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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...

Fife

Dino Rexie’s move is a real saur point in Glenrothes

February 24 2011

An artwork's move to a more prominent location in Glenrothes has provoked roars of disapproval among locals. Residents in the Caskieberran area have been outraged at the decision to move Rexie, a large dinosaur sculpture, from its spot on Waverley Drive to the centre of Caskieberran roundabout. Now it has emerged that a petition has been drawn up urging the council to return Rexie to its rightful position, while local comedy singing duo The Tam Tam Club have also written a protest song about Rexie to show the community's strength of feeling. You Rexie Thing, which is sung to the tune of Hot Chocolate's 80s hit You Sexy Thing, has been posted on the internet and contains the line, "I believe in dinosaurs, where you from, you Rexie thing." It also samples the Was (Not Was) record Walk The Dinosaur, featuring the lyric, "Caskieberran get off the floor, everybody save the dinosaur." Rexie's move was decided by Glenrothes area councillors in December, when £15,000 was granted towards the repair and moves of a number of the town's outdoor sculptures. But while the upkeep of the artwork was welcomed by many, relocating the dinosaur did not go down well with locals. Despite being given an assurance by Fife Council that public consultation on any move would take place, Central Fife MSP Tricia Marwick said she was "appalled" to learn it had already happened. "I had an undertaking that the dinosaur would be removed for repairs and that local people would be consulted and that hasn't happened," she said. "I will be writing to the chief executive demanding an explanation as to why they told me one thing and did another. The town art belongs to the town, not Fife Council officials." In addition to the protest song by locals Tam Short and Tam McKay, it is understood over 150 people have signed a petition calling for Rexie's return. Among the other items of public art being moved are the giant hands, the horse and chariot, the picture frame, the giant mushroom and the elephants in Pitcoudie. Glenrothes has nearly 150 pieces of public art and, in taking the decision, Fife Council stressed some of the works had deteriorated because of age and vandalism. Councillor Fiona Grant, who chairs the Glenrothes area committee, said at the time, "These measures will prolong the life span of these sculptures and help safeguard some of the town's heritage. "A great deal of thought has gone into where the sculptures should be re-sited with regard to complementing existing art in the area or simply moving into positions where more people can enjoy them. "The aim is for the art to be both visually pleasing and to get people talking about them." You can find The Tam Tam Club's song at www.dailyreckless.co.uk

Fife

Call for Glenrothes to be celebrated ahead of major milestone

August 22 2017

Glenrothes will reach the grand old age of 70 next year — and the looming anniversary has prompted calls for more support to be given to the town’s history and culture. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boqlguwZbqE Jenny Gilruth, MSP for Mid Fife and Glenrothes, believes greater efforts should be made to preserve and promote the history of the famous 'new town' and the surrounding area following a recent visit to the Glenrothes and Area Heritage Centre. Founded by chairwoman Linda Ballingall and officially opened in 2013 by former MSP Tricia Marwick, the centre is run entirely by volunteers and funded by donations. With that in mind, the local MSP is now seeking to highlight the importance of, and the need for, more support and recognition of the constituency’s local history. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lR9fUMcwS_c “A lot of people think of Glenrothes as a new town, and aren’t aware of the town’s historic links,” she noted. “As the current exhibition at the Heritage Centre on the history at Tullis Russell has shown, there’s a huge appetite among local people to learn more. “It’s remarkable that the Heritage Centre offers the service that it does, given that it currently survives only on donations. “The service provided is invaluable and the volunteers should be commended for their efforts. “I would also note that it is concerning that Fife Council has reduced the budget for this year’s Doors Open Day event in September. “Only two venues from my constituency have been included, and of those two, one of these — the Rothes Halls — is already open to the public almost every day. “There should not be an inequality of provision in how we celebrate Fife’s culture — it’s important that we celebrate all that Fife has to offer and not just the usual suspects. “To that end, I’m calling on Fife Council to consider how they can better support the Heritage Centre and other heritage initiatives in Glenrothes as we head into the town’s 70th year.” Ms Gilruth also pointed out that she has supported a resolution at the SNP’s national conference calling for the formation of a New Towns' Forum and a New Towns' Action Plan. “This would have a focus on supporting and shaping a sustainable future for all of Scotland’s New Towns, including Glenrothes, which each share challenges and opportunities,” she added. “With 2018 just behind the corner, now is the time to celebrate the story of Glenrothes and the surrounding area.”

