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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

Fraudster used relative’s card

March 7 2013

A Perth woman who illegally used a relative’s bank card was yesterday placed on a community payback order at Perth Sheriff Court. Pamela Scrimgeour (26), of Tweedsmuir Road, admitted that between January 31 and March 13 last year at an address in Stanley Crescent, Perth, she presented a Lloyds TSB bank card in the name of another woman to an O2 UK employee and induced the employee to supply mobile phone credit in exchange and obtained £160 by fraud. She also admitted that between March 9 and March 13 last year, at Cosby’s Takeaway, Crieff Road, Perth, she committed the same offence to obtain alcohol and tobacco and obtained £90.19 by fraud. The court was told that the owner of the card was a relative of Scrimgeour’s. “The relative suffers from dementia,” depute fiscal Robbie Brown said. Sentencing Scrimgeour, Sheriff Michael Fletcher told her: “You have a bad record and this is a serious offence.” The community payback order is for 18 months.


Dundee Weavers meet the man behind jute stowers video

January 19 2012

One of Dundee's oldest organisations has united with one of the city's few remaining jute stowers thanks to The Courier. A recent article (link) revealing a newly-discovered video (shown below) of local jute stowers immediately caught the attention of Ron Scrimgeour, deacon of the Dundee Weavers. He was keen to meet Chic Mitchell (69), the Lochee man who stepped forward with the footage and who is himself a former stower. He set about tracking him down on Wednesday night Mr Mitchell took his seat as an invited guest at a weavers supper in the Verdant Works. The organisation, which celebrates its 500th anniversary this year and is part of the Nine Trades of Dundee, wanted to recognise the back-breaking work carried out by Mr Mitchell and his colleagues in an industry forever linked with the city. Mr Scrimgeour grew up in Dundee not far from the Victoria Spinning Company's warehouse off Brook Street. He compared the men who worked there to superheroes. ''They were able to move these quarter-ton bales with seeming ease,'' he said. Mr Scrimgeour praised the event, saying: ''That was our first meeting in our 500th year and I was delighted with the attendance and the representation from the other trades. ''I was particularly delighted to welcome Chic Harper, who very modestly attributed his involvement to his friends. And we look forward to building our relationship with Chic and other jute workers.'' Mr Mitchell claims he and his former colleagues were the busiest stowers in the city. He said: ''Since The Courier article came out I have been contacted by people from all over the world. I just can't believe how much interest this has generated it is way beyond what I thought. ''I decided to do something with the footage for my best pal, Matt McVicar, who worked with me at the warehouse. He died around 18 months ago, but I know he would get a kick out of the footage and all the fuss it has caused. ''The response I have had from families of stowers has just been incredible and totally unexpected.''

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

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

Funding freeze for voluntary sector attacked

April 14 2010

Following the announcement of a funding freeze for the voluntary sector, the head of Angus Mental Health Association has attacked the council and its social work director, Dr Robert Peat. Ron Scrimgeour, a former Angus councillor and now chairman of Angus Mental Health Association and treasurer of Age Concern Angus stated, "It is an outrage and an insult to the voluntary sector to have its funding frozen by Angus Council. He claimed the council has chosen "soft targets which would impact on "the elderly, the infirm and the vulnerable in our local communities. "The services delivered by the third sector are a vital lifeline to many," he said.Mr Scrimgeour then turned his attack on to the director of social work, "It is an affront to the staff and volunteers in the third sector to be lectured by a director of social work who earns over £100,000 per year, has guaranteed lifetime employment and an iron-clad |pension pot."Many volunteers are actually subsidising the services they provide for Angus Council out of their own pocket," he said.While defending the funding freeze |Dr Peat said last week, "They have been in a privileged position . . . they wanted to be treated as equal partners, they have to take the rough with the smooth." These remarks incensed Mr Scrimgeour who said, "Dr Peat owes an apology to each and every member of the third sector and their clients for those insensitive and tactless remarks."The head of the AMHA claimed to have a high regard for the director of social work, but stated, "On this occasion he has strayed from his role as head of the strategic and operational side of social work and entered the political arena."Mr Scrimgeour then went on to claim that the voluntary sector is used by local authorities to deliver essential and statutory services because councils "do not have the expertise to do it themselves." He concluded by saying, "The impact of the payments freeze will be wide ranging and immediate."It will affect the training volunteers receive, the meagre expenses they are paid and the professional backup and support they receive from paid staff."It will impact on the quality and the amount of service the volunteers are able to give the most fragile and |vulnerable in our society."The biggest impact will be felt in the rural communities with transport difficulties and the added burdens of isolation and remoteness."Councillor Alison Andrews, the council's convener of social work and health, said, "The partnerships Angus Council has with voluntary groups and organisations are invaluable in helping the council deliver a range of essential social work and health services. "However, as is the case with every other local authority, we are in a period of financial stringency and have not been able to increase the budget for these service level agreements. "As a former councillor Mr Scrimgeour is aware that these decisions are taken by the elected members of a local authority, not individual officers."The decision taken on Thursday does not detract from the value which we place on the people who help us to provide these services. We will closely monitor with the voluntary organisations any impact this decision may have on the services."

