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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...

Obituaries

Dr Ernest Gregson

May 5 2010

Former Fife GP Dr Ernest Gregson, who practised in Kirkcaldy all of his working life, has died at the age of 91. Born in Southport, he grew up in the Lake District and was educated at Gresham School in Norfolk before graduating from Edinburgh University in 1942. After a brief spell at Killearn Hospital near Drymen he served as a regimental medical officer in Italy during the second world war. He married Janet Henderson Lawson, of Markinch, with whom he had three children Kathleen, Peter and Helen. After the war the couple settled in Kirkcaldy, where Dr Gregson become assistant to Dr Charles Irvine-Jones in Nicol Street. With the rapid expansion of the town, he was soon conducting surgeries from his home on Bennochy Road. Happy to deliver babies at home when the district midwife needed help, his practice attracted many of the larger families in the town, particularly amongst Polish and Italian newcomers. He was also appointed a police surgeon, conducting first-aid training for police officers, and acted as judge in first-aid competitions. After Mrs Gregson's death in 1983, followed shortly by his retirement, he married former Errol schoolteacher Violet Hodge and moved to Perth's Dundee Road. After Violet died in 1996, he married Catriona MacLeod, a former headmistress and 1936 Gold Medal winner of the Gaelic Mod. She died in 2000. Practical involvement with Murray Royal Hospital and St John's Episcopal Church in Perth, together with his interests in wildlife, archaeology and the history of the Episcopal Church in Scotland, kept him active. Throughout his life, much time and energy was devoted to the rebuilding of a ruined house close to his childhood home in Lakeland. He spent his last years at Viewlands House in Perth.

Dundee

Footballer rape claim: Court hears woman did not know she had met David Goodwillie

October 25 2016

A woman who is suing two former Dundee United footballers she claims raped her was unaware of who one of them was when she was told by police that they had a DNA finding for him, a court has been told. The accuser was medically examined after police were contacted in January in 2011 and samples were sent for analysis. Detective Sergeant Rebecca Gregson, 36, said: "I am aware the complainer was told about a DNA hit on January 17." She continued: "From what I can remember she was still unaware who that particular male was and was quite adamant that how his DNA was there was confusing. She couldn't understand." Simon Di Rollo QC, for the woman, said police were able to identify the male and the officer said: "Yes, it was David Goodwillie's semen." The former Scotland striker is being sued along with ex-United teammate David Robertson in the action. Mr Di Rollo said: "In her evidence to us she said at one point 'I have never met David Goodwillie'. Is that consistent with what she was saying to you when you were informing her of this?." The detective replied: "Yes." DS Gregson said that at one point police carried out a "cognitive interview" with the woman and explained it was a technique in which the interviewee was taken back to the actual incident to relive it. She agreed there was a gap in her memory in terms of what had happened to her. Mr Di Rollo asked her if the memory was recovered and she said: "No." She said Goodwillie was interviewed but gave a "no comment interview". The 30-year woman is suing Goodwillie and Robertson after raising a £500,000 damages claim at the Court of Session in Edinburgh. It is alleged both men raped the 30-year-old woman in the early hours of January 2 at a flat in Armadale, in West Lothian, following a night out. It is claimed that she was incapable of giving free agreement at the time when intercourse took place. Goodwillie, who is now with Plymouth Argyle, and Robertson, of Bathgate, deny the allegation and maintain that intercourse was consensual. Neither was prosecuted. They claim that CCTV footage shows the woman was capable of walking, holding a conversation and using her mobile phone. DS Gregson agreed that Goodwillie was charged and a report was sent to Crown Office against him alone. Mr Di Rollo said Robertson subsequently gave a statement to detectives in July in the course of which he indicated that he too had had sexual intercourse with the woman. The detective sergeant agreed that up until that point there was no evidence about that. Mr Di Rollo said: "He had, of course, been told he would not be prosecuted in respect of this matter." DS Gregson said: "I believe so." The senior counsel said that a decision was subsequently made by Crown Office that no proceedings were to be taken and she said: "Yes." Anne Marie McKay told the court that she had gone out with friends on the evening of January 1 and went to the Glenmavis Tavern, in Bathgate, also known as Smiths. She said she had never seen the woman in the bar before but knew her through work. She said she was at the bar when the woman fell over into her side. She had later seen her making her way to the public bar. Ms McKay (47) said she was "quite drunk" and added: "Her eyes were quite glazed over and her words weren't like making sense." She later saw her again outside the pub. She said: "She was kind of staggering about and she only had one shoe on." "I called over to her was she OK and where was her shoe. She said that's what she was doing — trying to find her shoe," she said. Ms McKay agreed with Roddy McIlvride QC, for Robertson, that the woman was wearing very high-heeled shoes that night. But she said of the initial incident in the pub: "She was standing still next to me and had come over this way so she wasn't walking." The hearing before Lord Armstrong continues.

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.

