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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...

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


McAvoy family call for ‘simple’ heart disease test

April 18 2015

The father of a former Arbroath SC footballer who died last year has called for a nationwide strategy to prevent more tragic cardiac-related deaths. Pete McAvoy died suddenly in his college room in the United States aged 22. The talented defender, who played for Herkimer Generals, is believed to have suffered a heart attack as a result of an undiagnosed heart condition. Every year 600 young people die as a result of undiagnosed cardiac conditions. Now his father Peter has backed a manifesto produced by Cardiac Risk in the Young, calling for free screening to identify heart conditions and improve research. Peter, 57, from Dundee, said: “Twelve young people are dying across the UK every week. “If they had a simple heart test they would have been diagnosed, could have had treatment and would still be alive today. “That is unbelievable and it is a nightmare for those of us who have gone through it.” Pete’s family want to see the lifesaving tests rolled out across the country through the NHS. Peter added: “The genetic condition that killed my son is something that could have been diagnosed.”

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.


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.

Angus & The Mearns

Gingerbread tribute to the Wee Red Town

October 14 2013

When Libby Jones was invited by Bank Street Gallery owner Susie Clark to exhibit at her gallery in Kirriemuir, she became intrigued by the history of the town. As well as Kirriemuir’s most famous son and Peter Pan author JM Barrie, she discovered the town had also been home for a time to AC/DC singer Bon Scott, Victorian mountaineer Hugh Munro, and 19th century writer Violet Jacob. She found the town had been a hotbed of witchcraft in the 16th century and is also world famous for its gingerbread and decided to combine all these elements. Ms Jones went on to craft a boxed set of prints, which also doubles as a card game. She said: “This tongue-in-cheek edition of 10 boxes, of 20 cards per box, features Kirriemuir characters presented on a slice of gingerbread on a plate. I have also made a poster featuring all the 10 characters in the game.” Visitors can see images of Edinburgh Castle with fireworks, wildlife such as gannets, and artwork made after a visit to Antarctica. Londoner and master printmaker Ms Jones exhibited work from her sub-zero stay at a Discovery Point exhibition in Dundee last year. Children can see her work Cooking the Climate, a comment on global warming, which consists of a microwave oven and slideshow with rotating polar animals. There is also a fossilised mobile phone in a second installation, Fossils of the Anthropocene an exploration of the traces that might remain of civilisation in 50 million years’ time. She is also exhibiting a selection of her woodcuts, linocuts, collagraphs and screenprints at the gallery. The exhibition runs until November 8 and opening hours can be found on www.bankstreetgallery.org, or by telephoning 01575 570070.

