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 Royal Scottish National Orchestra and a renowned Italian singer will star in a rejuvenated Glamis Castle Proms this summer. After last year's absence the open-air event has been scheduled for July 30, and last night the new organisers confirmed that Italian soloist Giordano Luca will join the RSNO for the evening, under the baton of Grant Llewellyn. Luca, who won the audience prize at the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition in 2009, began his career in the chorus of Maria Madre del Redentore in Rome and now studies in Rome with soprano Clizia Aloisi. Llewellyn is renowned for his charisma, energy and easy authority in music of all styles and periods. The finale will return to a spectacular firework display, created this year by the winner of the Scottish round of the British Fireworks Championships. Super Early Bird tickets are available until March 31 at a reduced rate via www.glamis-castle.co.uk.
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
The final preparations for this year's Glamis Prom have been getting under way. The open-air event, which includes an orchestral performance and fireworks display, will take place at Glamis Castle on Saturday. The prom, which traditionally attracts thousands of visitors to Angus, was cancelled last year after organisers said there was insufficient time to plan for it. With the backdrop of the castle's stunning architecture, The Grand Scottish Prom and Firework Spectacular is a highlight of the Angus summer season. The Italian soloist Giordano Luca will join an incredible 80 Royal Scottish National Orchestra musicians, while conductor for the evening will be Grant Llewellyn. Giordano Luca won the audience prize at the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition in 2009. He began his singing career in the chorus of Maria Madre del Redentore in Rome and took lessons at the Music Institute of Milan with Carol Gaifa. He now continues his studies in Rome with soprano Clizia Aloisi. Grant Llewellyn is renowned for his exceptional charisma, energy and easy authority in music of all styles and periods. The evening's finale will be a spectacular firework display created by the winner of the Scottish round of the British Fireworks Championships. Over more than 15 years the prom built a loyal following and attracted some big-name talent, prior to the announcement in the spring of last year that a 2010 concert would not be held. Glamis trustees engaged Newcastle heritage consultant Tony Walton to lead the running of the 2011 programme.
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.
Argentine family ‘deeply grateful’ after Arbroath marine sends Battle of Two Sisters relic back where it belongs
The identity tag of a fallen Argentine soldier that lay in a former Angus Marine’s drawer for 33 years has been returned to his family. Graham Ellis, from Kirkton of Auchterhouse, removed the tag from the body of Assistant Sergeant Ramon Gumersindo Acosta on the battlefield in the Falkland Islands in 1982. Acosta was killed by a mortar blast following the Battle of Two Sisters, which took place over two days in June as British forces advanced toward Port Stanley. A 20-year-old member of Arbroath-based 45 Commando at the time, Mr Ellis and his unit were ordered to remove the tags from the dead bodies for identification by the Red Cross. Mr Ellis placed the tag in his pocket and only discovered it on his return to Britain. It remained in a drawer until a comrade of Mr Acosta’s saw an article on this website about Mr Ellis’s attempts to return it to the fallen soldier’s family. It was sent back to Argentina and is now with his daughter, with plans for a formal presentation by the Argentine government to take place in the near future. Mr Ellis said he was “very pleased”, while a former comrade of Mr Acosta said the family were “deeply grateful” to Mr Ellis and The Courier. Acosta was a national hero and a street bears his name in his native town of Jess Mara. He had written a letter to his five-year-old son, Diego, eight days before he died. It read: “I write from my position to tell you that two days ago we were in a helicopter which was bombed, the helicopter fell and caught fire, killing several colleagues of mine but I was saved and am now awaiting the final attack. “I saved three comrades from the flames. I tell you so you know you have a father you can be proud of and want you to keep this letter as a document if I do not return: and if I go back tomorrow, when we’re together I will read it at home.”
