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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...


Call to return ‘overweight’ spire to Kirkcaldy landmark

October 9 2017

A prominent Kirkcaldy building has been left “nude” after having its most distinctive feature removed, it has been claimed. George Proudfoot, chair of Kirkcaldy Civic Society, has called for the spire of the Town House to be reinstated as soon as possible after being removed several months ago. However, it has since emerged that the 15 ft point will not return in its current form after being found to be overweight. Despite having towered over the Town Square for more than 60 years, Fife Council has removed the structure as it was damaging the building’s roof. Calling for the building to be restored to its former glory, Mr Proudfoot said: “It is a crucial building in the town and it needs its spire. “At the moment it is nude, or semi-nude at least, without it. “When you see the Town House without the spire then it looks odd. “This was the style of buildings in the 1930’s and it needs those little touches or it does not look right.” Arguably unloved by many townsfolk, construction of the current Town House began in 1939 and was promptly suspended due to the outbreak of World War Two. Cruelly referred to as the “Kirkcaldy Kremlin” due to its severe design and history for being home to numerous left-wing political administrations, the building was initially opened in 1953, with an east wing completed three years later. The B-listed building has remained at the centre of Kirkcaldy political life ever since, and was even the scene of the town’s public celebrations when Raith Rovers won the Coca Cola Cup in 1994. However, despite Mr Proudfoot’s calls, the Town House is unlikely to be seen in its complete form for some time with Alan Paul, property service senior manager for Fife Council, confirming that there was currently no timescale for reinstating a new spire. He added: “The spire was removed as it was found to be top heavy and was damaging the roof. “We’re currently looking into putting up an alternative spire.”


Volunteers on a mission to build historical record of Scotland’s churches

November 12 2011

A small group of volunteers have embarked on the mammoth task of ensuring Scotland's churches, which are closing faster than ever, are preserved in history. Based in a tiny office in the heart of Fife, Scottish Church Heritage Research is busy cataloguing every church site in the country before important information is lost for good. The charity has built up a database of over 10,000 churches, including those still in existence and many which have long since gone. Members are now involved in taking photographs of the outside and interiors of places of worship for publication on their website (link). It is hoped that ultimately the information can be used as a teaching resource in schools across the nation and steps are being taken to produce an educational package. The project was started in 1988 by a small committee of an organisation known as Archaeology Scotland now called the Council for Scottish Archaeology (CSA). Headed by archaeologist Edwina Proudfoot, the committee secured a £50,000 grant and spent three years drawing up a list of 10,282 churches ranging from archaeological sites to new buildings. The work then stalled until 1998 when Mrs Proudfoot received a phone call from the new director of the Council for Scottish Archaeology asking what was to happen to the files. ''There were many, many files boxes and boxes of them and he gathered them all together and delivered them to my house in St Andrews,'' Mrs Proudfoot said. ''I actually didn't know what to do with it at that stage but I decided to carry on with the programme and add more information when I had the chance.'' Then the CSA announced it was closing down the committee, prompting Mrs Proudfoot, a former lecturer at St Andrews University, to set up a new organisation to carry on the work. Its first task was to secure funding from Europe to allow an army of volunteers to photograph church exteriors for a website. With the support of ministers, many interiors have also been captured. The group moved into its office in Cupar three years ago and a grant from Historic Scotland allowed it to recruit Jonathan Dowling, a full-time employee tasked with recording information on churches in Angus, Aberdeen and Moray. So far most of Fife has been covered and, thanks to Mr Dowling going out twice a week, much of Angus is also documented, with southern Aberdeenshire now in hand. ''The primary thing is to get a record,'' Mrs Proudfoot said. ''Churches are being closed at a phenomenal rate and when they are closed everything is removed from them and the buildings are left empty. ''Our record will be the only historical record of what the churches were like at that time. We're the only ones trying to do them all.'' She added: ''This is an archaeological approach to historical research and I'm not involved in the religious side of the buildings at all.'' The project is expected to take several years, although the three-year funding will only allow them to catalogue a fraction of Scotland's churches. However, the group hope they will be alerted if a church is about to close so they can capture it first. Mrs Proudfoot is particularly interested in artefacts made for churches by members of the community and pointed to the recently-closed Dunnichen Church in Angus, where fine wall hangings made by the congregation were photographed and documented before it shut. ''The idea is to get all the information in,'' she said. ''We're trying to make it an educational project because there is not much point in gathering all this information if nobody knows about it.''Find out more at www.scottishchurches.org.uk


‘It’s all very exciting’ Wemyss caves group says carving could date from 12th century

August 13 2012

Members of a Wemyss caves preservation group have made a fresh discovery of mysterious markings on the walls. The area is known for Pictish incised carvings and the latest find could date from the 12th century. The East Wemyss coastal area boasts 12 caves, the largest grouping in northern Europe. Moira Cook of Save the Wemyss Ancient Caves Society (SWACS) said: ''The symbols were discovered in the Well Cave. We have asked experts for their opinion. ''There is a possibility of some sort of Templar connection. It's all very exciting.'' Local archaeologist Edwina Proudfoot added: ''An early carving would be a great find, but understanding what can be seen is also important.'' The Well Cave is below MacDuff Castle and was not thought to contain Pictish carvings, until the recent discovery by SWACS members. The group was first formed by locals in 1986 following a spate of vandalism at the caves. To find out more about the group, who run regular tours, visit www.wemysscaves.co.uk Photo Derek Symmers

