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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...


Games jam played out well in Dundee

September 25 2016

Dundee  developers have come up with new virtual reality games in just 24 hours as part of a competition. A games jam took place from 4pm on Thursday until 4pm on Friday at Tag Games, resulting in games prototypes with names like Spider Spider, Mouse of Horrors and Terminal Station. The developers also created their own answer to the famous Boaty McBoatface, with a game titled Vanny McVanFace. Virtual reality, a form of technology that simulates a player's presence in a replica of a real environment, is said to be the future of games with some VR versions already present in many living rooms. Tag's marketing executive Gavin Moffat said: "At the games jam, staff split into four teams of four people - a designer, an artist and programmers. "They then had 24 hours to design a game prototype. "You would struggle to design a full game in that time, although it could be done if you're extremely good and the game is simple. "But with a prototype, you could then spend months perfecting and polishing it into a full game. "Some really great ideas can come out of these jam - you have to be creative and work fast. It was a great event. "This time the theme was virtual reality. Virtual reality headsets are already being used but it's difficult to say whether they'll become the default in gaming. "It could be the case that it's popular for a few years and then people get bored of it, or it could remain popular. "However, it certainly has great potential." Over the past 20 years Dundee has become an international hub for games developers with the world's biggest-selling video game - Grand Theft Auto - starting life in the city. Games jam are popular events where games developers get together to brainstorm ideas and create new prototypes within a short space of time.

Perth & Kinross

Perform in Perth competitors shine

March 7 2017

The annual Perform in Perth music festival got off to a flying start with good numbers of spectators dropping in for the opening classes of the two week event. “The piping, pipe band drumming and Scottish country dancing went extremely well,” said festival secretary Michael Jameson. “The adjudicators have been very impressed with the standard.” Mr Jameson said that they had been pleased by audience numbers and stressed that they were always delighted to welcome members of the public. The festival, which runs until March 18, moves from St Leonard's-in-the-Fields Church to the Soutar Theatre of the AK Bell Library for Wednesday March 8. The day involves drum and xylophone classes. On Thursday March 9, in the same venue, it will be verse speaking, Burns poems, prepared readings, public speaking and bible reading. Strings, beginners – 1 Martha Harvey, Kinross PS (88); 2 Caitlin Jack, Craigclowan (87); 3 Callum Newton, Kinross PS (86). Violin solo, beginners – 1 Caitlin Cowie, Invergowrie (88); 2 Maisie Dyer, Wormit (86); 3 Maisie Tares, Morrison’s Academy (83). Violin solo, elementary – 1 Emma Denny, Kilgraston (88); 2 Erin Craig, Fowlis (87); 3 Munro Strachan, Milnathort PS (86). Viola solo, elementary – 1 Kirsty Darbyshire, Milnathort PS (84); Ruaraidh Sturgess, Kinross PS (83); Chloe Vlasto, Portmoak PS (82). Cello solo, beginners – 1 Alistair Milne, Viewlands PS (88). Cello solo, elementary – 1 Logan Reynolds, Letham, Cupar (89); 2 Sophie Evans, Viewlands PS (86); 3 Rhys Plunkett, Breadalbane Academy (83). Cello solo, transitional – 1 Lauren Castle, Perth High (87); 2 Vhairi Jordan, Perth Academy (86); 3 Jack McKay, Perth Academy (85). Double bass solo, transitional – 1 Lucas Snellgrove, Auchterarder (86). Cello solo, intermediate – 1 Alasdair Richmond, High School of Dundee (88); 2 Zoe Burrowes, Morrison’s Academy (87); 3 Lily Heming-Tolentino, Morrison’s Academy (86). Cello solo, advanced – 1 Ben Clark, Craigclowan (85); 2 equal Euan Adam, Perth Academy, and Alexander Broad, Crieff High School (both 84); 3 Calum Macpherson, Kinross High (82). Violin solo, transitional – 1 Jessica Drury, Harrietfield (88); 2 Logan Carlisle, Milnathort (87); 3 equal Niall Skinn, Morrison’s Academy, and Maden Paris, Crieff High (both 85). Violin solo, intermediate 1 Heather Rodger, Perth High (88); 2 Maya Christie, Community School of Auchterarder (87); 3 Lewis Carlisle, Kinross High (84). Violin solo, advanced – 1 Lorna Rae, Perth (87). Violin solo, open – 1 Conrad Ihering, Glenalmond College (88); 2 Lissie Cook, Kilgraston (84); 3 Rowan Heron, Community School of Auchterarder (83). String recital class, open – Conrad Ihering, Glenalmond College (90); 2 Ola Stanton, Kinross High (88); 3 Zosia Stanton, Kinross High (87). Trumpet solo, beginners – 1 Jamie Gorton, Viewlands PS (86); 2 Orin Magee, RDM Primary (85); 3 Lawrence Whyte, Oakbank PS (85). Trumpet solo, elementary – 1 Callum Fawcus, Pitlochry HS Primary (87); 2 Ashton Senior-Twine, RDM Primary (86); 3 Charlie Harvey, Perth Grammar (84). Horn in F solo elementary – 1 Olivia Griffin, Perth High (83).

