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...
Volunteers at Montrose Lifeboat Station welcomed their new vessel to the team with an official naming ceremony. The town’s 13th lifeboat, the Ian Grant Smith, is the first of the RNLI’s new state-of-the-art Shannon class vessels to be stationed in Scotland. The cost of the lifeboat was generously bequeathed to the RNLI by Ruth Grant Smith who died in 2005 and had left money to the RNLI to fund an all-weather lifeboat which was to be named after her husband Ian Grant Smith. Mrs Grant Smith’s niece Margaret Osborne handed over the lifeboat to the RNLI during Saturday’s ceremony and into the care of the Montrose lifeboat crew. Mrs Grant Smith’s family members John Osbourne and Pierre Bonnet then officially named the new boat by pouring whisky from a quaich over the bow to christen her the Ian Grant Smith. Coxswain Scott Murray said: “We were sad to see the old lifeboat go. "She served us well for 26 years, but this new lifeboat is a real leap forward in technology and will allow us to keep doing what we do here for at least the next 25 years.” Developed by the RNLI and powered by water jets rather than propellers, the technology provides the lifeboat with immense capability and supreme manoeuvrability. Capable of 25 knots, the new lifeboat is 50% faster than RNLB Moonbeam, the vessel which has been used by Montrose crews for the past 25 years. Able to cope with all weathers, she is inherently self-righting in the event of a capsize. The Shannon can be launched and recovered from beaches independent of slipways and harbours from a specially designed tractor and carriage, and is flexible enough to lie afloat as is the case at Montrose. Full story and images in Monday’s edition of The Courier.
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
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.
Gordon Smith is hoping his double at Dumbarton on Saturday can help him keep his place in Raith Rovers side. Smith made it six goals for the season as the Kirkcaldy men claimed a 3-3 draw at the home of the form team in the Championship. It was only the second point Rovers have collected in the past seven league games and Smith’s first start since the New Year defeat to Dundee. “It was good to score two after being out of the team for a while,” he said. “I’ve not had a proper run in the team the most I’ve played in a row is three games which is quite frustrating when you’re trying to get a bit of form. This will do me no harm.” Smith was paired up front with recent signing John Baird, who also netted, and they proved to be an effective partnership. “We’ve been on the same team in training a few times and it’s been good linking up with him,” Smith said. “He knows the game well, and he’s done well at this club before, and at other clubs. I thought we did a good job.” Smith was also happy with the result, which was a considerable improvement on last week’s horror show at home to Hamilton. “The first half last week was a disaster for us but it shows that we’ve got character to come here and get a draw against a team doing really well at the moment.” Smith’s afternoon got off to a nightmare start when he passed up a golden opportunity to give Rovers an early lead, missing the ball completely just two yards out after Ross Callachan’s cut-back left him with a simple tap-in. To make matters worse, Dumbarton took the lead in the 24th minute as a long throw into the box caused confusion in the Raith defence, and after Scott Robinson initially saved from Chris Kane, the rebound was lashed into the net by Colin Nish. Smith put his sitter behind him to draw Rovers level on the half hour, showing composure to side-foot Baird’s perfect lay-off past Stephen Grindlay. The strong wind was making conditions difficult for both defences and it caught out Reece Donaldson as the Sons re-took the lead on 37 minutes. The Raith centre-half appeared to misjudge the flight of a ball over the top, allowing Kane to latch on and drill a low finish past Robinson. Rovers came out fired up for the second half and turned a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 lead with two goals in the space of four minutes. The equaliser came in the 57th minute as Smith burst through the Sons’ defence to hit a shot off the post and Baird was on hand to knock home the rebound from six yards. Rovers took the lead for the first time as Smith peeled off his marker to head Grant Anderson’s cross beyond Grindlay’s reach. The visitors’ lead lasted just three minutes, however, as Scott Agnew’s stunning 20 yard volley brought the home side level at 3-3. Frustrated Raith boss Grant Murray said: “It’s great to come here and score three goals, but I’m disappointed with the way we lost the goal. “On the other hand, a point away from home against the in-form team isn’t toobad.”
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.
