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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...


Mum and son jailed for dealing drugs from Lochgelly home

February 14 2014

A Lochgelly mother and son have been jailed after admitting dealing drugs from their family home. Pauline Simpson, 41, of Stationhead Road, and Steven Gray, 23, of Andrew Street, pleaded guilty on indictment to one charge each of being concerned in the supply of drugs. Cupar Sheriff Court heard that £2,010 worth of amphetamine was found in Simpson’s freezer at her home address by police following an anonymous tip-off. Meanwhile, Gray admitted being concerned in the supply of former legal high methylethcatinone, otherwise known as “magic”, which is now a class B substance. Fiscal depute Nicola Henderson told the court: “Gray was 23 at the time of the offence and was arrested with his mother, and co-accused, Pauline Gray, who was 41. “They are both unemployed and live on benefits. As a result of reliable, confidential information that the accused were concerned in the supply of drugs a search warrant was granted. “They were detained and the accused Gray told the police to check the freezer. “There officers found 201 grams of amphetamine worth £2,010. A total of 20.49 grams of methylethcatinone were also found, valued at around £400. “Gray advised he had been selling ‘magic’ while Simpson said the amphetamine was hers.” Simpson’s lawyer told the court she had planned to peddle the drugs because she wanted to put down a deposit on a bigger house. Sheriff Charles Macnair QC blasted Simpson for having illegal substances within reach of three young children. “Is it in the interests of the children of that age to have dangerous illegal drugs sat around within their reach?” he said. “That is perhaps something that the social work department should take an interest in. “This was nothing but a commercial enterprise. I take into account the impact this will have on your children but that’s tempered by the fact you were living with dangerous drugs lying around your house in the reach of your children.” Simpson was jailed for 18 months while Gray received a nine-month sentence.

Angus & The Mearns

Sheriff’s sympathy for father of tragic Angus holiday girl Cally Simpson

December 13 2014

A father whose daughter suffered devastating injuries in a Spanish holiday pool accident has been given a break by a sheriff. Steven Simpson, 26, of Letham, appeared before Sheriff Gregor Murray at Forfar on Friday after breaching a community payback order. His four-year-old daughter, Cally, almost drowned in a swimming pool in Salou in June. She lay in a coma in a specialist hospital for several weeks before being flown back to Scotland for continuing treatment at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh. The youngster was subsequently transferred to Ninewells in Dundee for more treatment. The accident happened at the Hotel Villamarina in Salou, about 70 miles from Barcelona, where Cally was on her first foreign holiday with her father and other family members. The court was told that the Spanish nightmare and other circumstances contributed to her father failing to complete the court order. Simpson had been ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work by Sheriff Peter Paterson at Arbroath after he admitted mounting a pavement at speed on Seafield Road in May 2012 and driving towards and intentionally striking someone to their injury. He also admitted he was not insured. His agent Angela McLardy acknowledged the breach of the order but added her client had suffered a broken ankle and had provided medical certificates to the court to that effect. She said: “Then, in the summer of that year, Mr Simpson’s daughter is Cally Simpson who had a swimming pool accident and medical certificates were subsequently provided.” Given his circumstances, the defence solicitor questioned if giving more time for Simpson to complete his community payback order would be appropriate. Deferring sentence until June 11, Sheriff Murray told Simpson: “I am going to revoke the community payback order and defer sentence for six months for you to be of good behaviour.” Cally’s parents have maintained a vigil at their daughter’s bedside, both in Spain and back in Scotland since the accident. A Facebook page Saving Cally Simpson keeps well-wishers up to date on her progress. A family post in November expressed delight that Cally was set to start nursery soon at Armistead child development centre in Dundee, attending the facility two days per week. Doctors appear pleased with her progress so far and the family are determined to have Cally home as soon as possible.

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.

