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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

Angus & The Mearns

Argentine family ‘deeply grateful’ after Arbroath marine sends Battle of Two Sisters relic back where it belongs

October 30 2015

The identity tag of a fallen Argentine soldier that lay in a former Angus Marine’s drawer for 33 years has been returned to his family. Graham Ellis, from Kirkton of Auchterhouse, removed the tag from the body of Assistant Sergeant Ramon Gumersindo Acosta on the battlefield in the Falkland Islands in 1982. Acosta was killed by a mortar blast following the Battle of Two Sisters, which took place over two days in June as British forces advanced toward Port Stanley. A 20-year-old member of Arbroath-based 45 Commando at the time, Mr Ellis and his unit were ordered to remove the tags from the dead bodies for identification by the Red Cross. Mr Ellis placed the tag in his pocket and only discovered it on his return to Britain. It remained in a drawer until a comrade of Mr Acosta’s saw an article on this website about Mr Ellis’s attempts to return it to the fallen soldier’s family. It was sent back to Argentina and is now with his daughter, with plans for a formal presentation by the Argentine government to take place in the near future. Mr Ellis said he was “very pleased”, while a former comrade of Mr Acosta said the family were “deeply grateful” to Mr Ellis and The Courier. Acosta was a national hero and a street bears his name in his native town of Jess Mara. He had written a letter to his five-year-old son, Diego, eight days before he died. It read: “I write from my position to tell you that two days ago we were in a helicopter which was bombed, the helicopter fell and caught fire, killing several colleagues of mine but I was saved and am now awaiting the final attack. “I saved three comrades from the flames. I tell you so you know you have a father you can be proud of and want you to keep this letter as a document if I do not return: and if I go back tomorrow, when we’re together I will read it at home.”

Rocktalk

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

Remains found in sea off Arbroath belonged to Aberdeen woman Kelli Ferris

April 18 2015

Human remains found off the Angus coast belonged to Aberdeen woman Kelli Ferris. The 40-year-old was last seen in her home city last September. A Kirkcaldy-registered fishing vessel made the grim discovery of an undisclosed body part while netting in the North Sea, around seven miles from Arbroath, earlier this month. Police today confirmed the remains belonged to Ms Ferris. A spokesman said: “Kelli Ferris was reported missing on September 17 2014 after last being seen at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary by a family member on September 9. “Following Kelli’s disappearance an extensive investigation and search operation was conducted over a number of weeks which included the use of specialist police dogs and search teams.” Detective Chief Inspector David Hadden said: “We have now been able to identify the remains found off the coast of Arbroath on Monday 6 April 2015 as Kelli Ferris. “A major search operation was carried out following Kelli’s disappearance and enquiries have not revealed any suspicious circumstances. “We hope this identification gives Kelli’s family some form of closure and our thoughts are with her family at this time.” Kelli's mother Catherine Sandison had already said she feared the worst, and described her daughter's disappearance as like "a nightmare".

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.

Fife

Mother of slain Fife soldier finally gets to visit memorial

June 13 2015

The mother of a slain Fife soldier who criticised military chiefs for refusing a bid to visit a memorial in Afghanistan has finally said farewell to him, after the monument for fallen soldiers was moved to the UK. Linda Mason-Buchanan, 52, of Kelty, saw the name of Black Watch corporal Tam Mason, 27, etched on the memorial wall at its opening by Prince Harry. Two years ago she was denied a visit to Camp Bastion in war-torn Helmand province, where it first stood. The Ministry of Defence said she was a “security risk” and blocked the trip despite flying in celebrities to visit troops. She told The Courier then that she saw “no reason why mums can’t go out there”. It was her view that celebrities like Cheryl Cole, footballer David Beckham and X Factor judge Gary Barlow, who had made recent trips to Afghanistan, were “more of a security risk with their entourages”. She has welcomed the unveiling of the replica memorial at the National Arboretum, near Lichfield, Staffordshire, which lists 453 lives lost in the conflict. Linda said: “It was very emotional. It made me wonder about the times Tam would have stood looking at the names of his friends, never thinking his name would be on there one day, too.” She added: “Tam was everything to me and he loved his job in the army. “He must have been so terrified going out on operations but he was killed during a routine patrol when he would have presumed it was safe. “I am so proud of all the work he and all the brother heroes did in Afghanistan. “Losing a child is not something that I will ever get over but this is a fitting tribute.” Linda wore her son’s medals to the ceremony and laid red roses at the wall. She also left cards from Tam’s sisters, Lindsay-Ann, 35, and Kelly, 28, and his 25-year-old widow, Kylie Mason. Prince Harry wearing full military dress laid a wreath during the service, which included hymns, readings and prayers and ended with a lone piper’s lament. Prime Minister David Cameron also attended. Corporal Mason, who served with The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion, the Royal Regiment of Scotland, was on his second tour of Afghanistan when he stepped on a roadside bomb in Kandahar in 2009. He was flown to Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham, where he lost his fight for life. Linda later helped establish a new Garden for Heroes in Dunfermline. The Bastion memorial had a cross made of shell casings which sat on top of the original wall in Afghanistan. It was built by Royal Engineers sappers during their spare time.

