From snakes in grass to one down the pan

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EVER since Adam realised he shouldn’t have taken a rather large bite out of the shiny Golden Delicious proffered to him by Eve, snakes have been none-too-popular beasts.

So what better insult to hurl at your political enemies than to brand them low-down, scaly, slimy snakes in the grass?

That was exactly the term Margo MacDonald used this week to describe her erstwhile chums in the SNP.

Never one to mince her words, the veteran Nationalist made mincemeat out of her former colleagues as she declared independence from the party of, er, independence, when she stands for re-election to the Scottish Parliament in May.

The SNP retaliated by booting the "Blonde Bombshell" out of the party.

"I really hope that good people from all parties get elected," said Margo, before adding: "I will not be voting for the snakes."

But at least Margo hasn’t had the misfortune to come across any reptiles wending their way around her U-bend . . . unlike Edinburgh mum-of-four Angela Gourlay.

Angela got the fright of her life this week when she opened her bathroom door to find a five-foot long snake peering at her, periscope-style, from the toilet bowl.

She paused only to call the police before she ran screaming from her Oxgangs flat and banged on her neighbour’s door . . . where she discovered that Bart, the family’s cuddly Everglade rat snake, had escaped from his cage.

The intrepid serpent had slithered into his owners’ bathroom, taken the plunge down the pan, and paddled his way along the pipes to Angela’s U-bend.

Luckily, Bart is not a venomous viper - although experts warned he could still have inflicted a nasty bite on an unsuspecting bum. Bet that’ll make you think twice before you next visit your smallest room.

Speaking of plumbing depths, what about the Enforcers ticketing an ambulance? As if a hearse wasn’t bad enough. Next they’ll be instructed to slap tickets on illegally-parked coffins . . . the council does, after all, have something of a downer on gravestones.

Anyone who has been lucky enough to dodge paying parking fines because the machine was mysteriously out of order could soon be feeling the pinch with these new-fangled, solar-powered machines .

But they’ll be even less popular with the good residents of the New Town than the Dalek-style litter bins (remember the fuss over those?).

Continuing the extra-terrestrial theme, the new machines have been branded Space-age Invaders, and apparently they’re going to ruin the views of elegant Georgian streets from countless drawing rooms.

Dear, dear . . . but even Daleks and six-foot high Space-age Invaders have got to be easier on the eye than your average over-grown back green. Which reminds me, in a rather tenuous link, that the green half of the city went into post-match analysis overdrive this week after Rangers stopped by at Easter Road.

The visitors took the points and, controversially, the ref sent off Hibs defender Gary Smith in the dying seconds of the match.

Kenny Clark booked Smith for a touchline challenge on Neil McCann but, after he had the temerity to cuss and swear, was sent off for an early bath.

"I felt it was a bit harsh," said Bobby Williamson afterwards, with what has become characteristic understatement.

Maybe Bob’s just getting used to this sort of thing happening - it was, after all, the fifth time this season that a Hibs player has been sent off, and three of those have been during matches against Rangers.

One wonders if the players are still simmering at Big Eck’s defection? Never mind, lads . . . at least you’re still in the Scottish Cup!

Run of Odeon memories never ends

THERE was sad news for cinema fans in the Capital this week as it emerged the Odeon is under threat of closure. Our love affair with the new multiplexes which have multiplied all over the city has left the Odeon competing for customers.

Like most people, I’ve some fond memories of the South Clerk Street cinema - like being stood up in P6 waiting for class-"mate" Simon to watch War Games, and of the Saturday morning kids’ showings. These included a main feature which always seemed to be about a gang of kids on a deserted island trying to foil baddies with the assistance of an unfeasibly intelligent pet dog . . .

Anyway, the best bit was you could go up on stage and tell jokes. My offering at the age of eight, carefully plagiarised from a book at home, was: "What do you call a skeleton in a kilt? - Bony Prince Charlie!" Judging by the groans, a career in stand-up comedy did not beckon . . . but I did get a copy of Flicks magazine for my pains. Then I discovered it was free anyway. Bah!

But perhaps the best memory is from 1984, when my mum wondered why all the statues in the main auditorium were covered in sheets.

Why? Because the film was GHOST-busters, of course!