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.

Other sports

Angus rower Sam Scrimgeour’s World Cup gold

June 21 2016

Angus rower Sam Scrimgeour has put Olympic heartbreak behind him by adding to his impressive medal collection with a World Cup gold. The 28-year-old from Kirriemuir was a victim of his favoured event  – the lightweight men’s pair – not being included in the programme for Rio. The four has been, but Scrimgeour didn’t make the cut for that event. He will, however, be going to Rio as a stand-by in case of injury. He proved at the weekend that had the pair been included for the Olympics he would have been in with an excellent chance of bringing a medal home, by winning a World Cup race in Poland. “We’ve (Scrimgeour and Joel Cassells) won two World Cup series events this season,” he explained. “And we’ve won the World Championship. “Unfortunately the boat classification we’ve been competing in isn’t in the Olympics. “I’ll be going as a spare to support the four. There was a possibility of making that boat but unfortunately I didn’t get selected. “It was obviously disappointing. You would never wish an injury on a team-mate but I will be ready to step in if required.” And the Olympic dream isn’t yet dead. “You never know, they might get rid of the four and go with the pair at Tokyo for the next Games. I’m only 28 so hopefully I’ll have another four years in me.”

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

Farming news

Aberdeen-Angus DNA test hailed by Victor Wallace

February 13 2015

The adoption of a new DNA test to authenticate the pedigree of all Aberdeen-Angus calves will put the breed in the vanguard of genomic technology, retiring Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society president, Victor Wallace, told a packed annual at Stirling. The society has decided to collect blood samples using special ear tags which incorporate a small uniquely identified receptacle. As the tag is inserted soon after birth the small amount of displaced tissue and blood is captured ready for future DNA testing. Responding to criticism of the society’s decision to use only one company, Caisley, for the collection of samples, Mr Wallace insisted Caisley was the only ear tag company which had the technology to meet the society’s required specification. “We invited a number of ear tag companies to tender and some didn’t bother to reply while others couldn’t meet the spec,” said Mr Wallace. “It is a simple and inexpensive system which most breeders are finding easy to use.” The aim is to collect blood samples from all bull calves to enable the sire of all calves to be verified in the case of any uncertainty or dispute and to authenticate beef being sold as Aberdeen-Angus.” The move by the society has been welcomed by major supermarkets selling Aberdeen-Angus beef. Mr Wallace added: “This process was extensively and rigorously tested with management and council visits to the manufacturers in Germany and the completion of field trials. After this process it was brought back to council and unanimously approved. “Like all changes, there has been some resistance but I am convinced that putting the society in a position to be leading in genomic testing can only be a good one. “We should be leaders, not followers.” Mr Wallace admitted that a £34,000 re-branding exercise carried out over the past year, which included the dropping of the society’s long-established black, green and yellow colours, left room for “significant improvement”. The issue, particularly improvement to the website, would, he said, be addressed in the coming year. The decision to prop up the pension fund of chief executive, Ron McHattie, by £120,000 in four tranches was defended by new president, David Evans, who explained that it was a “catching up” operation as the funding of the pension had not been addressed for 11 years and annuity rates had halved in that time. Mr Evans, who works as a financial adviser, runs a 60-cow pedigree herd in Cleveland with his wife, Penny, and has been chairman of the society’s breed promotion committee. He is planning a series of open days throughout the country this year to promote the commercial attributes of the Aberdeen-Angus breed. “There is a huge and growing demand for certified Aberdeen-Angus beef with the active involvement of most of the leading supermarkets in the UK and registrations in the Herd Book are at a record level and continuing to increase,” said Mr Evans. “But we can’t stand still and it is important that the breed adopts all the latest technology to take the breed forward in the future.” New senior vice-president is Tom Arnott, Haymount, Kelso, while Alex Sanger, Prettycur, Montrose, was appointed junior vice-president.