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

Other sports

Courier constituency profiles: Perth and North Perthshire

April 30 2015

Although it has been SNP-held since its inception in 2005, Perth and North Perthshire is a regular Tory target seat. Thought by many to be a “traditional Tory” area, Pete Wishart won his first election with a narrow 1,500 majority. That almost trebled at the last election, though, leaving the Nationalist candidate delighted at overcoming determined opposition. So what will happen this time round? Former Tory peer Lord Ashcroft rejected the idea of polling the constituency because he thought the idea of anyone gaining seats from the SNP to be too fanciful to be worth the effort. However, in Alexander Stewart the Conservatives have selected a well-known local face who will work the pavements and try to charm voters into backing him.The candidates* Pete Wishart (SNP) Pete was elected MP for Perth and North Perthshire in 2005 having previously served the old North Tayside constituency from 2001. He was educated at Queen Anne High School in Dunfermline and Moray House College, Edinburgh. Pete lives in Perth, has one son and enjoys walking in the Perthshire hills. A former member of rock group Big Country and the iconic Runrig, he is the only MP to have appeared on Top of the Pops. * Alexander Stewart (Conservative) Born and raised in Perthshire, Alexander has been a councillor in Perth City for 16 years. His family has been active in the local community for five generations. After holding senior posts in hotel management and then fashion retail in London, he returned home in 1992 to open his own business in Crieff. For the last 15 years he has been working for Ark Housing Association at their Perth project. * Peter Barrett (Lib Dems) Peter has been a Perth and Kinross councillor for more than a decade and has stood as a local candidate for our area in the Scottish Parliament elections in 2003 and 2007 and the UK election in 2010. He lives in Perth, with his wife Liz who runs her own business. Before working in politics, Peter was a manager with a national builder’s merchant. He is an elder at St Matthew’s Church on Tay Street. * Scott Nicholson (Labour) Scott is a medical researcher who has pledged to support medical research, rights and care for Scots with dementia. He is also a committee member of the Society for General Microbiology. He says he wants every young person in Perthshire to have the opportunity to succeed and cites Labour’s pledge to introduce a jobs guarantee, which promises employment, training or an apprenticeship for young people as the solution. * Louise Ramsay (Green Party) Former convener of the Greens’ branch in Perth, Louise has a degree in social anthropology from Cambridge, and a diploma in counselling from Strathclyde. She has worked as a manager, fundraiser, art gallery administrator, and counsellor. A lifelong environmentalist, Louise has campaigned for climate change action, for Alyth to become a climate action town, for wind turbines, and the Tay beavers. * John Myles (Ukip) No information submitted. * Xander McDade (Independent) Xander has lived in Pitlochry with his family since he was 10. He studied for a history and politics degree at Perth College UHI, but suspended his studies to temporarily become his granddad’s full-time carer. Xander works in the hospitality trade and studies management part-time at Dundee University. He is a member of Pitlochry Highland Games Committee and has served on his local community council since 2011.

Motoring news

Form an orderly Q for Audi SUV

August 10 2016

First there was the Q7. Then the Q5 and Q3. All have been a phenomenal success for Audi. I’d be surprised if that script changes when the Q2 arrives in November. Audi’s baby SUV is available to order now with prices starting at £22,380. Can’t quite stretch to that? Don’t worry, an entry level three-cylinder 1.0 litre version will be available later this year with a cover tag of £20,230. From launch, there are three trim levels available for the Q2 called SE, Sport and S Line. The range-topping Edition #1 model will be available to order from next month priced from £31,170. While the entry-level 113bhp 1.0-litre unit isn’t available right away, engines you can order now include a 113bhp 1.6-litre diesel and 148bhp 1.4-litre petrol unit, both with manual or S tronic automatic transmissions. Also joining the Q2 line-up from September is the 2.0-litre TDI diesel with 148bhp or 187bhp. This unit comes with optional Quattro all-wheel drive. A 2.0 litre petrol with Quattro and S tronic joins the range next year. Standard equipment for the new Audi Q2 includes a multimedia infotainment system with rotary/push-button controls, supported with sat-nav. Audi’s smartphone-friendly interface, 16in alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity and heated and electric mirrors are all also standard for the Audi. Along with the optional Audi virtual cockpit and the head-up display, the driver assistance systems for the Audi Q2 also come from the larger Audi models – including the Audi pre sense front with pedestrian recognition that is standard. The system recognises critical situations with other vehicles as well as pedestrians crossing in front of the vehicle, and if necessary it can initiate hard braking – to a standstill at low speeds. Other systems in the line-up include adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go function, traffic jam assist, the lane-departure warning system Audi side assist, the lane-keeping assistant Audi active lane assist, traffic sign recognition and rear cross-traffic assist.

