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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...

Angus & The Mearns

Scotland’s Tea Festival brews up interest in Mearns adventurer

August 23 2014

The life of an adventurous Scot who saved another country’s economy in the 19th Century is being celebrated at an inaugural festival in his name. Mearns man James Taylor brought commercial tea production to Sri Lanka, then Ceylon, in the mid-1800s. Despite being known as the “father of tea” in that country, his contribution to global drinking habits has been merely a footnote in British history. Hoping to rectify this, organisers of the three-day Scotland’s Tea Festival has welcomed an array of guests. These included East India Company “tea master” Lalith Lenadora, New Zealand professor of Scottish and Irish history Angela McCarthy from Otago University, Japanese tea essayist Takeshi Isibushi and one of Taylor’s descendants, Fife woman Frances Humphreys. Guests at the opening ceremony saw a plaque unveiled at Taylor’s home of Mossbank outside Auchenblae. Ms Humphreys had until recently kept a silver tea set given to Taylor by an appreciative Planters’ Association of Ceylon in 1890. Mrs Humphreys, great granddaughter of his sister Margaret, said: “The tea set has been in my family since Margaret. “It had been in the attic along with a journal and I thought I had to do something with it, so I offered it to the National Museum Scotland. “They were just about to have an exhibition about pioneering Scots and they used that as one of their central exhibits.” Prof McCarthy said Taylor may have had many reasons for leaving the Mearns for the other side of the world and that he has the peculiar honour of featuring as an extra in the Barbara Cartland novel Moon over Eden. She said: “He certainly had family connections in the coffee economy there. “Apparently he had a turbulent relationship with his stepmother and also his letters reveal he may have been trying to avoid a possible planned marriage.” Today, Professor McCarthy gives a talk on Taylor’s life at the Auchenblae Hall from 10am and historian Sir Tom Devine will discuss “why Scots did so well in the Eastern Empire” at Laurencekirk Church of Scotland from noon to 12.30pm. Visit www.scotlandteasfest.co.ukfor more information or call 01561 376 896 or 377501.

