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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...

The Lunch

A chat about care, the law and business over lunch

March 9 2017

Every month Katy Gordon speaks to Courier Country business people to learn what makes them tick. This month, she met Lorna Brown of Caritas Legal at Garvock House Hotel in Dunfermline. My first impression of Lorna Brown, the owner and founder of Caritas Legal, was that she was the least “lawyerly”-looking lawyer I have ever met, which I told her when we sat down to lunch. It turns out that’s part of Lorna’s business strategy. “I’ve always hated the corporate stereotype of law and I know from my own experience that a lot of clients are intimidated by it,” Lorna explained as we tucked into our lunch. She had opted for the baked hake fillet, which came with a herb crust and shellfish and leek ragout. I had the spinach and ricotta tortellini in a tomato and basil sauce, topped with affilla cress and parmesan salad. The establishment of Caritas Legal came about through Lorna’s own experiences as a carer for her mum. “I set up the business after my mum got dementia – through that limited exposure as a carer I realised that I, and many others, didn’t know about the legal side of care and what needs to be put in place to help the person being cared for.” Lorna’s mum passed away at the beginning of 2011, which she says was the driving force to hand in her notice and go out on her own. “When I first started I had four kids – I now have five – and I was working at home on my laptop, often until midnight. Three months later, I moved into my first office and during that first year, I learned a lot about running a business.” Specialising in future planning (including estate planning, Wills, Power of Attorney) and care means that Lorna has to put people at the heart of the Caritas ethos. “We offer every client a home visit – I was recently in Aberfeldy to get papers signed – which really helps me get to know my clients and their background, and it also helps put them at ease, because often people are nervous to come into a lawyer’s office. “That is especially important if we are setting up a Power of Attorney.” Because of the company’s focus, Lorna does admit that her job is a “lot more than just the legal side”. “It can be quite difficult because you do hear a lot of sad stories, but you do have the clients that you click with and there are some happy endings and silver linings that make up for it. Since setting up in 2011, Lorna’s business has continued to grow. She now employs a paralegal and secretary, which allows her to dedicate most afternoons to seeing new clients (either in the office or at their home). Lorna also set up Caritas Bloom, a trust management company which helps people affected by dementia, learning difficulties and brain injuries manage their assets and money. She also recently worked with a business coach, which she credits for helping her focus and work more efficiently. “I also learned what I didn’t want,” Lorna said as she tucked into her chocolate mousse with honeycomb pieces and creme anglaise, “because we were looking at expansion and I could see Caritas potentially changing in a way that I wasn’t happy with. People like the fact that we are small and it means that I know my clients. “So I took the bits from the coaching that worked for me.” One of those elements, she explained, is eating frogs. “We all have the jobs that we put off doing, our ‘frogs’. So every day, we have a number of frogs to eat.” Aside from her client work, Lorna dedicates time in her day to speak to charities and organisations about the legal side of caring for someone, which she says she does to help people understand what they need to know. “For example, people think that if you pass your home onto a child seven years before you go into care it prevents the local authority from using it when accessing care costs, but that’s not the case. The seven year rule only applies to inheritance tax.” As we wrapped up our lunch, I asked Lorna whether or not going into business for herself was worth it. She gave me a big smile. “It was the best thing I ever did.”

