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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.

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

Arbroath swimming pool set to re-open

December 17 2014

Arbroath swimming pool is set to re-open on Thursday morning. Angus Council closed the pool twice in November when traces of the diarrhoea bug cryptosporidium were found in the water. A full and independent assessment of the pool and the pool equipment has now been carried out and the council confirmed two water samples have been independently tested as clear. That will see the pool re-open at 8.30am. Council leisure officials have made a plea to follow simple rules to prevent any further risk of an outbreak of the painful bug. They have urged users not to swim if they have had diarrhoea in the last 14 days, to shower before using the pool, and to wash their hands after using the toilet. “If in doubt, stay out,” said a Council spokesperson. “Look out for the pool hygiene information at our pools, including specific information for parents of babies and toddlers.” Cryptosporidium is spread through contact with infected food, water and animals, including person-to-person spread. Outbreaks are commonly reported in association with animals and/or with private water supplies. The cryptosporidium bug can cause diarrhoea, vomiting, stomach cramps and a slight fever. Most cases are mild and improve without specific treatment. However, cryptosporidium infection can produce a severe illness in those whose immune systems are compromised.

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

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.

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.


Inspectors say Victoria Hospital ‘generally clean’ but stress need for hand hygiene

June 7 2011

Staff at Kirkcaldy's Victoria Hospital have been told to wash their hands more often to reduce the risk of infection. The Healthcare Environment Inspectorate (HEI) made the assertion after carrying out an unannounced inspection of the hospital on April 20. While a report detailing the HEI findings revealed Victoria Hospital was generally clean and hygienic, there were some areas identified for improvement with staff hand hygiene compliance a key area. Inspectors toured wards 10 (orthopaedics), 11 (care of the elderly), 12 (stroke), 15 (cardiology) and 16 (respiratory) and pinpointed strengths including support for senior charge nurses from hospital management and involvement of the public in infection control. However, improvement is needed in staff compliance with hand hygiene, while NHS Fife has been urged to carry out risk assessment for patients in isolation rooms who require to have the door to their room open. Chief inspector Susan Brimelow said, "Overall, we found that NHS Fife is working towards complying with healthcare-associated infection standards to protect patients, staff and visitors from the risk of acquiring an infection. "Our inspection highlighted a number of areas of good practice including good involvement of the public in infection control activities." She added, "We expect that all requirements and recommendations will be addressed by NHS Fife, and the necessary improvements made, as a matter of priority." Inspectors commended staff on wards 10 and 12 for their system in which mattresses were unzipped and checked daily as linen is changed. Victoria Hospital was said to be "generally clean" on the day of inspection. However, cleaning hard-to-reach areas such as floor edgings, undercarriage of beds, blinds and curtain rails could be improved.WashingOn ward 10 a doctor was seen not practising hand hygiene and a nurse did not wash their hands after taking blood samples, while on ward 11 staff were seen moving between dirty and clean tasks without washing their hands. The inspection team also observed that it was often difficult to reach sinks as bins were in front of them, especially in sluice areas. Inspectors observed staff leaning over waste bins to wash their hands when they had finished dirty tasks, such as changing bed linen. The report also suggested standard infection control precautions for patients requiring isolation should be tightened. Guidelines state doors to isolation rooms should remain closed, but on ward 12 the team observed two isolation rooms both containing patients with infections with doors open. A staff member also confirmed that it would be common practice to leave the door open, although there was no evidence of a risk assessment to support this. The inspection team also observed staff not changing protective equipment worn to prevent the spread of infection between patients and tasks. John Wilson, chief executive of NHS Fife's operational division, said, "An action plan has already been drawn up, based upon the verbal feedback we received from the inspectors on the day of the visit, and we have been able to make good progress against this in the intervening period."


‘It was awful to see’ NHS Fife investigating more disturbing claims about Victoria Hospital

