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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...

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.

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


Dundee band’s cine film mystery solved following appeal in The Courier

May 24 2018

The mystery behind a cine film that is being used by a Dundee band to promote a track from their forthcoming new album has been solved thanks to a recent appeal for information in The Courier. Spare Snare re-edited the 8mm film featuring Dundee and the Tay Road Bridge in 1966, Craigtoun Park near St Andrews and Southend-on-Sea, to fit the melancholy track Grow from the new album Sounds which is due for release on Chute Records in July. Now a relative of one of the families featured in the footage has come forward with details after Spare Snare lead singer Jan Burnett sought The Courier’s help. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1q8NcO6qd_A Retired local government worker Linda Gellatly, 62, saw the recent article in The Courier and recognised two of those in the film as her late aunt Frances and uncle Doug – and then realised she was in the film herself. She said: “I only know the people having a party at the end of the film. I do not recognise anyone else. “The party is held in my aunt Betty and uncle Alex's house in Harestane Road Dundee. “I stayed next door with my mum and dad, Rita and Bob Brown and my gran Maggie Barnes stayed up the road. “Frances and Doug stayed around the corner in Newton Road. “The Barnes family were Maggie Barnes, her son Doug and daughters Betty and Rita. “My cousin Margaret (Frances and Doug's daughter) is also in the film. “My gran's cousin Willie McKenzie is also there. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZhUnBzTS_4 “I'm the youngest in the film. I think I may be around 10/11 so that film would be around 1965/66.” Spare Snare musician Adam Lockhart, who runs the Media Preservation Lab at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee explained that the films (super 8 and standard 8) were handed into the art college a number of years ago by persons unknown. They had been lying around in the photography department for a long time, until a student became interested in them. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyZbb2r1ok4 The student came to him to ask if he could use the films for an art project, so Adam had them all digitally scanned. In the end the student didn’t use them so he decided to make the Spare Snare video with them. He added: “The reels were marked as being owned by a William (Willie) MacKenzie, who was a friend of Linda Gellatly’s family. He appears in the party scene at the end. “Linda said that he never married, so perhaps he didn’t have anyone to leave the films to, so when he died someone maybe handed the films into DJCAD?”

Angus & The Mearns

“He is a miracle, a superstar, a warrior” mum’s pride for little battler Blake McMillan

January 24 2016

Brave Angus battler Blake McMillan is continuing to delight his parents and confound medics with a “miracle” fightback from the brink of death. The Carnoustie three-year-old, born with MECP2 duplication syndrome, was placed on life support after being rushed to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh earlier this month when pneumonia caused a dramatic deterioration in his condition. Thousands of people have been following the toddler’s fight online and his mum Jenny posted encouraging news. She said: “Wow, this boy of mine...I’d say I’m speechless, but I have so much to say. “He is a miracle, a superstar, a warrior. Ten days ago we were first hit with the news that he could die. “We were asked if we wanted to intervene or just let nature take its course. “I didn’t have to think twice, and judging by how Blake has responded, I most definitely made the right choice. “He wants to live and he does have a life worth fighting for, and hopefully, a far brighter future ahead. “He was put on this Earth and in my arms for a reason and I’m so happy that he was given to me. Oh the love and pride I feel right now is indescribable!” Jenny and dad Paul said Blake’s weekend progress had been “far better than expected”. He is on a non-invasive ventilator and, they said, “doing well”. “As always, I am still so grateful for all the love and support we are all being shown, from family, friends and strangers,” said Jenny,. Blake’s fight has helped raise awareness of the rare condition and drawn the support of many, including Dundee FC and team skipper Gary Harkins, through their backing of the #fightblakefight online tag. Meanwhile, a programme from the 1983 derby clash that saw Dundee United win the league at Dens Park is being sold in an online action to raise money for the Blake McMillan Trust.

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.

