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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


Impressive Lily-May sweeps past Scots to win Helen Holm Scottish title at Royal Troon

April 22 2018

England’s Lily-May Humphreys surely confirmed her spot in the GB&I Curtis Cup team and kept Scots Shannon McWilliam and Chloe Goadby waiting with a surge to win the Helen Holm Scottish Women’s Strokeplay Championship at Royal Troon yesterday. Just 16 last month, Humphreys – who won the English Ladies Amateur title last year - shot a final round four-under 68 on the Open Championship course for a nine-under total of 207 to overhaul McWilliam and hold off Goadby by a shot. With the eight-strong team for the matches against the USA at Quaker Ridge being named on Wednesday, Humphreys could only have impressed the watching GB&I captain Elaine Farquharson–Black as she recovered from an early double bogey to sweep to the title. Sparked by a 30 foot birdie putt on the seventh green, she went on to birdie both the Postage Stamp and the ninth, after McWilliams, who was in sole possession of the lead, double-bogeyed the long sixth to open the door. The Aboyne teenager then bogeyed the 11th via the railway leaving Goadby the main challenger, and the Stirling University student had her chance in the closing holes when she pulled to within a shot birdieing the long 16th while Humphreys could only par behind her. But with the English girl watching from the tee, the St Regulus member from St Andrews missed the green right on the short 17th and a six foot putt for par. Humphreys’ solid tee shot to the centre of the green just about put the seal on victory, despite Goadby’s closing birdie to get back to within a shot at the end. “It’s been a great place to recover my form, because it’s been missing this season,” said Humphreys. “I’ve had a couple of big wins before but the strength of this field, with all the international players, makes it a big one for me. “I had that early double at the first short hole but I just wanted to stay aggressive and then I holed a few long putts that got me going.” Goadby wasn’t aware of Humphreys’ status throughout her final round but had few regrets even coming so close. “I’d made my decision not to look at the scores because it wouldn’t change my approach or the aggressive way I wanted to play,” she said. “If you’d offered me second place in this event and a 68 on the Royal Troon course I’d have obviously taken it, and Lily-May must have played well to shoot a 68. “I had that putt on 17 but really that was the only one I missed all day, and a birdie down the last made up for it in my mind.” For McWilliams, her chances of getting in the GB&I team will have improved after an impressive first two days with the pressure on her, even if her one-over 73 in the final round dropped her to fourth, her third top five finish in this event in the last four years. "I'm gradually getting closer," she said. "The double bogey at the sixth really hit me, from the middle of the fairway as well. "But credit to Lily-May, she played really well. I'm just hopeful for Wednesday and we'll see what happens." Defending champion Linn Grant of Sweden, sharing the lead coming into the final round with McWilliam, finished in third after a one-under 71. Four more Scots – first round leader Hannah McCook, Gemma Batty, Eilidh Briggs and Jasmine McIntosh – finished in the top 10 but the wait for a first Scottish winner since 2002 of the national strokeplay title goes on.


‘It might look a bit scary’ first edition of The Dundee Courier cleaned up for the future