Dundee City Council leader Ken Guild, of the SNP, responds to recent claims by Dundee-based MSP Jenny Marra: The article in the Courier of February 19 by Jenny Marra MSP contains a number of inaccuracies and misrepresentations which I would welcome the opportunity to rebut. The news of the £10m investment in the port is to be welcomed by everyone in Dundee. As the information on the Forth Ports website makes clear, the project will add to both berthing and land capacity at the port and enable the port to handle marine projects such as offshore anchor and chain servicing, offshore wind turbine assembly and deployment activities as well as operations and maintenance due to the port’s proximity to the proposed offshore windfarm development in the Forth and Tay estuaries. Ms Marra implies that Dundee City Council and the Scottish Government have ‘a lack of political will to make this happen’. Nothing could be further from the truth. Dundee City Council is working closely with Forth Ports to become the service end maintenance base for the Neart na Gaoithe offshore windfarm. This windfarm has been promoted for a number of years but it was only late in 2015 that the UK Government agreed to grant a licence. Dundee City Council is part of a memorandum of understanding which includes Forth Ports and Scottish Enterprise to bring offshore energy jobs to Dundee. As part of this commitment the council has been instrumental in the widening and strengthening of the Stannergate bridge and the provision of lanes through a number of traffic roundabouts to facilitate transport in and out of the port area. Without this work, Forth Ports’ £10m investment would have been unlikely to proceed. Ms Marra largely ignores the offshore renewables in favour of recycling waste materials from oil and gas decommissioning. In doing so she appears to be confused between rigs and platforms. Exploration rigs have been towed in and out of Dundee since the start of the Scottish offshore industry and have supported maintenance and upgrade employment in Dundee, firstly with Kestrel and currently with Rigmar.
An award-winning Tayside song writer who immortalised the 50th anniversary of the Tay Road Bridge in music last year has released an EP which pays tribute to the newly opened Queensferry Crossing over the Forth. Perth-born Eddie Cairney, 65, who now lives in Arbroath, has released an album called ‘Sketches o' the QC’ which includes songs dedicated to the “isolated” workers who were employed during construction and contrasts the old Forth Road Bridge to the new crossing with its wind shields designed to keep traffic flowing during storms. Eddie, who delayed the release of the album due to family illness and bereavement, said: “It's just another quirky album like I did for the Tay Road Bridge. https://youtu.be/Z6BblA_Zev4 “As you can probably imagine, how do you write six songs about a bridge? “I usually end up using a process of creative journalism. I get a few facts or even just a single fact and then I let my imagination take over. “With each album early on in the writing process I draw a blank and think there's nothing here I can write about but there's always something to write about. “You just have to hang around long enough and it comes eventually. https://youtu.be/a9NyQAFjDsY “I just took threads from here and there. I was going to call the album The Queensferry Crossing but thought that was a bit boring so I went for Sketches o' the Q.C. “It introduces a bit of ambiguity. If you Google the name you get lots of drawings of court scenes!” Eddie was inspired to write Columba Cannon after reading an article about the general foreman for the foundations and towers. https://youtu.be/y_y1y8oV7vo Eddie said: “It was the name that got me and that gave me the first line of the song "He is a bridge builder wi a missionary zeal" Has to be with a name like Columba!” Fishnet bridge was set in a meditative light, describing the bridge as a “thing of beauty that looks like a big fish net glistening high above the Forth but it is a symbolic fishnet with the song taking the form of an imaginary conversation with the bridge.” https://youtu.be/dJgsl2WQ5G0 “Midday starvation came from an article which highlighted the isolation of the workers working high up on the bridge,” he added. https://youtu.be/Dme-bfCXHRI “If you forget your piece you've had it and you starve for there's no nipping round to the corner shop for a pie. The article also said that a local pizza delivery firm regularly delivered a pallet load of warm pizzas to the bridge so that was "midday salvation"! Meanwhile, The boys frae the cheese is a play on words. https://youtu.be/phtQ2-Xx1I0 He added: “I read an article that said The Forth Estuary Transport Authority (FETA) could have acted sooner and avoided the costly closure of the bridge at the end of 2015.” Eddie is no stranger to music and song influenced by Dundee and wider Scottish history. In 2015 he featured in The Courier for his efforts to put the complete works of Robert Burns to music. With a piano style influenced by Albert Ammons, Champion Jack Dupree and Memphis Slim, and a song-writing style influenced by Matt McGinn, Michael Marra and Randy Newman, the former Perth High School pupil, who wrote the 1984 New Zealand Olympic anthem, has organised a number of projects over the years including the McGonagall Centenary Festival for Dundee City Council in 2002. Last year’s Tay Road Bridge album included a tribute to 19th century poet William Topas McGonagall and also honoured Hugh Pincott – the first member of the public to cross the Tay Road Bridge in 1966. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y51tixl9GEs Thanks to The Courier, he also became one of the first to cross the Queensferry Crossing when it opened to the public in the early hours of August 30.