Readers' letters

Council tax changes raise many questions

March 7 2016

Sir, - In 2004 John Swinney said he would axe the council tax. In 2007 NicolaSturgeon said the “hated” council tax was beyond reform. In 2007 and 2011 Alex Salmond said in the SNP’s manifestos he would scrap the council tax. After nine years ingovernment, five of them with a commanding majority, NicolaSturgeon has decided to keep the council tax with minor modifications. The council tax will remain regressive, but a system of means-tested benefits and increases in the higher bands will make it slightly less unfair. These changes introduce many anomalies. Kezia Dugdale has said that as she earns £60,000 and lives in a Band D property she will pay nothing extra, but is willing to do so. Conversely, a hardworking family living on just above average income in a Band Eproperty will see their council tax increase by more than £100 per year. These changes will raise an extra£100 million next year. That is great, but looks a little insubstantialcompared to the £400m of cuts forced on councils by the SNP. What the SNP isoffering is not nearly enough to deliver the transformation in public services Scotland needs. It will simply helpmanage the decline. As ever, the SNP are trying to perpetuate the myth that we can have more teachers and less potholes by timidlytinkering with ourrevenue raising powers. Dr Scott Arthur. 27 Buckstone Gardens, Edinburgh. Populist move from Sturgeon Sir, - Nicola Sturgeon had the opportunity to be radical in revising Scotland’s council tax system but, with an eye on May’s elections, chose to tinker around the edges. Rather than link local taxation to income tax and ability to pay, she crudely increases higher rate council tax bands, directly targeting families in areas such asAberdeen, Edinburgh, East Lothian andGlasgow’s leafycommuter towns and suburbs, already hit by disproportionately high levels of Land and Buildings Transcation Tax. Ms Sturgeon knows SNP support is weaker in these communities than the nationalist heartlands of inner cityGlasgow and Dundee and even weaker for independence. The nationalist leader has made certain her council tax changes won’t lose her votes. Then Ms Sturgeon leaves local authorities to dispense additional up to 3% across-the-board increases - so next April they’ll be perceived as the villains by SNPsupporters. Again Ms Sturgeon looks to the election by promising the £100m extra tax generated will go on education. A populist sentiment but will we ever really see direct evidence of this money being spent on reversing the damage done by the SNP to our children’s literacy and numeracy rates? Ms Sturgeon’s tax changes aren’t designed to be progressive. Instead they targetfamilies most opposed to her UK break-up dreams. Martin Redfern. 4 Royal Circus, Edinburgh. Economic wrongs go back decades Sir, - Alan Hinnrichs (March 2) gives his usual one-sided analysis of UK economic performance and its recent history. The reason that so many manufacturing and heavy industry jobs were offshored had little to do with Tory Party plotting and was the result of the UK becoming a member of various trade andgovernance bodies such as the WTO and, of course, the EU where national protectionism was outlawed. The reality then was that countries with much lower wage rates than the UK were able toproduce similar products at much lower prices. This was a factor ignored by the UK trades union movement that encouraged strikes in pursuit of ever-increasing benefits for itsmembership, resulting in an ever-worseningcompetitive position for UK manufacturing. Manufacturingcapacity was reduced either through companies closing down, or through relocating their manufacturing processes to countries where the lower production costs would enable the UK company to be once again competitive in the global market. It is no use for MrHinnrichs to argue some high moral imperative while, at the same time, we remain constrained by membership of various global political clubs and at a time whenshoppers are inclined towards buying produce at the lowest price,irrespective of where it is produced. This is not some failure by the current Chancellor of the Exchequer. Rather it is theculmination of a series of Government blunders and blinkered trades unionism dating back over the past 50 years. The fact that the UK economy is now overly focused on the finance sector is simply due to the fact that other countries (excluding the US) have not yet caught up with our highly successful sector expertise and when they do, we may very well see a similar effect to that seen in the manufacturing sector. Derek Farmer. Knightsward Farm, Anstruther. Perth can learn from... Perth Sir, - Never mind the referendum. There are important celebrations in Perth, WesternAustralia. This month has seen the opening, at last, of the Elizabeth Quay in our namesake city. This great marinaillustrates what sort of opportunity we could seize too in Perth,Scotland. Moreover, there has already been anunofficial name change of Perth’s latest attraction to Betty’s Jetty. Could we achieve our own Betty’s Jetty on the Tay at Perth? Andrew Dundas. 34 Ross Avenue, Perth. MPs are no rays of sunshine Sir, - Whenever I see SNP MPs such as Angus Robertson, Pete Wishart and the rest on television from the House ofCommons chamber, Iam reminded of the words of PG Wodehouse, who said: “It is neverdifficult to distinguish between a Scotsman with a grievance and a ray of sunshine.” Donald Lewis. Pine Cottage, Beech Hill, Gifford. Brexit? Fine, but then what? Sir, - The Brexiters have signed up political celebs from BorisJohnson to George Galloway along with yesterday’s men like Iain Duncan Smith, David Owen and Michael Howard. They all agree the EU is a very bad thing but even the more thoughtful of this troupe such as Michael Gove are a bit vague on the consequences of leaving. The fact is there is no possibility of anotherreferendum and article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty rules out the idea that the UK could return toBrussels and demand a lot more. Brexit would not allow us free entry to Europe’s giant souk we would have to pay for access, accept free movement of labour and will have no influence over rules. We Scots have already been through a referendum contest when we were promised the moon but in the end we settled for the earth. Was this Project Fear or Project Common Sense? Dr John Cameron. 10 Howard Place, St Andrews.

