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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.


Singer and author Sheila Stewart

December 10 2014

Perthshire-born singer and author Sheila Stewart, who sang for an American president and a pope, has died. Born in 1937 into a family of Travelling people, she began her singing career at family ceilidhs before going on to play concerts across Scottish village halls. In the US, the Stewarts of Blair Belle, Alec, Sheila and her sister Cathie received the red-carpet treatment and Sheila went on to sing to President Gerald Ford during the bicentennial celebrations in 1976. Six years later she appeared before 300,000 people when she was chosen to represent the Travelling people during Pope John Paul II’s visit to Scotland. Her mother, Belle, was known as a singer and tradition bearer as well as a songwriter, and her father, Alec, was a piper and storyteller. It was Sheila’s uncle Donald, however, who chose her to carry on the family’s songs and stories. After her mother’s death in 1997 and her sister Cathie’s retirement, Sheila continued to share her family’s songs and stories with audiences at home and abroad. She lectured on Travellers’ culture at Princeton and Harvard universities and for many years sat on the Scottish Secretary’s advisory committee on Travellers. Ms Stewart had arich repertoire of old folk tales and tales of traveller life.

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


MSPs to debate ban on smoking in cars with child passengers

October 8 2015

Legislation that would ban smoking in cars when children are present will be debated by MSPs at Holyrood today. A Members' Bill introduced by Liberal Democrat MSP Jim Hume would bring in fines of £100 for motorists caught smoking in private vehicles while a child aged under 18 is on board. The Smoking Prohibition (Children in Motor Vehicles) (Scotland) Bill has been backed in principle by the Scottish Parliament's Health Committee, the Scottish Government, Scottish Labour, charities and academics. Speaking before the stage one debate, Mr Hume said: "We know that children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of second-hand smoke. "With an estimated 60,000 children in Scotland exposed to the harmful effects of second-hand smoke during car journeys every week, the time for action is now. "Protecting the health of children should never be a party political issue. "The evidence in favour of a change in the law is compelling and I hope to have the support of the whole chamber during the debate today." Sheila Duffy, chief executive of health charity ASH Scotland, said: "This is well-evidenced, popular legislation that will help to protect children's health. "Similar measures are already in place in England and Wales, and there seems to be wide cross-party support for the proposals here in Scotland. "I hope to see this Bill fully supported by the Scottish Parliament and passed and implemented as soon as possible." Sean Semple, senior lecturer at Aberdeen University, said: "Our previous study looked at levels of harmful fine particulate matter during car journeys where someone smoked and found levels were over ten times higher compared to smoke-free car journeys. "If children were being exposed to these concentrations of air pollution when playing outside, there would be a national outcry." Dr Peter Bennie, chair of BMA Scotland, said the legislation was an "important first step" in reducing tobacco harm while Children and Young People's Commissioner Tam Baillie called for it to be accompanied by an awareness-raising campaign to "create the necessary change in culture".

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.


Former Tayside nurse ‘stayed cheerful to the end’

September 25 2015

A former Tayside nurse who battled multiple sclerosis for 15 years has died after discovering she also had cancer. Sheila Low, who had worked as a research nurse at Ninewells Hospital, lost her fight at her home in Yorkshire with her husband by her side. Speaking at her home in Longforgan, where Sheila grew up, her mum, Margaret Anderson, 75, paid tribute to the daughter who “loved life and loved nursing”. She said: “Sheila was a positive, happy girl who loved life despite years of illness and stayed cheerful right to the end.” Mrs Anderson said her daughter passed away peacefully. Sheila, who would have been 50 next month, was diagnosed with womb cancer in June. She attended Longforgan Primary and Harris Academy before training as a nurse at Stracathro Hospital. Her husband, Paul, with whom she had son Connor, 24, is from Brechin and was a policeman at the Edzell US Armed Forces base. After the base closed, the family moved to Yorkshire. The couple celebrated their silver wedding anniversary in May. Margaret and her husband Ian, 78, will travel south for Sheila’s funeral on Tuesday.


Smokers’ children face air pollution like in world’s smoggiest cities, charity study finds

December 19 2013

Very young children of smokers are being exposed to high levels of nicotine intake and air pollution comparable with major industrial smog in cities like Beijing, a study by an anti-smoking charity has found. Ash Scotland tested children aged one to five from 54 smoking households in Aberdeenshire for nicotine exposure, and found all but one had very high concentrations of nicotine in their saliva. Exposure was higher in younger children due to the increased time they spend closer to their mothers. Two children aged three and five were exposed to pollution 50 times greater than peak time traffic in Edinburgh city centre, and around 20 times greater than recommended safe levels. One 32-year-old mother-of-two smoked in every room apart from the children's bedrooms, and also in the car, despite one of her children suffering from asthma. Researchers found air pollution nearly 20 times greater than the World Health Organisation's recommended limit in her flat. She stopped smoking in the car, cut down on her cigarettes and confined herself and her smoking guests to the kitchen, leading to a reduction in pollution levels. A 23-year-old single mother, who works in a hospital, thought she was protecting her five-year-old child by confining her smoking to the kitchen, but researchers found pollution levels even higher than those in the 32-year-old's flat. She said: "I didn't realise how much damage it actually will cause if I keep smoking in the house. It's quite scary. "If I think about the bad things that could happen, like all the lung problems and stuff that I could bring to my son through my smoking, it's not worth it." Dr Sean Semple, of Aberdeen University, who analysed the results, said: "When smoking takes place at home, the indoor air pollution levels are comparable with those measured during major industrial smog events in cities like Beijing and Singapore. "Over 85% of the fine particles and hazardous chemicals in second-hand smoke are invisible and these measurements show that levels of harmful particles can reach very high peaks and that the smoke lingers in the air for long after the cigarette is extinguished." Sheila Duffy, chief executive of Ash Scotland, said: "Around 100,000 children in Scotland are affected by tobacco smoke in the home, with all the health problems that brings. "We know that smoking parents want to protect their children. What we can do is help them to understand how much smoke travels around the home and how long it lingers in the air. "That is why we encourage them to do their smoking outside, and make their home and car entirely smoke-free."

Angus & The Mearns

Animal psychic called in to track down missing cat after Lennon’s lookalike proves red herring

January 23 2016

An Angus psychic was called in to find a missing cat after a lookalike called Tubby proved a red herring. Sheila Butler took the drastic action in a desperate attempt to find her tabby Lennon, who has been missing for a year-and-a-half. The Forfar animal lover thought her prayers had been answered when the Scottish SPCA posted a picture of a feline which looked just like him and she took him home. However the rescued moggy turned out to be a lookalike called Tubby who had been at large for five years. “Tubby was the double of Lennon and had the same markings,” she said. A trip to the vet revealed he was the wrong cat as there was no microchip. Sheila added: “I realised it couldn’t be Lennon and I was absolutely devastated.” Sheila turned to Angus psychic James Cameron for help only for her hopes to be dashed for a second time when he pronounced the feline dead. He said: “I believe the cat is in spirit, as I picked up an image of a cat identical to Sheila’s in woodlands which matched those behind her house.”