Talk of the town: Squirrels go nuts over tree lighting

IT'S a problem familiar to everyone at this time of year - you turn on the fairy lights only to find they don't work.

For anyone cursing their luck as they start the arduous task of going through the tiny bulbs to find which one's blown, spare a thought for Tom O'Brien.

The council's head of public safety, he is responsible for the 250,000 LED lights that decorate the trees on Princes Street Gardens, and he has more to worry about than the odd blown bulb.

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"We often switch them on in October to do maintenance and find they don't light up because squirrels have chewed through the cables," he explained.

"They're low voltage so the squirrels usually survive."

Give turkey dinner the bird this Christmas Day

APPEALS which tug at the heart strings are a common theme at Christmas, so it's no huge surprise that residents of the Lothians are being called upon to "save a life" this Christmas.

What is surprising is that they are not talking about the "life" of a person, but a turkey.

The Vegetarian and Vegan Foundation wants people to consider a different option for their Christmas dinner, and even pointed out that passing up on the country's favourite festive meal can also help save your own life.

VVF health campaigner Veronika Charvatova said: "The science is very clear: if you don't want to give yourself and your family an unwelcome present of an extra dose of saturated fat and cholesterol putting your hearts, kidneys and cardiovascular system at considerable risk, then choose a meat-free alternative."

Standing up to the cold

WITH transport struggling to keep up with the onslaught of heavy weather, The Stand comedy club is offering free tickets to visitors stranded in the city because of the big freeze.

Just show your ticket for a missed flight or train out of town, and you will be admitted free of charge all week.

Nice to know there are warm hearts on York Place despite the freezing weather.

Book event Brown and out

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AMID the snow chaos, one event which has not fallen victim to the weather is an event scheduled for Thursday evening to mark former Prime Minister Gordon Brown's new book.

No, the debate planned for Edinburgh University's George Square Theatre has been cancelled for other reasons - namely "parliamentary business", or more specifically the vote on tuition fees due to take place that night.

The event has been rescheduled for February 17, by which time the weather should have cleared up.