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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...

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.


‘Are we having a fish funeral?’ Reaction to Dundee woman’s cheese mishap is off the scale

December 30 2015

A Dundee woman has become an internet sensation after publishing text messages detailing a drunken prank which killed her brother’s pet. Taylor Hagan, 20, shared text messages between her and her mum online which revealed details of an incident involving Dairylea cheese and her brother’s goldfish. The messages show that the 20-year-old fed her brother’s fish a piece of cheese after coming home from a night out. She was later contacted by her furious mother informing her that the fish had subsequently died. In a post titled, “I’m a really bad person”, Taylor then shared screen shots of the conversation online, where it has now been shared more than 1,100 times and gained more than 8,000 likes. The messages were also posted by Facebook page, the Lad Bible, leading to Taylor receiving heavy criticism from disgusted Facebook users. During the heated exchanges Taylor’s mum informed her daughter that her brother, Jamie, had woken to find his fish dead. She said: “Your brother now has one dead fish, things like this just aren’t funny, Taylor. You can’t be giving a fish cheese. “I’m glad you’re finding this funny because no-one else is.” Responding to the message, Taylor told her mum: “Jamie was awake and said they needed fed. I was eating a Dairylea slice so thought I would share.” She then asks her baffled parent: “Are we having a fish funeral?” After promising to buy her sibling a replacement fish the 20-year-old finishes by joking that she would only feed fish cheddar cheese in the future. After her post went viral Taylor tweeted that she was now going to take the post down due to the volume of responses she was receiving. Speaking after their conversation went viral, Taylor’s mum, who asked not to be named, said: “We didn’t expect this reaction. “It was just a bit of cheese that Taylor gave to the fish and I’m not sure if the fish choked, but I think it was on its way out anyway.” Taylor’s prank has received a mixed response online, with some calling it “banter” and others branding her a “disgrace” and “immature.” In response to the incident, Scottish SPCA Chief Superintendent Mike Flynn said: “We are not aware of the specific details of this situation. “Fish should only ever be fed food which they are able to digest and is healthy for them. Ideally always by the person responsible for their care.”

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

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


Newspaper archive contains answer to Dundee tank mystery

January 8 2015

The mystery surrounding a tank gifted to Dundee at the end of the First World War has been solved, thanks to a chance find in a newspaper archive. Perthshire historian Mike Taylor had been trying for years to find out the history of the Mk IV fighting machine, without success. The vehicle was one of dozens gifted to communities across the country at the end of the conflict to thank them for raising money for the National War Savings Appeals. Many were scrapped several years later, and today only one remains at Ashford, Kent. The Dundee tank arrived in the city in August 1919 and was towed to Dudhope Park, where it remained until it was scrapped in 1930. Its battlefield past was lost until Mr Taylor found a key piece of evidence in a contemporary article in the Evening Telegraph. Mr Taylor said: “Nothing was known of the tank’s wartime history, but I found an old article about the tank’s arrival that mentions its serial number the key to unlocking its history. “With the serial number it was possible for tank historian Gwyn Evans to trace its history in the records. The tank was one of only 50 built in Scotland by the Glasgow firm of Mirrlees Watson. “In 1917, as part of D battalion of the Tank Corps, it was commanded by a Second Lieutenant J McNiven and was knocked out by a direct hit at the battle of Cambrai on November 20 during the attack by the 51st (Highland) Division on the village of Flesquieres.” Anyone with more photographs of the tank can contact Mr Taylor via The Courier on 01382 575862.


Report into police handling of St Andrews murder case ‘remains under consideration’