Business news

The rise and fall of Tullis Russell

May 22 2017

It was a name synonymous with quality paper manufacture and was an important employer for generations of Fifers in the Markinch area. But more than two years after the famous Tullis Russell paper making company collapsed after more than two centuries, a major new exhibition is drawing the crowds. The exhibition, which opened in Glenrothes more than two weeks ago, has already attracted more than 600 visitors. And according to Linda Ballingall, founder and chair of the Glenrothes & Area Heritage Centre, hopes are high that interest will continue. “Over the next three months, an important exhibition is being run in Glenrothes & Area Heritage Centre to mark the history of Tullis Russell (Papermakers) after 206 years,” she told The Courier. “The papermaking side of the Tullis Russell dynasty finally went into administration on April 27 2015 after more than two centuries of production in Markinch. “The company had played a major role in the heart of the community having been involved in almost every aspect of their employee’s lives as TR’s as it was referred to, founded, funded or sponsored many public buildings, schools, social and sports clubs in the Markinch and Glenrothes area. “The end of the papermaking section affected many in the community as for generations their fore-bearers had worked for the company.” Robert Tullis of the Cupar Press purchased the lease of the Auchmuty paper mill (built in 1804) and formed the paper manufacturer R Tullis & Co in 1809. In 1874 brothers David and Arthur Russell became managing partners in the company, giving it the TR name which became synonymous with paper-making the world over. The company remained under the control of the Russell family until it was sold to its employees in 1994. Leading up to closure, which waqs brought on by changes in global markets, David Erdal, chairman of Tullis Russell from 1985 to 1996, held talks with the trustees of Glenrothes & Area Heritage Centre together with St Andrews University Library on where to store the companies many documents and artefacts. St Andrews University library had been created and sponsored by The Russell Trust which was set up in memory of the then chairman, Sir David Russell’s son, Captain Patrick Russell, who was killed in action in the Second World War. Linda added: “We were very honoured to be asked to assist with such an important task and are very conscious of the wider importance to the local populace of the artefacts etc. in our care. “We give thanks and acknowledge the assistance given by the University of St Andrews Library, Department of Special Collections in providing a selections of photographs and items of interest from their archives. “We also thank the Russell Trust for allowing us unlimited access to the Tullis Russell Collection.” The free exhibition runs from Tuesdays to Saturdays at the Glenrothes & Area Heritage Centre based in Lyon Way, Kingdom Shopping Centre, Glenrothes.

Fife

Heritage hub going nowhere after relocation fears

July 5 2016

A Glenrothes charity has thanked people power for preventing it from being made homeless. Linda Ballingall, the founder of the Glenrothes and Area Heritage Centre, said that the public show of support for the hub had been overwhelming after it emerged that another charity was eyeing up its unit within the Kingdom Shopping Centre. The British Heart Foundation was rumoured to have been looking at taking on the unit in Lyon Way, due to a clause in the heritage centre’s lease that could have seen it moved if another tenant wished to take on the premises. However, after news of the centre’s situation emerged, a huge online show of support has coincided with the BHF confirming that it is no longer looking to take on the premises. Mrs Ballingall said that establishing the museum had cost over £20,000 and that to relocate would have been impossible. “I would like to thank everyone for their support,” she said. “It has been overwhelming. “Finding the funding to relocate was worrying me. “How was I going to raise at least £20,000 again? “That was just one part of it but with the rates on top of the relocation it was going to be impossible.” Opened in November 2013 by the Scottish Parliament’s then presiding officer Tricia Marwick, the heritage centre has welcomed thousands of visitors through its doors. Having hosted several high-profile exhibitions from its base in Lyon Way, the centre had been established to chart the relatively short history of Glenrothes, as well as the longer-established surrounding communities such as Leslie and Markinch. However, the facility has also branched out to explore other areas of history, with more than 8,000 visitors turning out to view an exhibition to mark the centenary of the Titanic disaster. A quarter of a century in the making, plans for a centre to mark the development of Glenrothes were first hatched by the Glenrothes Development Corporation in the late 1980’s. Though establishing such a facility within the Rothes Halls never materialised, Mrs Ballingall championed efforts to establish a service for the area, culminating in the opening of the town centre site three years ago. The British Heart Foundation confirmed to The Courier that it was no longer considering locating to the premises occupied by the heritage centre. jowatson@thecourier.co.uk.

