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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

Paramedic shopped on way to urgent call in Fife

October 10 2013

A paramedic delayed attending an urgent call to help a depressed and suicidal woman to pick up equipment for her home computer, a misconduct hearing has been told. Victoria Arnott admitted stopping en route to the woman’s home to do personal shopping while on duty in Fife on July 4 last year. The former Scottish Ambulance Service worker agreed she had visited a store without seeking authorisation from the ambulance control centre, but denied misusing an ambulance for personal purposes. Ms Arnott appeared before the Health and Care Professions Council’s (HCPC) conduct and competence committee on Wednesday. A three-member panel heard Ms Arnott, who joined the ambulance service in 1999, had been allocated a doctor’s urgent call to attend the home of a depressed and suicidal woman and take her to hospital. Rowena Rix, representing the HCPC, said: “On that same date the control room supervisor reported to the duty shift manager that there had been a delay in Ms Arnott’s crew responding to this call. “She admitted she had stopped the ambulance en route to the urgent call in order to undertake some personal shopping.” The paramedic acted unprofessionally and had put her own interests before those of the patient, Ms Rix said. Witness Iain Morgan, who was the East ambulance control centre duty shift manager at the time, told the panel that investigations showed the ambulance had deviated from its route for around seven minutes. “I spoke to Victoria and she informed me she picked up something to do with her computer,” he said. Ms Rix asked: “In your experience is it ever acceptable to stop en route to an urgent call?” “No, it’s not,” Mr Morgan said. But Alice Stobart, counsel for Ms Arnott, suggested that there was a procedure for paramedics to stop en route and others had been authorised to do so in the past. “There isn’t any procedure to allow that, I can only say in my experience that’s not the case,” Mr Morgan said. “They would not be allowed to do it while en route to a call.” The call was at the second lowest level of priority for the ambulance service with a response window of one to four hours, the panel was told. It had initially been received by the control room at 11.41am and was not allocated to Ms Arnott’s crew until 3.35pm. Ms Stobart said given such a window, her client might expected to know from experience that there was unlikely to be clinical ormedical attention necessary. The hearing is expected to last two days. The panel will rule on whether misconduct has been proved and if so, whether Ms Arnott’s fitness to practise is impaired. The Scottish Ambulance Service said Ms Arnott is no longer an employee.

Farming news

Aberdeen-Angus DNA test hailed by Victor Wallace

February 13 2015

The adoption of a new DNA test to authenticate the pedigree of all Aberdeen-Angus calves will put the breed in the vanguard of genomic technology, retiring Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society president, Victor Wallace, told a packed annual at Stirling. The society has decided to collect blood samples using special ear tags which incorporate a small uniquely identified receptacle. As the tag is inserted soon after birth the small amount of displaced tissue and blood is captured ready for future DNA testing. Responding to criticism of the society’s decision to use only one company, Caisley, for the collection of samples, Mr Wallace insisted Caisley was the only ear tag company which had the technology to meet the society’s required specification. “We invited a number of ear tag companies to tender and some didn’t bother to reply while others couldn’t meet the spec,” said Mr Wallace. “It is a simple and inexpensive system which most breeders are finding easy to use.” The aim is to collect blood samples from all bull calves to enable the sire of all calves to be verified in the case of any uncertainty or dispute and to authenticate beef being sold as Aberdeen-Angus.” The move by the society has been welcomed by major supermarkets selling Aberdeen-Angus beef. Mr Wallace added: “This process was extensively and rigorously tested with management and council visits to the manufacturers in Germany and the completion of field trials. After this process it was brought back to council and unanimously approved. “Like all changes, there has been some resistance but I am convinced that putting the society in a position to be leading in genomic testing can only be a good one. “We should be leaders, not followers.” Mr Wallace admitted that a £34,000 re-branding exercise carried out over the past year, which included the dropping of the society’s long-established black, green and yellow colours, left room for “significant improvement”. The issue, particularly improvement to the website, would, he said, be addressed in the coming year. The decision to prop up the pension fund of chief executive, Ron McHattie, by £120,000 in four tranches was defended by new president, David Evans, who explained that it was a “catching up” operation as the funding of the pension had not been addressed for 11 years and annuity rates had halved in that time. Mr Evans, who works as a financial adviser, runs a 60-cow pedigree herd in Cleveland with his wife, Penny, and has been chairman of the society’s breed promotion committee. He is planning a series of open days throughout the country this year to promote the commercial attributes of the Aberdeen-Angus breed. “There is a huge and growing demand for certified Aberdeen-Angus beef with the active involvement of most of the leading supermarkets in the UK and registrations in the Herd Book are at a record level and continuing to increase,” said Mr Evans. “But we can’t stand still and it is important that the breed adopts all the latest technology to take the breed forward in the future.” New senior vice-president is Tom Arnott, Haymount, Kelso, while Alex Sanger, Prettycur, Montrose, was appointed junior vice-president.

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.

