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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…

Dundee

“Support these fantastic animals” — Friends of Camperdown in plea for public help

January 20 2017

A Dundee group of altruistic wildlife enthusiasts have implored the wider public to get involved so that it can continue its work. Founded in 2011, the Friends of Camperdown Wildlife Centre have assisted with multiple projects for the facility, including the building of a vital aviary to preserve two critically endangered Bali starlings. “They raised some fifty percent of the funds for the enclosure,” said the centre’s network manager Bradly Yule. “The Friends had a big influence in the birds coming to Dundee.” “They’ve contributed to projects such as bringing hyacinth macaws to Camperdown. The Friends also run Tayside wildlife group, which is a children’s wildlife club that meets at the centre once a month.” VIDEO: Camperdown Wildlife Centre wishes Brumm, Maja and Brumma a happy bearthday The committee’s numbers have since dwindled, jeopardising the sustainability of the endeavour. “We now find ourselves in the predicament that if we can’t find new members the future of the group looks doubtful,” said committee chairman Art Sangster. Mr Sangster has now asked like-minded volunteers to step forward. “This is an appeal for anybody interested to come and join our committee and have a say in what we use our money for and how we can build up these funds to support further projects. “Come along and support these fantastic animals.” The committee convenes every 4-6 weeks, depending upon the demands of current projects. Those interested are urged to get in touch with Mr Sangster at art.sangster@blueyonder.co.uk or Mr Yule at bradly.yule@leisureandculturedundee.com. (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = 'https://connect.facebook.net/en_GB/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.12'; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk')); Taken on the 20 December, this is Brumma 20ft up a tree. Enjoy! Posted by Friends of Camperdown Wildlife Centre on Thursday, 5 January 2017

UK & World

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.

Fife

Anstruther Fish Bar nets place in Good Food Guide

September 4 2013

The Anstruther Fish Bar has added to its numerous accolades by being included in next year’s Good Food Guide. The Fife eatery, which has previously been named the best fish and chip shop in the UK, joins the most famous restaurant names in the UK in the prestigious book. Owners Robert and Alison Smith said they were delighted to be one of the 11 new Scottish eateries included in the guide. Alison said: “This is fantastic news, not just for our family and hardworking staff but also for our loyal customers who enjoy a visit and blether with us while waiting for their fish suppers.” She said the recognition was timely as the Shore Street shop was just a few weeks away from its 10th anniversary. “This has certainly been the quickest and most exciting 10 years of our lives,” added Alison. As a family, we can honestly say it was never about simply running a fish and chip shop. “Generations of our family have lived and worked in the fishing industry here in the East Neuk of Fife for well over 200 years. “We are very passionate about what we do and living here in the East Neuk of Fife we are fortunate to have some of the UK’s best quality seafood right on our doorstep.” Meanwhile, Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles was named Scotland’s best restaurant and placed 20th in the Good Food Guide’s top 50. The Peat Inn in Fife was ranked 28th in the UK. Tayside restaurants mentioned in the guide were Kinloch House Hotel and Little’s in Blairgowrie, Gordon’s in Inverkeilor, Killie-crankie House in Perthshire, Barley Bree in Muthill as well as Deans @ Let’s Eat and 63 Tay Street in Perth and The Apron Stage in Stanley. Other Fife restaurants receiving recognition are Ostlers Close in Cupar, Sangster’s in Elie, The Wee Restaurant in North Queensferry Craig Millar @ 16 West End in St Monans and The Doll’s House and The Seafood Restaurant in St Andrews.

