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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...

Angus & The Mearns

German ‘Munro baggers’ hit Montrose for former Runrig frontman’s gig

October 6 2014

A German army of die-hard Donnie Munro fans is planning to invade Angus. Contrary to long-held beliefs, German musical tastes range wider than David Hasselhoff. Runrig had a huge following in Germany during the 80s and 90s, when Munro was lead singer of the Gaelic band. Munro’s popularity in Germany has continued since he left the band in 1997 and pursued a solo career. There is also a Runrig fan club in Germany, based in Wuppertal a city east of Dusseldorf. Earlier this year Munro performed 12 gigs for his adoring fans across Germany, including stops in Hamburg, Hannover, Freiburg and Oberhausen. Now his German army is to travel to Scotland to watch him perform an acoustic set at Montrose Town Hall. Charlie Campbell of North East Musical and Sports Promotions said there had been “massive demand” from Germany. He said: “I knew he was big in Europe but I didn’t realise just how popular he was. “Looking through the names, there are a few Germans booked up already and Donnie’s website manager said there are more coming. “It’s definitely a pleasant surprise and it will be a great boost for the Angus economy. “His popularity in Germany seems to be a follow-on from his days in Runrig. “For one lady coming over from Germany this will be the 75th time she’s seen Donnie.” Munro will perform an acoustic set of solo songs and Runrig classics in Montrose on Valentine’s Day. Only a handful of tickets remain for the Angus gig, which will feature special guests Eric Cloughley, Maggie Adamson and support from Colin Clyne. Munro’s concert marks another big music date for the town following Status Quo’s MoFest headline gig in May and Big Country’s forthcoming show on December 13. Munro, 60, joined Runrig full-time in the early 1980s. The band went on to become one of Scotland’s most popular acts. In 1991 Runrig performed to an audience of around 50,000 on the banks of Loch Lomond at Balloch Castle before undertaking a mammoth tour of Europe. Munro left Runrig in 1997 following three farewell concerts at Stirling Castle. He then embarked on what turned out to be a short-lived political career. However, the singer returned to the music business in 1999 as a solo artist and continues to tour. More information can be found at www.eventbrite.co.uk.

Angus & The Mearns

Arbroath man kissed gran goodbye before taking bag of knives to ‘exact revenge’

February 21 2014

A knife obsessive “kissed his grandmother goodbye” before he took a bag of blades to “exact revenge” on another man. Conor Munro, from Arbroath, was jailed for more than three years after Forfar Sheriff Court heard he posed a “significant and random danger to the public” due to his self-professed love of carrying knives. Munro, 21, took a bag of nine blades from his grandmother’s kitchen, ranging from four to 10 inches, before turning up at his ex-girlfriend’s door in search of a man in the house. Munro previously admitted an indictment alleging that on October 5 last year, at Sidney Street in Arbroath, he behaved in a threatening manner and attempted to enter the property in possession of a knife and a bag of knives. Sentencing him, visiting Sheriff Valerie Johnston said Munro only avoided the maximum sentence under statute four years in jail due to his early guilty plea. She said: “He took these knives with intent to exact revenge on a young man who he believed disrespected him. “He kissed his grandmother goodbye, told her he loved her, and he knew he was going on a course of action that meant he would go to prison.” Sheriff Johnston said a report compiled by social workers betrayed a dangerous “ideation about knives” possessed by Munro. “It says that when he drinks, he looks to take a knife,” she said. “With a knife, he said, no one thinks they are better than him.” Defence solicitor Lynne Sturrock said: “He is under no illusion that custody is the only option for him. “He apologised to his grandmother and said he wouldn’t be back.” The court previously heard Munro’s 22-year-old ex-girlfriend had asked him to leave when he appeared at her home around 4.30am. However, he returned 30 minutes later and when she opened the door she saw him holding a knife at waist level, and a bag in his other hand. Munro tried to enter the flat to approach a man who was also in the property, asking him: “Do you think you’re a big man now?” The man phoned 999 and Munro then left the flat to go to his father’s house, where police traced him shortly after. Officers found a range of steak knives which the accused had taken from his grandmother’s home, with whom he stayed at the time. Munro has been on remand or licence for four of the last six years. In 2011, he was convicted of assaulting a woman on December 30 2010 with intent to rob at the High Court in Edinburgh.

Angus & The Mearns

Gingerbread tribute to the Wee Red Town

October 14 2013

When Libby Jones was invited by Bank Street Gallery owner Susie Clark to exhibit at her gallery in Kirriemuir, she became intrigued by the history of the town. As well as Kirriemuir’s most famous son and Peter Pan author JM Barrie, she discovered the town had also been home for a time to AC/DC singer Bon Scott, Victorian mountaineer Hugh Munro, and 19th century writer Violet Jacob. She found the town had been a hotbed of witchcraft in the 16th century and is also world famous for its gingerbread and decided to combine all these elements. Ms Jones went on to craft a boxed set of prints, which also doubles as a card game. She said: “This tongue-in-cheek edition of 10 boxes, of 20 cards per box, features Kirriemuir characters presented on a slice of gingerbread on a plate. I have also made a poster featuring all the 10 characters in the game.” Visitors can see images of Edinburgh Castle with fireworks, wildlife such as gannets, and artwork made after a visit to Antarctica. Londoner and master printmaker Ms Jones exhibited work from her sub-zero stay at a Discovery Point exhibition in Dundee last year. Children can see her work Cooking the Climate, a comment on global warming, which consists of a microwave oven and slideshow with rotating polar animals. There is also a fossilised mobile phone in a second installation, Fossils of the Anthropocene an exploration of the traces that might remain of civilisation in 50 million years’ time. She is also exhibiting a selection of her woodcuts, linocuts, collagraphs and screenprints at the gallery. The exhibition runs until November 8 and opening hours can be found on www.bankstreetgallery.org, or by telephoning 01575 570070.

