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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...

Readers' letters

Taxis ‘conclusion’ not necessarily the case

June 17 2013

Sir, In the article in Thursday’s Courier it is alleged that the taxis in North East Fife are the most dangerous in Fife because of the lower pass rate in the annual safety checks. What is not mentioned is that the tests for the different areas are carried out at different test stations. The lower pass rate in North East Fife could be explained by the test being more rigorous in North East Fife. A more rigorous test is not necessarily a bad thing. However, if that were the case, the conclusion to be drawn would be that the taxis operating in North-East Fife after passing the test would be less dangerous than those in the other areas. This is the exact opposite of the conclusion reached by the councillors. M Vansittart. Taxi Operator, 6 The Cribbs, St Monans. Misuse of the Electricity Act Sir, Another key aspect of central government’s stranglehold on local planning democracy is its misuse of the Electricity Act of 1989. This gives central government the absolute power to decide applications for power stations over 50MW “in the national interest”. This has enabled Energy Minister Fergus Ewing to rubber stamp four out of every five applications for huge industrial wind farms that cross his desk. Yet wind’s inherent unreliability means wind farms can never achieve their nameplate capacity in the way that nuclear or fossil fuel installations can; the wind industry talks optimistically of an annual output of 30% but the Scottish average is in fact 23%. Deploying the Electricity Act to consent windfarms whose actual output will only be a fraction of 50MW may be technically legal but the Government, like the wind industry, is pulling a fast one. Local authorities are of course “consulted” on Section 36 applications and councillors can object, but an objection triggers a public local inquiry, for which local authorities have to foot a hefty bill. Already cash-strapped, councils besieged with windfarm applications cannot afford to throw away tens of thousands of pounds on a scrutiny process which many feel the minister will ignore anyway. The purpose of the Electricity Act was to enable government to permit the infrastructure necessary to maintain a secure national electricity supply. The irony is that the excessive wind development the Act is being misused to sanction has made our national electricity supply more insecure and expensive than ever before. Linda Holt. Dreel House, Pittenweem, Anstruther. A prime site for turbines? Sir, Re your article headed “Disgraceful abuse of power angers Tory MSP”, I quite agree with the comments of Murdo Fraser MSP. I would suggest that Alex Salmond and the SNP at Holyrood, should lead from the front in this matter, by setting an example of their seriousness, and insisting on the installation of wind turbines to be situated on Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh, in sufficient numbers to power the whole of Edinburgh and East Lothian. Arthur’s Seat must surely be a prime site for wind turbines as it stands well above the city. Or is this a case of Salmond taking a NIMBY stance? Harry Ritchie. Beechwood, Barry. Revealing and alarming Sir, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons has asked for better organisation and resourcing for the rehabilitation of prisoners in Scottish prisons (The Courier, June 11). Very commendable. But his reasons for arriving at this recommendation are revealing and alarming. He said there had been improvements, but it was “dispiriting” to find “a significant proportion of prisoners or young offenders in halls or their cells during the working day.” He said that “some young offenders are still in their beds in the afternoon. Watching day-time television is not, in my view, a substitute for purposeful activity.” Quite so. We had it tougher on national service, we had done nothing wrong and there was no remission for good behaviour! George K McMillan. 5 Mount Tabor Avenue, Perth. So, whose fault is it anyway? Sir, With reference to your article in The Courier, June 13, regarding the financial predicament of the cafes within the Fife Council’s leisure centres, can I assist the relevant committee’s enquiries into the problem? The cafes have to source their supplies from the central store of Fife Council. Any person with knowledge of this establishment, will know the prices charged by this department vastly exceed those of independent wholesalers. Whose fault is that? Fife Council’s. Enough said. Allan Murray. 44 Napier Road, Glenrothes.

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 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.”

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

UK & World

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.


Former councillor and East Fife Ladies chairman Arthur Robertson

November 27 2014

Former Fife councillor and East Fife Ladies FC chairman Arthur Robertson has died aged 65. Tributes have been paid to the father-of-three, who passed away following a long illness. Levenmouth councillor Alistair Hunter said: “Arthur was a true gentleman. “He was a dedicated, hard-working ward councillor and went the extra mile for his constituents. “He was a good friend, trusted colleague, proud dad and doted on his grandson, Dexter.” Arthur Montgomery Robertson was born in Carnoustie. He was brought up in Renfrewshire, attending school in Paisley then Strathclyde University as a cost accountant. He married Sheila in 1972 and moved to Kirkcaldy two years later for a job with Babygro. Arthur and Sheila had three children, Graham, Lynne and Ailsa. In his younger days, Arthur was a Cub leader, enjoying golf, badminton and watching Fife Flyers. He moved to Levenmouth in 1991 after separating from Sheila and later met long-term partner Margaret Wight. A lifelong SNP member, Arthur’s activism was sparked by Winnie Ewing’s speech when she won the 1967 Hamilton by-election. He was elected to Fife Council in 2007 and represented Buckhaven, Methil and Wemyss villages for five years. Arthur was also a committed chairman of East Fife Ladies from its inception in 2000 and was very proud of the teams and all they achieved together.


Piece of mining heritage restored

December 16 2012

A SMALL part of Leven’s mining past has been returned to the town. An old coal cart, lovingly restored after being returned from a national museum, will be put on display. It is the first of 12 such carts that are to be refurbished and placed around Levenmouth to remind locals of the area’s mining heritage. The idea was the brainchild of former councillor Arthur Robertson and one which was commended by Councillor Tom Adams. “I’m delighted that we’ve been able to carry Arthur’s idea through to link local improvement works to our history,” he said. The restoration work was carried out by students at Fife Arts and Crafts Enterprise Training (FACET) in Glenrothes. Andy Brown, woodwork instructor at FACET, said: “The guys have loved working on the carts. “It gives them a great boost in confidence to be working on such an important project.”

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.

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