Angus & The Mearns

Jail warning bottom line for boyfriend after Angus bum slap attack

July 16 2016

A jealous boyfriend who punched a bum-patting pal of his partner has been given a final chance to stay out of jail by a sheriff. Conner Simpson didn’t realise his girlfriend and the other man knew each other when he saw them joking with each other in a Montrose pub and flew off the handle. Simpson’s solicitor said his client hoped the March offence at Steeplejacks in the Angus town’s High Street could be dealt with, but a sheriff has delayed sentencing because adding extra unpaid work hours to community orders the 19-year-old is already carrying out would put him over the maximum threshold. Depute fiscal Jill Drummond told Forfar sheriff court the attack happened just after midnight when Simpson’s girlfriend was joking with another man and they slapped each other’s bottoms. “This was seen by the accused who took great offence and threw a punch at him and caught his right eye, causing a cut and bruising,” added the fiscal. “The accused was pulled away and asked to leave.” Defence solicitor Nick Markowski said Simpson had previously been convicted of assault on indictment following another pub incident in which he had stepped in after a barmaid was assaulted. The court heard the accused has a drink-driving conviction involving a high alcohol count. “In relation to this, he had been out with his girlfriend, they had a falling out and she met her friend and her friend’s boyfriend. “He came out, was not in a particularly good mood and saw this. “There was nothing untoward in it, they were having a carry on and he lost control when he saw him slapping her bum.” The lawyer told the court Simpson, of Condor Crescent, Montrose currently has around 100 unpaid work hours of an ongoing Community Payback Order still to complete. Sheriff Murray told him: “Here is how close you are to going to jail. “At any one time you cannot have more than 300 hours of unpaid work outstanding. The number of hours I have in mind would take you over that limit. “With some reluctance I will do you a favour and defer sentence for three months. I expect you to do as many hours as you can in that time. “If for any reason you don’t do that, then the alternative will come to you.”

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

Farming news

Vintage tractor collection for sale in Fife

September 21 2016

If you’re hooked on vintage tractors there is only one place to be next month, when the auction of one of the biggest and most important collections in the UK takes place. The sale at Ceres will feature many iconic models from well-known brands collected by the late Murray Simpson, who died in April. Murray was well known in the farm machinery trade and vintage circles alike, and amassed his collection of 45 tractors over 35 years. There will also be vintage spares, implements old and new, literature and a large amount of John Deere (JD) spares from the 1960s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s from his time as a JD dealer. As a schoolboy in Auchtermuchty he watched mechanics repair Allis Chalmers Bs at McKendrick’s Low Road Garage, and as a teenager during the war at Central Motors in St Andrews he built International tractors out of crates after they arrived on Atlantic convoys. Work at James H Steele in Strathkinness saw him develop as an exceptional engineer and brought him into contact with Minneapolis Moline equipment. A healthy respect for the brand remained into his collecting days. In about 1953 he started on his own at Luthrie Station, carrying out farm machinery repairs and buying tractors to recondition and sell on. In 1956 Murray moved to the current site at Teases Mill at Ceres, and TM Simpson tractor service was born. Still the onus was on repairs and conversions using Perkins diesel engines, but sales of new equipment started with New Holland balers. A successful spell saw his firm sell Fordson Dextas for Harry K Brown, and a franchise for Case equipment began in the 1960s. In 1965 he began to sell John Deeres. When JD started in their own right in the UK in 1966 he was one of the first five dealers appointed, staying with the brand until recently when Deutz was taken on. A sizeable proportion of the collection is in restored condition, and the restorations carried out by Murray were very much top-drawer ground-up nut-and-bolt jobs where even the nuts and bolts had to be correct. Those not restored are very much in complete order as Murray had gathered up parts and had tinwork made as they waited their turn for restoration. Some of these tractors are in very good original condition and could be preserved for exhibition as they are. The earliest tractor is an unrestored Fordson F from the early 1920s. It is joined by a lovely straight water washer N, and what is thought to be the first Fordson Dexta sold by his business for Harry K Brown is another. Other British tractors include a David Brown VAK1, a Ferguson TEF and a very usable MF 35. The bulk is all American, with two restored Oliver 70s and unrestored 90 models, restored Case C, RC and two unrestored LAs. Marking his time with JD are restored unstyled A and G models, an early 1930s GP which was displayed at Mannheim, a styled B and three differing unrestored unstyled Bs. An electric D, L and 2120 models are also listed. Three trailing ploughs in varying states are also included. Allis Chalmers models include restored B and U models, a very rare model A that just needs painting, an earlier restored M and unrestored WC. His favourite was Minneapolis Moline, with a rebuilt KTA, restored ZTU and unrestored GTA models on offer along with an MM trailing plough. The firm’s extremely low-mileage Volvo F717 tractor unit from 1980 is included, as is a supply of TVO. The sale takes place on Saturday October 8 at 10.30.