Perth & Kinross

Colourful displays at the Perth and Kinross Federation of the SWI spring show

March 22 2017

The Perth and Kinross Federation of the SWI held its annual spring show at the Bankfoot Church Centre. The event had displays and competitions on various themes including handcrafts, bulbs and floral art. Federation chairman, Ursula Stewart, said: “We are celebrating the centenary of the SWI and this show in particular has a record number of entries and we have the grand tea party being held in July at Perth Racecourse still to look forward to." Trophy winners - Margaret Anderson Trophy,  Best entry in Housewives Section, 1  Alison Harrison, Glenfarg. Chariman’s choice from the whole Show, Caithness Glass Bowl donated by Kathleen Scott – 1 Christine Wood  (Drimmieburn and Meikleour) Napkin from Community. Imlay Quacih for most points in the Floral Art Section – 1 Linda Retson, Rattray. Margaret Mackay Trophy, Education Competition – 1 Jay Hutchison, Carnbo. Heather Hallum Trophy, runner-up in Margaret Mackay Education Competition - Susan McGhie, Institute  Kinglands. Charlotte MacLean Trophy, best embroidered article overall – 1 Christine McConnell, Institute  Strathallan. Margaret McLean Salver, best knitted article in handcraft section – 1 Edith Lennon, Institute   Kinglands. Margaret Nisbet Trophy, most points in bulb section Nos. 1-7 – 1 Sandra Batty      , Institute   Dull and District. Greta Scott Shield - winning institute in the community competition – 1 Blackford,  points 64 Isobel Robertson Salver, most points overall – 1 Sandra Batty, Institute ,  Dull and District. Margaret Folan Novice Quaich, novice classes – 1 Hayley Cassells, Institute Cleish. The Retson Junior Trophy, ages 10 – 14 class – 1 Ella Balanowski, Institute  Scone. Results - Handcrafts, Clock Cushion (any craft)  - 1 Margot Moran, Glenfarg; 2 Edith Lennon, Kinglands; 3 P. Stewart, Dunning. Alice Band – 1 Elspeth Campbell, Kinloch; 2 Margot Moran, Glenfarg; 3 Sandra Batty, Dull and District. Needle Felted Doormouse - 1 Sandra Batty, Dull and District; 2 Edith Lennon, Kinglands; 3 Sarah Urie, Burrelton and Woodside. Crocheted Coasters – 1 Edith Christie, Drimmieburn and Meikleour; 2 Margo Murray, Rattray and District; 3 Dorothy Morris, Cleish. Article in Stumpwork – 1 Maureen Jones, Kinglands; 2 Marie Abott, Butterstone; 3 Sheila Brugees, Butterstone. Knitted Cakes – 1 Edith Lennon, Kinglands; 2 Linda Thomson, Kinglands; 3 Dorothy Morris, Cleish. Sewn Waistcoat 1 Hazel Ward, Birnam and Dunkeld; 2 Julia Robertson, Burrelton and Woodside; 3 Alice Nairn, Dunning. Painting- Alice’s Garden, any medium – 1 Jay Hutchison, Carnbo; 2 Alison Harrison, Glenfarg; Muriel Bell, Glenfarg Knitted tweedled muff- Centenary Competition- to be donated – 1 C. Stewart, Kinglands; 2 Linda Retson, Rattray; 3 Edith Lennon, Kinglands. Housewives, Chocolate Brownies – 1 Irene McWilliam, Midatholl and Southtayside; 2 Christine Strathie, Collace and Kinrossie; 3 Geraldine Miller, Muthill. Chelsea Buns – 1 Lynda Stuart, Glenfarg; 2 Beth Pringle, Cleish; 3 Susan McGhie, Kinglands. Sausage Rolls  - 1 Christine Taylor, Strathallan; 2 Christine Strathie, Collace and Kinrossie; 3 Sandra Batty, Dull and District. Cake Incorporating a vegetable – 1 Susan McGhie, Kinglands; 2 Lesley Buchan; 3 Anne Mailler, Scone. Potato Scones  - 1 Christine Taylor, Strathallan; 2 Sandra Batty, Dull and District; 3 Janet Shanks, Strathallan. Small jar of jam, marmalade and chutney – 1 Mary McGraw, Auchterarder; 2 Elspeth Campbell, Kinloch; 3 Susan McGhie, Kinglands. Viennese Fingers – 1 Sandra Batty, Dull and District; 2 Christine Taylor, Strathallan; 3 Frances Drysdale, Carnbo. Spray of Flowers in sugar craft – 1 Alison Harrison, Glenfarg; 2 Mary Webster, Clunie; 3 Ursula Stewart, Glenfarg. Children’s Section, Up to age 5 – 1 Iris Balanowski, Scone      ; 2 Hannah Cullen, Scone; 3 Alesha Murison, Glenfarg. Age 6-9 – 1 Lucy Moran, Glenfarg; 2 Adam Balanowski, Scone; 3 Charlie Mailer, Scone. Age 10-14 – 1 Ella Balanowski, Scone; 2 Rebecca Hogg, Butterstone; 3 Michela Hogg, Butterstone. Education Competition, Margaret MacKay Trophy  - 1 Jay Hutchison, Carnbo; 2 Susan McGhie, Kinglands. One Bowl of 3 Hyacinths – 1 Janet Chalmers, Kinglands; Lesley Buchan, Strathallan; 3 Margot Moran, Glenfarg. Single Hyacinth-  1 Susan McGhie, Kinglands; 2 Sandra Batty, Dull and District; 3 Lelsey Buchan, Strathallan. One Bowl daffodils-  1 Margaret Cummings, Kinglands; 2 Janet Chalmers, Kinglands; 3 Sandra Batty, Dull and District. One Bowl Tulips – 1 Sandra Batty, Dull and District; 2 Lesley Buchan, Strathallan; 3 H W Reid, Stanley. One Bowl Crocus-  1 Kim Stretch, Amulree; 2 Sandra Batty, Dull and District; 3 Margot Moran, Glenfarg. One Amaryllis Bulb – 1 Margaret Cummings, Kinglands; 2 Dorothy Morris, Cleish; 3 Janet Chalmers, Kinglands. Flowering Pot Plant – 1 C, Stewart, Kinglands; 2 Christine Taylor, Strathallan; 3 Lilias Ferguson, Kinglands. Floral Art, Exhibit incorporating pocket watch-  1 Linda Retson, Rattray and District; 2 Margaret Folan, Bridge of Earn; 3 Beth Pringle, Cleish. Exhibit “Alice in Wonderland” – 1 Beth Pringle, Cleish; 2 Margaret Folan, Bridge of Earn; 3 Mary McGraw, Auchterarder. Arrangement in a teacup and saucer – 1 C. Stewart, Kinglands; 2 Linda Retson, Rattray; 3 Lesley Buchan, Strathallan. Arrangement on a mirror – 1 Beth Pringle, Cleish; 2 Linda Retson, Rattray; 3 Mary McGraw, Auchterarder. Novice, Decorated Gingerbread People – 1 Hayley Cassells, Cleish; 2 Margaret McArthur,Auchterarder. Crocheted Bag – 1 Muriel Anderson, Longforgan; 2 Margaret McArthur, Aucterarder; 3 Hayley Cassells, Cleish. Photograph with caption-  1 Hayley Cassells, Cleish; 2 Kim Stretch, Amulree; 3 Margaret McArthur, Auchterarder. Community Section – 1 Blackford, Points 64; 2 Madderty, Points 63.5; 3 Glenfarg, Points 62.5.

