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Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...


‘It saved my life’ supermarket test prevented Fife pensioner’s stroke

April 28 2014

A simple trip to the supermarket saved the life of a grateful Fife pensioner. While picking up her groceries in her local Asda, Anne Clayton stopped to check out a 60-second pulse test being run by NHS Fife. And that minute saved Miss Clayton, 76, from having a stroke. “It saved my life, no doubt about it,” said the former nurse from Kingseat. Miss Clayton was feeling healthy before the quick test, with no symptoms of serious illness. “I would have said there was nothing wrong with me, apart from getting a bit older and tired.” The checks, including blood pressure monitoring, are being carried out as part of a new NHS Fife campaign, Check Your Pulse Prevent A Stroke. Miss Clayton, who has now seen her GP and will see a cardiologist, admitted the results, at first, had been very worrying. “I had slightly higher than normal blood pressure, but at my age it is not too bad. But after I was told I thought that’s it, I am dying now, that was my first reaction. “It was a wee bit of a shock, that’s for sure.” While many people know about the dangers of high blood pressure, few are aware that their pulse can divulge a sinister secret, even if they have no other symptoms of ill health at all. As a retired district nurse, Miss Clayton has much more invaluable medical knowledge than the average person. But even she was unaware an inconsistent pulse could be a danger sign of being at risk. One of the more common causes of stroke is atrial fibrillation, in layman’s terms a change in heart rhythm which causes it to become irregular. It is the cause of around 14% of all strokes. As part of the campaign, atrial fibrillation nurse Arlene Cobban is setting up shop in venues ranging from supermarkets to leisure centres to do the simple but potentially life saving test. Already she has identified four people with an irregular pulse who had absolutely no symptoms. They have now all been referred to their GP. Miss Clayton, who has spent much of her life in Canada, said: “When I was shopping I saw the free health checks and thought that I may as well go for it. “I am so glad that I did. Arlene did the checks and I really thought I would go and she would say it was OK and away I would go as I would have said there was nothing wrong.” But Miss Clayton put that to one side when she considered how fortunate she had been. The thing is, this check caught it at its very early stages and I got something done about it. “I could have had a stroke or a heart attack, but this caught it and I thank it for saving my life. I, for one, am very grateful for this pilot study. It is amazing.” NHS Fife consultant cardiologist Dr Mark Francis has said the initial experience had been very good and patients with atrial fibrillation who had been unaware they had the condition, had been identified, helping minimise their risk of suffering a stroke. Picture by George McLuskie

Road tests

Audi Q2 puts quality over size

March 21 2018

Audi’s Q2 was one of the first premium compact SUVs on the market. It sits below the Q3, Q5 and the gigantic, seven seat Q7 in Audi’s ever growing range. Although it’s about the same size as the Nissan Juke or Volkswagen T-Roc, its price is comparable with the much larger Nissan X-Trail or Volkswagen Tiguan. Even a basic Q2 will set you back more than £21,000 and top whack is £38,000. Then there’s the options list which is extensive to say the least. My 2.0 automatic diesel Quattro S Line model had a base price of £30,745 but tipped the scales at just over £40,000 once a plethora of additions were totted up. Size isn’t everything, however. In recent years there’s been a trend of buyers wanting a car that’s of premium quality but compact enough to zip around town. It may be a step down in size but the Q2 doesn’t feel any less classy than the rest of Audi’s SUV range. The interior looks great and is user friendly in a way that more mainstream manufacturers have never been able to match. The simple rotary dial and shortcut buttons easily trounce touchscreen systems, making it a cinch to skim through the screen’s menus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eQ5p5Z7-Ek&list=PLUEXizskBf1nbeiD_LqfXXsKooLOsItB0 There’s a surprising amount of internal space too. I took three large adults from Dundee to Stirling and no one complained about feeling cramped. As long as you don’t have a tall passenger behind a tall driver you can easily fit four adults. At 405 litres the boot’s big too – that’s 50 litres more than a Nissan Juke can muster. Buyers can pick from 1.0 and 1.4 litre petrol engines or 1.6 and 2.0 litre TDIs. Most Q2s are front wheel drive but Audi’s Quattro system is standard on the 2.0 diesel, as is a seven-speed S Tronic gear box. On the road there’s a clear difference between this and SUVs by manufacturers like Nissan, Seat and Ford. Ride quality, while firm, is tremendously smooth. Refinement is excellent too, with road and tyre noise kept out of the cabin. It sits lower than the Q3 or Q5 and this improves handling, lending the Q2 an almost go-kart feel. On a trip out to Auchterhouse, with plenty of snow still on the ground, I was appreciative of the four-wheel drive as well. The Q2 is expensive – though there are some good finance deals out there – but you get what you pay for. Few cars this small feel as good as the Q2 does. Price: £30,745 0-62mph: 8.1 seconds Top speed: 131mph Economy: 58.9mpg CO2 emissions: 125g/km