June 23 2012

The first edition of The Dundee Courier appeared in 1816 and an original copy still exists in the D. C. Thomson archives. Helen Brown spoke to conservator Emma Fraser about preserving this rare piece of newspaper memorabilia. Interestingly for today's readers, this original Courier was printed in a form similar to the compact format adopted this year. This first copy has also survived in better condition than many of the later editions because it is printed on particularly high quality paper, probably handmade from rags rather than wood pulp. The Dundee Courier that appeared on September 20 1816 was a weekly. DC Thomson archivist Norman Watson explained: ''The Courier wasn't the first paper in Dundee there were many previous attempts in the late 18th century and, of course, the Dundee Advertiser from 1801. ''Both it and the weekly Courier were printed by Thomas Colville who was a well-known printer with premises in what is Whitehall Street today. ''The Courier is the one that stood the test of time, however and it was expensive, with a cover price of 7d (about 3p in modern money). It would have been read by the better-off, leisured classes with shared copies in places such as Dundee's Reading Rooms and gentlemen's clubs. The literate working classes would have been more or less excluded, although a single copy might go into the mills and be read aloud. ''With the abolition of what was called the 'tax on knowledge' in the 1850s, The Courier became the first halfpenny daily paper in Britain and set the standard for cheap, accessible, widely-read newspapers. Eventually, it became the biggest-selling provincial daily in Britain.'' An accredited conservator, Emma studied Fine Arts then trained in London for a masters in paper conservation. She spent over a decade at Dundee University's renowned Book and Paper Conservation Unit before becoming a freelance conservator. The first Courier is the oldest newspaper Emma has worked on but is a young thing in comparison with books and manuscripts she has tackled, some dating back to the 1460s. As an avid fan of Robert Burns, she was also thrilled to work on some of his original manuscripts for the Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway. Norman added: ''We're very fortunate in Dundee to have the world-class book and paper conservators to tackle a project like this. Emma's skills have allowed us to ensure that this irreplaceable treasure in the D. C. Thomson archive is protected and preserved for the 21st century.'' According to Emma, the conserved paper could be handled now, but only with extreme care. It is currently being stored in a clear, inert polyester sleeve in an archival box. But might it yet be possible for it to fulfil its original purpose and be seen by the public? Emma added: ''It could be displayed but I would recommend only for short periods and in an environment where the light and relative humidity were controlled.'' Watching someone handle fragile, friable, almost 200-year-old paper is actually quite frightening for the onlooker. Especially when it is being submerged albeit VERY gently in a trough of water. You expect it to disintegrate before your eyes. But such things hold no fears for book and paper conservator Emma Fraser, who has been working on an original copy of the first Courier from 196 years ago at our Meadowside offices. It has been washed three times over, for around 30 minutes each time, during a restoration process that has taken many hours of painstaking work. In good old Scottish tap water, too. ''It's as simple as that!'' Emma Fraser explained. ''Often we use de-ionised water and sometimes it's necessary to check PH levels and acid balances. But Scottish water is good enough for a process like this, warmed slightly to speed up reactions. Water also reinforces the bonds of the fibres of the paper. ''It might look a bit scary but paper is made in water so it's happy to go back into that medium.'' Of course, prior to its immersion, the newspaper was carefully treated with a special wax cyclododecane to fix the iron gall ink annotations which are vulnerable to further degradation during the aqueous treatments.For more historic newspapers, visit www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.ukThe wax then sublimates basically it evaporates and disappears in a process that takes between two days and two weeks. A 50/50 mix of ethanol and water was also used in a spray to relax the paper before washing in water. Ethanol increases the ''wet-ability'' of the paper, making it soak up water more readily which means more effective washing. Emma said: ''The trickiest part of the project was probably having to apply the cyclododecane wax to the ink before each aqueous treatment. It meant I had to think one step ahead before each stage. ''The copy was also bound into a bigger volume so I disbound it and took it out. The first two issues were bound together with others, adhering at the top, so they had to be separated with great care. Older repairs also had to be removed. ''The newspaper was repaired using a wheat starch paste and a handmade Japanese paper. The mulberry fibres used to make it are very strong but fine so they provide strength without bulk. The newspaper was then humidified again with the ethanol/water spray and pressed between blotters and boards with heavy weights on top.'' Continued...

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.


Community rallies to help tot fighting brain cancer

January 27 2017

Lochgelly residents have joined a campaign to help a baby struck by a rare brain cancer. At the age of one, Emma Beggs is already facing the fight of her life having been diagnosed with an atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumour. And the Lochgelly community is rallying round to fundraise for the family to travel to America for proton therapy. On February 19, local pub Torleys is hosting two events in support of Emma. There will be a children’s event including a disco and appearance by Kenny the Klown from 1pm to 3pm. For adults, an evening of entertainment will be held from 7pm until midnight with music from Little Big Sound. Tickets costing £10 are available from the Spirit of Lochgelly Facebook page. Lochgelly citizen of the year Karen Yeoman, who is a member of the Spirit of Lochgelly group, said: “Tickets are £10 and that also includes a buffet. There are some great raffle prizes. “We hope that there will be big turnouts at both events.” The family are still waiting for confirmation that Emma’s treatment will be funded by the NHS. Emma’s mum Sonja Allan said: “The proton treatment they believe is the best course for Emma due to her age and to give her the best chance of having less long term effects and for her development. “The application is being processed at present and we are awaiting approval for this and have been advised to have funds in place as we will only be given short notice to leave. “We would have to spend a few months in the states which will be very costly for us as a family. “Emma’s big brother Ewan loves his sister very much. He would like to be able to go to America with us too and be with his family. This is something we would have to fund ourselves.” Emma has already undergone surgery and chemotherapy to remove the tumour. Sonja added: “The hospital has advised the best type of treatment for Emma would be proton radiotherapy which is only available overseas, in Emma's case this would be in America. “She requires this as soon as possible. “We appreciate all the help and support we have been given and from the bottom of our hearts.”


