January, with ambient temperatures of minus 20F and found a fridge magnet, goggles and snorkel of inestimable value."

But it's corkscrews this week, so we'd better leave him there.

Here is the definitive list of things to do with corkscrews:

Home and Garden: Dressed in a napkin for impromptu puppet show at dinner parties (Ms Chris Wright). Epaulettes for wine-loving generals (Steph and Paul). Rotated widdershins into a cork to get it back into the bottle (several). Support for bonsai honeysuckle or to produce pasta twizzles from damp tagliatelle (Peter Pool). Engrave to use as personalised scratch- card scratcher (Mark Baptist).

Bestial: Helter-skelter for flea circus or water-slide for water bugs (D McNamara). To make subterranean spiral staircases, allowing elderly earthworms to reach the surface with dignity (Mervyn Evans). For boring spiral tunnels in timber as adventure playgrounds for pet woodworms, or false dreadlocks for Rastafarian porcupines (Reg Kilby). Shooting stick or crutch for a Yorkshire terrier (Eric Bridgstock). Attach to rear end of Manx cats with inferiority complexes (J E Shackleton). Gauge to check the twist in pigs' tails or fit to cricketers to produce spin bowlers (Bill Fowler).

Literary: To gouge out Gloucester's eyes in King Lear (Nicholas E Gough). Crucifix for warding off short-sighted vampires (Martin Brown). Buy up entire world supply and sell to BBC to make ringlets for the heroines in future Jane Austen adaptations, or put in blue uniforms and use to guard criminal corks (Libby Jones).

And finally: a corkscrew in one's forehead is excellent for knocking on doors when your hands are full (Des Waller).

Prizes to Mervyn Evans, Reg Kilby and Libby Jones. Next week, tortoises. Meanwhile, we seek things to do with hammocks. All ideas welcome at: Creativity, the Independent, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL. The three most creative entries will win a Larousse Dictionary of Scientists.

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