Dundee

Tay Road Bridge at 50

August 13 2016

As final preparations are made to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Tay Road Bridge, Michael Alexander speaks to some of those who were involved in its construction and opening. On Thursday August 18 it will be exactly 50 years since the Tay Road Bridge was officially opened by the Queen Mother. Bridge staff will sound the foghorn at 12.30pm to mark the exact moment the royal VIP officially opened the bridge half a century ago. Bunting and flags will be on display if the winds are below 35mph. Commemorations will continue next Sunday August 21 with free events centred upon Dundee’s Slessor Gardens, as well as Newport and Tayport which were inextricably linked with the three-year project to construct the bridge. Highlights that day will include vintage car and motorbike processions, vintage bus trips, and pipe bands. When the 1.5 mile long (2,250 metre) crossing opened on August 18 1966, at a cost of £4.8 million, its design by Glasgow-based William A. Fairhurst was at the cutting edge of 1960s civil engineering. In purely practical terms the 42 columns supporting parallel box girders and a carriageway linked the centre of Dundee with Fife. But whilst largely taken for granted nowadays, the bridge was far more than just a new section of the national road network. The Tay crossing brought a social and economic revolution to Dundee and north Fife, opening up communities to business and tourism and also making it easier for Fifers to commute. Sounding the death knell for the Fifies – the ferries which sailed between Newport and Dundee – the bridge carried 70,000 vehicles that first weekend, averaging out at 6000 vehicles per day thereafter. That compares with 27,000 per day as today.   Monifieth man Ernest McIntosh, and his wife Blanche, both 76, are particularly grateful because it’s thanks to the bridge that they met. Ernest, born a triplet in Beauly, Inverness-shire, worked for two years as a plant mechanic - repairing machinery used in the construction such as motors, engines and cranes. The former Highland hydro scheme worker was employed by the bridge’s main contractor Duncan Logan (Contractors) Ltd of Muir of Ord. He was persuaded to move to Dundee in 1964, inspired by his brother Alasdair who had worked on the bridge as a welder since work began in 1963. Working alongside 300 other construction staff, Ernest shared a caravan at Dundee docks with two electricians and a welder.  But home comforts were scant. “It was a bit wild!” he laughs. “We worked hard, played hard. The first thing that was on the table every Friday night was a bottle of whisky!. The whisky kept the chill away!” With no running water, Ernest and his workmates washed at the former Dundee swimming baths before going out “on the pull” at weekends. It was one such night that he met his wife-to-be Blanche at the Craigtay Hotel on Broughty Ferry Road. Devoid of an orthodox chat-up line, he followed his sweetheart into the ladies’ toilets because he “fancied the back of her head”. "Apparently I had nice hair!" laughs Blanche. He asked her for a dance and the rest is history – they will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary on October 29. Another date which sticks in Ernest’s mind, however is February 8 1965 - the day he saved the life of fellow bridge worker Ian Cameron who slipped on ice and fell into the freezing river. “I was working on this crane and we heard this shout ‘there’s someone in the water’,” he recalls. “I had taken my life jacket off to work in the crane because it was too narrow. People were hesitating what to do. “I just jumped in and held him until the boat that patrolled the bridge came and picked us up.” Blanche, who used to knit her then fiancé balaclavas to stay warm, laughs when she recalls how annoyed she was when his new cord trousers got wet and shrunk. For Ernest, however, there were to be further consequences. “So I’m still in the water holding the guy up, and the boss, Robert Taylor, points at me from the top of the walkway and says ‘My office after you get dried out – you didn’t have a life jacket on!’. Ernest laughs when he thinks back. The young man he saved was most grateful and even invited the couple to his wedding as a thank you. But others weren’t so lucky. During the entire bridge construction project, six were killed in all – including three whose bodies were never recovered after a crane collapsed in November 1965. Ernest’s dedication was rewarded on bridge opening day when he  was tasked with driving Mrs Logan – the wife of main bridge contractor William Logan -  in a red Mercedes from the old Angus Hotel to the docks. “I took her down there but we were soon shuffled aside once I parked the Merc and the Queen Mother arrived,” smiles Ernest, who went on to work overseas on oil rigs for 25 years. Ernest didn’t manage to drive on to the bridge until a few days later. It was Logan’s general foreman Willie Ingram who had driven the first car – a 3-litre Rover - on to the bridge on April 15 1966 – four months before completion. But it was a Dundee student who made history by becoming the first private car driver to cross the bridge from Dundee to Fife after the official opening on August 18 – and he did it with his 1957 Morris Minor 1000  proudly flying the Welsh Dragon, which prompted mock protests from several bystanders. Hugh Pincott, now aged 74, of Plymouth, was a student at Queen's College, Dundee, from 1960 to 1967 reading chemistry . While a student, he was recruited by the then Courier editor to be a lineage man and photographer, reporting mainly on college affairs. It was during this period that he took it upon himself to be the first across – although he kept his mission quiet from friends in case he failed. After careful preparation and more than 28 hours before the bridge was due to open, he loaded his car with provisions and parked up in East Dock Street to wait out the long day and night ahead. He was eventually told to move on by police, only for a sympathetic officer to later ensure he found himself at the front of the queue which officially formed up from 7pm that night. After sleeping in his car, Hugh couldn’t see around the corner to the lines of dignitaries, massed bands and thronging crowds awaited the arrival of the Queen Mother to perform the opening ceremony. As a few young Nationalists put up posters protesting about tolls, there were  a few anxious moments for police after an anonymous phone call then warned about what turned out to be a hoax bomb. But after a fly past, a final polish of his vehicle, and waiting for the Queen Mother to cross, the queue he headed up was given the green light to move at 1.30pm. Accompanied by two press men who bagged seats in his car, he drove up to the booths and handed over his half-crown to  toll collector James Mann. A barrage of photographers captured the moment – asking him to do a ‘re-take’ with an imaginary coin after failing to capture the image they wanted! Alex Campbell, 79, of Bridge of Allan, was a civil engineer with Logans . He had a particular responsibility for the Dundee bridge landfall road network and recalls the “added complication” of building over the Victorian-era Dock Street rail tunnel. “There was great enthusiasm in and around Dundee for the bridge,” he recalls. “Dundee, Fife and Angus had been campaigning for a bridge for a long time.” Alex smiles when he recalls the day a Fifie lost power and collided with the temporary bridge structure. “We had to rescue the passengers!” he laughs. But his memories from the official opening ceremony are a sense of accomplishment at the role played by engineers to improve local lives. malexander@thecourier.co.uk