Readers' letters

February 11: Is political obstinacy the barrier to taking a sensible line on power generation?

February 11 2012

Today's letters to The Courier. Sir, - I never thought I would find myself in the same camp as the awesome and awful Donald Trump, but he has got one thing right it is worrying that Scotland is depending more and more on tourism as the saviour of the economy. There is nothing wrong with tourism it has led to an enormous upsurge in the quality of restaurants, hotels, etc but it is manufacturing that is going to pay the bills, and that is going down rather than up. Westminster and Edinburgh plug green power for all it is worth, resulting in the ruination of many magnificent landscapes with pylons and windfarms in direct contrast to what is desired by the tourist industry. Many of your readers have put far better than I am able how inefficient wind power is. Much more worrying is how likely it is that we are going to run out of power altogether and become reliant on European neighbours, who have more sense than we do, for necessary imported power. Nobody in Britain is investing in new and proper power stations. We have under Scotland about a 500-year supply of coal. We also have the technology to extract cleanly electric power from this coal. Why are we not doing the sensible thing and creating thousands of jobs in extracting and using this coal and becoming a massive exporter of power? Political obstinacy? Flexible thinking, it seems, is highly regarded in every area, except where it involves a politician doing a u-turn. Robert Lightband.Clepington Court,Dundee. Rugby club finances are in robust health Sir, - I refer to the article published in The Courier on February 6, reporting Cupar Community Council's support of Howe of Fife RFC's efforts to explore the possibility of it creating clubhouse facilities at Duffus Park, Cupar. The club welcomes the community council's support of this venture. However, the comments in the article attributed to its chairman, Canon Pat McInally, as regards the club's financial integrity were wholly inaccurate. Howe of Fife RFC is not, and never has been "...just about bankrupt..." as Canon McInally was quoted as saying. To the contrary, the finances of the rugby club are in robust health with its clubhouse operation trading profitably. I am sure that neither Canon McInally, nor any of the members of the community council, would have intended to cast doubt on the club's financial well-being, but, that, unfortunately, is what the article has achieved. In these circumstances, it is important that the record be set straight in order to allay any unfounded concerns that may have been raised amongst both the club's membership and the general public. Over many years Howe of Fife RFC has built a deserved reputation as a force in developing youth rugby. The project currently under consideration is driven by the club's ambition to build on that reputation and, ultimately, if possible, to provide improved facilities for all its members, but, in particular, the youth of the club. David Harley.President,Howe of Fife RFC. Where is the evidence? Sir, - Isn't living in Scotland interesting? Despite 75% of the electorate declining to vote SNP last May and the referendum being at least two years away, Ian Angus claims in his letter (February 8) that Mr Salmond has a "mandate for independence"! As if that's not enough he has decided that those who choose not to vote in the referendum must be opposed to the union, so a vote of less than 50% for independence will give the "green light" to go ahead with negotiations. Where on earth does he get the evidence for these statements? Kenn McLeod.70 Ralston Drive,Kirkcaldy. Memories of Willie Logan Sir, - The article on the 50th anniversary of Loganair brought back memories of founder, Willie Logan. In the early 1960s my parents lived in Magdalen Yard Road, overlooking the Riverside Drive airstrip. Blazing oil drums lining the grass runway often announced the early morning arrival of Willie to inspect work on the Tay Road Bridge. I worked for a spell then at Caird's in Reform Street, and on occasions there would be a hammering on the door before opening time, as he came post-haste from Riverside looking for a quick haircut! John Crichton.6 Northampton Place,Forfar. The road is not to blame Sir, - I refer to an article you ran on the front page quite recently, Shock at speeders on the A9. As an ex-driving examiner and member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, I know the A9 having used it for years and have experienced some dreadful acts of overtaking at speeds over the limit. I certainly do not blame the road. All roads are safe without traffic. Neil G. Sinclair.St Martins, Balbeggie,Perthshire. Poor response Sir, - Further to your recent article, Windfarm response is positive, which referred to a proposal to erect a windfarm alongside the A822 tourist route between Crieff and Aberfeldy at a site above Connachan Farm, it may be illuminating to point out that the conclusions were based on only 50 responses a 1% return of the 5,000 survey questionnaires! A totally insignificant response. John Hughes.Crieff. Get involved: to have your say on these or any other topics, email your letter to letters@thecourier.co.uk or send to Letters Editor, The Courier, 80 Kingsway East, Dundee DD4 8SL. Letters should be accompanied by an address and a daytime telephone number.


