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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…

Perth & Kinross

Culinary dimension added to Perth Show

July 28 2016

For more than 150 years Perth Show has been a popular, once a year meeting point for the people of the city and the farming community. The show – now the third largest of its type in Scotland – remains as always a showcase for champion livestock but this year holds a much wider appeal for visitors. To be held on Friday and Saturday August 5 and 6 on the South Inch, throughout the two days, trade stands, sideshows, entertainment, activities, music and parades all add to the vibrancy of the show along with a new culinary direction. “For the first time, Perth Show is set to feature a cookery theatre and food and drink marquee,” said show secretary Neil Forbes. “This will bring a new and popular dimension to the visitor attraction. “Perth Show 2016 is also delighted to welcome Perthshire On A Plate (POAP) – a major food festival, celebrating the very best in local produce and culinary talent. “Organised by Perthshire Chamber of Commerce, the two-day festival will run as part of the show and feature celebrity and local chefs, demonstrations and tastings, book signings, food and drink related trade stands, fun-filled activities for ‘kitchen kids’ and a large dining area and pop-up restaurants in a double celebration of food and farming.” Heading the celebrity chef line-up are television favourite Rosemary Shrager (Friday) and spice king Tony Singh (Saturday), backed by a host of talented local chefs including Graeme Pallister (63 Tay Street) and Grant MacNicol (Fonab Castle). The cookery theatre, supported by Quality Meat Scotland, will also stage a fun cookery challenge between students from Perth College and the ladies of the SWI. A range of pop-up restaurants featuring taster dishes from some of the area’s best known eating places will allow visitors to sample local produce as they relax in the show’s new POAP dining area. “We’re trying to create a wide and varied programme of entertainment,” said Mr Forbes. “Late afternoon on Friday will see the It’s A Knockout  challenge with teams from businesses throughout Perth and Perthshire competing against each other. “And the first day’s programme will end with a beer, wine and spirit festival where teams can celebrate their achievements and visitors can sample a wide range of locally produced drinks.” This year will also see the reintroduction of showjumping at Perth Show on the Saturday afternoon.

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

Perth & Kinross

Simple Minds added to BBC’s live music extravaganza at Scone Palace

February 2 2018

Simple Minds will play Scone Palace in Perthshire as part of a sensational summer of live music. The Scottish rock icons have been added to BBC Music Biggest Weekend’s expanding line-up. The event, on May 25 and 26, will be headlined by former Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher and classical music star Nigel Kennedy. (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = 'https://connect.facebook.net/en_GB/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.12'; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk')); We're thrilled to announce that Simple Minds Official have joined our #BiggestWeekend line up! 🙌🏻Get ready Perth, this is set to be a performance you will never forget 😎 Posted by BBC Music on Friday, 2 February 2018 The festival is expected to deliver a major economic boost to the area. Simple Minds will play on Saturday, May 26 – the same day as Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. The announcement comes just days after US superstar Lionel Richie revealed plans for a major outdoor concert at Perth’s McDiarmid Stadium. Tickets for the June 3 show, Richie’s only Scottish date on his upcoming UK tour, go on sale on Friday morning.

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.

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

Perth & Kinross

Perth Show organisers promise event will be “bigger and better” than ever

July 27 2017

Thousands of people are expected to attend this year’s Perth Show, with its organisers claiming it will be “bigger and better” than ever. The 155th agricultural, equestrian, food and fun extravaganza takes place at Perth’s South Inch on August 4 and 5. More than 1,200 head of livestock will compete in 340 classes while other show supporters will vie for prizes in cooking and handcraft. Trade stands, sideshows, entertainment, activities, music and parades will add to the vibrancy of the annual crowd pleaser. Visitor numbers should be boosted by the announcement that the event has secured a prestigious double by hosting two national cattle shows – the second National Highland Cattle Gathering and the Scottish National Simmental Show. Peter Stewart, chairman of Perth Show, said securing the two national cattle shows in the one year was a “terrific achievement.” “Both will bring business to the city and crowds to Perth Show, with many involved opting to stay locally for the whole weekend,” he said. “The organisers of both these gatherings have chosen the Perth Show because they know we host such events extremely well and we’re delighted to welcome them as a key part of this year’s offering.” The two-day extravaganza will also feature show jumping, champion farriers in action, sheep shearing demonstrations, kids’ activity centres and food and drink. Perth Show’s festival partner Perthshire on a Plate will include celebrity chefs Jean-Christophe Novelli and Nick Nairn, the parade of champions, vintage vehicles, pipe band, pet competition, craft stands, Scottish Women’s Institutes’ showcase competitions and agricultural and commercial trade stands. The programme on August 4 will also include a rare gathering of Scotland’s entire World Championship-winning farrier team with manager, farrier Jim Balfour from Tealing. Meanwhile, the Royal Highland Education Trust (RHET) will offer a range of hands-on activities for children throughout the two days, including a lambing simulator, an oilseed rape press and the ever-popular Daisy – the milking cow. RHET will also host some Scottish beekeepers complete with their live observation hive and craft activities. Show secretary Neil Forbes added: “Perth Show attracts thousands of visitors each year. “This year’s show will continue to feature many of the traditional aspects of agricultural shows, valued by generations of farmers, as well as the new and exciting visitor attractions. “The two-day event promises lots to see and do – whether it be pouring over the latest state-of-the-art agricultural machinery, admiring the finest four-legged competitors, watching a celebrity chef in action, trying your hand on a challenging sideshow, enjoying hospitality at one of the many trade and business stands or stopping for a tasty bite or a brew at the food marquee. “Our two-day festival will draw to a close with the show’s ceilidh in the park’.” He continued: “Perth Show is so much more than just a day out for the farmers. This year’s event is bigger and better than ever.”  