Farming news

Pupils prepare award-winning burgers

April 26 2018

Meat may be off the menu in Edinburgh schools, but in Perthshire a primary class has helped a local butcher scoop a gold award for its Scotch lamb and mint burgers. Taking inspiration from Alexander McCall Smith’s novel The Perfect Hamburger, the Primary 4 children at Morrison’s Academy in Crieff developed their recipe then created promotional packaging, a poster and a short promotional video to enter the competition run by the Scottish Craft Butchers. The burger was produced by Murray Lauchlan, a seventh-generation butcher at David Comrie and Son. Morrison’s Academy head of primary, Morven Bulloch, said: “The pupils have developed their teamwork and leadership, listening and presenting, problem solving and creativity skills and really brought the project to life by working in partnership with a local family butcher. “Mr Lauchlan guided and assisted the pupils in running their own business and making their own burgers and to win gold is an amazing achievement. “We are looking forward to celebrating this success by holding our own barbecue, to allow the school community to sample the delights of Primary 4’s hard work.” Class teacher Gillian Lauchlan said the children had explored what it means to be enterprising. She added: “Making our own burger recipes and cooking them brought the project to life and knowing the burgers are now being made commercially is so exciting.” nnicolson@thecourier.co.uk


1,400 people apply for work at new Kirkcaldy supermarket

August 28 2013

Demand for jobs at a Morrison’s supermarket in Kirkcaldy has been huge, with 1,400 people chasing the 250 jobs at the store. Opportunities Fife worked in partnership with the supermarket giant which will open its Invertiel store by the end of the year to sift through the large number of applications from people of all ages that came in through its advertising campaign. Councillor Tony Martin, Fife Council’s Ambassador of Youth Employment and chairman of Opportunities Fife Partnership, said: “The fact that Morrison’s were able to tap into the main Opportunities Fife hotline, allowed us to ‘piggy back’ the applications. Out of the 1,400, 250 jobs will be available at the store but we will work with the remainder to identify and secure other opportunities for training and jobs. “Morrison’s has said that this recruitment campaign has been one of the quickest and smoothest ever done for a store. This shows the benefit of all the partners working together. “The biggest impact on reducing unemployment figures in Fife is due to the massive investment made by Fife Council of £5 million over three years in apprenticeships and a further, recurring £1m per year for Fife Council apprenticeships.”

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

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

Perth & Kinross

Furious parent brands staff cuts at Morrison’s Academy ‘an absolute disgrace’

February 26 2015

Teachers at Hollywood superstar Ewan McGregor’s old Perthshire school are facing redundancy. The shock news was broken to staff at Morrison’s Academy in Crieff on Tuesday afternoon, with more than 500 parents informed by email shortly afterwards. School officials say the “small number of redundancies” they are looking for will have no impact on the quality of teaching at the site, where fees top £11,000 a year. The announcement has angered some parents, with one branding the move “an absolute scandal and a disgrace”. One parent said he understood the departments targeted included English, maths, science and PE. He claimed the job losses would be rector Simon Pengelley’s legacy to the school which opened in 1860. “Today I would describe myself as a furious parent and I am far from the only one,” he said. “In the same email that he (Mr Pengelley) announces that departments and teachers are at risk, he says there is good news as the school is creating a new all-weather pitch.” He also said parents had been “issued with what was essentially a gagging order” and told to keep quiet about the redundancies. Asked about the announcement and the parent’s claims, Mr Pengelley said in a statement: “As part of the continuing and prudent financial management of Morrison’s Academy, a small number of redundancies and the contracts of some staff will change from full-time to part-time status from the start of next session. “We have started a period of consultation with those concerned from the departments that have more staff than will be required for teaching the numbers of pupils we will have in the school in 2015-2016. “The staff changes being made will have no impact on the curriculum, the quality of teaching and learning or the provision of co-curricular activities. “Morrison’s Academy will continue to operate at the high level of attainment on which we pride ourselves.” Star Wars actor Ewan McGregor, who is the school’s most famous former pupil, left in 1987 to embark on his acting career with a job as a stagehand at Perth Theatre.

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.