August 31 2012

An elderly deaf and dumb woman used sign language to tell another patient that she wanted to die because she was so ashamed at the indignity of being unable to make it to the toilet in time during her stay in hospital, it has been claimed. ''One deaf and dumb woman in her late 70s/early 80s said 'I want to go now'. She'd soiled the floor and was so embarrassed she wanted to die and be with her late husband. ''I'm partially deaf and know sign language so was able to communicate with her. But it was an awful thing to see and completely undignified.'' Caroline Inwood, director of nursing for the operational division, said: ''Ward 53 is a well-staffed area and has one of the lowest sickness rates in the whole hospital. Following the move of Ward 19 from Queen Margaret Hospital to Ward 53 there has in fact been an increase in the number of staff. ''The buzzer system in the new building is a 'stacking system' whereby each time a buzzer is activated it is displayed on a panel at the nurse's station and as each buzzer is answered it is cancelled out. The buzzer rings in a uniform manner no matter how many buzzers are activated and this can give the impression that a single buzzer has been activated and not answered. If the patient had inquired at the time this would have been explained to her. ''Patients who are immobile are given their buzzer and asked to buzz when they require assistance and are regularly helped with their personal hygiene. The nurses within Ward 53 are experienced in caring for patients with these problems. ''NHS Fife would refute claims made around personal hygiene needs. Patients with stomas and/or other bowel-related conditions can experience difficulties in managing them. New stomas can be unpredictable and occasionally accidents do happen. No concerns from other patients were brought to the attention of staff. ''With regard to linen becoming soiled we would expect staff to change the linen immediately. Patients are also advised that if they use urinals or bed pans that they inform nursing staff of this so they can be collected timeously. The toilets are checked on a regular basis.'' Jim Leiper, director of estates, facilities and capital services, confirmed laundry for all hospitals in Fife is now done in-house. He said: ''All our linen is washed at temperatures in excess of and for longer than recommended in the national guidance for the laundry of used and infected linen. As part of the process, packers in the laundry examine each article for stains and damage. Articles which are not fit for purpose are rejected. ''A random inspection undertaken in light of the comments raised has shown there to be no issues with stained linen and we are confident that there are no systematic problems. On occasion, it is possible for a small hole in linen or small stain to be missed following laundry. Anything not fit for purpose would be rejected by ward staff." He added: ''We have had no reports of thefts in relation to pillows or linen. There is a continual process of keeping linen and pillow stocks up-to-date and we have sufficient stock within the system.'' The widow sought the help of a nurse to get to the toilet by pressing the buzzer next to her bed. However, after around 20 minutes with no nurse apparently responding, the lady urinated and defecated on the bed and floor and was so upset she signed to a fellow patient with hearing difficulties that she had ''had enough'' of life and wanted to ''join'' her husband who died last year. The heart-rending story emerged this week as another patient told The Courier of her alleged experiences of bloodied and soiled hospital sheets, dried blood on curtains and a stretched nursing staff at ''breaking point'' at Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy. NHS Fife said it was concerned to hear of the issues that have been raised. However, it did ''not believe this to be an accurate reflection'' of life on the wards. Lesley-Anne Cronin (52), who recently moved from Edinburgh to Burntisland, contacted The Courier after reading on Tuesday about two patients including a man with terminal cancer who were allegedly left shivering in their hospital beds after nurses refused to give them extra blankets. Ms Cronin, who works as an agricultural census officer with the Scottish Government, said she ''had her eyes opened'' when she spent 10 days in and out of the Victoria Hospital in recent weeks, including ward 23, to investigate a gastric problem.See Saturday's Courier for an exclusive interview with the chief executive of NHS Fife as he responds to the claimsShe said: ''There was one day the nurse was putting fresh sheets on my bed when I noticed they were still soiled with blood and what looked like diarrhoea. When I said to the nurse, she didn't respond. ''When I was being taken to get an X-ray I was told to take my pillow in case it got stolen in my absence. I was really surprised at this. ''The other thing was all these used soiled papier-mache urine samplers strewn about the toilets. There must have been 20 of them. It was far from hygienic. ''But the worst thing was that if you pressed the buzzer to get help it was normally a 20-minute wait. I was in the gastrology ward, Ward 53, and there were older people pressing the buzzers but nobody came and some had no choice but to do the toilet in their bed or on the floor. There was a real dignity issue. It was awful to see." Continued...


Award-winning Tayside song writer Eddie Cairney immortalises Queensferry Crossing in tune

October 25 2017

An award-winning Tayside song writer who immortalised the 50th anniversary of the Tay Road Bridge in music last year has released an EP which pays tribute to the newly opened Queensferry Crossing over the Forth. Perth-born Eddie Cairney, 65, who now lives in Arbroath, has released an album called ‘Sketches o' the QC’ which includes songs dedicated to the “isolated” workers who were employed during construction and contrasts the old Forth Road Bridge to the new crossing with its wind shields designed to keep traffic flowing during storms. Eddie, who delayed the release of the album due to family illness and bereavement, said: “It's just another quirky album like I did for the Tay Road Bridge. https://youtu.be/Z6BblA_Zev4 “As you can probably imagine, how do you write six songs about a bridge? “I usually end up using a process of creative journalism. I get a few facts or even just a single fact and then I let my imagination take over. “With each album early on in the writing process I draw a blank and think there's nothing here I can write about but there's always something to write about. “You just have to hang around long enough and it comes eventually. https://youtu.be/a9NyQAFjDsY “I just took threads from here and there. I was going to call the album The Queensferry Crossing but thought that was a bit boring so I went for Sketches o' the Q.C. “It introduces a bit of ambiguity. If you Google the name you get lots of drawings of court scenes!” Eddie was inspired to write Columba Cannon after reading an article about the general foreman for the foundations and towers. https://youtu.be/y_y1y8oV7vo Eddie said: “It was the name that got me and that gave me the first line of the song "He is a bridge builder wi a missionary zeal" Has to be with a name like Columba!” Fishnet bridge was set in a meditative light, describing the bridge as a “thing of beauty that looks like a big fish net glistening high above the Forth but it is a symbolic fishnet with the song taking the form of an imaginary conversation with the bridge.” https://youtu.be/dJgsl2WQ5G0   “Midday starvation came from an article which highlighted the isolation of the workers working high up on the bridge,” he added. https://youtu.be/Dme-bfCXHRI “If you forget your piece you've had it and you starve for there's no nipping round to the corner shop for a pie. The article also said that a local pizza delivery firm regularly delivered a pallet load of warm pizzas to the bridge so that was "midday salvation"! Meanwhile, The boys frae the cheese is a play on words. https://youtu.be/phtQ2-Xx1I0 He added: “I read an article that said The Forth Estuary Transport Authority (FETA) could have acted sooner and avoided the costly closure of the bridge at the end of 2015.” Eddie is no stranger to music and song influenced by Dundee and wider Scottish history. In 2015 he featured in The Courier for his efforts to put the complete works of Robert Burns to music. With a piano style influenced by Albert Ammons, Champion Jack Dupree and Memphis Slim, and a song-writing style influenced by Matt McGinn, Michael Marra and Randy Newman, the former Perth High School pupil, who wrote the 1984 New Zealand Olympic anthem, has organised a number of projects over the years including the McGonagall Centenary Festival  for Dundee City Council in 2002. Last year’s Tay Road Bridge album included a tribute to 19th century poet William Topas McGonagall and also honoured Hugh Pincott – the first member of the public to cross the Tay Road Bridge in 1966. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y51tixl9GEs Thanks to The Courier, he also became one of the first to cross the Queensferry Crossing  when it opened to the public in the early hours of August 30.