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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

Colourful displays at the Perth and Kinross Federation of the SWI spring show

March 22 2017

The Perth and Kinross Federation of the SWI held its annual spring show at the Bankfoot Church Centre. The event had displays and competitions on various themes including handcrafts, bulbs and floral art. Federation chairman, Ursula Stewart, said: “We are celebrating the centenary of the SWI and this show in particular has a record number of entries and we have the grand tea party being held in July at Perth Racecourse still to look forward to." Trophy winners - Margaret Anderson Trophy,  Best entry in Housewives Section, 1  Alison Harrison, Glenfarg. Chariman’s choice from the whole Show, Caithness Glass Bowl donated by Kathleen Scott – 1 Christine Wood  (Drimmieburn and Meikleour) Napkin from Community. Imlay Quacih for most points in the Floral Art Section – 1 Linda Retson, Rattray. Margaret Mackay Trophy, Education Competition – 1 Jay Hutchison, Carnbo. Heather Hallum Trophy, runner-up in Margaret Mackay Education Competition - Susan McGhie, Institute  Kinglands. Charlotte MacLean Trophy, best embroidered article overall – 1 Christine McConnell, Institute  Strathallan. Margaret McLean Salver, best knitted article in handcraft section – 1 Edith Lennon, Institute   Kinglands. Margaret Nisbet Trophy, most points in bulb section Nos. 1-7 – 1 Sandra Batty      , Institute   Dull and District. Greta Scott Shield - winning institute in the community competition – 1 Blackford,  points 64 Isobel Robertson Salver, most points overall – 1 Sandra Batty, Institute ,  Dull and District. Margaret Folan Novice Quaich, novice classes – 1 Hayley Cassells, Institute Cleish. The Retson Junior Trophy, ages 10 – 14 class – 1 Ella Balanowski, Institute  Scone. Results - Handcrafts, Clock Cushion (any craft)  - 1 Margot Moran, Glenfarg; 2 Edith Lennon, Kinglands; 3 P. Stewart, Dunning. Alice Band – 1 Elspeth Campbell, Kinloch; 2 Margot Moran, Glenfarg; 3 Sandra Batty, Dull and District. Needle Felted Doormouse - 1 Sandra Batty, Dull and District; 2 Edith Lennon, Kinglands; 3 Sarah Urie, Burrelton and Woodside. Crocheted Coasters – 1 Edith Christie, Drimmieburn and Meikleour; 2 Margo Murray, Rattray and District; 3 Dorothy Morris, Cleish. Article in Stumpwork – 1 Maureen Jones, Kinglands; 2 Marie Abott, Butterstone; 3 Sheila Brugees, Butterstone. Knitted Cakes – 1 Edith Lennon, Kinglands; 2 Linda Thomson, Kinglands; 3 Dorothy Morris, Cleish. Sewn Waistcoat 1 Hazel Ward, Birnam and Dunkeld; 2 Julia Robertson, Burrelton and Woodside; 3 Alice Nairn, Dunning. Painting- Alice’s Garden, any medium – 1 Jay Hutchison, Carnbo; 2 Alison Harrison, Glenfarg; Muriel Bell, Glenfarg Knitted tweedled muff- Centenary Competition- to be donated – 1 C. Stewart, Kinglands; 2 Linda Retson, Rattray; 3 Edith Lennon, Kinglands. Housewives, Chocolate Brownies – 1 Irene McWilliam, Midatholl and Southtayside; 2 Christine Strathie, Collace and Kinrossie; 3 Geraldine Miller, Muthill. Chelsea Buns – 1 Lynda Stuart, Glenfarg; 2 Beth Pringle, Cleish; 3 Susan McGhie, Kinglands. Sausage Rolls  - 1 Christine Taylor, Strathallan; 2 Christine Strathie, Collace and Kinrossie; 3 Sandra Batty, Dull and District. Cake Incorporating a vegetable – 1 Susan McGhie, Kinglands; 2 Lesley Buchan; 3 Anne Mailler, Scone. Potato Scones  - 1 Christine Taylor, Strathallan; 2 Sandra Batty, Dull and District; 3 Janet Shanks, Strathallan. Small jar of jam, marmalade and chutney – 1 Mary