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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...

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

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.

Angus & The Mearns

Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre solves ghostly tale of true love

May 23 2013

An untold love story behind one of Scotland’s most famous military ghosts has been uncovered. On Monday, a wreath will be laid near Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre, 100 years to the day after Lieutenant Desmond Arthur was killed in a flying accident near the base. Tales of supernatural sightings in the years following his death are well known but the identity of a young woman pictured in a locket found in his breast pocket have proved a mystery until now. Curator of the centre Dr Dan Paton said: “Until recently little was known about Lt Arthur but his great-nephew recently provided us with information which gives us a more complete picture of the dashing young pilot. “One of the most interesting facts is that, following his death, a miniature of a beautiful young woman was found in Lt Arthur’s breast pocket. “This photograph has now been donated to the heritage centre, along with Lt Arthur’s diary.” Dr Paton discovered the lady in the photograph was Miss Winsome Ropner from West Hartlepool, who was aged just 14 at the time of the crash. He said: “In these times such an attachment might cause concern but in 1913, when attitudes and behaviour had not changed from the strict moral standards of the Victorian age, it would have been seen in romantic terms and the prelude to marriage. “Miss Ropner went on to marry a man who was also a pilot but she never forgot Desmond Arthur. Thanks to information from Lt Arthur’s great-nephew Nick Arthur and Paul Willcox, the grandson of Winsome Ropner, we now know much more about him as a man.” Display material will now portray the pilot as a pioneer of aviation and the miniature portrait of Miss Ropner will also be put on show. An investigation into the crash began two years after Lt Arthur’s death, around the same time as sightings of ghostly figure at the air station were first reported. Dr Paton said: “These sightings, which coincided with an official inquiry into whether the aircraft’s plunge to the ground was the result of Lt Arthur’s recklessness, caused considerable alarm. “The Court of Inquiry eventually cleared Lt Arthur of blame and, once exonerated, the ghost made one last appearance on Christmas Eve 1916 and then disappeared.” A small party from the centre will lay a wreath on Lt Arthur’s grave at the town’s Sleepyhillock Cemetery next week at the behest of his family.

Dundee

Dundee soldier’s identification disc found 97 years after he was killed

April 4 2015

An unlikely discovery in a field in the Somme has revealed the history of a Dundee soldier until now reported “missing in action”. The identification disc, like a dog tag, of Private Arthur Williams, a Dundee man serving with the Highland Light Infantry and killed on March 25 1918, was found by a tourist in a ploughed field 97 years to the day after he was killed in action. The finder is keen to return the artefact to any family of Mr Williams and has asked The Courier for help. Arthur Williams was born in 1888 and lived on Strathmartine Road, working as a jute carpet weaver. In 1911 he married Annie Reid, a jute spinner from Church Street. He was killed four days into the major German offensive that pushed back Allied lines on the Somme to roughly where they had been before the disastrous first battle in 1916. He was survived by wife Annie and children Mary and Helen, neither of whom had children. After Mr Williams died on the field of battle a small piece appeared in The Courier and his name also appears on the Pozires Memorial, commemorating the missing from the second Battle of the Somme. The memorial contains several unidentified bodies from the battlefield, so it is possible Mr Williams was found. Nicholas Vergette, who discovered the identification disc, said: “Even after nearly 100 years you can walk over fields and woods where the fighting took place and find live or expended bullets, shells, barbed wire and hand grenades that physically connect you with what happened here. “When you get out and walk around the woods and the fields, especially in the ploughing season, it is inevitable you will still come across items lying around. “One of my friends this year found a brass button, which is very personal, but finding a dog tag is exceptional. “It was green at the time so stood out from the brown soil. “Coincidentally my grandfather was a tank commander and was captured at Combles near where Mr Williams was killed on or about the same day Arthur was killed. My grandfather luckily survived the war. “I do hope we can find Arthur’s relatives as it would be a memento I would appreciate if the situation were reversed.”