A furious war of words has broken out in North East Fife, after Liberal Democrat candidate Iain Smith was accused of "blatant double standards." His SNP rival Rod Campbell hit out as the emotive issue of RAF Leuchars' future began to dominate the local campaign trail. Mr Campbell insisted the Lib Dem candidate had been "less than straight" with voters in a new campaign leaflet. "The latest Lib Dem leaflet tries to take credit for changes in taxation by reminding voters that the UK Government is a Tory/Lib Dem coalition," Mr Campbell said. "The changes in question were introduced by George Osborne in his recent Budget and Iain Smith seems happy in this case to be associated with the Conservatives in London. "However, right next to the article on taxation is one about the threat to RAF Leuchars. It posts Mr Smith as champion of the campaign to save the airbase. "Nowhere does this article recognise that it is the Lib Dem/Tory coalition that threatens Scottish defence facilities, not least RAF Leuchars. "When Iain Smith likes the actions of the London coalition, he claims credit for his party. "When it comes to RAF Leuchars, he pretends that he has nothing to do with Nick Clegg and the actions of the London government. However, Mr Smith was happy to laugh off the SNP missive. "This is typically laughable bluster from the SNP," he said. "Yes, thanks to the Liberal Democrats thousands of Fifers will pay no tax from this month and around 180,000 will have a tax cut and, yes, Sir Menzies Campbell MP and Ialong with members of the local community and the RAF Leuchars task forceare campaigning vigorously to save the base. "I am a campaigner for my community and RAF Leuchars is vital to our social fabric, local economy and defence of the UK. "The MoD have repeatedly said that no decisions have been made on the future of RAF bases, but that does not stop us from making the case for its retention. "Sadly, the SNP candidate has yet again undermined the efforts of those fighting hard to save the base."
A lawyer has accused Oscar-winning Australian actor Geoffrey Rush in court of touching an actress inappropriately on an Sydney stage three years ago while he was starring in a production of King Lear.Rush is suing Sydney’s The Daily Telegraph newspaper in federal court for defamation over articles last year which alleged inappropriate behaviour and touching during the Sydney Theatre Company production in 2015.The newspaper’s lawyer, Tom Blackburn, told the court that Rush, now 66, touched an actress who has not been identified on five consecutive nights in the last week of the production in a way that he had not done before and that made her uncomfortable.Mr Blackburn told the court: “She said stop — he didn’t. He went on doing it. Our case is that that in itself is inappropriate.”But Rush’s lawyer, Richard McHugh, told the court the accusations were vague.Mr Blackburn is fighting Rush’s request to have the newspaper’s truth defence struck out.Justice Michael Wigney delayed his decision on that request to a later date.Mr McHugh told the court that parts of the defence lacked specificity and did not detail Rush’s alleged behaviour.The inappropriate behaviour is alleged to have occurred when Rush and the actress were required to touch on stage, Mr McHugh said.“To this day, it’s not clear what they’re saying. Not just unclear, it’s completely opaque,” Mr McHugh said.The newspaper’s lawyers have previously told the court that the articles did not allege Rush engaged in inappropriate behaviour of a sexual nature.Mr Blackburn said for the purposes of the defence it was not important where Rush touched the actress, but the fact she allegedly asked him to stop — and he did not stop — made it inappropriate.Rush, who was not in court on Monday, has denied behaving inappropriately.The actor announced in December he was suing the newspaper over its reporting of the actress’s complaint over what the theatre company described in a statement as “inappropriate behaviour”.The company said the complaint was made after the production closed. The actress had not wanted Rush to be informed of her complaint, the company said.Rush has performed in the Sydney Theatre Company for 35 years. He won the 1997 best actor Academy Award for Shine and has three other Oscar nominations. He is perhaps best known as Captain Barbossa in the Pirates Of The Caribbean films.
