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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

Perth & Kinross

Sword borne into battle at Culloden by Bonnie Prince Charlie to go on display in Perth

November 3 2016

Rescued from the mud and peat that contributed to the downfall of the Jacobite cause at Culloden in 1746 the small shield could have been one of a number borne by the brave Scots. It was one of a wealth of arms left littering the moor by the fallen and those who fled the last battle fought on British soil. On closer inspection, however, it was a staggering work of craftsmanship, the head of Medusa as its finely sculpted centrepiece, and in fact belonged to Bonnie Prince Charlie himself. Dropped as the would-be monarch fled, it was rescued by Jacobite colonel Ewan MacPherson of Cluny and remained in his family until the twentieth century. Also recovered was Prince Charles Edward Stuart’s intricately decorated sword, though it was taken as a spoil of war and presented to the Government commander, William Duke of Cumberland. The items are thought to have been gifted to the Prince while he resided within the exiled Stuart court in Rome by James Drummond, 3rd Duke of Perth, who was a committed supporter of the Jacobite cause. Now the items have returned to Perth as part of a display at Perth Museum and Gallery where they can be seen until February 25, 2017. The targe – or Highland shield – and sword are touring in advance of the opening of a major Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, in whose collection they now rest. The Perth display will also feature Jacobite objects and archival material from the collections and archive of Perth and Kinross Council, which are cared for by Culture Perth and Kinross. As well as highlighting the role of Perthshire in the Jacobite uprisings, it will explore the figure of James Drummond, who came to be a leading Jacobite. Raised near Crieff, the Duke became lieutenant-general of the Highland army and participated in the Jacobite victory at the Battle of Prestonpans before marching into England and laying siege to Carlisle Castle in 1745. Also making one of its first public appearances will be “The Battle of Culloden”, a recently acquired mid-18th century manuscript poem narrating the musings of Prince Charles Edward Stuart and fictitious conversations between The Duke of Perth, Lady Weem, The Duke of Cumberland and Major James Lockhart following the Jacobite's brutal defeat on Culloden field. Jenny Kinnear, Collections and Programming Manager at Culture Perth and Kinross said:"We are delighted to present this new acquisition to our Jacobite collection. “For the first time this beautifully preserved manuscript will be made available to the public. “We hope that its presence, alongside these items of local significance, will generate much thought-provoking interest from our visitors". The Gifts for a Jacobite Prince Exhibition forms part of a season of commemorative exhibitions and events, entitled Perth and Kinross Remembers. It will feature five separate exhibitions that look at war in different ways, from the weapons of the First World War to the Battle of the Somme and the making of the film War Horse.

Perth & Kinross

Military splendour for Perth’s 800th birthday

July 3 2010

Perth celebrated its 800th birthday in style as the Earl of Wessex was guest of honour at a huge military parade. Over 1000 members of the armed forces and youth organisations paraded through the city centre to mark the occasion. Veterans also took part and and an array of military vehicles helped to provide a colourful spectacle for the many hundreds of people lining the route. It was a day little Jamie Gorton from Perth will never forget. The four-year-old was among those who met Prince Edward as the special guest mingled with the crowds on Tay Street. Keen to find out more about the royal lifestyle, Jamie politely inquired if the earl lived in a castle, to which he replied "Not any more." Jamie's dad Stephen described the encounter as a "real treat." "The prince asked if we were enjoying our day," he said. "He was lovely, really down to earth." Along with Prince Edward, civic heads from Perth's twin towns and other senior civic figures descended on the town for the celebrations. Following the parade, the focus of attention shifted to the war memorial on the North Inch where the earl presented Elizabeth Cross medals to the families of armed forces personnel who have fallen in global conflicts, including those in Iraq and Afghanistan. Next up on the prince's busy schedule was a lunch date at Perth Museum and Art Gallery. He then called in at the concert hall, where he formally opened the Perth 800 Chamber of Commerce culinary showcase, Perthshire on a Plate. From there it was on to the Scottish Game Fair at Scone Palace. The earl's day of civic duties ended with a ceremonial beating of the retreat outside the concert hall. Among others at the Perth Day celebrations was Mayor Konstanty Dombrowicz from Perth's Polish twin town Bydgoszcz. Perth has many twinning links across the world, and also given the red carpet treatment were Oberburgmeister Klaus Herzog and Burgermeister Werner Elasser from Aschaffenberg in Germany. Head of City from Pskov, Russia, Ivan Tsetserkiy also made the trip to Perth, as did Mayor Michel Gourinchas from Cognac, France. The global appeal of Perth 800 was further proved by the presence of representatives from Perth, Ontario, and Haikou, China, who were delighted to join in what was a memorable day of celebration. The job of welcoming Prince Edward to Perth fell to the Provost of Perth and Kinross Dr John Hulbert. He described it as a "proud and momentous" day for the town. "We are celebrating the 800th anniversary of the granting of a Royal Charter by King William the Lion to Perth in 1210," he said. "We are also celebrating armed forces day-a time when our nation acknowledges the tremendous effort and sacrifice of our armed forces, especially in Afghanistan. "The day started, appropriately, with a thanksgiving service in St John's Kirk, the only building in Perth to date back to before 1210." Dr Hulbert later declared the parade a spectacular success. "It was a stirring spectacle, with many colours flying, pipe bands, military bands, some world war two vehicles, the High Constables and a thousand marchers," he said. Dr Hulbert presented Prince Edward with a special gift designed to remind him of his trip. The souvenir, a limited edition paperweight, was designed and made by Sarah Peterson of Caithness Glass in Crieff.