Angus & The Mearns

Sight test led to brain tumour discovery

September 25 2015

An Angus woman has told how a routine eye test detected a benign brain tumour. Lorna Hayes, 48, from Arbroath, visited her local Specsavers store expecting to be told that she needed a stronger lens prescription after suffering from headaches and loss of vision in one eye. During Lorna’s eye examination, it became apparent that her prescription had not changed and she was immediately referred to eye specialists at Ninewells Hospital by ophthalmic director Kenny Johnston. After several tests and MRI scans, Lorna was diagnosed with a benign brain tumour at the back of her optic nerve. She has now had the tumour removed during a six-hour operation at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. Lorna said: “I started to get dull headaches they wouldn’t last very long but began to happen frequently throughout the course of a day. “I’d had the headaches for a couple of months when the sight in my right eye worsened. “It was almost like there was a white film over my eye. “As well as feeling uncomfortable, it became very scary as I struggled to even cross the road on my own. “I was constantly bumping into things, especially in shops. “I already wore glasses and assumed that a stronger prescription would cure the headaches and enable me to see clearly again. “I’d never dreamed that my sight loss was caused by a brain tumour.” Thankfully the tumour was not life-threatening but Lorna said it was still a frightening time for herself and her family. She said: “I spent 12 days in hospital and I’ve been staying with my daughter since I was discharged as I still get tired and out of breath easily. “Within days of the operation, once I started to feel less groggy, I noticed a huge difference in my eyesight. “I’d like to thank the staff at Specsavers and Kenny in particular for acting so fast and referring me straight away.” Six weeks after the operation, Lorna went back to Specsavers in Arbroath for a follow-up eye check. Mr Johnston said: “Cases like Lorna’s are very rare since opening in Arbroath 12 years ago, we’ve only come across three or four patients that have gone on to be diagnosed with a brain tumour following an eye test. “Thankfully, most of the customers we see with headaches and symptoms similar to Lorna’s are usually pretty routine problems and easily treated. “Nevertheless, it’s extremely important to act quickly if you experience any symptoms such as headaches or a reduction or loss of vision.”

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

Angus & The Mearns

Lorna stepping out one more time after over 40 years of fundraising to fight cancer

May 1 2014

An Angus mother whose family have been devastated by cancer is preparing for her final charity challenge after four decades of fundraising. Mum-of-two Lorna Kydd, 51, has raised more than £100,000 in the past 41 years but this year’s Cancer Research UK Relay for Life in Arbroath will be her last. Lorna, who lives in the town and works in the office at Warddykes Primary School, underwent a full hysterectomy and a double mastectomy to save her life in 2009 as she has a cancer gene and both of her parents died of the disease. Her husband had testicular cancer 10 years ago and was lucky to survive but, sadly, her father died of prostate cancer seven years ago. Lorna also watched her mother battle ovarian cancer before she died four years ago. Lorna’s family have been touched by cancer ever since she can remember and she began raising money for cancer charities at the age of just 10. “It is now 41 years and I am now thinking of hanging up my boots, as they say,” Lorna said. Lorna has been married to Graham for 33 years and they have two children, Charlene Mallard, 30, and Allan, 19. She added: “Charlene has been tested for the cancer gene and was lucky enough not to carry it but Allan may at some point have the test as he could also get breast cancer and they are speaking about a link with prostate cancer, which men also get. “I now wish I had kept a note of the money I have raised over the years but I didn’t think 41 years later I would still be fundraising. “If I was to make a guess it would be over £100,000 raised and yes, with a heavy heart, I will be giving up fundraising.” Lorna’s friends Linda Cook and Marie Church have also turned her hair from black to blonde with a rainbow on the top of her head. In June she then plans to shave all her newly-coloured hair off to raise funds for the Relay for Life, which she will be taking part in on September 20/21. To give cash to Lorna’s challenge go to www.justgiving.com/Lorna-Kydd.


Fintry glass attacker ordered to pay £1000 compensation after leaving 78-year-old scarred

May 23 2016

A thug who glassed a 78-year-old man following a bizarre bar-room brawl - leaving the OAP scarred - has avoided jail. Kenneth Thomson attacked Henry Heenan at the Dolphin Bar in Dundee’s Fintry area just before Christmas last year. Thomson had asked the OAP to borrow cash - then later went back for more, causing an argument to break out. Sheriff Lorna Drummond QC placed Thomson on an electronic tag restricting him to his home from 7pm to 7am for four months. He was also ordered to pay a £650 fine and £1000 in compensation to Mr Heenan.

