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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...

Perth & Kinross

Neighbouring business warns dilapidated Perth church poses public danger

September 8 2015

People could be hit by fallen masonry from a dilapidated former Perth church, it has been claimed. Alastair Taylor, managing director of Charlie Taylor Hair, Health and Beauty, whose South Methven Street salon faces St Paul’s Church, said the parts may fall from the “complete and utter eyesore” even if new scaffolding is put up. St Paul’s is now owned by James Boyd, legal and compliance manager with the Belfast-based Simple Marketing Global. He has been warned by the council to put up scaffolding immediately or face retrospective charges if they do it themselves. The businessman, who recently took over the pigeon-infested listed building from Edinburgh restaurant chain Khushi’s, faces a race against time after a dispute with a former scaffolding firm. Mr Taylor said staff at the Perth salon have endured looking at St Paul’s Church for years and stressed someone may be hurt with the building not protected at all. “St Paul’s closed its doors in 1986 and has not been maintained since, apart from changes to the roof,” he said. “It’s in a dangerous state now and you have to ask would the council step in if bits started to fall off? “People recently carried out a cull on the nesting pigeons but one of the windows at the back of the building is open so more can come in when they like.” “The new owner had said he wanted to put up fresh scaffolding and make the building secure but he seems reluctant to do so. “I’ve been told he would need to apply for planning permission to develop St Paul’s but part of the problem is that no one knows what is going on.” A spokesman for Perth and Kinross Council said: “Building standards officers have again inspected the building’s exterior and confirm there is no imminent public safety issue. “However, the owner has been notified that unless he confirms new scaffolding will definitely be erected this week, the council will place safety fencing around the building’s perimeter and re-charge the cost to him.” Mr Boyd claimed he was doing all he could with regard to setting up scaffolding. “It’s not easy getting them (scaffolders) to site as I have been let down twice,” he said.

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.

Dundee United

Dundee United confirm departure of head of football Darren Taylor

May 2 2018

Dundee United’s head of football operations Darren Taylor has left the Tannadice club by mutual agreement. Taylor’s departure follows the arrival of United legend Paul Sturrock as first club scout covering England then adviser to manager Csaba Laszlo. The development should not be viewed as any kind of threat to Laszlo’s position. He is under contract to the end of next season so is likely to remain in charge even if the Tangerines miss out on promotion through the play-offs.

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.

Angus & The Mearns

Star Wars fans are to detour to Montrose auction house

May 28 2015

Bidders will hope the force is with them this weekend as an array of Star Wars toys go under the hammer on Saturday. Anyone with an A-Z knowledge of R2D2, C-3PO and their X, Y and B-wings will head to Taylor’s Auction Rooms in Montrose, where more than 100 lots will be on offer. The majority of the toys are from the late 1990s onwards and mirror the growing interest in the space opera during the prequels. Interest in the franchise is once again hot, with the release later this year of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. On auction will be a universal range of action figures, alien creatures, spacecraft, battle packs and models. Many are from the less-revered prequels, but there is also a wide variety of creations drawn from across the Star Wars canon, including the Clone Wars and 30th anniversary releases. Almost everything on sale is from one private seller, in its original packaging and in mint condition. Most of the items will be sold in sets or groups, rather than individually, with estimates ranging from £10-20 to £40-60 per lot.Taylor’s will be open for viewing from 10am to 8pm on Friday. Viewing on the day is from 9am, with the sale beginning at 10am.The lots form part of what is one of Taylor’s largest and busiest sales of the year. Many other toys, model kits and LPs are also expected to attract strong interest. While the majority of the Angus lots are from more recent times, a sale in England on Wednesday showed how the right toys can soar in value over the years. Boxes of unsold and unwanted Action Man and Star Wars toys that lay untouched in a retired salesman’s garage for decades made more than £150,000 when they came up for auction in Teesside. One collector paid £5,400 for a rare Action Man judo outfit, while publicity photos for a Boba Fett toy made more than £2,300 when the estimate had been £40-60. Another bidder even paid £160 for an empty cardboard box in which Star Wars figures had been packaged at the Palitoy factory. When Palitoy ceased trading, sales rep Doug Carpenter was allowed to keep unsold stock. Now 88, he and wife Daphne handed it all over to their son Paul, 51, to sell after the family heard about a Boba Fett figure, untouched in its pristine box, had sold for £18,000 earlier this year. Kathy Taylor, a valuer for Vectis Auctions in Thornaby, Teesside, said: “I cannot believe the amount of interest there has been. She said: “It was unbelievable to see all the boxes coming out with stock that was factory fresh, which hadn’t been opened.” Vectis encouraged Mr Carpenter to throw nothing away, as even factory notes, boxes and invoices have a value to collectors. Ms Taylor said: “Factories sent toys out in what were called trade cartons and these, from the 1970s and 1980s, can be very rare. “For a collector to own a trade carton, even if it is empty, is a big bit of history to them.”