Fagerson could be fixture for Scotland for a decade

February 7 2017

The most exciting thing about Zander Fagerson is that no-one knows how good he’s going to be, says Scotland forwards coach Jonathan Humphreys. The 21-year-old tight-head from Kirriemuir was still on the pitch at the end of Scotland’s 27-22 Six Nations victory over Ireland, an exceptionally rare 80-minute shift in maybe the most strength-sapping position on the pitch. But it’s partly the coaching team’s faith in the youngster even at his tender age and experience that he was left on, and Humphreys reckons that he could be a huge figure for Scotland over the next decade. “He’s got the minerals to make a significant impact in international rugby for a long, long time,” said the Welshman. “But we’ve still got to understand that a lot of the stuff with him is potential. “Like any 21-year-old there’s a lot to work on, he’s basically learning his trade in the hardest arena possible. So while we’re delighted with him so far, to be honest we’re even happier with what he could become, what he could be in the future.” Fagerson satyed on for the full 80 on Saturday because the game changed in the final ten minutes and his attributes were needed on the field, continued Humphreys. “We were looking to put Simon Beghan on but we started getting momentum back,” he said. “Zander’s just 21, we don’t ask Ross Ford to play 80 minutes but Zander can do it. “He stayed on because he gives you so many other things, but the last thing we want is for him to feel he’s the finished article because he’s not. “He’s got a lot of growth and that is the exciting thing. Guys are still learning their trade in that position at 29 and 30, we don’t know what Zander can be and that’s exciting. “Who knows, this may be as good as he’ll ever be. Or this may just be the start of what he could be. But potentially it’s great, a young quality Scottish prop and there’s more klike him coming through the Academies. That’s really, really encouraging.” Humphreys accepts that the setpiece is going to undergo another huge test at the weekend in Paris but feels Scotland should confront France in every area. “Sometimes you weigh up what’s beneficial for the whole game and what’s beneficial for specific areas but ultimately we don’t want to trade off on anything,” he said. “We believe with the personnel we have that we can compete in all areas. We have utmost faith in these boys that they can compete and make a difference for us all over the park.” That includes the creaking scrummage where Humphreys thinks Scotland eventually got it solved against Ireland. “It took us a little while to deal with it and we need to make sure we start more accurately,” he said, saying that France’s tight-heads both have a reputation of scrummaging at “acute angles”. “It’s up to us to make sure we can deal with that, like we had to deal with it at the weekend,” he said. "As I understand it’s supposed to be a pushing contest with everyone pushing the same way, now I see things going on at the highest level that make it obvious to the naked eye that people aren’t pushing straight. “If that’s the case, we have to deal with it if the refs won’t.  It was an issue for us on Saturday in that we didn’t solve it straight away. “You’re going to get away with what you get away with. If you can push early or scrummage at angles and get away with it, good luck to you. We need to be able to solve it.” Veteran hooker Ross Ford agrees with his assistant coach that Fagerson has come on even since the Autumn Tests and the Scots have to front-up up-front against the French. “Zander has done exceptionally well, to play 80 minutes at tighthead is a big shift,” said Ford, who won his 103rd cap as an early replacement for Fraser Brown on Saturday. “He’s a confident boy but he is so keen to learn as well. We discuss things that we could do better all the time, just as I would with Al (Dickinson) and WP (Nel) who are the guys I would normally look to for advice. “He’s come on even since we were together in the autumn, he’s surer of himself, his ball-carrying and defence have come on leaps and bounds. “He has the bread and butter stuff down now and doesn’t have to worry about the small stuff. “I don’t expect he’ll have any problems against France, He will be fine. He has performed well in Europe against big scrummaging packs like Racing’s and Leicester so no reason to change on Sunday.” And there’s no answer to French power than to face it straight up, added Ford. “We just have to be technically better,” he said. “They may be bigger but physically we have to be able to match them, there is no way round it. “We did that at times on Saturday but they are a big squad, a big team, we have to be bloody minded and be smart along with it.” Scotland have no injury issues for the weekend with Finn Russell clearing the final stage of his Head Injury Assessment and rejoining training.