Perth & Kinross

Sheriff rules no way for staff to stop man’s suicide

April 20 2015

Perth Prison staff could not have prevented the suicide of an “at risk” inmate, a fatal inquiry has ruled. Steve Taylor took his own life behind bars just weeks after he was convicted of a threatening and abusive behaviour charge. The 36-year-old was arrested on December 7 2011, after a fracas at Queen Margaret Hospital, Dunfermline, when he shouted and swore at staff and pulled a needle out of his arm, causing blood to spray. While in custody, he was assessed as being a risk to himself and had had suicidal thoughts. He was placed in an observation cell with round-the-clock CCTV coverage. Taylor pled guilty to the offence at Dunfermline Sheriff Court the following day. Sentence was deferred until January and he was remanded in custody. At Perth Prison, he was further assessed by a prisons officer, nurse and doctor. None believed he was a suicide risk. On the morning of December 27, Taylor was found by wardens hanging in his cell. In his determination, Sheriff Lindsay Foulis said that all evidence given during the inquest suggested that Taylor’s behaviour and demeanour “gave no cause for concern.” He found there were no “reasonable precautions” which could have been taken by the Scottish Prison Service which would have prevented Taylor’s death.

Road tests

Audi Q2 puts quality over size

March 21 2018

Audi’s Q2 was one of the first premium compact SUVs on the market. It sits below the Q3, Q5 and the gigantic, seven seat Q7 in Audi’s ever growing range. Although it’s about the same size as the Nissan Juke or Volkswagen T-Roc, its price is comparable with the much larger Nissan X-Trail or Volkswagen Tiguan. Even a basic Q2 will set you back more than £21,000 and top whack is £38,000. Then there’s the options list which is extensive to say the least. My 2.0 automatic diesel Quattro S Line model had a base price of £30,745 but tipped the scales at just over £40,000 once a plethora of additions were totted up. Size isn’t everything, however. In recent years there’s been a trend of buyers wanting a car that’s of premium quality but compact enough to zip around town. It may be a step down in size but the Q2 doesn’t feel any less classy than the rest of Audi’s SUV range. The interior looks great and is user friendly in a way that more mainstream manufacturers have never been able to match. The simple rotary dial and shortcut buttons easily trounce touchscreen systems, making it a cinch to skim through the screen’s menus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eQ5p5Z7-Ek&list=PLUEXizskBf1nbeiD_LqfXXsKooLOsItB0 There’s a surprising amount of internal space too. I took three large adults from Dundee to Stirling and no one complained about feeling cramped. As long as you don’t have a tall passenger behind a tall driver you can easily fit four adults. At 405 litres the boot’s big too – that’s 50 litres more than a Nissan Juke can muster. Buyers can pick from 1.0 and 1.4 litre petrol engines or 1.6 and 2.0 litre TDIs. Most Q2s are front wheel drive but Audi’s Quattro system is standard on the 2.0 diesel, as is a seven-speed S Tronic gear box. On the road there’s a clear difference between this and SUVs by manufacturers like Nissan, Seat and Ford. Ride quality, while firm, is tremendously smooth. Refinement is excellent too, with road and tyre noise kept out of the cabin. It sits lower than the Q3 or Q5 and this improves handling, lending the Q2 an almost go-kart feel. On a trip out to Auchterhouse, with plenty of snow still on the ground, I was appreciative of the four-wheel drive as well. The Q2 is expensive – though there are some good finance deals out there – but you get what you pay for. Few cars this small feel as good as the Q2 does. Price: £30,745 0-62mph: 8.1 seconds Top speed: 131mph Economy: 58.9mpg CO2 emissions: 125g/km