Fife

Fife paramedic cleared of misconduct over ambulance shopping delay

October 11 2013

A paramedic who stopped to do personal shopping while responding to an urgent call has been cleared of misconduct. A fitness to practise hearing found the case against Victoria Arnott “not well founded” after being told that she visited a chemist as she was feeling unwell. The three-member panel ruled the former Scottish Ambulance Service worker had stopped to pick up medication on July 4 last year because she wanted to continue to work and provide a service for patients in Fife. Ms Arnott had been allocated a doctor’s urgent call to attend at the home of a depressed and suicidal woman in Lochgelly and take her to Queen Margaret Hospital in Dunfermline. Questions were raised after a delay of seven minutes was noted by her colleagues in the ambulance control centre. The Health and Care Professions Council’s conduct and competence committee heard that Ms Arnott told colleagues that, while en route from Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy, she decided to stop at PC World on the Fife retail park to pick up something for her computer. But in her evidence to the panel on Thursday, the paramedic said she had been too embarrassed to tell them about her health issues in case she became the subject of gossip. She said she had been “pretty poorly” from the start of her 12-hour shift at about 7am and began feeling increasingly “frustrated and distracted”. Ms Arnott, who joined the ambulance service in 1999, said she had stopped to pick up over-the-counter medication for women. She admitted she had not asked for permission to stop and said this was because she was “not thinking straight”. The panel said they found her to be an “extremely credible, reliable and professional” witness. Earlier in the hearing, Ms Arnott admitted stopping en route to the woman’s home to do personal shopping without seeking authorisation from the ambulance control centre, but denied misusing an ambulance for personal purposes. The panel ruled that it had not been proven that the ambulance was misused because there was no clear Scottish Ambulance Service policy for employees on the issue of stops. Panel chairwoman Sarah Baalham said: “It would be reasonable to conclude that, if the registrant had sought permission beforehand, the ambulance control centre would have allowed a brief diversion off route for personal reasons related to,for example, ill-health. “We have determined that, on the balance of probabilities, her need to obtain some medication to enable her to continue work was in fact the true reason for her need to delay the ambulance.” The panel heard that the call was at the second lowest level of priority for the ambulance service with a response window of four hours. It had initially been received by the control room at 11.41am and was not allocated to Ms Arnott’s crew until 3.35pm. The patient had been allocated for transportation only and was not put at risk because there was “little or no need” for medical intervention by the ambulance crew, the panel was told. “This matter was a departure from the standards to be expected from a paramedic but, in the panel’s judgment, it was not so serious to merit the description ‘misconduct’,” Ms Baalham said. “She accepted with hindsight that she might have done things differently.” Ms Arnott continues to work as a paramedicwith a new employer. She declined to comment on the panel’s decision.

Fife

Sisters in Kirkcaldy ‘haunted house’ bust-up

January 8 2014

A 61-year-old Kirkcaldy woman who thought her house was haunted by hellhounds left her 74-year-old sister unconscious after a bust-up. Isobel Arnott had told her sister Jean Littlejohn, a former medium, her Alford Avenue home was haunted by spooks. At Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court on Tuesday, victim Mrs Littlejohn revealed that her sister had complained she had seen “her dog turning into a beast and growling at her”, “black hair appearing in her dog’s water bowl” and the “waterbowl moving” in her home. When she visited Arnott with their other sister, Jacqueline Salmond, the meeting descended into chaos which resulted in Arnott kicking, punching and pushing her older sister. Mrs Littlejohn told the court they had visited Arnott as they were concerned about her mental health. She said: “My sister told me her house was haunted. She said there were lots of spooks in her house.” Mrs Salmond stated: “Jean suggested Isobel go to a doctor as she couldn’t sleep, talking about ghosts and evil spirits.” She claimed that the mood changed when a friend of Arnott’s arrived. She continued: “There was no aggressiveness until this other person arrived. I think they were wanting to talk about ghosts in private. “Isobel got a bit hysterical, shouting like a mad woman and screaming at the top of her voice, ‘I want youse out’. She was totally out of character, like a lunatic.” Sheriff Alastair Thornton heard Arnott punched Mrs Littlejohn on the arm and grabbed her. Mrs Littlejohn slapped Arnott to get her to release her hold, before Arnott began kicking out at her sister. She then shoved her, sending her across the living room, crashing into a coffee table. She fell and hit her head on a second table and was knocked unconscious. Mrs Littlejohn said: “I was flat out on the other side of the room and out for the count.” Sheriff Thornton found Arnott guilty of, on July 24 at an address in Alford Avenue, assaulting Jean Littlejohn by punching, pushing and kicking her on the body, all to her injury. Sentence was deferred until February for reports.

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

News

Relative attends ceremony for pioneering trade unionist Caroline Martyn

July 27 2010

A leading 19th century female trade unionist who died on a visit to Dundee has been commemorated at a ceremony attended by one of her relatives. Caroline Martyn died in July 1896, aged 29, after a short illness. She had been visiting the city to recruit female jute workers into the Dundee Textile Workers' Union. Her great niece Vivienne Flowers travelled from England to speak at the ceremony. It was held in Balgay Cemetery, where Caroline Martyn is buried. She said she was overwhelmed by the support and love from the Scottish community, and by how much her ancestor is appreciated. Ms Martyn's grave was rediscovered last year after inquiries by an English historian. A monument at the burial site has been restored, with its missing column reattached, after detective work by Dundee TUC secretary Mike Arnott. Mrs Flowers was alerted to the rediscovery after reading an online article in The Courier. She said, "I did a lot of reading about her and we're terribly proud. We're still quite amazed we didn't know anything about her." The ceremony, which was attended by around 25 people, was addressed by Lord Provost John Letford. It closed with a rendition of Mary Brookbank's Jute Mill Song.

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

Rocktalk

Award-winning Tayside song writer Eddie Cairney immortalises Queensferry Crossing in tune

October 25 2017

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.

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