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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

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.

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

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.

Readers' letters

November 26: Fleming great tale from history

November 26 2012

Today’s letters to The Courier. Sir, – Re: George Gavine’s letter on Thursday about Ian Fleming’s grandfather, Robert, the famous merchant banker, who came from Lochee: I wish to point out that the story does not stop or start there, but in the Highlands beyond Blairgowrie. Ian Fleming’s great-great grandfather, also called Robert, was the farmer of Middleton of Dalrulzion, at the foot of Glenshee, in the early 1800s. His son, John, started a lint mill on the River Isla above Coupar Angus in 1840, but his business failed. John moved to Lochee where he worked as a department overseer at Tay Works for £1 a week. Robert, the future merchant banker, was born there in 1845. He first made his money out of jute used for sandbags in the American Civil War. His younger brother became Lord Provost of Aberdeen and was knighted. Five siblings died of the croup. Robert’s neighbours from the Craigton of Dalrulzion also moved to Dundee and became fellow directors with Robert Fleming in the Matador Company, another Dundee-led venture, the fourth-largest cattle ranch in the United States. It is interesting how Dundee businessmen directed financial concerns in USA, and world-wide, at that time; behind their humble beginnings in the jute mills sometimes lay a farming background as “Highland cousins”, speaking Gaelic in their childhood. Returning to Ian Fleming, the author, he has certainly caught the world’s imagination but I have to admit I prefer John Buchan! Hamish Robertson.Princeland Road, Coupar Angus. Dredging a way to avoid more misery Sir, – As a lifelong proponent of good land management and a keen observer of the River Tay, which is one of the boundaries of my farm, I feel now is the time to examine in some detail the regulatory powers enacted upon us all by Sepa and, if necessary, curtail them. Whilst I accept some regulation is necessary and in some cases even desirable, surely environmental concerns should be broadened to include the effects on those householders who are ever more frequently subjected to the flooding, and sometimes even destruction, of their homes. If the regulatory authority was compelled to allow the dredging of river beds, as happened historically on my stretch of the Tay before the practice was prohibited, this would at a stroke achieve more water-carrying capacity and be instantly achievable. The only requirement would be a larger excavator. Dredging of built-up banks of mobile gravel deposits, in my view, is a more immediate, practical and cost-effective way of alleviating much human misery. It achieves savings in time and expense with emergency services and avoids delays inherent in studying, designing and constructing above-ground riverbank flood prevention measures. Alistair Henderson.Wester Carse Farm, Aberfeldy. Planners must be answerableSir, – I have just read the government reporter’s findings regarding Green Cat energy and West Coast’s appeal against Fife Council’s refusal of the bid to build a windfarm on Clatto Hill. His very professional and unbiased report listed the many reasons why this area of Fife is not suitable for developments of this scale. The question has to be asked: how could the head men in the planning department get it so wrong by advising that these developments be approved? If they managed to get these two applications so badly wrong, what about the Earls Seat, Little Raith and Kinglassie Westfield windfarm approvals we are stuck with? Norman Nicholson.Devon Farm Cottage,Cults Road, by Kennoway. Independence a taxing issue Sir, – I see Alex Salmond has called for the vote on independence to be held in 2014, exactly 700 years since the Battle of Bannockburn. It will be interesting to see if he calls for the vote to be held on June 24 the day of the battle and play on the “Bannockburn factor” in the hope of influencing the more impressionable voters. This is also the reason he is considering giving the vote to 16-year-olds who are either still in school or have just left and have neither the maturity nor the experience of life in the real world to make this momentous decision, which will affect Scotland forever. It’s time some folk woke up and realised that, in our small country with just 5.2 million people, there are just not enough taxpayers to support the needs of a modern country. Thomas Pairman.Bells Wynd,Kingsbarns. Memories of colder times Sir, – Re: your article “Stay warm advice not based on reality”, I am old enough to remember heating during the Second World War. My grammar school had to be kept at 60F. We kept our living-room at 60F, but there was no heat in the rest of the house quite normal in those days, war or no war. We came to no harm! Mary Smith.Silver End Cottage,Maryburgh, Blairadam. Get involved: to have your say on these or any other topics, email your letter to letters@thecourier.co.uk or send to Letters Editor, The Courier, 80 Kingsway East, Dundee DD4 8SL. Letters should be accompanied by an address and a daytime telephone number.

Chef's Table

Turning a day out into a cherished memory

July 2 2016

Graeme Pallister, chef patron of 63 Tay Street in Perth, knows how to turn a simple picnic into a special occasion What images come to mind when you think of a picnic?  A grand, elegant affair with champagne and crudités, or a well-worn  thermos flask full of tinned soup with a cling-film-wrapped squashed cheese sandwich? For me, it’s lots of friends and family sitting on a rug (parents get the seats!) on a grassy hill somewhere. It might even be sunny for a change. The kids will be arguing over who ate the last chicken vol-au-vent and every so often a misplaced kick of a football causes havoc when it destroys the neatly arranged ‘banquet’! A picnic is a fantastic way to extend and enhance a day out.  If you’re in the city you can find a park and really soak up it’s urban feel. Or if you’re out walking or bagging a munro you can take advantage of a beautiful view to eat and rest – it can be a great incentive knowing you have real treat ahead to help get you through that extra mile! But quite often a picnic can be a last minute decision where you nip into the supermarket to stock up on prepared salads and finger food. However, if you plan in advance, it can be something really special, with your friends and family each bringing something different to be shared. It doesn’t have to be just sandwiches, there are lots of exciting choices to be made: roast chicken drumsticks, grilled vegetables, potato and egg salads, melon (spiced with gin perhaps), crispy tortillas with various fresh dips, fruit kebabs or simply some good cheese or a roast ham. For me, one thing that is an absolute must at a picnic – Victoria sponge with cream and strawberries or raspberries. Without it I become a proper grumpy chef! So if you are thinking of a day away soon, spend a little time planning your basket. It can turn a day out into a cherished memory. Chef’s Tip I love roast chicken on a picnic. The night before, roast a chicken with half a bulb of garlic and half a lemon placed in the cavity. Once cooled, pick the meat from the bone then squeeze the garlic and lemon over the chicken pieces and toss in a little olive oil and seasoning. This can then be used in wraps, or as part of a salad. Try it with diced avocado, some Scottish soft cheese and spinach leaves.  Yum!  