‘Poignant’ ceremony will mark Leuchars handover to army

February 27 2015

A “poignant and fitting” ceremony will mark the handover of RAF Leuchars to the army on March 31, the last ever station commander of RAF Leuchars has confirmed. In an exclusive interview with The Courier at Leuchars, Wing Commander Neville Clayton said a 20-minute ceremony would be “small scale” and serve as a poignant thank you to RAF personnel and the community after almost 100 years of history. Confirming the private ceremony would be attended by invited guests only, Wg Cdr Clayton said: “If I was to use one term, I’d probably say it was a flag change. “I’m not going to say it’s as simple as hauling one flag down and hauling another one up. “But you know what? It’s probably not that different. “In a very smart and military fashion, an RAF flight will march on parade and an army flight will march on parade. “The pipe band from here will be here as well. The RAF Ensign will come down and the army flag will go up. “Then they’ll march off again.” Wg Cdr Clayton said his boss, Air Officer Commanding No 1 Group Air Vice-Marshal Gary Waterfall, will attend, as will Brigadier Paul Harkness who is the commander of 51 Brigade for the army. He added:”We’ve all got stories to tell. The AOC really wants to meet the people and thank them for what they’ve done in what have been extremely difficult times for many people. “We are very sad to be leaving Leuchars although the RAF is not leaving entirely. “People have done a great job. Many servicemen have spent many, many years here and Leuchars is by far their favourite station.” Wg Cdr Clayton said the army could look forward to working in what had been the “jewel in the crown” of RAF stations. He will be moving with his family to Washington DC where he will be working with the British Embassy on bilateral defence diplomacy programmes. But the Welshman plans to retire to Fife. He added: “I’m a convert but I absolutely love the area. And I’ve made some great friends. I’ve really enjoyed working with colleagues in the council, in the university. “I’ve made some great friends and have been made to feel very, very welcome. “And that’s why it’s quite nice for those of us who will be here that day that my big boss can come along and thank everyone for their great efforts in very difficult circumstances. And of course for the civilians as well, for those who are moving on to pastures new.” Wg Cdr Clayton said the drawdown of the base and efforts to make it ready for the army had been “quite remarkable when you consider the size of the estate”. He added: “The transition of the station from air to land is going really really well. “Obviously we’ve had quite a few years building up to this and as our presence here has been gradually reducing, we’ve been working very closely with the army to try to minimise the impact on both sets of personnel and their families, and where possible the impact on the locals as well. “It’s been very much a joint approach between the military and the local environment as well, in particular Fife Council and the Scottish Government.” Wg Cdr Clayton said there were still several hundred RAF personnel at Leuchars and this was decreasing on a weekly basis, but the RAF would not be leaving completely as around 50 personnel would be running the diversionary airfield. Also remaining at Leuchars would be the East of Scotland University Air Squadron, 612 Royal Auxiliary Air Force and the HQ of Scotland and Northern Ireland Air Training Corps.