The Weekend countdown starts here

August 25 2016

Every dog has its day and stepping into the spotlight this week is our cover girl Ruby, a Staffordshire bull terrier from Fife, who - along with her owner Penny Crowe - is blazing a trail though the obedience world and doing much to restore the reputation of this much maligned breed. Elsewhere in this Saturday's 48-page magazine Gayle Ritchie visits therapeutic garden projects across Courier Country to hear the stories of people whose lives are being transformed by the healing power of horticulture. She also spends a day with the remarkable volunteers at a Dundee scheme which provides clothes, toys and household items to families in need of a leg up. Our outdoors section includes a hilltop walk through a wildlife haven in Perthshire and a tramp across the moors to a rocky paradise high in the Angus Glens, while home comforts are catered for in our baking column, which features a simple yet stunning teapot cake - just the thing as you sit down to watch the next episode of the Great British Bake Off. Restaurant reviewer Kerry Moores samples a little corner of France in the heart of Dundee, style queen Christina Miller shines a light on the latest styles on the street and columnists Fiona Armstrong and Rab McNeil share some of their ups and downs from the past seven days. And what do Sting, Madonna and the Duke of Argyll have in common? They've all bought paintings by John Lowry Morrison. The hugely popular Scottish artist, who recently designed a sculpture for the Oor Wullie bucket trail, steps out from behind the canvas to answer our Getting to Know you posers this week. Throw in a seven-day TV guide and the best in food, fashion, books, music and travel and it's not just the Weekend we've got covered.

Student found guilty of murder after WhatsApp row stabbing

February 22 2018

A student is facing life behind bars for stabbing a 19-year-old to death following a petty WhatsApp spat.Paul Akinnuoye, 20, from Tunbridge Wells in Kent, traded gay insults with Jordan Wright in a group called “Ice city boyz”, a court heard.The defendant called Mr Wright a “batty boy” and he retorted: “On your mum’s life I’m straighter than you.”The argument escalated and led to the pair agreeing to a fight in Shooters Hill, south-east London.Akinnuoye armed himself with a small knife but the victim, who was due to start a construction apprenticeship days later, regarded it as a “fist fight ting”, the court heard.On the evening of April 19 last year, Mr Wright suffered repeated stab wounds, collapsed and died.In the struggle, part of the knife was left at the scene while the defendant made off in a taxi.A specialist sniffer dog called Dizzy found a piece of red plastic on the ground which Akinnuoye’s housemates later identified as belonging to a set of knives.He tried to dispose of his phone and cover his tracks, prosecutor Tony Badenoch QC said.During his trial, the defendant accepted he was at the scene but blamed someone else for the killing.A jury at the Old Bailey deliberated for a day to find him guilty of murder.Judge Philip Katz QC adjourned sentencing to a date to be fixed and remanded the defendant in custody. Detective Inspector Jo Sideaway, of the Homicide and Major Crime Command, said the murder “devastated” the victim’s family and caused a “big shock” to the local community.Mr Wright’s mother, Katharine Alade, said: “You don’t realise until it happens to you how far reaching one moment of madness can be and what an impact it can make on your life forever. There is not one day when I don’t shed tears.“I could have dealt with him dying at such a young age through illness, but not by the hands of a boy the same age as him and over what?”His father Neville Wright added: “He was very loving, funny and a very caring person, as well as a very popular person. I think of him every day..of what he would have achieved in life – he is gone, but not forgotten.”