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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...

Perth & Kinross

Perth pupils reach height of success in Duke of Edinburgh Awards

March 26 2014

Hard-working pupils from Perth High School are celebrating after completing a tough project. A group of 18 students took part in the Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award, the top achievement for the initiative. Presented with the coveted badge were Steven Stewart, Hazel McArthur, Eilidh Vandome, Kim MacDonald Amy Robb, Abigail Paul, Emily McCullagh, Emma Mathieson, Hannah MacRae, Adam Legge, Amy Straiton, Lia Hay, Raheem Beg, Gemma MacDougall, Catriona Beattie, Lee Alexander, Alannah Tulloch and Alex Peddie.

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


‘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.”


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

Angus & The Mearns

Britain’s Got Talent dream dashed for Angus Highland dancers

March 4 2013

The Britain’s Got Talent dream is over for a group of Angus Highland dancers. Despite lavish praise led by show judge Simon Cowell, and a standing ovation from a 3,000-strong Clyde Auditorium audience, the girls of Strictly Alba learned at the weekend that they will not be in the final stages of the ITV hit show. Naturally disappointed not to have been given the chance to shine in the live rounds of the competition after making such a big impression on the BGT judging panel in Glasgow, the dancers from Forfar and Kirriemuir are now looking forward in the hope that their choreography will make it to the nation’s TV screens when the show is broadcast later this year. They are hopeful Highland dancing will get a lift if the comments of chief judge Cowell are aired. https://www.youtube.com/embed/t84vbZ86dQc?rel=0 After watching the Strictly Alba team shown above in rehearsals he said: “I don’t normally like that sort of thing, but that was very, very good.” Fellow judges Alesha Dixon, Amanda Holden and David Walliams were similarly enthusiastic as the Angus group Linzi Elms, Leanne Wood, Robyn Hart-Winks, Emma Stewart, Holly Milne, Kirstin Stewart, Airlie McIntyre and Sophie Brown easily grabbed four yes votes. The girls’ teachers, Delma Wilson from Forfar and Nicola Grant from Kirriemuir, said they were hugely proud of what the group had achieved. Nicola said: “The girls had a blast on their BGT journey and we’re delighted they were able to show a really different side of Highland Dancing to a huge audience who absolutely loved what they did.” Delma added: “The audition day was a whirlwind of filming so hopefully Strictly Alba will make it on to the programme and we’ll be able to relive some of the excitement of that day.”

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.