This student took his Tinder profile to the next level by turning it into a PowerPoint presentation

February 21 2018

Standing out from the crowd on Tinder can be tough, but with the help of Microsoft PowerPoint a British student has managed just that – and gone viral in the process.Sam Dixey, a 21-year-old studying at Leeds University, made a six-part slideshow entitled “Why you should swipe right” – using pictures and bullet points to shrewdly persuade potential dates to match with him on the dating app. The slideshow includes discussion of his social life and likes, such as “petting doggos” and “laser tag”, and “other notable qualities and skills” – such as being “not the worst at sex” and “generous when drunk”.It even has reviews mocked up from sources such as “Donald Trump”, “Leonardo Di Capri Sun” and “The Times Guide to Pancakes 2011”.Sam told the Press Association the six-slide presentation only took about 20 minutes to make and “started off as a joke”.However, since being posted to Twitter by fellow Tinder user Gracie Barrow, Sam’s slideshow has been shared tens of thousands of times across social media.So, it’s got the seal of approval form Gracie, but how has the slideshow fared on Tinder? “I’d have to say it has been pretty successful,” Sam said. “Definitely a clear correlation of matches and dates beforehand to afterwards.“Most of the responses tend to revolve around people saying ‘I couldn’t help swipe right 10/10’ but I’ve had some people go the extra mile and message me on Facebook.“Plus some people have recognised me outside, in the library and on dates.”A resounding success.

UK & World

Royal wedding flowers shared out to charities

May 20 2018

The beautiful flowers which graced the royal wedding have been shared out to different charities.Former embroideress Pauline Clayton, 89, a patient at St Joseph’s Hospice in Hackney, east London, described the gift from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex as “lovely”.Hospice officials discovered by chance that Mrs Clayton used to work for the Queen’s dressmaker Sir Norman Hartnell, when they chatted to her after the royal wedding.The hospice, which was founded in 1905, is among a number of charities which on Sunday had a special delivery of some of the white garden roses, peonies and foxgloves which surrounded the royal couple on their big day.The flowers were admired by the staff, volunteers and visitors as they were shared out among the patients and placed in the chapel.Speaking from her room at the hospice where she is receiving respite care, Mrs Clayton said: “If I was her (Meghan) I would have wanted to keep them all with me.”She said it was good the flowers had been reused and donated to charities as “otherwise it would have been a waste.”Mrs Clayton said she worked on the skilled and fine detail embroidery on the Queen’s wedding and coronation outfits.Floral designer Phillippa Craddock directed a team, including florists from St George’s Chapel and Buckingham Palace, to create the wedding displays at St George’s Chapel and for St George’s Hall in Windsor.Kensington Palace has said the floral displays in St George’s Chapel were created using locally sourced foliage, much of which was taken from the gardens and parkland of The Crown Estate and Windsor Great Park.These included branches of beech, birch and hornbeam, as well as white garden roses, peonies and foxgloves.Father Peter-Michael Scott, the hospice’s lead chaplain, felt the flowers were a special gift from the royal couple and noted they had already made several people at the hospice smile.He said: “It (the flowers and the ceremony) connects with a celebration of love and life and in the midst of all that, this newly married couple have been thinking of others and are demonstrating that by donating to others. “It is about the energy of love. We are absolutely thrilled by the flowers and wish them (Harry and Meghan) all the best for the future.”Mrs Clayton said she was 19 when she worked for 49-and-a-half hours on the train of Queen’s wedding dress.Only half-joking, she recalled: “To a certain extent it was exciting and my dad was over the moon. I could not say anything to anybody or else I could have been prosecuted or something at the end of the day.”She remembered working on the design, shrouded in secrecy, in Bruton Mews near Sir Norman’s extraordinary salon in Bruton Street, in the heart of London’s West End. She recalled that “people used to try to rent the rooms in the pub opposite to try to see what we were doing.”The Royal Collection Trust notes that the Queen also requested that in addition to the four national emblems, those of the Dominions of which she was now Queen should also be added to her coronation dress.Mrs Clayton said she worked on the embroidery for lotus flower of Ceylon, which later became Sri Lanka, which appeared on the coronation dress.Meghan wore a five metre-long white silk veil at her wedding which included floral detail representing all 53 countries of the Commonwealth.The bride suggested the design because the Commonwealth will be a central part of the official work that she and Harry are set to carry out.

