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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...

Other sports

Eve Muirhead’s rink wins Canadian crown

December 15 2014

Courier columnist Eve Muirhead’s rink have won the first-ever Canadian Open women’s curling championship. Her team defeated Ottawa’s Rachel Homan 5-3 in the final of the event in Yorkton, Saskatchewan, on Sunday night. Muirhead led by a point coming home and counted one more in the final end with a tricky come-around shot to ice the game and avoid giving up a steal. Team third Anna Sloan said: “We knew we had to come out and play really well against Team Homan as they’re such a great solid team. “We just piled the pressure on and it just worked. It was our day.” It is Muirhead, Sloan and second Vicki Adams’ second career Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling title after claiming the 2013 Players’ Championship in Toronto with lead Claire Hamilton. The team also won the bronze medal at the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, in February but made a roster adjustment during the off-season with Sarah Reid coming on board to replace Hamilton. “It’s been a tough season for us, not just being as fluid as we want to be,” added Sloan. “But it’s a new team also and we’re still young so it’s good to grind it out and get the win here.”

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


Robbers facing lengthy jail term after knifepoint raid of Dundee flat

November 28 2013

Two men burst into a flat, punched the occupier in the face and threatened him and his partner with a knife before robbing them of hundreds of pounds, Dundee Sheriff Court has heard. Derek Adam opened the door to the two men and was forced to hold a pillow in front of his face as they threatened to stab him and several other people and demanded money from him, before trashing the flat. Jamie Lee Ottaway, 31, and James Thomas Gallacher, 33, both prisoners at Perth, face lengthy spells in jail after Sheriff Kenneth McGowan deferred sentence, remanding both in custody. The court heard that the two burst into the flat at 58 Main Street, Dundee, on August 23 before assaulting Mr Adam and his partner. They admitted threatening them, brandishing a knife at them, threatening to stab them, damaging fixtures and fittings, and robbing them of a computer games console, two memory sticks, a mobile phone, a wallet and its contents, a lighter and a bag containing a sum of money amounting to £606. Gallacher also admitted that on August 22, at the Lily Walker Centre, Ann Street, he stole a bank card. Depute fiscal Trina Sinclair told the court that both men barged into the flat, forcing Mr Adam to retreat into a bedroom. They threatened him with a knife, shouting: “Where’s the money?” Gallacher was holding a knife with a black handle and a blade estimated to be around two to three inches long, Ms Sinclair said. “Mr Adam was screaming at the accused saying not to hurt him and he would get the money. Ottaway went into the living room and shouted: ‘This is a robbery. We’ll stick it in whoever we need to’.” She added that the accused then began trashing the living room and the kitchen, lunging at the witnesses, who were forced to take evasive action. Meanwhile Mr Adam had shown them a make-up bag containing more than £600 in cash. Ms Sinclair told the court that four witnesses were walking on Dens Road near Isla Street when Mr Adam’s girlfriend came up to them, extremely distressed, and telling them she had been robbed. They went back to the flat and the two robbers were seen leaving. Ottaway was holding the knife and telling the witnesses they “didn’t see anything”. He then offered cannabis to one of them, telling her not to go to the police. Ottaway and Gallacher were traced by officers in Alexander Street and, following a search, the cash and goods were recovered. Solicitor Brian Cooney said Ottaway understood the seriousness of the assault and called it a “complete act of madness”. He said he was completely drunk at the time and “regrets entirely what happened”. Doug McConnell, for Gallacher, said his client was realistic about what the sentence would be but said he was known to the complainers “to some extent”. He added that it was “not a house that was chosen randomly” by the accused as he had been there before in the company of a woman who was a drug abuser. “He had taken Valium on the day and felt he had been due money,” Mr McConnell said, adding, “but he admits he shouldn’t have gone there in the state he was in.” Sheriff McGowan told both accused: “This is a very serious robbery. You both have appalling records and I want to have some time to think about what sentence I will hand down to you.” He deferred sentence on both until December 4, remanding them in custody.

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


Watch: Exquisite volley from miles out lights up US second-tier match

April 30 2018

In football we’ve all dreamed of blasting into the net on the volley from practically the halfway line, but finding a player who has pulled it off is a rare occurrence.For FC Cincinnati midfielder Kenney Walker in the United Soccer League (USL), however, that dream has become a reality – here’s the clip.The 29-year-old’s perfectly-placed strike broke the deadlock in the 68th minute for the Ohio team against Ottawa Fury FC in the US second tier.Cincinnati went on to clinch a 3-0 victory with a further two goals, including another pretty special finish – this one from Emmanuel Ledesma.Poor Ottawa goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau caught off his line not once but twice.Cincinnati’s win leaves them fifth in the Eastern Conference standings with six games played.


Man blind in one eye after attack

June 18 2014

A man who punched an alleged sex offender ended up blinding him in one eye, Dundee Sheriff Court was told yesterday. Father-of-five David Fletcher launched the attack on Ross Ottaway just days after he was accused of showing hardcore porn to young children he had been babysitting. The court was told the “extremely unusual” injury had been caused after Ottaway was punched twice in the head by Fletcher when he tried to buy juice from a shop that Fletcher was working in. Ottaway, who worked as a bouncer, was arrested and charged by police on April 16 last year and is due to stand trial next month. However, after he walked into a shop where Fletcher was working five days later the shop assistant, who had heard of the allegations, ordered Ottaway to get out of the shop. Depute fiscal Eilidh Robertson told the court Ottaway then walked towards a drinks fridge and Fletcher went out and pushed him towards the door of the shop. When Ottaway protested, Fletcher punched him twice in the face. Ottaway was left with horrific injuries which has resulted in him being left blinded in his right eye. Fletcher, 39, of Scrimgeour Place in Dundee, admitted that on April 23 2013, at Lifestyle Grocers, he assaulted Ottaway by repeatedly punching him on the head to his severe injury and permanent impairment. Ms Robertson told the court that Ottaway had been left completely blind in that eye following the attack. She said: “The accused shouted ‘you better get out of here’ when the complainer entered the shop. “The complainer said ‘I’m just here to get juice’. “The accused then went towards the complainer and pushed him towards the door of the shop.” She said as he exited the complainer remonstrated with Fletcher. “The accused then punched him twice, causing instant bleeding. “He felt immediate impairment to the eye and called police and friends as he left.” She said: “He lost the vision in his right eye and there was swelling around the eye. “A specialist registrar said his right globe was ruptured with a complete haemorrhage inside the eye and loss of some of the contents of the eye. “There was also a linear laceration on the surface layer of the eye.” Ottaway was admitted for emergency surgery at Ninewells Hospital. “The injury was described as extremely unusual,” the fiscal said. “A repair to the surface of the eye was carried out and some of its contents were found on the surface. “He has no perception of light in his right eye and has effectively been left blind in that eye.” The plea was accepted on the basis that Fletcher was under provocation at the time of the attack. Solicitor Andy Lyall, defending, said: “This is very much an unusual injury.” Sheriff Tom Hughes deferred sentence for social work background reports until July 1. Fletcher was released on bail ahead of sentencing.

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.


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.