Local

Reeling back the years a Path through history

February 2 2015

Before televisions became a fixture in our homes, the only way to see the news was in the cinema. Newsreels were commonplace before movies and Path News was the best known name in the business. It operated from 1910 right through until 1970 when televisions had become so popular and news broadcasts so advanced that there was no longer any need, or desire, for news bulletins in the cinema. The films themselves remain an iconic part of British culture, despite production ceasing nearly 50 years ago. From the clipped voices narrating each story to the scratchy quality of the film stock itself, Now much of its vast archive, operated by British Path, has been posted online. The clips are an invaluable treasure trove of British and world history, covering two world wars and dozens of other world-shaping events. But they also are a priceless way to look back at life in the UK over the course of the 20th century and how much it has changed since. Over the next three days we will be looking at some of the best clips filmed in Tayside and Fife. From an invalided Winston Churchill arriving in Dundee to East Fife winning their second league cup during the Methil club’s post-war golden period, the films provide an invaluable snapshot of days gone by. Today we have chosen newsreels that capture community life in Tayside and Fife over the decades. From the massive crowds that greeted the Queen Mother in Dundee to pageants celebrating Robert the Bruce at Arbroath Abbey, the online clips show how much life has changed and, in some cases, how it has not. Tomorrow we will look at those videos which capture our changing world – from the construction of the Tay Road Bridge to celebrations of long-gone industries which once employed thousands. The Queen Mother visits Dundee: https://youtube.com/watch?v=elJ5B9Ps0cc%3Frel%3D0%26showinfo%3D0 The Queen Mother always had a special relationship with Scotland thanks to spending her childhood at Glamis Castle. In turn, Scots loved the Queen Mum and thousands of Dundonians turned out to welcome her to Dundee in 1954, when she was given the freedom of the city from Lord Provost William Hughes. She also received the city freedom on behalf of the Black Watch at the same time. She was colonel-in-chief of the regiment at the time. The freedom of the city allowed member of the Black Watch to enter Dundee with bayonets fixed and drums beating. General Smuts at St Andrews: https://youtube.com/watch?v=UcCGcQf3tbY%3Frel%3D0%26showinfo%3D0 The former Prime Minister of South Africa was installed as rector of St Andrews University in 1934. One of the most prominent politicians in the Commonwealth, he was one of the key figures in the establishment of the RAF. He was also a member of the British War Cabinets during the first and second world wars. Remarkably, he is the only person to sign the peace treaties that ended both conflicts. Arbroath Pageant: https://youtube.com/watch?v=ajVOqnfj2tY%3Frel%3D0%26showinfo%3D0 This three-minute silent video shows the first ever Arbroath pageant, filmed in 1947. It shows hundreds of people dressed up in costume, from monks and soldiers to King Robert the Bruce himself, to celebrate and re-enact the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath with the town’s Abbey. Although Arbroath Abbey had not changed in the past 70 years, the clip provides a glimpse of post-war fashions and cars of the day. Sadly, the last pageant took place in 2005.

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

Chef's Table

Celebrate St Andrew’s Day with Scotch pancakes

November 26 2016

I’m often asked about the difference between a Scotch pancake and a regular pancake, says Martin Hollis, executive chef at the Old Course Hotel, St Andrews. .Well, they’re thicker and smaller than the standard pancake and are often served with jam rather than the classic lemon and sugar. Outside Scotland, they’re also known as drop scones. Robert Burns described Scotland as the “Land o’ cakes” and with scones originating in Scotland, a Scotch pancake is a form of our much loved scone. These simple-to-make pancakes are a great, warming treat around this time of year and perfect for adding to the table on St Andrew’s Day on Wednesday. To start, you’ll need 1lbs of plain flour, 1oz of baking powder, 7oz caster sugar, 4 floz oil, 3 eggs and approximately half a pint of milk. Pre-heat a griddle plate or a frying pan. Sieve the dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix the eggs and oil together separately and then slowly add them into the dry ingredients before adding in the milk to form a batter. Allow to rest for a minute before putting the mixture in a piping bag. Pipe one pancake to test the heat of the griddle plate. Then pipe into uniform sizes. If you start in a clockwise direction then it’s easier to turn them and they will cook in a timely fashion. Cook on one side until it starts to bubble then turn over and lightly colour. Finally, place on a rack to cool. Looking to add something extra? My favourite topping has to be winter fruit compote. Why not look at what type of fruit is available at your local market. Winter fruit options range from oranges, pears, pomegranates and grapefruit, so there’re plenty of options still available to make a winter compote. Chef’s tip The possibilities are endless with these pancakes. You don’t have to have them plain (although they’re delicious). Why not try adding chocolate chips, maple syrup, honey or jam and cream! The best thing about these simple snacks is that you can freeze them. Once you’re ready to use, just pop them in the toaster to bring them back to life.  

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