Motoring news

Join the queue for littlest Audi Q

November 9 2016

Audi’s relentless release of new models continues with the launch of its smallest SUV. The Q2 goes on sale in the UK next week with prices starting at £22,380. There’s an extensive selection of petrol and diesel power trains as well as the option of front or Quattro four-wheel drive. More models will be added to the range later on, including powerful SQ2 and RSQ2 versions. Aimed squarely at a younger audience, the Q2 has bolder, sharper lines and a different shape to Audi’s bigger SUVs, the Q3, Q5 and Q7. Although it’s clearly meant more for buzzing around cities than growling across farmland, cladding and skid plates lend it an aura of ruggedness. Audi is also offering a range of vibrant colours to deepen the Q2’s appeal to youthful buyers. The interior is as plush as you’d expect from Audi, justifying its price hike over similarly sized SUVs like the Nissan Juke and Honda HR-V. The materials are high quality – softtouch plastics, leather on higher spec cars and brushed aluminium trim elements all blended into a smart-looking package. As standard, drivers get a seven-inch infotainment screen on top of the dashboard. It’s operated through Audi’s rotary dial system that’s far more intuitive and easier to use when on the move than rivals’ touchscreen systems. Among the many options is Audi’s excellent Virtual Cockpit - a 12.3in screen that replaces the manual instruments behind the steering wheel. Overall, the Q2 is 4.7in shorter than the A3 hatchback, but Audi says there’s enough leg and headroom for two adult passengers in the back. Boot space comes in at 405 litres – 50 more than you’ll find in the A3 hatchback and rival Nissan Juke, although it trails the Mini Countryman by the same amount. To begin with, the only diesel option is a 1.6 litre with 114bhp, although a more powerful 184bhp 2.0 litre unit will be added to the range soon. Similarly, the petrol engine range is limited for now but will be expanded by the end of the year. The 1.4 litre, 148bhp unit offered now will be joined by 1.0 litre, 114bhp three cylinder turbo and 2.0 litre, 187bhp options – the latter coming with an S-Tronic automatic gearbox. When it arrives the 1.0 litre petrol version will be the cheapest model in the range with a price tag of £20,230. Courier Motoring has yet to get its hands on the car but early reviews have been very positive and Audi looks to have yet another winner on its hands. jmckeown@thecourier.co.uk

Angus & The Mearns

Free tennis afternoon in Arbroath to celebrate hotshot Jonny’s Wimbledon campaign

July 8 2017

People of all ages took part in a free afternoon of tennis on Saturday in Arbroath. The event was organised to celebrate Arbroath tennis star Jonny O’Mara’s campaign at Wimbledon with doubles partner Scott Clayton. The open day saw people of all ages and abilities turn up to try out the sport with coach Ruaridh MacLeod on hand to give advice to everyone from tots to teenagers. O’Mara first cut his teeth at Arbroath Lawn Tennis Club and landed a wildcard entry to the famous tournament’s doubles event. O’Mara and Clayton won their first round match on Wednesday and Saturday’s open day coincided with their second round match against number one seeds Henri Kontinen and John Peers. Unfortunately Kontinen and Peers were too strong for the duo and won 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 to progress.


Organisers promise Leuchars Airshow will be ‘Typhoon-tastic’

