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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

Serial rapist behind bars after Perth attack

August 14 2014

A serial rapist from Perth is behind bars after he tied up a woman and subjected her to a horrific sex attack. Robin Porter bound his victim’s wrists and ankles together before demanding to know details of a previous sexual experience. The 33-year-old admitted raping the woman while she was tied up after she repeatedly told him to stop at his former home in Scott Street, Perth, in November 2012. Advocate depute Andrew Stewart QC told the court: “He was having sex aggressively causing pain. “She withdrew her consent. She begged him to stop because he was hurting her, but he did not. She was crying”. The High Court in Edinburgh heard Porter’s victim was left shaking and sobbing. The accused then said: “Sorry that was horrible, I went too far and I didn’t like it.” Porter, who was previously placed on the sex offenders’ register for an indecency offence toward a teenager, also admitted assaulting and raping two other women on earlier occasions. Mr Stewart said the first victim had taken magic mushrooms with Porter in 2006 before she fell asleep at a flat after consuming the hallucinogenic for the first time. She woke to find Porter having sex with her and tried to hit him but could not reach him. Porter also attacked and raped a sleeping woman at a house in Annan, in Dumfriesshire, in 2007 or 2008. Lord Matthews deferred sentence on Porter until next month for the preparation of a background report and remanded him in custody. *For more on this story see Friday’s Courier or try our digital edition.

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

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.

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

Angus & The Mearns

Nurse fined for assaulting boy

January 9 2015

A nurse has been fined £500 for assaulting a teenage boy in an Angus village. Keith Porter, 42, appeared at Forfar Sheriff Court and admitted repeatedly pushing the boy on the body, seizing him by the body and sitting astride him and pinning him to the ground on June 19 last year. Defending Porter, solicitor Brian Bell said Porter’s employers were waiting on sentence before deciding on his future employment. Mr Bell said: “In terms of the Nursing and Midwifery Council, their position is they will await the result of the court case. “The Scottish Office, in terms of vulnerable groups, have sent a letter to Disclosure Scotland. “Mr Porter continues working as a nurse with an agency and they are happy with his work. “While the offence involved a child, it was, in one view, on the lower end of the scale.”


JK Rowling scholars coming to potter around St Andrews

May 17 2012

Harry Potter has graduated from Hogwarts and now he's coming to St Andrews University. Academics from around the world will today whizz into Fife broomsticks optional for first UK conference on the famous boy wizard. The boffin described as ''the dean of Harry Potter scholars'' will explain why JK Rowling's hero is worthy of academic study. John Granger, author of The Deathly Hallows Lectures, will be joined by 60 scholars to examine the seven books as literary texts in their own right. In a series of almost 50 lectures over the coming two days, experts will discuss how they deal with death, the role of empathy, the influence of writers such as CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien, paganism, magic and the use of food and British national identity. The conference has been organised by John Patrick Pazdziora from the university's School of English, and Fr Micah Snell from its Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts. Mr Pazdziora said we could not avoid the fact that Harry Potter is the main narrative experience of an entire generation. ''The Harry Potter novels are simply the most important and influential children's books of the late 20th and early 21st centuries,'' he said. ''JK Rowling has put so much detail, so many literary and folkloric and cultural references, it's a tangle or a puzzle picking it all out. ''The series opens up new worlds to its readers and this is also partly why it's so imaginatively and culturally important.'' Although the series is receiving increased academic attention, the St Andrews event is the UK's first academic conference on the subject and the first in the world to discuss Harry Potter strictly as a literary text. The keynote speakers include Mr Granger and experts from countries including the US, South Africa, Australia, India and the Philippines. Mr Pazdziora added: ''The Hogwarts saga is the most loved story in the history of publishing by quite a margin and, consequently, it is a natural and important subject of study for anyone interested in the literary arts. ''I take exception to the unexamined and misinformed assumption that the books are light on literary merit. Ms Rowling's works are comic, certainly, but it's a great mistake to think they're simple or haphazard storytelling.'' With Scotland's connections Hogwarts is hidden somewhere in Scotland and JK Rowling lives here he said it is appropriate that the first academic conference be held at Scotland's oldest university. Photo PA

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.


Fife distillers raise a glass to new £800,000 deal

May 12 2017

Fife’s Eden Mill is one of four distillers to sign an £800,000 deal with supermarket giant Asda. As the market for high-quality spirits continues to grow, Eden Mill, Pickerings, Porter’s and Ginerosity Distillery have launched five new products at Asda. Eden Mill has secured a deal to launch its new Original and Love gins. Original consists of sea buckthorn berries, which grow locally, while the Love gin is created with botanicals sourced from all around the world. Meanwhile Ginerosity’s 50cl bottle is the world’s first social enterprise gin distilled by Pickerings with the money raised going towards supporting disadvantaged young adults in Scotland. Aberdeen’s local distillery, Porter’s, will also see its 70cl bottle hit the shelves with all of the new products available in 13 stores across the country from early May. Gin aficionados can also now purchase the original Edinburgh Gin as well as Rhubarb and Ginger liqueur at 390 stores across the UK after securing a national listing with Asda. Following an extremely successful year for spirit sales in 2016, Heather Turnbull, regional buyer for Asda Scotland, said: “With gin continuing to perform well in Scotland and sales expected to increase by 50% by the end of 2017, it’s clear that consumers’ taste palates are continuing to crave these original flavours.” “By launching equally sophisticated spirits such as Eden Mill, Pickerings, Porter’s and Ginerosity in Asda stores across Scotland, it will now mean that more consumers than ever before can enjoy a truly Scottish drinking experience.” Daniel Sherry, head of business development at Eden Mill, added: “The gin and spirits industry has seen significant growth which we have experienced for ourselves at Eden Mill. “We have been crafting the gin renaissance from our distillery in Scotland since 2012, aiding people's modern-day discovery of gin. “Whether new to gin or a connoisseur, this deal is testament to the fact that people are enjoying spirits like gin in new ways and a great example of Asda’s commitment to supporting Scottish suppliers." The five newest products to be introduced to stores across Scotland came through Asda’s partnership with the Craft Beer Clan.