creativity a suitable day for making creative leaps

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What to do with 29 Feb-ruary? Mark Walmsley will use the day to make a start on his 1800-page monograph, Sophists have feelings too, which, he says, "will prove that whatever I do on 29 February will be Robin Cook's fault."

"Call it 'Beethoven Day'," says Harold Stone, on the very reasonable grounds that the words "Feb twenty-nine," are perfect lyrics for his Fifth Symp-hony (or at any rate far better than the usual "De De De Bomp)". His other suggestion is that Christmas Day should be moved to 29 February, to ensure not only that the ugly problem of gifts would then only arise once every four years, but also that we would have an extra 65 shopping days to prepare for it.

Mollie Caird points out that some Americans call it "Sadie Hawkins Day", and suggests that we Brits should name it "Stephen Hawking Day" to give us all an extra 24 hours to master A Brief History of Time.

Several readers suggested that 29 Feb should be moved to later in the year, on the grounds that nobody wants another February day. John Leonhardt suggests saving them for when the nation needs a surprise holiday. He recommends the appointment of a Leap Commissioner, to announce the surprise Leap Day at noon on the previous day. "Rename it the 32nd of July," says Frank Card. "This will lengthen one of our sunniest months, and spread the heavy July traffic over 32 days instead of 31."

AJ Brewer proposes splitting 29 Feb equally between 28 Feb and 1 Mar, each day thus having 36 hours, but with the hour re-defined, and special clocks built, so they still have only 24. "This will have the effect of slowing down life for these two days." Traffic and speech would move at a more sedate pace, and the Minute Waltz could be performed in 40 seconds.

"Make it the only day on which morris dancers may perform," says RJ Pickles. Ciarn Ryan says it could be used as a mat to wipe wet and dirty shoes before entering March.

Pat Herbert suggests relocating the Spring Bank Holiday to 29 Feb to increase national productivity. He also suggests "for signing dud cheques in a non-leap year".

"Change it to the Zero of March (coloquially the nilth)," advises Sandy Marshall. That will give us a day zero in the year zero in 2000, thus stopping "all the bickering about the first year of the 21st century."

"Cut it into four, so each year can have a share," says Bill Fowler. Sarah Saegert finds it "amazingly useful that once every four years one can arrange a meeting for the 'same time next month' on 29 January."

Sian Cole wants to move her birthday to 29 Feb, to coincide with the composer Rossini's, and to make her the shapeliest six-year-old on the beach.

Finally, M Joy proposes calling it "'World Day', when all debts are cancelled and old scores forgiven - a day wonderful enough to sustain all humankind until the next 29 Feb."

Prizes to: Mark Walmsley, John Leonhardt, AJ Brewer.

Next week, redundant grandmasters. Meanwhile, we seek uses for worms, in preparation for "Worm Awareness Week", which will shortly be with us. Three Larousse Dictionary of World Folklore prizes await the best suggestions received at: Creativity, the Independent, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL. Have a good leap day.

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