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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

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.


Fife church elders clocked up thousands of years of service

September 19 2017

Church of Scotland Elders in north-east Fife have been commended for clocking up 3,073 years of service between them. The astonishing number eclipses the length of time Christianity has existed in the world – 1,984 years. Right Rev Dr Derek Browning, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, handed out long-service awards certificates to 83 men and woman who serve St Andrews Presbytery. They have dedicated an average of 37 years each to the Kirk. Dr Browning described the dedication of people within St Andrews Presbytery as “astonishing and humbling”. “Women and men who have given so much of their time and talents to keep their churches functioning through visiting, resourcing and deciding is something that we must never take for granted,” he said. “Not all elders, and certainly not all ministers and deacons, are plaster cast saints. “But each of us in our own way have opportunity as ordained people to serve Christ’s Church. “To all who have given such long service, two simple words: “Thank you.” The presentations were made to people from across the Presbytery area during a service at Cupar Old Parish Church last week and St Monans Parish Church on Sunday. Church members who are elders, organists or have a long-term role with a church qualify after at least thirty years of continuous service. Sunday school teachers and bible class leaders have to complete at least twenty one years. Deputy Presbytery Clerk Catherine Wilson said it was an “amazing” number. “It’s a huge commitment and it speaks volumes for their faith and their enthusiastic dedication to their local church”, she added. The Moderator’s 10-day visit to St Andrews Presbytery has included stops at Waid Academy, Leuchars Army Station, and the Lighthouse Christian bookshop and cafe in Cupar. Dr Browning, who has extensive ties to the area, also visited East Neuk Foodbank. The charity has handed out 3,000 food parcels since 2013 and was started by Anstruther Church, now known as St Ayle.


Kirkcaldy Presbytery says ‘there are no wounds to heal’ on gay ordination issue

January 8 2015

There are “no wounds to heal” in Kirkcaldy Presbytery after it was named as one of 13 church bodies in Scotland to vote against gay ordination. The Fife group of leading church figures was the only one in Courier Country not to back proposals to allow Kirk Sessions the possibility of allowing ministers and deacons who are in a civil partnership to apply for vacant charges. Scotland’s 45 church bodies voted last month on the highly controversial matter with 54.6% supporting and 45.4% against the plans. However, Kirkcaldy Presbytery rejected the proposal by 32 votes to 24 following what has been described as a “good debate”. Despite the emotive subject, the Rev Robin McAlpine, moderator, said that it was the detail that prompted members to vote against the proposal. “The reason Kirkcaldy Presbytery voted against it was not due to any theological objection,” he said. “It was voted against because it was felt the legislation was not well prepared. It was one of the best debates that we have had for a while. “Both sides put views forward and people listened, that was fairly obvious. There are no wounds to heal.” The standard of debate was praised by the Rev Gillian Paterson, minister at Wellesley Parish Church in Methil. She added that the matter had been handled well by the presbytery. “I thought it was a good debate,” she said. “Nothing got overly passionate and it was a good opportunity to hear both sides.” Dunfermline Presbytery backed gay ordination by 26 votes to 24. The results were more emphatic in St Andrews, Perth, Dundee and Angus, all of which overwhelmingly supported the ordaining of homosexual clergy. The Church of Scotland figures show that throughout Scotland’s presbyteries, 1,391 individuals voted in favour with 1,153 against. A final decision on the issue will be taken at the General Assembly in Edinburgh in May.