Angus & The Mearns

Angus Minstrels pass £600,000 charity milestone

April 27 2016

Angus Minstrels have delivered their latest five-figure charity boost from the fantastic support for the 2015 show at Arbroath’s Webster Theatre. The group donated £10,500 to local charities, taking the organisation’s generosity over the past 55 years through the £600,000 barrier and helping over 100 deserving causes along the way. At the group’s annual general meeting in Arbroath’s Methodist Church Hall, chairman Ian Cargill also announced that the committee had received a letter from Edwina Barraclough intimating her retirement from the Minstrels. Edwina’s Minstrels involvement stretches back a remarkable 51 years, firstly as a dancer and then as producer and choreographer for the hugely popular annual show. Garry Mitchell gave a fitting tribute to Edwina on behalf of the committee for the dedication and commitment she has given to the Minstrels over the years. Cheques were presented to: CHAS (£7,000), RNLI Arbroath Branch, St Margaret’s Hospice and Riding for the Disabled (£1,000 each), Parkinson’s UK Dundee and Angus Branch (£500). The CHAS representative announced that in nearly 20 years, the Minstrels have donated £236,000 to Rachel House in Kinross. This year’s show, the 56th, will run from Saturday November 5 until Saturday November 12, including Sunday November 6. Ticket prices are £12, with a concession of £8 on November 5 only for those aged 16 and under. Block bookings are now being taken by Miss Joan Mitchell, 10 Seaton Road, Arbroath. Public booking will open on Tuesday August 30 at the Webster Memorial Theatre box office. Committee elected for 2016/2017: Director — Joan Mitchell, treasurer — Garry Mitchell. Committee — Ian Cargill, Eileen Craig, Evelyn Fordyce, James Hutcheson, Shona Kemp, Jim Ramsay, Robert Seaton. Anyone wishing to join the company either on stage or behind the scenes should contact James Hutcheson on 07932694364 or e mail hutcheson_james@hotmail.com.

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.


Perthshire tutor Catriona Proudfoot

July 19 2013

Catriona Proudfoot, a tutor from Aberfeldy, has died of a stroke at the age of 88. Mrs Proudfoot fell ill on June 30 and did not recover, dying in Perth Royal Infirmary 10 days later. She offered free English tutorials for children in the town having retired to her childhood home in 1983 after working for many years as a teacher in England. Her family paid tribute to Mrs Proudfoot, saying “teaching was in her blood”. They also praised the nursing staff who took care of her at the hospital. Her daughter Helen said: “We are very grateful for the care and attention she was given in the stroke unit in her last days.” Helen said her mother remained active in her twilight years, continuing to complete cryptic crosswords, knit and make fudge for local charitable events. She said: “We, her children, admired her fine mind and sophisticated wit.” Mrs Proudfoot was born Catriona Kennedy Macbeath on February 17 1925 in Glasgow, the second child and only daughter of the eminent philosopher and ethicist Alexander Macbeath, who was Gifford lecturer at St Andrews University in 1948-9, and his wife Grace Ann Stewart. In 1930, she moved to Perthshire, attending Breadalbane Academy in Aberfeldy. She went on to Edinburgh University, where she studied English and French, graduating in 1947 with a second-class degree. She then began teaching English and PE at Holly Lodge girls’ Grammar School in Smethwick. She met Leslie Proudfoot in Dublin and married him in 1952 in the Moness Hotel in Aberfeldy. Throughout her life she never stopped teaching, helping a local servant learn to read during a stint in Sierra Leone and returning to the classroom once her family moved back to the UK.

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


Tragedy and joy at end of searches for Tayside pensioners

February 11 2013

Two separate major Tayside search and rescue operations for missing pensioners affected by dementia ended in joy and tragedy at the weekend. A 72-year-old Dundee woman was reunited with her family on Saturday morning after spending seven hours in freezing and snowy conditions before being spotted by a helicopter’s thermal imaging system. Ann Brash had wandered from her home in Claverhouse, sparking a search that initially involved police, firefighters and concerned neighbours. Her husband Bob (73) said: “If it hadn’t been for the helicopter I don’t know what would have happened to her. ” Mrs Brash, who had only been wearing indoor clothes and slippers, was treated for suspected mild hypothermia and detained overnight in Dundee’s Ninewells Hospital. The Sea King helicopter crew was then diverted to Arbroath where they searched unsuccessully for missing Arbroath man Edwin Gillespie, whose body was found later on Saturday near Whiting Ness. The former Merchant Navy Seaman had been missing from his home since 11am the previous day. Mr Gillespie’s daughter Edwina Barraclough said: “He was very dear to us. It’s a very difficult time for us all.” For more on this story see Monday’s Courier or try our digital edition.