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.

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

Perth & Kinross

Travel firm makes refund U turn after cancer patient’s Thailand trip dream is left in tatters

January 24 2018

A travel firm has backed down after initially refusing to refund a cancer patient who was told the deadly disease had returned just hours after booking her dream trip. Etihad Airways said it would give Fi Munro the £1,000 she had paid for the dream holiday to Thailand. The 32-year-old had made the booking after doctors cleared her to fly but was rushed to hospital just hours later. Medics drained more than 2.5 litres of fluid from her chest and gave her the devastating news that not only had her ovarian cancer returned but that it had spread to her lungs. She has now been told that she will never be able to fly again but despite a letter from her oncologist Etihad Airways initially refused to give her the money back. However following an article in The Courier the airline contacted Fi at her home in Errol to tell her she would get a refund after all. A delighted Fi said she would use the cash to make memories with her husband. She said: “I’m happy to get the money. “We are going to use it to go on a trip to France – we’ll take a train across and stay in an air B&B and enjoy the time that way instead. “It should have been easier to get the refund. So many people have been in touch with me to say they have been in similar situations and it’s never been resolved for them. “It should be standard practice that someone in the same situation, that through no fault of their own they can’t travel, gets a refund.” A spokesman for Etihad Airways said: ““We are terribly sorry to hear about Ms Munro’s situation. “We would usually require a guest to make a claim on their travel insurance in these circumstances but we understand that she had not had a chance to book any before all this happened. “Our guest relations team contacted her this morning after seeing her social media posts and while we know it is only a small gesture we will be refunding the full cost of her flights and wish her well”.


Dundee water tests go swimmingly

September 2 2013

There were only two failures out of almost 3,500 tests of the quality of the public water supply in Dundee last year, the industry watchdog has revealed. The Drinking Water Quality Regulator for Scotland (DWQR), which is responsible for overseeing Scottish Water’s work in sourcing, treating and distributing supplies to consumers, has published data for 2012 showing 3,491 water samples were taken in the city. These were often from household taps to check for the presence of potentially harmful bacteria such as E coli and metals such as iron, lead and manganese. Only one of the 144 samples checked for coliform bacteria failed. The DWQR said: “They are common in the environment and do not necessarily indicate faecal contamination, but should not be present in the water supply as they are readily deactivated by chlorine, which is added in controlled amounts to all of Scottish Water’s supplies. “The greatest risk to public health is associated with the consumption of drinking water that is contaminated with faecal material. “Many raw water sources contain significant levels of bacteria, which serves to demonstrate the importance of adequate treatment, especially disinfection, in order to ensure our water is safe to drink.” The failed Dundee sample was among 61 found across Scotland during 2012. “Scottish Water has increased its efforts in investigating failures at consumers’ taps during the past year and this improved understanding of the root causes of microbiological failures needs to result in proactive action to reduce the number of samples containing coliforms,” the regulator said. There were 152 samples from the city’s water supply tested for iron, with a single failure that exceeded the limit of 200 microgrammes per litre. There are no health risks from such a failure. The DWQR said: “The most common cause of failures of the iron standard at consumer taps is corroding cast iron water mains.” The tests had no failures for aluminium, manganese or lead, or for E coli or chemicals called trihalomethanes. The colour, cloudiness and acidity of the test samples also met the required standards. The overall pass rate for the water samples from the city’s public supply was 99.94%.

Angus & The Mearns

Arbroath mum threw boulders at car in fury over daughter’s relationship

July 10 2013

An Angus mother threw boulders at a 33-year-old Angus man’s car in a rage over his relationship with her 20-year-old daughter. Lisa Annett, 39, of Abbotsford Road, Arbroath, smashed two boulders against the windscreen of Neil Munro’s car during an incident at her home on April 5. Appearing at Arbroath Sheriff Court on Tuesday, Annett admitted attacking the vehicle, with Mr Munro still inside, causing damage to the windscreen and danger of injury. The court heard Annett flew into a rage when her daughter told her she planned to move in with her partner. Depute fiscal Jill Drummond said Mr Munro arrived to pick up Annett’s daughter and sent a text message to say he was outside. She added: “Witness Munro heard raised voices from within the locus. It appeared the accused and her daughter were having a disagreement. “The accused’s daughter came to the front door of the locus. The accused barged past and appeared to be in something of a rage.” Annett then “had words” with Mr Munro before moving round to the front of the vehicle. Ms Drummond said: “Witness Munro saw her (Annett) bend down and pick up a large boulder from the front garden. “With the boulder in her right arm, the accused threw it directly at the windscreen of the vehicle. It caused a large crack.” Annett then picked up and threw a second boulder at the windscreen causing a further “six to eight” large cracks, at which point her daughter got inside the car. Mr Munro drove the vehicle away and the matter was reported to the police. Defence agent Billy Rennie said Annett had had “concerns about the nature of the relationship.” He added: “Her daughter decided she wanted to go and live with him and that she knew best. She has not seen or heard from her daughter since the incident and there has been a loss to her in terms of the family relationship.” Sheriff William Wood said Annett’s concerns did not justify her “taking matters into her own hands.” Sentence was deferred until January 7 for good behaviour.