Angus & The Mearns

Armed gang jailed for eight-and-a-half years after Forfar flat raid

April 29 2015

A gang who carried out a terrifying knifepoint robbery in a quiet Forfar cul-de-sac have been jailed for a total of eight-and-a-half years. Meghann Beckers, Scott Dolan and Alexander Sangster were convicted by a jury of bursting into a flat on Bell Place late on November 16 last year after concocting a plan to steal two off-road motorbikes. The balaclava-clad robbers assaulted the occupants of the flat and Dolan held a knife to one victim’s throat before they were warned they would be stabbed if they attempted to leave or call police. The incident sparked a major police response after the group carried out the raid and sped off on the stolen bikes, which have not been seen since. Amid a heavy security presence, they appeared in the dock at Forfar Sheriff Court for sentencing yesterday. Solicitor Bob Bruce, for 27-year-old Beckers, described as a prisoner at Edinburgh, said his client had “not been dealt the best set of cards”. She had a history of injecting illegal drugs and is now on a methadone programme, the court was told. Mr Bruce said his client could not have reasonably foreseen that knives would be used and threats made. The court heard Dolan, 26, of Don Street, and Sangster, 20, Dundee Loan, both Forfar, continued to maintain their innocence but recognised custody was inevitable in light of the jury’s verdict. Sheriff Gregor Murray told Beckers: “I accept fully you have a troubled background. You have a long criminal record but this is the first conviction on indictment.” Beckers was jailed for two years with a one-year supervised release order to run from the conclusion of the jail sentence. The sheriff told Dolan that, despite maintaining his innocence, the jury had convicted him of a “calculated plan to gain entry to the flat, wearing a balaclava and armed with a knife”. He added:“You held a knife to the throat of one of the individuals. “You have a significant record, including three times being in possession of a knife in a public place. This is an escalation of your offending.” He jailed Dolan for three-and-a-half years, with a one-year supervised release order. Turning to Sangster, Sheriff Murray said: “It is significant you had prior knowledge of the motorcycles and you must have been instrumental in the plans being hatched.” He said criminal justice reports had revealed Sangster’s “fascination with motor vehicles of all kinds”. The sheriff ordered him to serve three years behind bars, with a one-year supervised release order.

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

Rugby

Sangster’s touchline plea finally gets High on track

December 20 2015

Dundee High coach Colin Sangster had that look of a frustrated schoolteacher whose pupils just aren’t listening. “Boys, what are we doing?” he asked aloud as he walked to the touchline in a fair degree of exasperation as an ambitious off-load didn’t go to hand, little more than five minutes after he’d instructed his team to play simple rugby in the difficult windy conditions in Saturday’s BT National One match at Mayfield. High were 12-0 ahead against Peebles, so the situation was far from parlous, and the perception that the wind would help whichever team had it at their backs was only to be disproved as the second half went on. But the plaintive plea from their coach was the signal for High to start executing the basics, and five more tries to add to the two in the first half resulted in a 41-10 bonus point victory that keeps High in the thick of the promotion hunt. “It was a bit disjointed in the first half, but we had 10 players out and perhaps there were a few unfamiliar combinations,” said the coach at the end. “But when we played simple rugby and did the basics well, the scores started to come.” For all the experience peppered throughout the team Ross Lemon was making a rare appearance on the wing, Alan Brown and Andy Dymock at their usual stations it’s a young team that Sangster is nurturing. Although he was already minded to blood 18-year-old Euan Fox, the school’s first XV stand-off who made his debut off the bench last week, he was eventually forced to because of injuries and unavailability. “He’s an Academy player so we were originally told he could play no more than 40 minutes, but I was on the phone for a long time and convinced them to make it an hour,” said the coach. “I thought he did well and was coming on to a game when we had to take him off.” Duncan Leese, stand-off for much of this season and just a couple of years out of his school XV jersey himself, played at centre and scored two tries, showing how well High were able to plug the gaps left by the missing 10 players. Gav Hughan, moved to eight for the absent Dan Levison, also grabbed a brace, his first coming with the first “basics” try, via a series of strong pick-and-gos finally piercing the heart of the Peebles defence after a scorelsss first half-hour. The score that really broke open the game was the one just after Sangster’s plea, when Nick Alston booted a penalty down the line, the Dundee pack with captain Alan Brown controlling operations mauled with real authority, and Dymock was at his skipper’s shoulder for the off-load and score. Brown scored his usual try rumbling over from close range while full-back Mike Brown got the other after a peach of a long pass given the conditions from Alston. High remain third still five points behind Marr who also got their bonus. But with a festive season to patch up the wounded, and a pretty good mix of youth and experience at their disposal they’ve got themselves into great position to make a run in the New Year.