Farming news

Killin Show brightens wet and cold day

August 19 2014

The guys and gals up Killin way are made of hardy stuff. Their attitude to a cold and wet show morning on Saturday was simply to ignore the weather and get on with it. The fancy dress and vintage tractor parade through the village led by the Comrie Pipe Band is a traditional way of opening the Killin Show. By the time the participants had reached the Breadalbane Park every one of them, including a well-costumed Wild West team, was truly ‘drookit’ but the enthusiasm remained. At least their perseverance was partly rewarded later in the day when the drizzle slackened and the sun shone from time to time. The livestock judging was similarly unaffected by the weather. Cattle judge Neil McCorkindale, Scammadale, Oban, said he had a good top end to sort out in his search for a champion. Eventually the tap on the rump went to a mid-March-born heifer calf shown by Hamish McDiarmid of McDiarmid Bros, Ben Lawers, north Tayside. This well-grown calf, which will likely be sold in Forfar next spring, is by the Limousin sire Oldhouse Dougal and out of a home-bred Limousin cross cow. The reserve was an April-born bullock calf from Robert Waugh, Croftintygan, north Tayside. Again this was Limousin sired, this time by a Homebyres-bred bull and out of a home-bred Limousin cross cow which was first in its class on Saturday. Mr McCorkindale said: “The champion is a stylish well-turned out calf. The reserve is a bullock calf with a lot of potential.” The overall show champion of champions at Killin on Saturday was from the cross sheep section. A and J Anderson, Tullochcan, Ardeonaig, took the honours with an almost pure Texel gimmer well-shown by Donna McKenzie. This one is by Cowal Shrek and out of a home-bred Texel cross ewe. Tullochcan runs 200 Texel cross ewes and 1,200 Blackfaces. Cross sheep judge Roddy Thomson, of Pitnacree, Strathtay, said: “This is a very correct gimmer smart and strong.” His fellow champion of champions judges Mr McCorkindale and Blackface judge Ewan Bennie, of Merkins, Alexandria, obviously agreed as there was no need for an umpire. Reserve in the cross sheep was a Texel cross ewe lamb from Peter McDiarmid, Shenlarich, north Tayside. The largest judging task of the day fell to Mr Bennie with, as is usual for Killin, very large classes of Blackfaces all from the confined area of Killin and its surrounding parishes. His champion was a ewe lamb from Colin Little, Glen Ample, Lochearnhead. Born at the end of April the lamb is by a £3,500 Nunnerie sire which was last year’s Killin champion of champions and out of a ewe by a £1,600 Pole sire. The reserve, which according to Mr Bennie was “not far behind” was a shearling ram from Iain McLarty, Glen Tarken, Loch Earn. Intended for use at home rather than for sale this one is by a £2,100 Ben Lomond and out of ewe by a £2,000 Auldhouseburn. Cattle results were as follow. Bullock calf by Limousin (2013 born): McDiarmid Bros, Ben Lawers. Heifer calf by Limousin (2013 born): Ben Lawers. Bullock calf by Limousin (2014 born): Croftintygan. Heifer calf by Limousin (2014 born: Ben Lawers. Bullock calf any other sire: Peter Reilly, Tullochmhor, Balquhidder. Heifer with calf at foot: Ben Lawers. Cow with calf at foot: Croftintygan. Sheep results were as follow. Cross Pair of cross lambs out of a Blackface ewe: Tullochmor. Pair of cross lambs out of a cross ewe: Shenlarich. Ewe: Shenlarich.Gimmer: Tullochcan. Ewe lamb: Shenlarich. Mule ewe lamb: Tullochmor. Tup: Succoth. Blackface Shepherd’s class: Shenlarich. Naturally shown ewe and lambs: Mrs Taylor, Braes of Ardeonaig. Ram three years and over: Glen Tarken. Ram two years and over: Glen Ample. Shearling ram: Glen Tarken. Ewe three years and over: Glen Ample. Ewe two years and over: Glen Tarken. Gimmer: Meggernie Estate, Glen Lyon. Ram lamb: Glen Tarken. Ewe lamb: Glen Ample. Pair of wether lambs: K Taylor, Dall, Ardeonaig. Young handler: under-11 Iona Little; 11-18 Lewis McKenzie. Female group of three: Glen Ample. Male group of three: Glen Tarken. Best wooled sheep: Tullochmhor. Fleeces Blackface mattress: Tullochmhor (reserve champion). Blackface fine: Braes of Ardeonaig (champion). Natural colour: Braes of Ardeonaig. Fine medium: Succoth.