Fife

Referendum tapestry has everyone in stitches

February 16 2015

A tapestry celebrating the independence referendum is on show in Glenrothes. Knitting a Nation, produced by 36 women from across Scotland, is touring the country before its final exhibition in the Scottish Parliament later this year. The hand-knitted map of Scotland will be on display in the Glenrothes and Area Heritage Centre, in the Kingdom Shopping Centre, until February 26.

Readers' letters

October 11: We will still require back-up power stations

October 11 2011

Today's letters to The Courier. We will still require back-up power stationsSir, €” The letter (October 7) by the Friends of the Earth chief executive Stan Blackley does not agree with the proposed coal-fired power station at Hunterston. In his opinion, the increased wealth of renewable energy sources will be more than adequate to meet Scotland's future electricity requirements. I am sure that many of the public, not forgetting the benefit of employment, would be more assured to have a relevant back-up of energy if the "wealth of eventual renewable energy sources" fails to adequately meet requirements. Perhaps Mr Blackley could challenge policies in various countries in order to obtain their support against coal-fired power stations. The response would be interesting. Harry Lawrie. 35 Abbots Mill, Kirkcaldy.Public not asked to choose nameSir, €” Your headline writer has done your readers a disservice by failing to check the facts about the naming of the new sports and leisure centre in Glenrothes (October 6). Fife Council did not at any time "ask the public to choose the name" of the new facility. The Glenrothes Area Committee, including Councillor Kay Morrison, unanimously agreed in May that the purpose of the survey was "to help gauge the views of the public on potential names for the new facility". If Councillor Morrison had wanted the results to be binding on the council, regardless of how many or how few people took part, she should have asked for this in May. She didn't. Your report also failed to mention the important fact that although every household in Fife was invited to take part in the survey, and although it was also promoted for over two months in the current FIPRE centre, in local libraries and online, only 174 people actually took part. Compare this to the thousands who made their views known when the late Michael Woods blew the whistle on a suggestion that Fife Institute could be closed down and sold off for housing, and it's easy to "gauge the views of the public". They're relieved that the institute is not being lost, they're delighted that the current administration is replacing it with a brand new facility, and they don't really mind what it's called. We have a long tradition in Scotland of naming important public buildings in memory of individuals who played a major role in having them built. Councillor Michael Woods played a huge role in making sure the current FIPRE site becomes a new sports and leisure centre. (Cllr) Peter Grant.Glenrothes West and Kinglassie. More to it than paying off debtSir, €” It is more than a tad worrying that the Tory Prime Minister David Cameron's grasp of economics is no better than your average mug punter putting all his money on a three-legged nag. Any successful economy depends on the free flow of money and not simply paying off all our debts. It is equally worrying that David Cameron should publicly give support to the Home Secretary Theresa May for uttering untruths about the Human Rights Act whilst chastising the Justice Secretary Ken Clarke. Malcolm McCandless.40 Muirfield Crescent,Dundee.Gas cloud risk not worth runningSir, €” It was with a sense of relief I read that the proposed carbon capture programme for Longannet may not go ahead. The prospect of 500 new jobs seems to have obscured the possible long term risks. The technology, as I understand it, involves storing liquid carbon dioxide at around 800psi in empty oil and gas caverns under the North Sea. Presumably we have to store this liquid forever in increasing quantities. Your report quotes a figure of 70 million tonnes by 2024. What happens if we get a leak? It is maybe unlikely, but the events I am thinking about are comparatively common: failure of a pipeline, an accident at a wellhead, an earth tremor or a volcanic eruption. Plus of course, an act of terrorism. Whilst carbon dioxide is harmless in very low concentrations, say 1-10 parts per million, it rapidly becomes highly toxic as concentrations increase. If 10% of these 70 million tonnes leaked out it would produce a cloud of carbon dioxide about the size of the UK. Of course it wouldn't be pure carbon dioxide it would be mixed with the atmosphere. However, even if it was considerably diluted it would still be an appalling danger. Bob Drysdale.Millfield Star,Glenrothes.Exploitation in sex industrySir, €” In your article about the lap dancing club bid (October 7) the Rev James Auld is reported to have said that he, "has no problem with the venture, providing workers do not feel exploited". It does not necessarily follow, however, that a person isn't being exploited just because they don't feel exploited. It is usually people who, for whatever reason, don't feel it who are exploited. If, as Dundee Women's Aid suggests, women in the sex industry are being exploited (and there is ample evidence) then it is worse, not better, that they don't feel that exploitation. So the Rev Auld ought to have a problem with this venture. Clare McGraw.12a Castle Terrace,Broughty Ferry. Get involved: to have your say on these or any other topics, email your letter to letters@thecourier.co.uk or send to Letters Editor, The Courier, 80 Kingsway East, Dundee DD4 8SL.