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

From The Archives

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Tragedy of a child’s death was no obstacle to wicked Dundee criminals

March 14 2018

Possessed by unbridled avarice and wicked indifference, John Kirkcaldy and Alexander Hay prowled Dundee hunting for easy prey and money. They found both when they encountered George Arthur, a sailor with a pocket full of cash – the insurance payout following his child’s death. He got the money that August morning in 1896 and stuffed it in a purse before going to work at the docks. This seems a reckless act and we can only suspect temptation was already at work in Arthur’s heart. At 1pm he was heading home for lunch when two old school friends – Kirkcaldy and Hay – chanced upon him. They invited him for a drink and Arthur followed like a lamb to the slaughter. The trio landed in Todd’s pub in North Tay Street where Arthur let slip about the insurance money, although it is likely the other men knew about it already. Arthur paid for two rounds of beer. He left his drink briefly and when he returned to finish it he became “insensible”, according to his evidence at the later trial of Kirkcaldy and Hay. The second glass “did” for him, he told the court. Arthur said he could stand his fair share of liquor but had no recollection of getting beyond West Port. He told the court all he had to drink that day was a dram at 8am, a half in the forenoon followed by the two beers in Todd’s. Although Arthur had no memory of what had happened after Todd’s, plenty of witnesses came forward to fill in the gaps. A Mrs Miller said she heard a scuffle and saw the accused dragging the sailor roughly. Next they were seen in Balfour Street, pushing Arthur through a crowd of factory workers. His trousers had been ripped and pockets turned out. Kirkcaldy and Hay were challenged and fled. Peter Kennedy, a kindly confectioner, took Arthur home to his wife, where he was found to be penniless and incapable. As Kirkcaldy and Hay were jailed for 60 days, they put on a show of orray bravado, caterwauling to relatives and celebrating their shame.

Fife

A cut above – ‘The manager of the pit used to say there’s mair coal stripped in Jimmy Nevay’s shop than in the Glencraig Colliery!’

December 17 2015

For most of his 95 years, Arthur Nevay has lived at only two addresses remarkably just a few yards apart, in the west Fife former mining village of Glencraig. Yet despite his down-to-earth nature, former internationally-renowned hairdresser Arthur is a cut above when it comes to his in-depth knowledge and passion for social history. Arthur has recently published an anthology of poems by Cowdenbeath miner poet Robert MacLeod (1876-1958), who turned to entertaining after being injured in a mining accident. And when The Courier visited Arthur at his home, it quickly emerged it’s just one aspect of his passionate research with stacks of bound volumes he has produced on local mining history carefully filed in his living room. “MacLeod was a remarkable character, and I was always impressed by the quality of his work,” Arthur said. “When a horrific accident hospitalised him for a year, MacLeod became an entertainer, and in the hey-day of the music-hall, performed at the Tivoli in Cowdenbeath as well as in pubs and clubs. “He sold broadsheets to earn a few coppers, and in times of strife to help soup kitchens, disaster funds, war wounded and other needy causes. “MacLeod lived through two world wars, the 1926 Strike, the Great Depression, eight decades of colliery disasters, and he wrote ‘lest we forget’. “He also raised the moral and spirits of the community, with his droll, witty, ‘one-liners’ that made folk laugh. “His work inspired the late John Watt, whose songs, such as ‘Fife’s Got Everything’ and ‘The Kelty Clippie’ share MacLeod’s irreverent wit.” Among Arthur’s papers, collected from local sources including MacLeod’s relatives, is a letter from MacLeod stating that “lines like these should not be forgotten”. And thanks to Arthur, folk can now enjoy this legacy. The book ‘Robert MacLeod: An Anthology by Arthur Nevay’ was recently published by Grace Note Publications after Arthur’s work came to the attention of Margaret Bennett, an honorary research fellow at St Andrews University and part-time lecturer at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. She was working on an oral history project, ‘The End of the Shift’, about Fife’s industrial past, when she first met Arthur. They embarked upon a shared personal goal to get the work published as a proper book. Born in Kinross in July 1920, Arthur moved to Glencraig at the age of five months when his Dundonian father bought a hairdressing business there in 1921, purchased from a Raith Rovers footballer named Dawson. Arthur had a twinkle in his eye when he revealed his stonemason grandfather helped build the foundations of the Tay Rail Bridge. As a teenager, Arthur wanted to be a compositor in the printing trade, but after being told there were no vacancies at the Lochgelly Times, he devoted his time to the family business. He attended hairdressing classes at Dunfermline’s former Lauder College and after serving with the RAF Volunteer Reserve during the Second World War, he took over the family firm following the death of his father just weeks after returning from the war. With a lifelong association to the Scouting movement, Arthur built up a business of five salons, 75 hairdressers and established a factory in Dalgety Bay producing bulk products for hairdressing salons, and an aerosol plant. He then became a director of a group of 17 companies but decided to move on to a more “suitable occupation”. “I came back to what I had known and became involved in organisation through the National Hairdressers Association, becoming president in the early 1970s,” he added. He was then appointed chairman of the Hairdressing Training Board of Great Britain. “I was the person who signed the NVQ Levels one, two and three certificates,” he laughed. “That was the first time structured hairdresser courses were introduced into Britain. I also sat on the European Union Hairdressers Federation board in Brussels." Growing up among mining families, Arthur recalled hundreds of miners who relied upon his father for a haircut: “The manager of the pit used to say there’s mair coal stripped in Jimmy Nevay’s shop than in the Glencraig Colliery!” * Robert MacLeod: Cowdenbeath Miner Poet - An anthology by Arthur Nevay, is published by Grace Note Publications.