An artwork's move to a more prominent location in Glenrothes has provoked roars of disapproval among locals. Residents in the Caskieberran area have been outraged at the decision to move Rexie, a large dinosaur sculpture, from its spot on Waverley Drive to the centre of Caskieberran roundabout. Now it has emerged that a petition has been drawn up urging the council to return Rexie to its rightful position, while local comedy singing duo The Tam Tam Club have also written a protest song about Rexie to show the community's strength of feeling. You Rexie Thing, which is sung to the tune of Hot Chocolate's 80s hit You Sexy Thing, has been posted on the internet and contains the line, "I believe in dinosaurs, where you from, you Rexie thing." It also samples the Was (Not Was) record Walk The Dinosaur, featuring the lyric, "Caskieberran get off the floor, everybody save the dinosaur." Rexie's move was decided by Glenrothes area councillors in December, when £15,000 was granted towards the repair and moves of a number of the town's outdoor sculptures. But while the upkeep of the artwork was welcomed by many, relocating the dinosaur did not go down well with locals. Despite being given an assurance by Fife Council that public consultation on any move would take place, Central Fife MSP Tricia Marwick said she was "appalled" to learn it had already happened. "I had an undertaking that the dinosaur would be removed for repairs and that local people would be consulted and that hasn't happened," she said. "I will be writing to the chief executive demanding an explanation as to why they told me one thing and did another. The town art belongs to the town, not Fife Council officials." In addition to the protest song by locals Tam Short and Tam McKay, it is understood over 150 people have signed a petition calling for Rexie's return. Among the other items of public art being moved are the giant hands, the horse and chariot, the picture frame, the giant mushroom and the elephants in Pitcoudie. Glenrothes has nearly 150 pieces of public art and, in taking the decision, Fife Council stressed some of the works had deteriorated because of age and vandalism. Councillor Fiona Grant, who chairs the Glenrothes area committee, said at the time, "These measures will prolong the life span of these sculptures and help safeguard some of the town's heritage. "A great deal of thought has gone into where the sculptures should be re-sited with regard to complementing existing art in the area or simply moving into positions where more people can enjoy them. "The aim is for the art to be both visually pleasing and to get people talking about them." You can find The Tam Tam Club's song at www.dailyreckless.co.uk
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has called for a review into whether convicted killers should be granted home leave.The Tory made the plea after the “appalling case” of Robbie McIntosh, a murderer who tried to kill a female dog walker with a dumbbell while on leave from prison, who has now been placed under an order of lifelong restriction.McIntosh – who was given a life sentence for stabbing a woman who had been walking her dog to death in 2001 – will now have to spend a minimum of five years in prison.The Parole Board will have to consider if it is safe for him to be freed after that, with the prospect he may never get out of jail.First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said if McIntosh was allowed out of prison again, the order meant he would be be “subject to intensive supervision for the rest of his life”.But Ms Davidson said there should be a review into the system of allowing convicted killers to be granted home leave.She also revealed in the last year alone some 4,000 prisoners had been granted temporary leave, where they were allowed out of prison but their case had not been considered by the Parole Board.She pressed Ms Sturgeon on the issue of home release at First Minister’s Questions after McIntosh appeared in court to be sentenced for his attack on Linda McDonald, who he assaulted as she walked her dog through Templeton Woods, Dundee, in August 2017. The Tory leader asked Ms Sturgeon if she agreed “this appalling case raises further questions about our justice system, and why killers who should be in jail are instead allowed to walk free before a parole board has even ruled that they are safe to do so”.Ms Davidson added: “I don’t think it is unreasonable for the public to expect prisoners to serve their time. When cases like today’s emerge the question from the public is why again?“Why is a killer let lose to try and kill again? Why is the dice loaded against victims and in favour of criminals again? Why do we only act when another family is left to pick up the pieces of their lives?”“Home leave for convicted murderers, where they are free to walk the streets before they even face the parole board should be reviewed, isn’t it that simple?”Ms Sturgeon said the case was “extremely distressing”, adding she could “entirely understand and sympathise with the views of the family”.But she said: “A rigorous risk assessment is undertaken by the Scottish Prison Service before any offender is granted any form of unescorted leave, that involves psychological assessments, social work reports, and reports on the time they have spend in prison.“Home leave is also always granted with very strict conditions applied.”Ms Davidson replied: “I accept this is an extreme case but it does tap into a wider public concern.“Under current rules prisoners can be allowed out of jail before their official release, it’s called temporary release. That means they can be let out into the community without supervision.“Through Freedom of Information we have discovered there were over 4,000 cases in the last year alone where, like McIntosh, prisoners had been granted such leave.”Ms Sturgeon said: “If there are lessons to be learned from this case, and undoubtedly I think there will be, of course those lessons must be applied for the future.”This could see changes to “tighten the way in which risk assessments are carried out in future”, she added.But the First Minister defended the principle of permitting prisoners home leave as part of their rehabilitation.“Of course serious criminals should be locked up, that’s not in doubt,” she said.“But the bigger challenge for our criminal justice system is how we do rehabilitate prisoners so there is less of a risk of them reoffending.“These with the greatest of respect to Ruth Davidson are not simple issues, these are actually really complex issues and we have a duty to recognise the complexity with the public.”