UK & World

This student took his Tinder profile to the next level by turning it into a PowerPoint presentation

February 21 2018

Standing out from the crowd on Tinder can be tough, but with the help of Microsoft PowerPoint a British student has managed just that – and gone viral in the process.Sam Dixey, a 21-year-old studying at Leeds University, made a six-part slideshow entitled “Why you should swipe right” – using pictures and bullet points to shrewdly persuade potential dates to match with him on the dating app. The slideshow includes discussion of his social life and likes, such as “petting doggos” and “laser tag”, and “other notable qualities and skills” – such as being “not the worst at sex” and “generous when drunk”.It even has reviews mocked up from sources such as “Donald Trump”, “Leonardo Di Capri Sun” and “The Times Guide to Pancakes 2011”.Sam told the Press Association the six-slide presentation only took about 20 minutes to make and “started off as a joke”.However, since being posted to Twitter by fellow Tinder user Gracie Barrow, Sam’s slideshow has been shared tens of thousands of times across social media.So, it’s got the seal of approval form Gracie, but how has the slideshow fared on Tinder? “I’d have to say it has been pretty successful,” Sam said. “Definitely a clear correlation of matches and dates beforehand to afterwards.“Most of the responses tend to revolve around people saying ‘I couldn’t help swipe right 10/10’ but I’ve had some people go the extra mile and message me on Facebook.“Plus some people have recognised me outside, in the library and on dates.”A resounding success.

Readers' letters

So many near misses approaching bridge

April 15 2013

Sir, I sincerely hope that when the roadworks are complete at Dundee’s waterfront there is a totally separate lane leading on to the Tay Road Bridge. Last Monday I was heading home to Tayport along Riverside Drive only to be stopped at the Tesco entrance at exactly 5pm. I was in the correct lane unlike so many who chanced their luck in the left-hand lane, only to later indicate and push their car into the right-hand lane. So many near misses. Because of this it took me and everyone else in the correct lane 28 minutes to reach the Tay Road Bridge access. No mention was made of this on the Radio Tay jambuster line. When I eventually got home I searched my phone book and checked online for their number to alert them to the congestion. Couldn’t find it anywhere. Why not display it on the billboards? Goodness knows there are plenty of them en route! So, come on, traffic controllers and pushy drivers get your act together! Anne H F Lowe. 13 Nelson Street, Tayport. Biomass makes no sense Sir, Recent Courier reports relating to the proposed biomass plant in Dundee have focused on the health impact associated with emissions of nitrogen dioxide but what is never mentioned is the increase in local carbon dioxide emissions. No new coal-fired generation facility would be allowed in Scotland without carbon emission mitigation and yet people seem to be sleep walking into supporting a so-called biomass (wood burning) facility which also emits significant quantities of carbon dioxide. Both coal and wood-burning involve the oxidation of carbon to form carbon dioxide. In fact, a wood-burning generator emits almost 25% more carbon dioxide per kWh of electricity generated than a coal-fired generator would. In effect, Dundee would be importing carbon emissions from the countries from which the wood will be sourced. This makes no sense when we are ravaging our countryside with ever more wind turbines in an effort to reduce Scotland’s carbon emissions. Dr G M Lindsay. Whinfield Gardens, Kinross. Figures are dwarfed Sir, I wish to congratulate Steve Flynn on his excellent letter (Courier, April 11) on the inequalities of present government legislation. While most people do not wish to see illegal benefit claims made, these are dwarfed by tax dodging from the well-off and by reduced taxes, again, to people who are much more than comfortably off. Another group of people Mr Flynn does not mention are the directors of banks who, through inefficiency and cavalier decisions have cost the taxpayer billions of pounds yet, many are still being paid large bonuses and pensions. I am sure that the amounts of illegal benefit claims pale into insignificance when compared to these latter items. John Baston. 9a Seabourne Gardens, Broughty Ferry. It is a time to show respect Sir, Why should anyone want to organise a street party to celebrate the demise of a former prime minister? The only appropriate time to organise such a gathering was surely when that person left office(in the case of Mrs Thatcher, over 22 years ago). But dancing on the grave, so to speak, of the former leader is not just distasteful it is perverse. It doesn’t matter whether it is in the Durham coalfields, the republican streets of Belfast and Londonderry, or the centre of Glasgow or Brixton. Events like these don’t just diminish our reputation for tolerance, they undermine the whole texture of political debate and democracy. Respect for your opponents in time of personal difficulty and death is simple good manners and humanity. Nobody contests that Mrs Thatcher was a controversial figure. But the plain fact is that her attitudes and beliefs (honestly held and worthy of respect at a time of her passing), were subject to the test of the ballot box. For good or ill she was successful on three occasions. In the end it was her own MPs and Cabinet who prompted her resignation in November 1990. Bob Taylor.24 Shiel Court,Glenrothes.Remarks show a lack of classSir, I write with reference to your article featuring Labour councillor Tom Adams and entitled, A dram to toast the lady’s demise.I found the tone of the article to be in incredibly poor taste and I am very uncomfortable with the pleasure Mr Adams appears to derive from the death of an 87-year-old frail lady with Alzheimer’s. Mr Adams, of course, makes no mention of the fact that Harold Wilson closed three times as many coal mines as Margaret Thatcher ever did. Nor does he appear to apportion any responsibility for his plight as a young man to the militant NUM leader Arthur Scargill. Most of those in his party seem to accept that Mr Scargill and his fellow militants played a major role in the failure of the mining industry. That aside, his comments, coming from an elected member of Fife Council regarding Mrs Thatcher’s death are disgraceful and show a distinct lack of class. Allan D S Smith. 10 Balgonie Place, Markinch.