Sir, In his article of January 21, outlining the ongoing saga of Rossie Moor, Jim Crumley very eloquently sums up just why the wind industry has managed to acquire such a bad reputation in so many parts of rural Scotland. The nub of the problem is the insidious way in which industries like this beguile governments, decision makers and communities with their promises of untold riches which would provide jobs, secure energy supplies and better lifestyles. When those expectations are not fulfilled and people have had time to reflect and take stock of the environmental amenities they have lost it is inevitable that those dreams are replaced with some resentment and a good deal of anger. As a nation we should pay more heed to our history and learn lessons from it. In 1973 the 7:84 Group took the Liverpudlian playwright John McGrath’s brilliant, very powerful and humorous musical drama “The Cheviot, the Stag and Black Black Oil” on tour round Scotland beginning in Aberdeen. I was lucky enough to be able to see their production when they reached Glasgow. The story centred round the economic exploitation of Scotland, her people and its consequences taking us from the era of the Highland clearances through to the newly arrived “oil boom”. He finishes off the play with the warning to the audience that it is their land, urging them to resist exploitation and warning them that they would find the oil corporations even more insensitive than Patrick Sellar the Duke of Sutherland’s factor who evicted the Highland crofting tenants during the clearances. Very few could disagree with that perceptive warning now that fracking for shale gas and deep bed gasification for methane are threatening our seas and lowland areas which can only add to the damage already done by the proliferation of wind farms. Marion Lang. Westermost, Coaltown of Callange, Ceres. Exasperated by Fife’s roads Sir, There are not many peninsular counties like Fife which have major road bridges leading in from both north and south, and yet after nearly 50 years of use, those magnificent structures are linked across Fife by the most pathetic maze of second-rate roads. If those had been well-planned or well-maintained over the last 50 years we would have less of an argument that a main dual carriageway should have been built long ago to link those two most important assets to our county, but their upkeep has been truly pathetic. If we choose to weave around the badly-patched potholes we still have to contend with sheets of water which cannot drain away because the roadside channels are just not being maintained. The general public opinion of our road-planners is at an all time low due to a myriad of unnecessary speed bumps and ludicrous traffic-calming ploys that only serve to choke up places like South Road in Cupar. There, we now see something that was always a difficult situation becoming far worse and more dangerous. Not only does the traffic now back up into Cupar across a road junction, but when it eventually exits from the town it does so as a chain of closely-packed vehicles driven by exasperated drivers. Those then head westwards towards Glenrothes trying to madly overtake each other to make up for lost time. Fife Council road planners and those controlling the purse strings must shoulder a great deal of responsibility for the woe on our roads. Archibald A Lawrie. 5 Church Wynd, Kingskettle. Accident, not an “attack” Sir, While I am very glad to read that Dr Stone is recovering from her accident near Fort William in December, it annoys me that the word “attack” is used in the article in The Courier. I have, on many occasions, tried to get red deer out of plantations etc, and if they don’t want to go the way you want them to go, they will run right past you and that is in broad daylight. The stag that “attacked” the doctor was only trying to escape and unfortunately the doctor was in the way. It is possible that the stag, having been disturbed, was confused by lights and people, and didn’t even see the doctor as it made its escape. Emma Paterson. Auchlyne, Killin. Listen to voices sometimes Sir, I am glad to see Jenny Marra MSP announcing that “the Scottish Government cannot afford to ignore the voices of 45,000 people” in regard to proposed new laws to prevent human trafficking. (January 22). This is despite the fact that the “vast majority” of the responses to the consultation came through a petition organised by the Walk Free campaign and that about a third of responses came from abroad. Rewind a few months, however, and it seems that Ms Marra is not always so willing to urge the Scottish Government to listen to the voice of the people. Over 53,000 people have signed a petition opposing the implementation of the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill, the so-called gay marriage bill. Not a peep was heard from Jenny about listening to those voices; in fact she voted in favour of the bill at stage 1. Like many politicians, it seems Ms Marra only listens to “the people” when she agrees with what they are saying. Like them, she appears to have forgotten that MSPs and MPs are elected to represent voters, not to push their own agendas. Angela Rennie. Muirfield Crescent, Dundee.
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. email@example.com