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

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

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.

Dundee

Dundee adventurer hoping to pluck his banjo all the way to South Pole

January 10 2014

Dundee adventurer Stewart Stirling will be plucking and plodding all the way to the South Pole. The former police officer and Morgan Academy pupil, who recently addressed Dundee Rotary Club, will set off in November in an attempt to follow Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1914 planned route right across the Antarctic region. Sir Ernest’s journey was stopped by pack ice, so the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Centenary Expedition team have “unfinished business” in Antarctica. The team will be taking a special version of the Shackleton banjo with them on the extra-ordinary 1,200-mile trek. Stewart, 49, will be given a Shackleton E100, super lightweight and super tough banjo which will need to be playable at temperatures as low as minus 55 degrees Celsius. The Great British Banjo Company will make the instrument as close to 3lbs weight as possible and it will be made with advanced materials techniques. Stewart said: “One important issue to contend with is that at the South Pole it is extremely dangerous to remove your gloves for more than one or two minutes. “You don’t want your fingers sticking to frets so they are exploring a variety of fretting solutions.” GBBC, one of the expedition’s sponsors, are planning to make 100 of the E100 Shackletons, with one going to the Antarctic and the others available for sale. Ernest Shackleton and his polar explorers had a banjo to maintain their spirits as they sat trapped in the Antarctic ice. The instrument, later valued at £150,000, was brought out each night by the ship’s meteorologist who played popular tunes to entertain the crew during their ordeal. It was one of the last items rescued from the Endurance before it was crushed by polar ice in 1915. The banjo returned to Britain with its owner, Dr Leonard Hussey, and was given to the National Maritime Museum. It featured in numerous exhibitions about the Shackleton expedition and later became the subject of a court battle over its ownership.

Motoring news

Audi showcases raft of new cars

June 29 2016

Audi threw everything it had at the Goodwood Festival of Speed last weekend, with no fewer than nine upcoming models making their UK debuts. One of the most interesting – and affordable – was the new Q2. Audi’s smallest crossover yet, it’ll sit underneath the Q3, Q5 and big ole Q7. It will be available as a front wheel drive or with Audi’s Quattro four-wheel drive system. Under the skin there’s a choice of three TFSI petrol and three TDI diesels, with Audi’s 1.0 litre three-cylinder petrol offering 114bhp, the 1.4 litre four-cylinder sitting below the 187bhp 2,.0 litre TFSI. Diesel options are the 1.6 litre TDI with 114bhp and a pair of 2.0 litre TDIs with 148bhp or 187bhp. It goes on sale later this summer with a starting price expected to be in the region of £20,000. At the other end of the price scale is the R8 V10 Spyder. The 553bhp supercar comes a year after the second generation coupe R8 was released. Audi reckons the new Spyder is 50 per cent stiffer than the last Spyder, and its canvas roof stows beneath a massive rear deck, able to open or close at speeds up to 31mph in 20 seconds. Fuel economy “improves” to just over 24mpg thanks to a new coasting function that idles the engine when it’s not needed. Expect it to cost around £130,000. In between those two extremes are a plethora of other upcoming Audis, including the new S5 Coupe, and the Audi TT RS which first revealed a year ago is hardly new but apparently it had never been seen in the UK before. A couple of Q7s were also at Goodwood, including the Q7 e-tron plug-in hybrid, which returns a claimed 156mpg, and the SQ7 – a diesel with 429bhp. There was also the refreshed A3 range. Audi’s upmarket Golf rival has been given a styling refresh along with a few new engine options. Following a trend for downsizing, there’s a 1.0 litre three -cylinder petrol unit, while a powerful 2.0 petrol engine also joins the range.

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