Dundee

Tay Road Bridge opens Twitter account

November 4 2015

The Tay Road Bridge is to start tweeting important announcements and traffic information. The bridge has just joined Twitter and will use it to update users throughout the day. Searching for @Tay_road_bridge will let people know what conditions might be affecting the bridge. The chairman of the Tay Road Bridge Joint Board, Councillor Margaret Taylor, said: “I am delighted this is happening. The more people that can be told as soon as possible when the bridge is closed due to accidents, breakdowns or weather conditions, the better.” Vice-chairman Councillor Jimmy Black said: “The board was particularly keen to see Twitter being used for traffic information.”

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

Fife

Following in the footsteps of a saint at Dunfermline pilgrimage

May 11 2016

Modern-day pilgrims can walk in the footsteps of St Margaret in Dunfermline next month. An ancient pilgrimage was resurrected last year to honour the saint, who was Scotland’s Queen. Such was the success, with visitors far exceeding expectations, that it has been decided to hold the event again. Archbishop Leo Cushley was joined by St Margaret of Scotland to unveil the poster being sent to every Catholic parish in the country to advertise this year’s St Margaret’s Summer Pilgrimage in Dunfermline on Sunday June 12. “The summer pilgrimage in honour of St Margaret should be a fantastic family day – that’s why we want to extend the invitation to take part as far and wide as possible,” said Archbishop Cushley, at St Margaret’s Chapel in Edinburgh. Joining the Archbishop to launch the event was 30-year-old Fife actress Katie Milne dressed as St Margaret. “St Margaret is such a remarkable historical figure in Scotland's story as well as a fabulous role model for young Scots today – especially young women – it's an honour to represent her here today.” The roots of the summer pilgrimage dates back to June 1250 when the relics of Saint Margaret were translated to a new shrine in Dunfermline Abbey following her canonisation that year by Pope Innocent IV. An annual summer pilgrimage to Dunfermline soon emerged becoming a celebrated fixture within Scottish national life until the late 16th Century. It was then re-established in 1899 and continued again until 1974. Last year saw the pilgrimage revived after an absence 41 years. “Last year’s event was a tremendous success with numbers attending far in excess to expectations and everybody having an enormously enjoyable day – this year should prove to be even better,” added the Archbishop. The revived summer pilgrimage is the initiative of the local Catholic parish in Dunfermline, St Margaret’s Memorial Church. In 2015, they invited parishes within the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh to attend. Following the success they are extending the invitation to all the Catholic parishes in Scotland – 452 in total – in co-operation with the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland. “This will be a real family event to which everybody in Scotland – not just Catholics – are invited given that St Margaret is an inspirational figure for all Scots as well as a heavenly protectress of the people of our land,” said Father Chris Heenan, parish priest of St Margaret’s Memorial Church.

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