Angus & The Mearns

£300 million Frank’s Law costs “very significant”

November 21 2015

Fife Council’s Lib Dem group leader has said he can’t see how Frank’s Law can be fully delivered in the current financial climate. Tay Bridgehead councillor Tim Brett said the predicted £300 million a year price tag is “very significant” and additional funding would have to be provided. He said it was with a heavy heart he admits it will be extremely difficult to implement Frank’s Law in Scotland unless full additional funding is provided. Health Secretary Shona Robison cited the £300m figure from work carried out by her officials and Stirling University’s Professor David Bell. Mr Brett said: “It can be very difficult to know when a person may die and therefore the current arrangements to say that people can receive free home care in their last six months of life is difficult if not impossible to implement.” He continued: “The other bigger issue for all of us is that while we would like to see Frank’s Law introduced, the fact remains that nearly all local authorities across Scotland are struggling to meet the needs of their populations at the present time.” Amanda’s husband Frank, former Dundee United and Manchester United star, was diagnosed with dementia at 59 and died shortly after his 65th birthday. The Kopel family paid thousands of pounds in care costs until just weeks before his death. The Courier has backed Amanda’s campaign, as have a number of footballing stars. Health Secretary Shona Robison said a decision on Frank’s Law could be made by the time parliament breaks up in March. Frank’s Law candidate Pat Kelly previously said the estimated £300m price tag should not be the project’s death knell. He said one person’s dignity “has no price tag” and that 1p on income tax could raise £330m. In response to Mr Brett’s comments, Mr Kelly added: “The Barnett consequentials means that £800 million will come to Scotland by Westminster, so perhaps some of that money can be ring-fenced for Frank’s Law. “That with the 1p in income tax shows there’s money there.”

Theatre

A Play, A Peh and A Pint at Dundee Rep

April 5 2011

It's surprising the phenomenon of a play, a pie and a pint didn't originate in Dundee given the city's historic association with the crusty delicacy. Nevertheless, Glasgow's Oran Mor cultural centre got there first in 2004, to be precise and the premise is simple: you get a short play, a pie and a drink all for the price of a theatre ticket. In a two-week collaboration with Oran Mor, Dundee Rep is presenting A Play, A Peh and A Pint, the first of which ran its course last week. What Love Is is a newly-commissioned work by Scottish playwright Linda McLean, focusing on the relationship between two ageing parents and their daughter. It is directed by Dundee Rep's graduate trainee Emma Faulkner. Inspired by an article in the news about euthanasia, McLean's short play sees Gene and Jean (Peter Kelly and Rep Ensemble member Irene Macdougall) attempting to make sense of the world inside their own four walls. After a playful beginning, when the pair appear to be enjoying themselves and staying young, a more serious and sinister plot involving ill-health begins to develop. Both Kelly and Macdougall portray the confused, paranoid and slightly maniacal characters with convincing ease, but the surprise arrival of their daughter (Lesley Hart) breaks their reminiscence and reverie. It is unclear how old, or mature, their daughter is, as she marches into the house in a bit of a tantrum wearing high wedge shoes. Hart presents the character as stressed and huffy, but her back story isn't certain is she a young woman struggling to cope with this harrowing situation, or is she older, her life on hold as her parents' mental health deteriorates? A powerful and thought-provoking piece, What Love Is transfers to Oran Mor in Glasgow's Byres Road this week. The production swaps places with St Catherine's Day, a delicate and humorous work written and narrated by Dundee's Michael Marra, which runs from tonight through until Saturday.Visit www.dundeereptheatre.co.uk for more information.

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

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