Perth & Kinross

Gran seeks late mother’s wedding dress lost in post

October 16 2016

A Fife gran who sold her late mother’s wedding dress in a moment of madness is now desperately trying to recover the gown after it got lost in the post. Lorna Aspey, 70, sold the Canadian ivory silk dress on eBay for £400 in July but instantly regretted the decision. Fortunately the buyer agreed to return it only for it to vanish in the post. After months of searching, the Kinross the grandmother-of-five is making a desperate appeal to find the dress which belonged to her mum, Jerry, who wore it when she wed Lorna’s dad John in 1944. The couple met at a dance hall in Edinburgh in the late 1930s, where John was serving with 603 Squadron of the Royal Air Force. Because of rationing Jerry was unable to find a wedding dress, so John had one made in Canada from ivory silk. Lorna said: “My mother never saw the dress until it arrived in a big cream box.” Lorna, who was an only child, kept the dress and hoped to wear it on her special day – but it didn’t fit. She said: “When my mum died I inherited her wedding dress and hoped to wear it when I got married – although in the end I wasn’t tall enough. “I kept it and it was my most treasured possession.” It was the death of Lorna’s own children that prompted her to sell it. She lost her youngest, Damian, to cancer when he was 32 and her second youngest, Mark, to suicide when he was 43. Lorna said: “Going through my sons’ possessions when they died was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. “I decided to sell Mum’s wedding dress so my children wouldn’t have to decide what to do with it when I died.” After the buyer returned the dress Royal Mail claimed the correct postage hadn’t been paid. Lorna said she offered to pay the difference but Royal Mail wouldn’t let her. Desperate to get it back, Lorna contacted her local MP, Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, who called Royal Mail but to no avail – it was lost. Lorna has been offered £50 compensation from Royal Mail, but says it’s not about the money. According to the online mail tracker, the dress “is progressing through our network and on its way.” It was last seen at London Central Mail Centre on July 19. Lorna said: “I thought I was doing something good by selling it. “But I haven’t slept for weeks. When I’m on my death bed I’m going to think about my mum’s wedding dress.” The Royal Mail has apologised. A spokesman said: “We are not complacent about these matters. Every item of mail is important to us. “Although it won’t cover the sentimental value of the item, we have offered Ms Aspey additional compensation for her to give to a charity of her choice.”

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.

Angus & The Mearns

40-year fundraising veteran ending efforts ‘with a bang’

August 28 2014

An Angus mum who has raised more than £100,000 for cancer research says she has not had second thoughts about giving up her charity exploits. Mum of two Lorna Kydd, 51, has been fundraising for the past 41 years but this year’s Cancer Research UK Relay for Life in Arbroath will be her last. Lorna, who lives in the town and works in the office at Warddykes Primary School, underwent a full hysterectomy and a double mastectomy to save her life in 2009 as she has a cancer gene and both of her parents died of the disease. Her husband had testicular cancer 10 years ago and was lucky to survive. Sadly, her father died of prostate cancer seven years ago and she also watched her mother battle ovarian cancer before she died four years ago. Lorna’s family has been touched by cancer ever since she can remember and she began raising money for cancer charities at the age of just 10. With a month to go until the big day, Lorna said she has no regrets about deciding to call it a day after the Arbroath event on September 20 and 21. “Things are going really well at the moment but it hasn’t made me think twice about my decision,” she said. “I’m definitely retiring from it all this year but I’m going out with a bang, as they say. “So far we have raised £4,000 and £2,500 of that was for my head shave which is growing back at a fair speed.” Lorna has been married to Graham for 33 years and they have two children, Charlene and Allan. Lorna’s friends Linda Cook and Marie Church recently turned her hair from black to blonde with a rainbow on the top of her head. All her newly-coloured hair was shaved off to raise funds for the Relay for Life and she admits the short look did not initially go down too well with her family. She said: “Everyone is getting excited for the relay this year as this is our last and the buzz with the other 31 teams is brilliant. “I’ve still got a few ideas left for more fundraising and of course there is also what we can raise on the day. My family took really bad with my short haircut my husband thought I looked like a convict. “I also went to my first football match at Aberdeen for a few years and my children were a wee bit apprehensive but we got through it no problem, “I think if people didn’t know me they probably just thought I had cancer and was on treatment. Have enjoyed having very short hair. I get five minutes longer in my bed in the morning as it doesn’t need dried and styled. “I’m really looking forward to having time to myself in my retirement but no doubt I will help somebody out in the future if needed.” To give cash to Lorna’s challenge go to www.justgiving.com/Lorna-Kydd.

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