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

Readers' letters

Staying out of Madras tiresome onslaught

December 9 2014

Sir, I write in response to the recent letter by Mr Bill Sangster, headlined “More questions than answers”. I have become quite amused on occassions at the constant name-checking by opponents of the new Madras at Pipeland but have resisted the temptation to get involved in their, frankly, tiresome onslaught. But I cannot recall any letter that plummeted to the depths which Mr Sangster has sunk in his most recent correspondence. Mr Sangster’s comment: “ . . . explaining their relationship with Muir Hermiston is the least the public should expect”, is clearly a deliberate attempt to imply something improper involving Councillor Thomson, myself and Muir Hermiston. Given the public role I currently fulfil, the way in which I conduct myself is important and is particularly important with regard to planning applications. I view Mr Sangster’s letter as a deliberate attempt to defame myself (and Councillor Thomson and Muir Hermiston). That is also the opinion I have had, informally, from a legal source. Let me be absolutely clear, for the record: I have absolutely no relationship with Muir Hermiston; I have never met or been at any meeting with Muir Hermiston; and I wouldn’t recognise anyone from Muir Hermiston if they turned up on my doorstep. I am willing at this stage to accept that Mr Sangster has let his apparent personal animosity towards me and all things to do with Pipeland lead to his misjudgment. I trust and hope Mr Sangster has the decency and humility to publicly acknowledge that he has overstepped the mark on this occasion and withdraw his remarks. An apology wouldn’t go amiss. I await his response with interest. Bryan Poole, Independent councillor, Fife Council. Concerns over school changes Sir, I write to raise my concerns over Fife council’s proposal to reduce the length of the primary school week. I was unable to attend the council open evening on the proposed school changes but I have read the presentation published on the council website. This presentation suggests that annual school teaching hours do not influence student attainment. This is misleading. The 2012 OECD PISA report found that the more time students spend learning in school, on average, the higher their grades. What alternative evidence does the council have that the proposed cut to the primary school week will lead to educational benefits as claimed? Nicola Allison. Meadowside Road, Cupar. Irresponsible birth advice Sir, Improved maternal and perinatal survival was one of the 20th Century’s great public health achievements and to the chagrin of midwives, it resulted from improved medical technology. Midwives fought back by pretending the massive decreases in maternal and perinatal mortality had not occurred and childbirth was always as safe as it is today. This bitter turf war between obstetricians and midwives is a century old but now the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence claims home births are the safest option. While this advice has (small-print) provisos, encouraging women to think they will always be safe at home, miles from a hospital, is absolutely idiotic and criminally irresponsible. John Cameron. Howard Place, St Andrews. Council failing to meet needs Sir, Once again, St Andrews Community Council seem to be out of step with the needs of the majority in St Andrews, with regard to their “great concern” at the prospect of housing on the former New Park School playing fields, as reported in Saturday’s Courier. Instead of asking to have the plans thrown out, they should be asking for meaningful talks to be held with the developers and concerned others, to discuss ways of including the crying need for affordable new-build housing for the town. This would make best use of the land, if available. May I point out that this overgrown field is no wild flower meadow and is not and has never been part of the Lade Braes Walk. It is, therefore, seldom ever visited by anyone other than dog walkers. Although the loss of open space is usually undesirable, in this case, the prospect of affordable housing for St Andrians is the greater need. Joseph A Peterson. Kilrymont Road, St Andrews. Plasticine not just for children Sir, I write as a spirograph graduate (Lorraine Wilson, Courier, December 5), who recently rediscovered plasticine. This was at a “Messy Church” event at Hope Park and Martyrs in St Andrews, where adults and children were invited to make the sort of cups that might have contained the wine miraculously produced by Jesus at the wedding in Cana. What fun it was! So, some months later, I encouraged the adult-only congregation to take up their plasticine and create. You should have seen the results! Rev Caroline Taylor. Forthill Road, Broughty Ferry.

Motoring news

Form an orderly Q for Audi SUV

August 10 2016

First there was the Q7. Then the Q5 and Q3. All have been a phenomenal success for Audi. I’d be surprised if that script changes when the Q2 arrives in November. Audi’s baby SUV is available to order now with prices starting at £22,380. Can’t quite stretch to that? Don’t worry, an entry level three-cylinder 1.0 litre version will be available later this year with a cover tag of £20,230. From launch, there are three trim levels available for the Q2 called SE, Sport and S Line. The range-topping Edition #1 model will be available to order from next month priced from £31,170. While the entry-level 113bhp 1.0-litre unit isn’t available right away, engines you can order now include a 113bhp 1.6-litre diesel and 148bhp 1.4-litre petrol unit, both with manual or S tronic automatic transmissions. Also joining the Q2 line-up from September is the 2.0-litre TDI diesel with 148bhp or 187bhp. This unit comes with optional Quattro all-wheel drive. A 2.0 litre petrol with Quattro and S tronic joins the range next year. Standard equipment for the new Audi Q2 includes a multimedia infotainment system with rotary/push-button controls, supported with sat-nav. Audi’s smartphone-friendly interface, 16in alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity and heated and electric mirrors are all also standard for the Audi. Along with the optional Audi virtual cockpit and the head-up display, the driver assistance systems for the Audi Q2 also come from the larger Audi models – including the Audi pre sense front with pedestrian recognition that is standard. The system recognises critical situations with other vehicles as well as pedestrians crossing in front of the vehicle, and if necessary it can initiate hard braking – to a standstill at low speeds. Other systems in the line-up include adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go function, traffic jam assist, the lane-departure warning system Audi side assist, the lane-keeping assistant Audi active lane assist, traffic sign recognition and rear cross-traffic assist.

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