Perth & Kinross

Police accused of ‘poor response’ during Comrie flooding

September 13 2012

A Perthshire woman whose family had to leave their village home after devastating floods have hit out at the police, claiming there was a lack of action by the force when the crisis occurred. Claire Humphreys (38), of Tay Avenue, Comrie, said the ''response was poor'' when the River Ruchill burst its banks on August 27, with torrents of water flowing into Camp Road, Barrack Road, Tay Place and Tay Avenue. Two elderly residents had to be helped from their properties but the aftermath has left scores of villagers angry at what they claim were inadequate flood defence measures. Members of Comrie Community Council feel so strongly about the situation they have written to Perth and Kinross Council, with the document claiming that if another flood happened in Comrie it would be a ''potentially lethal event''. Mrs Humphreys said her family have now moved to a flat in Drummond Street, Comrie, due to the damage caused by the flood, and claims there was a lack of police presence that day. ''We will be in this flat for six months while everything in our house gets ripped up,'' she said. ''The police did come but went away. They should have been there and certainly didn't come to help at Tay Avenue. ''I wouldn't like to think what might happen the next time, especially if it happened overnight, as many elderly people were having their tea when this flood took place and were unaware what was happening." Mrs Humphreys, who previously worked for 17 years as a senior charge nurse in an A&E department, continued: ''Basically no one walked the line of the water to see where it ended. It was a case of resident helping resident. ''However, I would like to praise the efforts of the emergency services that attended and worked very hard. I know of one couple who have been left homeless because of the flood. They are looking for accommodation for around six months.'' Mrs Humphreys feels there needs to be a policy of ''education'' about the flooding in Comrie. ''There was a meeting on Tuesday with the community council and the local authority and another one will take place on Thursday, run by Comrie Community Council,'' she said. ''We need to keep this matter going as the aftermath is horrible. My children, Tom (10) and Amy (8), are pleased we are living in this flat as our house in Tay Avenue is smelly due to the flood. ''I took them to look at the River Earn recently and told them that was the one I expected to burst its banks, not the River Ruchill. ''We didn't have a flood action plan but we will now. Even things like clearing the drains can help matters. ''Everyone has a responsibility and that includes Perth and Kinross Council, Sepa (Scottish Environment Protection Agency), the emergency services and the community.'' A spokesman for Tayside Police said they were ''aware'' of Mrs Humphreys' concerns and are ''looking into the matter''. Roseanna Cunningham, MSP for Perthshire South and Kinross-shire, praised Comrie residents. ''The extent of the flooding and the damage caused to property was shocking but I was hugely impressed by the way in which the local community came together helping each other out in such a selfless manner,'' she said. ''Now, however, we need to take a good look at both the causes of, and responses to, the flooding and learn some lessons from the experience.''


Big-hearted Stanley youngster’s close shave for charity

April 24 2013

A Perthshire youngster has an extra reason to hope for the arrival of warmer weather after shaving her head for charity. Brave Emma Mackenzie, 10, had her flowing blonde hair removed after deciding that she “wants to do something to help children”. Emma, from Stanley, made the sacrifice to raise over £1,500 for the Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS), which runs Rachel House in Kinross. The amount is more than treble the £500 the Luncarty Primary School P6 pupil had set out to raise. Her hair was also given to the Little Princess Trust, which makes wigs for youngsters. The Courier told last month how Emma’s decision pre-dated the money-raising stunt by pop star Jesse J, who shaved her head for Comic Relief. Despite her parents giving her months to reconsider her decision, Emma has never wavered in her determination to carry out her pledge. The big moment finally arrived at Taylors Hair and Beauty Salon in Luncarty after school. Proud mum Kirsteen said: “She has done fantastically well and has raised about £1,100 through her justgiving page on the internet and she’s got other sponsor forms as well. She was so excited yesterday because it was her last full day with hair and there has never been any indication at all of her backing out. “I don’t have a clue how she came up with the idea but she just said she wanted to do something to help children. We’re just amazed by the response because everyone has been so generous.” Donors can still add to Emma’s total at justgiving.com/Emma-Mackenzie1.

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