June 6 2017

An independent probe into the police’s initial response prior to the brutal murder of a St Andrews woman could yet bring about further action from the Crown Office, The Courier understands. Charles Gordon, 52, was found guilty of murdering his sister Elizabeth Bowe, 50, at the High Court in Glasgow on Friday. The crime took place at her flat in Bobby Jones Place on September 17 last year. But the Crown Office has confirmed that a report into the police’s handling of events before Gordon’s vicious assault still “remains under consideration” after the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) completed its investigation into the case earlier this year. Evidence heard during the trial revealed that Ms Bowe had telephoned 999 just before 8pm on the night she was ultimately strangled to death, to complain that Gordon had stolen her mobile phone, or had taken it and would not return it. At 9.24pm, less than an hour and a half later, Gordon himself then called 999 and told the call handler he thought he had killed his sister – prompting suggestions that greater police intervention that night might have prevented Ms Bowe’s tragic death. A Crown Office spokesman confirmed that PIRC’s report into the police’s handling had been received, and refused to rule out further measures in the wake of Ms Bowe’s death. “We received a report from the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) concerning their investigation into the death of a 50-year-old woman on 20 September 2016 in relation to an incident at a property in St Andrews on 17 September,” the spokesman noted. “The report remains under consideration.” During a recording of the earlier call played to the jury during Gordon’s trial, Ms Bowe was heard to say that she was in a “domestic violence situation” and had told the call handler it was an emergency because she was a “vulnerable adult”. That call, made at 7.59pm on September 17, was graded two, with grade one calls given top priority, and was logged as a theft. After Gordon’s call at 9.24pm, police were first on the scene to find Ms Bowe lying on the floor unresponsive, naked from the waist down, with a dressing gown around her neck and her bra undone. Officers carried out CPR before she was taken to Ninewells Hospital in Dundee. A torn plastic bag, stained with Ms Bowe’s blood, also used by Gordon in the attack, was found nearby. Ms Bowe showed no signs of life but paramedics managed to elicit a heartbeat and pulse and she was taken to hospital, although she died three days later. Gordon, who will be sentenced on July 19, was convicted by majority verdict of murdering his sister by placing both hands around her neck and compressing it, placing a dressing gown round her neck and a bag over her head. Detective Chief Inspector Rory Hamilton, who led the investigation, described the murder as a “horrific attack” on his younger sister. "This incident left the community deeply shocked and while detectives conducted a thorough investigation and made a quick arrest, local officers provided reassurance, assistance and support to Elizabeth's neighbours and the general public within St Andrews,” he said. "I would like to thank all of those who assisted Police Scotland with our inquiries, including Elizabeth's family and friends, whom I hope can now begin to move on with their lives following this conviction."

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.


Taylor a late call for otherwise unchanged Scotland

February 11 2016

Saracens centre Duncan Taylor will make only his fifth start for Scotland as the only change in Vern Cotter’s starting XV for the second RBS 6 Nations match against Wa;les in Cardiff on Saturday. The 26-year-old replaces Matt Scott, who injured a quad muscle in training yesterday, and is promoted from the bench from where he won his 14th cap against England in the 15-9 defeat last weekend. A succession of injuries over the last two years has curtailed Taylor’s involvement with Scotland, but a clear run and some oustanding form for the Aviva Premiership league leaders won him a recall for this campaign. The Scots probably would have been unchanged but for Scott’s training injury, showing Cotter’s belief that they are close to ending the current run of eight successive losses in the Six Nations. Taylor’s place on the bench is taken by Sean Lamont, who stands to win his 102nd cap, second behind Chris Paterson’s record of 109 appearances for Scotland. Wales have named an unchanged team from the team that drew 16-16 in Dublin with stand-off Dan Biggar recovering from an ankle sprain. The Scots have agreed to close the roof of Principality Stadium for Saturday’s evening’s match with heavy rain and wind forecast in Cardiff that day. Team: Stuart Hogg (Glasgow); Sean Maitland (London Irish), Mark Bennett (Glasgow), Duncan Taylor (Saracens), Tommy Seymour (Glasgow); Finn Russell (Glasgow), Greig Laidlaw (Gloucester, capt); Alasdair Dickinson (Edinburgh), Ross Ford (Edinburgh), WP Nel (Edinburgh); Jonny Gray (Glasgow), Richie Gray (Castres); John Barclay (Scarlets), John Hardie (Edinburgh), David Denton (Bath). Replacements: Stuart McInally (Edinburgh), Gordon Reid (Glasgow), Zander Fagerson (Glasgow), Tim Swinson (Glasgow), Blair Cowan (London Irish), Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (Edinburgh), Duncan Weir (Glasgow), Sean Lamont (Glasgow).

Business news

Watch: The Courier meets the makers of Mackie’s Crisps

March 31 2015

Mackie’s Crisps is set to embark on a Far Eastern odyssey as it attempts to build on its status as a luxury brand. Manufactured at the former Errol Brickworks in Perthshire, Mackie’s Crisps have become a popular offering in the Scottish market, competing against other premium brands such as Tyrells and Kettle Chips. The firm was founded just six years ago when potato farmers Taylor’s and ice-cream producers Mackie’s both began drawing up plans to enter the crisps market. Thanks to the Taylors’ expertise in the potato field managing director George Taylor ran TayPack Potatoes and the power of the Mackie’s brand, the company has gone from strength-to-strength since its launch in 2009. While the Mackie’s brand may appear as Scottish as shortbread, the crisps have found a big market abroad. The firm exports to 20 countries, with its three biggest markets currently China, Singapore and Canada. The company is to take part in a two-week trade fair in Shanghai to build on its success. Unlike Canada the only place where the crisps are Saltire-branded it is not expats driving sales. Instead, the crisps are seen as a way of showing off wealth. “We get a far bigger margin exporting them than we do selling them to Tesco in Livingston,” said Mr Taylor. “It is almost a status symbol to say you have got Mackie’s crisps.” However, the cost of exporting to such a distant market is also much higher. The company has even had to invest in sturdier boxes so the crisps can survive being shipped to the Far East. Mackie’s also sells premium crisps in Wales under the Taylor brand, which only uses Welsh potatoes.