Readers' letters

Church’s position is far from decided

May 27 2013

Sir, The question of whether or not the Church of Scotland will ordain homosexual candidates is far from decided. I understand the legal department of the church has advised that an “overture”, in terms of last Monday’s motion advocating homosexual clergy, should be drawn up and presented to the General Assembly of 2014. Thereafter, if it is accepted, the overture will be sent down to presbyteries under the Barrier Act. Presbyteries would respond before the 2015 General Assembly. This would mean that the matter could not become law until the 2015 General Assembly. The Assembly will consist of a different set of individuals on each of these occasions, since the presbyteries elect their representatives on a rota. Outcomes can change. I find it exciting that the church is finding so many column centimetres in the press. There is all too little debate. Perhaps the public will take more notice of this great institution that has had such a strong influence in shaping our culture. Rev Jack Gisbey. Whitmyre House, 28 St Andrews Road, Largoward. Why all the furore in this day and age? Sir, Why all the furore about same sex marriage and gay ministers? And why is David Cameron making such a big deal of it? I thought we lived in a time when our sexual orientation, allowing of course for biological influences, was largely a matter of personal choice. If a minister feels he cannot in all conscience marry a gay couple, fair enough. Let them find a minister who will. If a gay minister is loved and respected by his congregation for the work he does, they’ll likely keep him. And if a congregation can’t abide the thought of having a gay minister, then better he move to where he’s wanted. Ian Nimmo White. 16 Allan Street, Leslie, Fife. There are votes to be had Sir, So Alex Salmond has refused to make an unequivocal condemnation of the childish barracking by demonstrators of Nigel Farage, UKIP Leader and MEP on his recent visit to Edinburgh. These demonstrators in large part would seem to have been members from the Radical Independence Campaign. This left-wing group are not, of course, part of the SNP but are a collective body, which includes Greens, socialists, peace campaigners and intellectuals, however, Alex Salmond must be well aware that in the forthcoming 2014 referendum on independence, such a pro-nationalist group, despite the fact they are pushing for a rather more radical agenda for Scotland, will be supportive of the YES campaign. So maybe in part, this could explain the First Minister’s reticence in not condemning the group’s loutish and wholly undemocratic behaviour? There are votes to be had so sitting on the fence and prevaricating is by far his best option. Neil McKinnon. Tulchan Garden, Glenalmond, Perth. An essential difference Sir, I note with interest the comments of councillors Brennan, Gordon and Keenan regarding the ‘bedroom tax’ (May 24). I would point out that the Labour Party has already stated it will not abolish the bedroom tax should it be re-elected to Westminster Government so I would presume these councillors, so opposed to the bedroom tax, might now be considering their own position within a Labour Party that no longer protects the vulnerable in society? With regards to mitigation of the bedroom tax, Cllr Gordon states: “devolution was designed for moments like this.” Disregarding the fact that Labour recently voted against devolving social security and welfare to the Scottish Parliament, I would suggest this highlights the essential difference between Labour and the SNP on this issue. Labour is happy for devolution to try to mitigate the worst excesses of the bedroom tax; the SNP wants independence in order that we can completely abolish this iniquitous tax. Cllr Kevin Cordell. Depute Convener Housing, City Chambers, Dundee. Flatpack groan Sir, I read a headline in The Courier the other day with interest MFI calls for capital spending. I trust they are going to contact a member of the cabinet? John Johnston. Annfield Farm, Dunfermline.


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


Minister shortage in Dundee churches

March 2 2017

More than a third of the Dundee's churches are without a minister, as a nationwide Church of Scotland staff shortage spreads to the city. One city church has been without a minister for more than two years, and in that time has yet to receive a single application for its vacant post. Ten of the 29 charges in the Presbytery of Dundee are currently without a minister, and the Church of Scotland are currently working with the Presbytery on programmes to try and alleviate the problem. Changes to workload and a retirements due to length of service are among the reasons cited for vacancies are left unfilled. St Andrew's Parish Church, which holds the annual Kirkin' of the Trades, has been without a minister since November, after Rev Dr Janet Foggie moved on to a new position at Stirling University. The Kirk has invited members of the congregation to take services where appropriate in some instances, in parishes where no minister is available. It is not known whether this has occurred in any of Dundee's churches. Reverend James Wilson, Dundee Presbytery Clerk, said: "Dundee Presbytery is particularly concerned by the number of positions currently unfilled across the Church of Scotland and together with the Church nationally,  is exploring ways in which we can better use the number of ministers available to serve the number of congregations required to provide worship and service to the local communities. "Dundee Presbytery has been largely protected from this longstanding gap until now. Several ministers have retired and two have recently moved to new positions. "Small changes can have a big impact and change itself increases workload. Of the 29 charges in the Presbytery of Dundee, 10 do not have a serving minister. "Of those 10, two are not scheduled to have a minister of their own, four are in negotiations to readjust, one is awaiting the outcome of those negotiations and three are currently actively seeking a minister – one of which has had no applicants in the last two years." The convener of the Church of Scotland's Ministries Council, Rev Neil Glover, said: "For the past few years, we have been aware of the large number of our ministers who are due to retire in the next 10 to 15 years. "Part of our response has been to launch our Tomorrow’s Calling campaign to raise the profile of parish ministry and encourage those who feel called to serve the Church to come forward. We have been delighted with the response so far, but it will take time for these new ministers to be ready to serve congregations. "In the meantime, we have listened to our members who want to take a more active role in the life of our congregations, and are enabling them to lead worship and take services where appropriate with adequate training and support.” Reverend Robert Calvert, who leads the congregation at the Steeple Church in the city centre, believes the Church of Scotland is supporting ministers who want to reshape how the Kirk is seen in the community. A series of initiatives at The Steeple, including a cafe church event on a Monday and a "messy" service – involving arts and crafts and more informal discussions between the congregation and ministers – have been introduced since Reverend Calvert's arrival. "The Presbytery and the Church of Scotland are supportive to the changing needs. They have given us the freedom on how each church can support itself," he said. "Different churches have different requirements, we have a way of operating which works for The Steeple, but that way might not work for other churches in the city. "The Church of Scotland has encouraged us to take the risk, and the general trustees of the Kirk has made money available to us and encouraged us to take the risk."

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.