Rocktalk

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.

Opinion

Did I serve up our MasterChef report too quickly?

December 13 2013

I took a bit of a pasting (or should that be basting?) on Thursday night, and it's all the fault of Michel Roux Jr & Co. I wrote and linked on our Facebook pagea quick articlenaming Steven as the winnerof MasterChef: The Professionals shortly after the final concluded on BBC2 at 9pm. An obvious thing to do, and a place for people to discuss the performance of our defeated local hopefuls Adam and Scott, thought I. "Agh! WAY too soon to post this!" thought commenter Anna. She said it was "ridiculous to post the result so quickly." And she was not alone. "Thanks for spoiling it for those of us who have not seen it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" posted Arthur. (That's how many exclamation marks he used. I counted them.) "Thanks for that I haven't had a chance to see it yet... mighty p****d off now!" added Christina. (Thanks for using asterisks Christina. It saves me doing so.) To be fair and why be anything else? I can almost understand their point. Nothing they posted gets anywhere near the venom I direct towards my digital video recorder when it chooses to interrupt a delayed recording to jump ahead and show me how the football match I've spent an hour watching "as live" actually ended. Time-shifting is great, when it works. So why post the article so quickly? Well, there's one very good reason: traffic. That graphic at the top of the page shows you what happened to our visitor numbers right on 9pm. They rose like a well-judged souffl. As an online editor my job is to post content people are looking for, when they are looking for it. And MasterChef has been the gift that keeps on giving for us these last few weeks. It's provided us with more than 40,000 pageviews as we've updated the progress of our local hopefuls week by week. Every time MasterChef has been shown we've seen a spike in traffic to our growing library of articles. This content even prompted Adam Handling's dad to leave a comment and thereby help us answer the questions that were on everyone's lips: where in Scotland is Adam from, and is he actually Andy Murray disguised in a fancy white jacket? So sorry Anna, Arthur, Christina and the rest. While in an ideal world we'd be able to wait an hour, two hours, three hours or however long until you have watched it and given us the green light, we needed to catch Mr Google's eye when he was looking for the newest MasterChef articles to serve to a hungry internet public. As another commenter put it, the only way to avoid a spoiler is to watch live or keep off Facebook.

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