Other sports

Marin Cilic suspended after testing positive for nikethamide stimulant

September 17 2013

Marin Cilic has been suspended for nine months after testing positive for a banned stimulant, ruling him out until February 1, the International Tennis Federation has announced. The Croatian’s doping violation came when he tested positive for nikethamide a stimulant at the BMW Open in Munich in May. The 24-year-old’s ban was backdated to May 1, the date on which he provided the sample, to end at midnight on January 31. The sample was sent to a laboratory in Montreal for analysis, where it was found to contain nikethamide, a prohibited substance. Cilic was subsequently charged over the doping violation under Article 2.1 although he argued the banned substance was in his system after taking Coramine glucose tablets that had been purchased for him from a pharmacy. A statement from the ITF read: “The independent tribunal found that Mr Cilic ingested the nikethamide inadvertently as a result of taking the Coramine glucose tablets, and did not intend to enhance his performance in doing so, and that he, therefore, met the preconditions of article 10.4 of the programme, which entitles him to a reduction of the period of ineligibility for specified substance based on an assessment of his fault.” As well as the ban “it was also determined that Mr Cilic’s results at the 2013 BMW Open event should be disqualified, with resulting forfeiture of the ranking points and prize money that he won at those events. “Mr Cilic’s results subsequent to the BMW Open, up to the time that he accepted a voluntary provisional suspension, are also disqualified and the ranking points and prize money forfeited.” Following the BMW Open, Cilic was knocked out of the French Open in the third round by Viktor Troicki, who coincidentally was banned in July for 18 months for failing to provide a blood sample. He then reached the final at Queen’s where he lost to Andy Murray before withdrawing from Wimbledon, where he was seeded 10th, prior to his second-round match.


Dundee fan who assaulted Aberdeen supporter has sentence cut in half

October 16 2013

A football thug who attacked a rival supporter in Dundee city centre has had his sentence almost halved on appeal. Judges ruled that despite committing a “wholly unprovoked, vicious” assault, William Simpson should serve five months instead of the 11 originally imposed. Simpson, of Balunie Drive, had seen Dundee FC lose 3-1 at home to Aberdeen on December 29. The member of the Alliance Under Fives casuals group then targeted Connor Leslie, who was making his way to the railway station, after asking if he was an Aberdeen fan. Police CCTV cameras captured the attack and Simpson admitted at the city’s sheriff court in July to punching his victim on the head, knocking him to the ground and repeatedly punching him on the head and kicking him on his body to his injury. He was sentenced to 11 months’ detention at Polmont Young Offenders’ Institution and banned from attending football matches for 30 months. Simpson appealed against his detention. The Appeal Court studied a report from Sheriff Alastair Brown, who said the CCTV recording had shown Simpson approach the scene of the assault in Shore Terrace in a “swaggering and aggressive” manner. “It was my opinion that it was a particularly unpleasant incident in which a man, on his own in a public place, was assaulted with no immediately obvious reason except for the fact that he was an Aberdeen supporter, was knocked to the ground and punched several times and kicked. “Notwithstanding the fact that the appellant is a first offender, I consider that that was so serious to merit not only a custodial disposal but a starting point at the maximum of 12 months. “I discounted that to take account of the stage at which the plea was tendered,” Sheriff Brown added. Simpson’s agent argued the sentence was excessive. His client had given up drinking and had shown genuine remorse. He had also experienced the “short sharp shock” of eight weeks’ detention before being released pending his appeal. The Appeal Court was asked to consider ordering Simpson to do unpaid work in the community as an alternative to custody. Delivering the ruling, Lady Smith said: “We agree...this was a very serious offence. The assault by the appellant was wholly unprovoked, vicious and motivated by allegiance to a football team. “That context was of particular significance. Experience has shown there is serious and real risk of any violence that occurs between football supporters escalating.” The judge said Sheriff Brown had been right to consider that only a custodial sentence was appropriate but, given Simpson was a first offender and the other “positive factors” referred to by his agent, he had erred in determining the length of sentence. Simpson’s football banning order remains in force.