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

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

Prince Harry is tested for HIV

July 14 2016

Prince Harry has been tested for HIV - in a bid to encourage more members of the public to come forward and discover if they have the virus. Harry, who has recently made highlighting the issue of HIV/Aids a major element of his public work, visited a sexual health clinic for the simple finger-prick procedure. The Prince tested negative after he gave a small sample of blood at the Burrell Street centre in central London. Harry had to wait a few moments while the sample was mixed with chemicals and poured into a test tray where a developing solution was added. The negative result was indicated by a blue spot seen in the tray - if two spots had appeared he would have needed further tests to confirm if he was HIV positive. With an estimated 11,000 people in the UK unaware they have the virus, Harry took the step of being publicly tested to help tackle the stigma surrounding the disease. As he waited for the test result to appear, Robert Palmer, a lead health adviser and psychosexual counsellor who carried out the procedure, asked the Prince: "You all right?" and Harry replied "I'm OK". Mr Palmer said afterwards: "He was anxious, he said so, but everything was all right in the end." Asked about the significance of a member of the Royal Family being tested for HIV, he said: "It means this is a test for everybody - it doesn't matter who you are, it's a good idea to have an HIV test."


Delving into Dundee’s archives

March 11 2017

Art and design lie at the heart of the creative industries in Dundee, industries which have often been inspired by the leisure pursuits and interests of Dundee’s population. These interconnections are clearly shown in the Archives of the University of Dundee; art and design is woven through many of the collections. This article features a few items which highlight the diversity of design related material held in the Archives. Dundee Art Society started out as the Graphic Arts Association in 1890, changing its name in 1904.  From the outset the group welcomed both professional and amateur artists as well as art patrons and lovers. As the Art College in Dundee grew, many of the staff joined the Society and used its platform to exhibit their art and network with other artists. The striking design for the cover of the centennial exhibition catalogue produced in 1990 echoes to the artistic trends of the early twentieth century. The longevity of the society reflects the continuing desire of artists within the community to join together, curate exhibitions and share their passion for art. Many of these artists had connections with the Dundee Institute of Art and Technology which was dissolved in 1975 to create Dundee College of Technology and Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art. The Art College remained independent until 1994 when it became a full part of the University of Dundee. All of these bodies are represented in the exhibition material, posters, photographs and student guides in the Archives.  Furthermore, alumnus of the College have contributed to our on-going Oral History Project. Former textile students, Pauline Hann and Sheila Mortlock, were interviewed to capture the personal stories of their time at the College, their career paths and interests. Hann and Mortlock were founding members of Embryo – Dundee Creative Embroiderers, formed in 1980, which developed from the frustration felt by numerous students at the lack of opportunities to exhibit contemporary embroidery within Scotland. The remit of the group was to promote the highest standards of workmanship, achieving this by restricting membership to graduates and undergraduates of Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art. Embryo actively promoted their work through various exhibitions not only in Scotland but across the UK, eventually joining forces with two other textile groups to form Edge – Textile Artists Scotland. Edge is still going strong and attracting new members from a broader background albeit with a recognised education in textiles. The Archive’s Embryo collection includes exhibition publicity material, photographs and correspondence. Textile samples can be found in other collections, such as The Wilson Bros Ltd collection who were taken over by Pringle of Inverness. The pattern books of the woollen and cloth products they manufactured from 1927 to 1967 are fascinating. They show the changing trends in pattern and colour combinations and how design comes in and out of fashion over the decades. Other samples in the Archives show how design blended with the mass production of durable textiles as seen in the printed designs on linen which form part of the D. J. MacDonald collection. Using only two colours, the rising sun motif for the MacDonald company is bold and graphic whereas the design for Louise, seller of lingerie and hosiery has a more delicate touch with the female form and the name of the brand printed in signature style picked out in red. Jute and linen bags adorned with colourful printed designs are still popular today. Textile design in the city is thriving. Local fashion designer, Hayley Scanlan, studied textile design at DJCAD. Her oral history recording in the Archives tells of her desire to remain rooted in the city despite her burgeoning international career. Proud of her Dundonian heritage, Hayley’s designs are influenced by the changing city and she will soon open her first shop a stones throw from DJCAD where her talents were honed. Records held in the Archive are accessible to everyone. For further information about the Archives and its collections see www.dundee.ac.uk/archives   Sharon Kelly is assistant archivist at Dundee University's Archives Services 

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

UK & World

Meghan and Harry urge girls to study Stem subjects

March 8 2018

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have celebrated International Women’s Day by encouraging young female students to pursue careers in subjects such as science and maths.The couple arrived at Millennium Point in Birmingham to take part in building apps and touchpads and listening to the students’ motivations for pursuing different careers.Around 90 female students gathered around a number of tables as the pair encouraged each of them to work in Stem (science, technology, engineering and maths) fields.And in keeping with the theme of technology and science, the couple donned a pair of futuristic virtual headsets.They started the event by trying the headsets with students from Blessed Edward Oldcorne School in Birmingham before looking at other technology such as pianos made from bananas and how to “hack the web”.The pupils described the experience as “surreal” as both the prince and the Suits star told them how impressed they were with their technical abilities.The couple also gave prizes to three winners of a speech-writing competition in which they spoke about their most inspiring women.Harry and Ms Markle nodded in approval after each of the speeches and gave all three a generous clap at the end.The couple left the event after both were given a goody bag which said: “I am not just a bag, I am a Stemettes bag.”They received a huge round of applause from the students as they left for their next event.