September 10 2012

When it was announced earlier this year that 6 Squadron, based at RAF Leuchars, had been given the task of reintroducing the Typhoon aerobatic display, RAF Leuchars Station Commander Air Commodore Gavin Parker said the base was ''extremely proud''. However, for Squadron Leader Scott Loughran, the past few months have been particularly exhilarating. He has had the honour of being the RAF's solo Typhoon display pilot for 2012, performing at airshows and Armed Forces Day ceremonies all around the UK. And on Saturday all eyes will be on the 38-year-old from Largs when he takes to the skies for the solo Typhoon's last public display of the season in front of a home audience at the RAF Leuchars Jubilee Airshow a show which organisers promise will be ''Typhoon-tastic''! ''It will be a pretty poignant day for me because it will be the last public display of 34 I'll have done this season and in front of a home crowd,'' the married father-of-three told The Courier. ''The Typhoon display is an excellent opportunity for 6 Squadron to demonstrate the Typhoon's outstanding performance. ''The display team consists of specialists in mechanical engineering, avionics and weapons and these are the people you will see working on the aircraft at the airshow. ''However, the Typhoon display is just one part of what we do. While you watch the display there are personnel making a valuable contribution in support of operations in the UK, Afghanistan, the Falkland Islands and elsewhere around the world. ''Flying the Typhoon display is both challenging and rewarding and it is a privilege to do it with colleagues who are committed and skilled. It's been one of the most rewarding experiences I've done in my air force career.'' Wing Commander Neville Clayton is the airshow executive tasked with organising this year's Leuchars airshow and he anticipates an ''excellent day''. This year, the emphasis is on celebrating the joint contribution of the armed forces during the Queen's 60-year reign. A number of iconic RAF aircraft past and present will be taking part in the flying display. He said: ''The airshow provides an opportunity for RAF Leuchars to celebrate the RAF at its best, showcasing its wide range of roles and highlighting its rich heritage. ''It is also an important opportunity for the station to welcome its neighbours throughout Scotland and beyond onto the base and to thank them for their support throughout the year. ''In recent years we've hosted crowds in excess of 40,000 people. The airshow is a vehicle through which RAF Leuchars increases the public's understanding of the RAF its roles, capabilities and its people.'' Wing Commander Clayton said flying display highlights would include the E-3D Sentry, Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, Vulcan XH558, The Red Arrows, Hawker Sea Fury, Chinook, Typhoon, Tornado GR4, King Air B200, Tucano T1, RAF Sea King Mk3, RAF Falcons, Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and Gloster Meteor. A special moment to mark the Jubilee is also being proposed, with a Diamond Nine formation by Typhoon aircraft. A large static display with input from the RAF, army and Navy could also be featured. With the official standing up of No 1 Squadron during the airshow, a poignant moment on the ground could also feature when aircraft from one, two, three, four, five and six squadrons line up on the Tarmac. And Wing Commander Clayton confirmed that despite public uncertainty over the future of the RAF base at Leuchars and the proposed arrival of the army, he was already putting plans into place for the Leuchars Airshow 2013. ''I am already working on that basis for next year,'' he confirmed. "It will still be a working airfield next year and I am already planning to run an airshow in a year's time.'' For travel information go to www.airshow.co.uk/visitorinfo/directions and for ticket information go to www.airshow.co.uk/ticketinfo

Angus & The Mearns

Gingerbread tribute to the Wee Red Town

October 14 2013

When Libby Jones was invited by Bank Street Gallery owner Susie Clark to exhibit at her gallery in Kirriemuir, she became intrigued by the history of the town. As well as Kirriemuir’s most famous son and Peter Pan author JM Barrie, she discovered the town had also been home for a time to AC/DC singer Bon Scott, Victorian mountaineer Hugh Munro, and 19th century writer Violet Jacob. She found the town had been a hotbed of witchcraft in the 16th century and is also world famous for its gingerbread and decided to combine all these elements. Ms Jones went on to craft a boxed set of prints, which also doubles as a card game. She said: “This tongue-in-cheek edition of 10 boxes, of 20 cards per box, features Kirriemuir characters presented on a slice of gingerbread on a plate. I have also made a poster featuring all the 10 characters in the game.” Visitors can see images of Edinburgh Castle with fireworks, wildlife such as gannets, and artwork made after a visit to Antarctica. Londoner and master printmaker Ms Jones exhibited work from her sub-zero stay at a Discovery Point exhibition in Dundee last year. Children can see her work Cooking the Climate, a comment on global warming, which consists of a microwave oven and slideshow with rotating polar animals. There is also a fossilised mobile phone in a second installation, Fossils of the Anthropocene an exploration of the traces that might remain of civilisation in 50 million years’ time. She is also exhibiting a selection of her woodcuts, linocuts, collagraphs and screenprints at the gallery. The exhibition runs until November 8 and opening hours can be found on www.bankstreetgallery.org, or by telephoning 01575 570070.