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Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...

This student took his Tinder profile to the next level by turning it into a PowerPoint presentation

February 21 2018

Standing out from the crowd on Tinder can be tough, but with the help of Microsoft PowerPoint a British student has managed just that – and gone viral in the process.Sam Dixey, a 21-year-old studying at Leeds University, made a six-part slideshow entitled “Why you should swipe right” – using pictures and bullet points to shrewdly persuade potential dates to match with him on the dating app. The slideshow includes discussion of his social life and likes, such as “petting doggos” and “laser tag”, and “other notable qualities and skills” – such as being “not the worst at sex” and “generous when drunk”.It even has reviews mocked up from sources such as “Donald Trump”, “Leonardo Di Capri Sun” and “The Times Guide to Pancakes 2011”.Sam told the Press Association the six-slide presentation only took about 20 minutes to make and “started off as a joke”.However, since being posted to Twitter by fellow Tinder user Gracie Barrow, Sam’s slideshow has been shared tens of thousands of times across social media.So, it’s got the seal of approval form Gracie, but how has the slideshow fared on Tinder? “I’d have to say it has been pretty successful,” Sam said. “Definitely a clear correlation of matches and dates beforehand to afterwards.“Most of the responses tend to revolve around people saying ‘I couldn’t help swipe right 10/10’ but I’ve had some people go the extra mile and message me on Facebook.“Plus some people have recognised me outside, in the library and on dates.”A resounding success.

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

Perth & Kinross

Perthshire produce sure to gain chorus of approval at Rewind Festival

July 9 2011

Perthshire's chefs, farmers and food producers have joined forces to ensure visitors to this month's Rewind Festival at Scone Palace will get a real taste of quality local produce. Jim Fairlie at Logiealmond, Jamesfield Organic Centre and Thomas Thomson (Blairgowrie) Ltd will be among the producers joining Perthshire Farmers and Producers to serve an expected crowd of 15,000. The group was set up by Mr Fairlie and his wife Anne McGhee two years ago to tap into the market for quality Perthshire produce at events across the area. Mr Fairlie said, "Having attended a number of events in the area over recent years, Anne and I noticed that there was a real gap in the market for catering which offered fresh, local produce to visitor. "All too often, the food on offer was of poor quality and based on produce brought in from outside Perthshire. "We were frankly astonished that so many event organisers were not making the most of the rich larder available right here on our doorstep." He added, "It's a win-win situation, really. Visitors to events go away more satisfied and at the same time we're able to provide a platform for local farmers and producers to showcase their products to a much wider audience." They have already achieved significant success, attending T in the Park for the first time last year, followed by the Etape Caledonia in Highland Perthshire. This year, in addition to Rewind, they are returning to T in the Park and attending the Rally of Scotland at Scone Palace in October. In preparation for Rewind, the couple are hard at work with chef Graeme Pallister, of 63 Tay Street in Perth, to develop an innovative menu for visitors to the three-day festival. Scone Palace administrator Elspeth Bruce said, "Research has shown that for many visitors culinary tourism is an integral part of their travel experience and that there is increasing demand from visitors to sample distinctive local food and to taste traditional cooking. "We are therefore really delighted that Perthshire produce will be showcased in such a great way at Rewind and that produce grown and reared on our own estate will feature so prominently on the menu."

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.

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.

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

Football

SPL round up: Craig Brown savours success in last home match in charge of Aberdeen

April 1 2013

Craig Brown was delighted to reward the Aberdeen support with a victory in his final home match as manager. Niall McGinn’s double sealed a 2-0 win over Hearts. Brown and assistant Archie Knox received a warm ovation as they walked along the track towards the tunnel after their team kept their top-six hopes alive. Brown will move aside for Derek McInnes, who was among the 10,175 crowd, after the game at Tannadice next Saturday. Aberdeen gave themselves a chance of starting off the new manager’s reign in the top half after moving above Hibernian and Dundee United into seventh place. Brown said: “I’m not an emotional guy but it was nice. “When you walk down there, I have heard it the other way, but nothing bad. They always applaud the Aberdeen manager up the track at the start of the game and I always acknowledge it. “But going back at half-time if you’re not winning ‘get it sorted out Brown’ they tell you. But the support to me since I have been here has been fantastic. “I’m grateful to the support because it has been consistently supportive, even when you lose a game.” https://www.youtube.com/embed/SmEk_81g3-A Inverness kept up their pursuit of European football with a 2-1 win over Hibs at Easter Road. Second-half goals from Ross Draper and Andrew Shinnie, either side of Leigh Griffiths’ 23rd goal of the season, were enough to earn them the victory, keeping them three points behind Motherwell in second and extending their lead over Ross County in fourth to five points. James Fowler’s second-minute goal was enough to secure the points for Kilmarnock at Ross County. It was only County’s third league defeat of the season at Global Energy Stadium. Jereon Tesselaar swung a cross in from the left and Rory McKenzie’s lay-off was swept high into the net by Fowler.