Perth & Kinross

Perth property boom sees homes sold in seven days

April 8 2015

The property market in Perth has become one of the hottest in Scotland, with homes going under offer in an average of just seven days. The country’s biggest solicitor-estate agent Aberdein Considine said that the pace in which properties are changing hands is almost unheard of and similar to levels in Aberdeen during peak periods for the oil and gas industry. The firm’s announcement comes as Perthshire Solicitors Property Centre (PSPC) also revealed an upturn in the local housing market. Its first quarter sales totalled nearly £30 million with 61 properties being exchanged in March, compared to just 48 the year before. James McKay, who heads up Aberdein Considine’s Perth branch on High Street, said the spring market in the city had been fuelled by low mortgage rates. The change from Stamp Duty to a new Scottish system the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax has eased the tax burden on those buying homes below £300,000, making it a true “buyer’s market”. Mr McKay said the average price of a detached home is now just less than £260,000 in Perth and Kinross. “As a national firm, we get a good feel for the market across Scotland,” he said. “What we are seeing in Perth at the moment is the type of market we usually only see in Aberdeen. “In the north-east it has become usual for homes to go in six to 10 days. However, it usually takes a bit longer in Perth. “Our average on the market-to-under offer timescale in Perth was just six-and-a-half days in March, which is remarkable.” He added: “Areas including Oakbank, Viewlands, Craigie, Kinnoull and Scone are particularly popular at the moment. “Buyers appear to be keen to buy in these areas due to schools, bus routes and access to services. The middle market between £100,000 and £250,000 is particularly active.” Mr McKay added that low mortgage rates appeared to be the driving factor. “There is every sign the Perth market will continue to remain active in these areas,” he said. PSPC manager Anne Begg said: “We are delighted to see, in black and white, the promising sales statistics from the first quarter of the year.” She said that although March had seen a boost, overall sales for the first part of 2015 were slightly down. “The good news is that the average price tag being achieved is ahead of this time last year. Values really are holding their own, which is promising for those considering selling up this spring.” Ms Begg said that people were queuing for the firm’s Help to Buy open morning. “With winter in the past, we’re seeing lots of evidence that countless people are ready to make a move,” she added.

Perth & Kinross

Baby bargains galore at charity’s nearly new sale in Perth

October 20 2017

Baby bargains will be bought and sold at an event coming to Perth next weekend. The National Childbirth Trust’s nearly new sale will offer parents-to-be the chance to pick up pre-loved toys, clothes, equipment and maternity clothes at a big discount from shop prices. New parents will also have the chance to offload baby goods their little ones have outgrown by registering as sellers at the event. The sale is at the Bell’s sport centre between 11.30am and 1.30pm on Sunday October 29 and is being organised by the trust’s Perth and District Branch. Sellers keep 70% of the money raised, with the other 30% going to the charity’s work to support local families. NCT Perth and District volunteer Vicki Anyon said: “Coming to one of our nearly new sales is a double whammy – you can get pre-loved baby bargains and you help to fund the branch’s services for other parents too.” For more information and to register as a seller before the October 27 deadline, email NNS.Perth@nct.org.uk. You can also find out more at the local branch’s Facebook page. (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = 'https://connect.facebook.net/en_GB/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.12'; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk')); As it's less than a month to go to our next Nearly New Sale we thought we'd show you what to expect! All sellers drop their items off to us and then our lovely volunteers sort them out into categories and age/size to make it easy for you, the buyer, to find what you're looking for and to get the best bargains! Register here as a seller or turn up to Bell's Sports Centre on the 29th October at 11.30am to bag some brilliant bargains! And pick up a FREE goody bag packed with lovely samples for you and your family to enjoy. Seller registration – https://nct.intrabiz.co.uk/cgi-bin/sys.cgi?action=NCT-product-client_view&id=29940395 Posted by NCT Perth & District Branch on Friday, 30 September 2016

Perth & Kinross

Perth harbour not for sale

February 27 2015

Perth council chiefs have decided to retain ownership of the city’s harbour after a marketing exercise was held to gauge interest from potential buyers. The River Tay facility, which is regarded as one of Scotland’s key commercial ports, was the subject of a campaign aimed at attracting private-sector investment. The local authority insisted that the harbour was not up for sale but the initiative was simply to “test the water”. A spokeswoman confirmed that the harbour would stay in council ownership for the foreseeable future. It followed behind-closed-doors discussions at a meeting of the full council. She said: “The council was not convinced that the stage-one marketing exercise demonstrated a compelling alternative to retaining the harbour in public ownership. “It was, therefore, agreed to conclude the marketing process and instead prepare options for proposals for developing the harbour within council ownership.” She added: “The council considers this the best approach to safeguard this strategic asset for the future.” The council said that a report on the marketing drive had been considered in private to “protect commercial interests”. A price tag was never revealed, although the value of the council’s property interests in the area is understood to be about £750,000. The working sea port is seen as a lower-cost alternative to larger coastal ports and lies just 30 miles from the North Sea. Perth’s location at the centre of Scotland’s transport network and at the gateway to the Highlands was seen to offer strategic benefits to businesses. Approximately 90% of Scotland’s population can be accessed within a 90-minute drive of Perth, and Scotland’s two major airports are accessible in less than an hour. Perth Harbour operates 24 hours a day and coastal and dry bulk ships up to 90 metres in length, carrying up to 2,500 tonnes of cargo from Europe, the Baltic and Scandinavia dock at its four main berths. Operations work in time with the tides to ensure maximum efficiency. In many respects, the harbour is one of the reasons why Perth was founded in its present location, at the farthest navigable point on the River Tay.

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