Perth & Kinross

Culinary dimension added to Perth Show

July 28 2016

For more than 150 years Perth Show has been a popular, once a year meeting point for the people of the city and the farming community. The show - now the third largest of its type in Scotland – remains as always a showcase for champion livestock but this year holds a much wider appeal for visitors. To be held on Friday and Saturday August 5 and 6 on the South Inch, throughout the two days, trade stands, sideshows, entertainment, activities, music and parades all add to the vibrancy of the show along with a new culinary direction. “For the first time, Perth Show is set to feature a cookery theatre and food and drink marquee,” said show secretary Neil Forbes. “This will bring a new and popular dimension to the visitor attraction. “Perth Show 2016 is also delighted to welcome Perthshire On A Plate (POAP) - a major food festival, celebrating the very best in local produce and culinary talent. “Organised by Perthshire Chamber of Commerce, the two-day festival will run as part of the show and feature celebrity and local chefs, demonstrations and tastings, book signings, food and drink related trade stands, fun-filled activities for ‘kitchen kids’ and a large dining area and pop-up restaurants in a double celebration of food and farming.” Heading the celebrity chef line-up are television favourite Rosemary Shrager (Friday) and spice king Tony Singh (Saturday), backed by a host of talented local chefs including Graeme Pallister (63 Tay Street) and Grant MacNicol (Fonab Castle). The cookery theatre, supported by Quality Meat Scotland, will also stage a fun cookery challenge between students from Perth College and the ladies of the SWI. A range of pop-up restaurants featuring taster dishes from some of the area’s best known eating places will allow visitors to sample local produce as they relax in the show’s new POAP dining area. “We’re trying to create a wide and varied programme of entertainment,” said Mr Forbes. “Late afternoon on Friday will see the It’s A Knockout  challenge with teams from businesses throughout Perth and Perthshire competing against each other. “And the first day’s programme will end with a beer, wine and spirit festival where teams can celebrate their achievements and visitors can sample a wide range of locally produced drinks.” This year will also see the reintroduction of showjumping at Perth Show on the Saturday afternoon.

Opinion

Why my head is in the clouds

August 29 2013

WeDundee.com, the local site supporting Dundee's UK City of Culture 2017 bid, this morning revealed a fascinating insight into people's interests. Earlier this yearWe Dundeeinvited the public to say what they loved about the city, and its word cloud, shown above, gives a visual guide to the comments people submitted. Four dominant themes emerged Light, People, River and Environment. Taking the first, Light, we can see the subjects and concepts most often mentioned (the larger the word, the more it was discussed). What fascinates me is how closely this correlates with what we see in the site statistics at www.thecourier.co.uk. We spend quite a bit of time analysing what subjects attract the most attention online. This is obviously very useful information for the site, but we also feed it back to our newspaper colleagues to suggest topics that might be worth further coverage. Some kinds of stories will always do well online... but we also see high levels of interest in areas that might not be immediately obvious. It's no surprise that concepts such as 'Tay' and 'waterfront' are prominent in We Dundee's graphic, but two that jump out at me are 'cycle' and 'buildings'. I cycle to work every day, so I try to ensure my personal interest doesn't result in a bias towards the subject on our site. But it's clearly a big topic of interest around Dundee. Every time we report issues surrounding bike safety or infrastructure, the articles attract a lot of attention from cyclists and drivers alike. It's also a hot topic on the letters page. The Courier carries an excellent cycling column by Scot Tares every Saturday now expanded in our lovely new magazine! but this might be further evidence that there's room to do more. Similarly, the popularity of articles about buildings and built heritage sometimes takes us by surprise. Whether it's poking about in the cellars of some of the city centre's older buildings, or remembering the Law Tunnel, stories on what Dundee has built, plans to build (and what it has knocked down...) always seem to fascinate our readers. My colleague Chris Ferguson's From The Archives blogregularly touches on this subject, and his stories on nightclubs of the past and fallen landmarks have sparked much interest and debate. So, what do you think? Do you want to see more on cycling issues? Or more on our towns' and cities' built heritage? Or is there something else you think deserves more coverage? We're always open to suggestions.

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

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