News

Disgraced MP Chris Huhne and wife Vicky Pryce to be released soon

April 23 2013

Disgraced cabinet minister Chris Huhne and his ex-wife Vicky Pryce are expected to be released from prison next month, after serving around two months of their eight-month sentences. The former couple, both jailed last month for eight months for perverting the course of justice, are likely to be released some time in May around a quarter of the way through their sentence. Huhne pleaded guilty and Pryce was convicted by a jury, after it emerged that she had taken speeding points on his behalf a decade earlier. Pryce’s solicitor Robert Brown said she is expected to be released on a tag some time in mid-May, although no specific date has been set. He said this was not due to any special treatment but the same as any other inmate. For sentences of less than a year, an offender will be automatically released after serving half their sentence. In addition, offenders serving sentences of between three months and four years, with certain exceptions, may also be eligible for release on a home detention curfew. This allows an offender to be released up to 135 days before their automatic release date and electronic tagging is used. A court heard former energy secretary Huhne, 58, is fighting a claim for more than £100,000 in prosecution costs. A costs hearing at Southwark Crown Court, which Huhne was present at but not Pryce, heard the former Lib Dem politician’s legal team has offered £25,000. Prosecutors are claiming a total of £108,541.15 from Huhne, who pleaded guilty in February, on the first day of his trial, after months of protracted attempts to get the case against him thrown out. Prosecutor Andrew Edis QC said that the six-figure claim was “just and reasonable”. He told the court: “All of this occurred because Mr Huhne decided to do everything he could to try and get away with what he had done and gave in only at the last minute when defeat was inevitable.” He said an “enormous amount of work” was done by the Crown Prosecution Service, counsel, and the police because of Huhne’s assertions. But the former minister’s barrister John Kelsey-Fry QC said it was “simply unjust and unreasonable” to expect Huhne to pay what he described as “every single possible penny that anybody could think of”.

Football

Cardiff City interested in St Johnstone boss Derek McInnes

June 8 2011

St Johnstone boss Derek McInnes is understood to be shortlisted to manage Cardiff City but no contact has been made with the McDiarmid Park club. The English Championship side fired Dave Jones last week after he failed to lead them into the Premier League and McInnes is in the frame to replace him. Roberto Di Matteo, Lee Clark, Chris Hughton, Malky Mackay and Mark Robins are believed to be the other contenders. Several of those candidates have already been interviewed but McInnes has not, as he is on a family holiday. Perth chairman Geoff Brown reported last night that nobody from Cardiff has been in touch with him about his manager. The 40-year-old turned down the job with League One side Brentford FC a few weeks ago. He has also been linked with Nottingham Forest FC, should they part company with Billy Davies, as has been rumoured. Cardiff have said they hope to appoint a new manager next week. Bluebirds chief executive Gethin Jenkins said, "In line with the stature of the club today, it's no surprise that the level of interest in the position has been high. "Over the last week we have held discussions with representatives of interested parties and have consulted with various football experts to get feedback on potential candidates. "We will now take the next steps towards appointing a manager who we feel can take our club forward. Our work will continue this week, from which a full announcement will be made on an appointment, which could be next week. "I'm sure all Cardiff City supporters would like an announcement made as soon as possible, but based on the importance of the decision it's imperative that we consider all factors in the best interest of our club. "Until the appointment is made it would be inappropriate for us to discuss speculation or confirm whether we have met any specific candidates." Brown, meanwhile, believes it would be a "massive gamble" for Cardiff, were they to turn to McInnes. He would expect tried and tested Championship title winner Hughton to be the favourite. From a Saints perspective, Brown has admitted that this latest bout of speculation is most unwelcome. He said, "It doesn't do us any good. We're in the process of trying to put a squad together for next season and that isn't helped if every time a job comes up Derek's linked with it. "Players will wonder how long he's going to be here."

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