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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

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.

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

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

Exhibition to remember one of the real-life Monuments Men

October 15 2015

Fife artist William Gear, one of the real Monuments Men brought to life in George Clooney’s blockbuster, will be celebrated at a major exhibition. Born in 1915 and raised in Methil, Gear has been dubbed the painter that Britain forgot. Now, the extraordinary story of the great British painter who slipped into obscurity will be remembered at a major retrospective exhibition opening on October 24 in Edinburgh’s City Art Centre. After around 120 works spanning his career and coinciding with the centenary of his birth, the exhibition seeks to restore Gear to his rightful place as one of the most advanced British abstract painters of his generation. Following a successful first run at the Towner Art Gallery, the partnership exhibition between Eastbourne and Edinburgh will run alongside Jagged Generation: William Gear’s Contemporaries and Influences, an exhibition drawn from the City Art Centre’s collection that explores the artist’s links to Scotland. Gear studied at Edinburgh College of Art during the 1930s, where he was taught by influential figures such as SJ Peploe, John Maxwell and William Gillies. He went on to train in Paris under the cubist artist Fernand Leger, before travelling widely during the Second World War, even becoming one of the Monuments Men. The Monuments Men was a group of around 345 men and women, mainly museum directors, curators, art historians, architects and educators, from 13 nations whose job it was to help protect monuments and other cultural treasures from the destruction of the war. The tenacious group tracked, located, and subsequently returned more than five million artistic and cultural items stolen by Hitler and the Nazis. Gear returned to live in the UK and continued to exhibit. He died in 1997. City of Edinburgh culture convener Richard Lewis said of Gear: “He was one of the greats of British abstract art and his career and his works tell a fascinating story. These exhibitions cement his place as a pioneer and he is finally getting the recognition he deserves.”

UK & World

PM’s former Oxford college launches inquiry into sexual harassment claims

April 12 2018

An independent inquiry is being launched into allegations of misconduct and sexual harassment at the Prime Minister’s former Oxford college.St Hugh’s has confirmed that its governing body commissioned the investigation following claims about the behaviour of a now-deceased Fellow.It is understood the Fellow is Professor David Robertson, who died in August last year.The inquiry was set up after author Mel McGrath wrote an article on the website The Pool, accusing Professor Robertson of “doing a Weinstein on me” – a reference to Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein – when she was an undergraduate in the 1980s.The inquiry will be chaired by Alison Levitt QC, who carried out a review into the crimes of the late Jimmy Savile and who has been tipped to become the new director of public prosecutions.Ms McGrath wrote: “David, who was my tutor, held tutorials in his flat on college grounds and had an uncanny knack for scheduling a shower, at whatever time of day, just before I arrived.“He’d open the door – as if innocently – dressed in his bathrobe and, one time, in a tiny towel.“For the next hour I would have to undergo the humiliating experience of reading my essay, on which I had laboured hard and with serious intent, while David sat opposite, half-naked and man spreading, often smelling of alcohol and sipping from a mug of what was never tea or coffee.”Ms McGrath was also critical of St Hugh’s, saying that if the authorities at the time had not heard the rumours about Prof Robertson’s alleged behaviour “they couldn’t have been listening very hard”.The college confirmed that an investigation had been launched and released its terms of reference, but a spokeswoman said it would be inappropriate to comment until the investigation was complete.The terms of reference given to Ms Levitt read: “The College has recently received allegations of historic misconduct and sexual harassment about a now deceased Fellow from two former students.“The College requests you to carry out an independent investigation about these allegations and whether the circumstances of these or of similar allegations were known to the members of governing body or management staff of the College.“If so, to report on the adequacy and appropriateness of the College’s responses and any action taken in respect of such allegations or circumstances, with any recommendations for action.”St Hugh’s was founded in 1886 “to open up the opportunities of an Oxford education to poorer women”. It accepted its first male students in 1987.Former students include the Prime Minister Theresa May, Burmese politician Aung San Suu Kyi, Amal Clooney and suffragette Emily Davison.

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

Dundee

Postcode lottery joy for Dundee households

June 7 2010

Two lucky households in Dundee had their dreich Sunday evening unexpectedly brightened by a knock on the door from the People's Postcode Lottery. Rosemary Skene (41) and Margaret Geekie (74), of Thomson Street, were greeted with two oversized cheques and will share a cool £30,000 after coming up trumps in the competition. Rosemary, who lives at Athollbank Guesthouse with her husband Robert and son Duncan (13), won £20,000 after buying two tickets. "I'm in shock," she said. "We received an email on Thursday telling us we had won but didn't find out how much till tonight. It's all very well getting an email but you don't believe it till it shows up. "I've not seen many Dundee postcodes win anything so I didn't expect this to happen. It's great. "The most I've ever won is £10 on the lottery and that doesn't even happen very often." Rosemary, who has been playing the postcode lottery for a year, has just taken over another guesthouse, the Ashton, on Roseangle meaning she will be too busy to spend her winnings immediately. "We'll put some aside for when we get some time to ourselves," she said. "Duncan has a school trip to Disneyland Paris in January, so some of it will help with that." Rosemary's neighbour Margaret, who is holidaying in Cyprus at the moment, has a cheque for £10,000 waiting for her. Her son Brian (50) and his wife Linda (56) occupy an upstairs apartment at the same address and accepted the prize on her behalf. Linda said, "People were asking us in the pub if we had won because they had seen an article in The Courier on Saturday about it. "We were telling everyone 'no' because we don't play it but it turns out my mother-in-law does." Brian added, "When she found out our postcode had won she was expecting a small sum nothing like £10,000. She's over the moon. "We are delighted for her. I don't think she has ever won anything before."

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.

Perth & Kinross

Perth Show highlights the best of local food and drink

August 5 2016

Celebrity chef Rosemary Shrager proved to be a big draw for the crowds on the first day of Perth Show. Visitors crowded the cookery theatre for a close-up view of Rosemary's kitchen skills, ably assisted by a trio of local chefs - Graeme Pallister (63 Tay Street), Praveen Kumar (Tabla) and Grant McNicol (Fonab Castle). Rosemary enjoyed the experience and is keen to make a return visit. “I would love to come back to Perth Show if I am invited,” she said. “I thinks shows are great – I go to a lot of them all over the country – but Perth has a great atmosphere. “What is so nice is that it has a real local feel, it is so central.” The Perthshire On A Plate food festival which celebrates the best of local produce and culinary talent continues on Saturday and the high-profile chef in action will be Tony Singh. Vintage vehicles, craft stands, a beer and wine festival and an It's A Knockout challenge all helped keep the crowds entertained. The opening day enjoyed fine and sunny weather and the forecast is that it is to continue. Among the international visitors to the event on the South Inch were a 40 plus group of scouts from Perth’s Bavarian twin town of Aschaffenburg. Friday was a day for horse followers with all-day judging of ponies and horses. Highlights for Saturday include the pet competition, a performance by Perth and District Pipe Band and the grand parade of champions and prize winners in the main ring. There will also be showjumping which has been brought back to the show after a gap of 15 years due to public demand.

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