McGraw, Auchterarder; 2 Elspeth Campbell, Kinloch; 3 Susan McGhie, Kinglands. Viennese Fingers – 1 Sandra Batty, Dull and District; 2 Christine Taylor, Strathallan; 3 Frances Drysdale, Carnbo. Spray of Flowers in sugar craft – 1 Alison Harrison, Glenfarg; 2 Mary Webster, Clunie; 3 Ursula Stewart, Glenfarg. Children’s Section, Up to age 5 – 1 Iris Balanowski, Scone      ; 2 Hannah Cullen, Scone; 3 Alesha Murison, Glenfarg. Age 6-9 – 1 Lucy Moran, Glenfarg; 2 Adam Balanowski, Scone; 3 Charlie Mailer, Scone. Age 10-14 – 1 Ella Balanowski, Scone; 2 Rebecca Hogg, Butterstone; 3 Michela Hogg, Butterstone. Education Competition, Margaret MacKay Trophy  - 1 Jay Hutchison, Carnbo; 2 Susan McGhie, Kinglands. One Bowl of 3 Hyacinths – 1 Janet Chalmers, Kinglands; Lesley Buchan, Strathallan; 3 Margot Moran, Glenfarg. Single Hyacinth-  1 Susan McGhie, Kinglands; 2 Sandra Batty, Dull and District; 3 Lelsey Buchan, Strathallan. One Bowl daffodils-  1 Margaret Cummings, Kinglands; 2 Janet Chalmers, Kinglands; 3 Sandra Batty, Dull and District. One Bowl Tulips – 1 Sandra Batty, Dull and District; 2 Lesley Buchan, Strathallan; 3 H W Reid, Stanley. One Bowl Crocus-  1 Kim Stretch, Amulree; 2 Sandra Batty, Dull and District; 3 Margot Moran, Glenfarg. One Amaryllis Bulb – 1 Margaret Cummings, Kinglands; 2 Dorothy Morris, Cleish; 3 Janet Chalmers, Kinglands. Flowering Pot Plant – 1 C, Stewart, Kinglands; 2 Christine Taylor, Strathallan; 3 Lilias Ferguson, Kinglands. Floral Art, Exhibit incorporating pocket watch-  1 Linda Retson, Rattray and District; 2 Margaret Folan, Bridge of Earn; 3 Beth Pringle, Cleish. Exhibit “Alice in Wonderland” – 1 Beth Pringle, Cleish; 2 Margaret Folan, Bridge of Earn; 3 Mary McGraw, Auchterarder. Arrangement in a teacup and saucer – 1 C. Stewart, Kinglands; 2 Linda Retson, Rattray; 3 Lesley Buchan, Strathallan. Arrangement on a mirror – 1 Beth Pringle, Cleish; 2 Linda Retson, Rattray; 3 Mary McGraw, Auchterarder. Novice, Decorated Gingerbread People – 1 Hayley Cassells, Cleish; 2 Margaret McArthur,Auchterarder. Crocheted Bag – 1 Muriel Anderson, Longforgan; 2 Margaret McArthur, Aucterarder; 3 Hayley Cassells, Cleish. Photograph with caption-  1 Hayley Cassells, Cleish; 2 Kim Stretch, Amulree; 3 Margaret McArthur, Auchterarder. Community Section – 1 Blackford, Points 64; 2 Madderty, Points 63.5; 3 Glenfarg, Points 62.5.

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

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.

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.

Dundee

Sandra Malcolm murder: Grandmother’s death caused by multiple stab wounds

April 29 2015

An autopsy has revealed a Tayside woman murdered in her Cape Town home died from multiple stab wounds. Information about the circumstances of the death of Sandra Malcolm continue to emerge after South African media reported last week her body had been mutilated by her attackers. The 74-year-old, originally from Monifieth, was found dead in her home by her grandson in what is a suspected robbery-gone-wrong, although Western Cape police yesterday confirmed nothing was taken. No arrests have been made in connection with the murder and the investigation is continuing. A memorial service for Sandra was held on Saturday but family were unable to confirm whether her body was to be buried in the country she called home for 35 years or return to Monifieth. The Courier understands she had been planning to return to Dundee to visit next month. Nephew Colin Chalmers said the family had been left “distraught” by the murder. He said his parents, Sandra’s sister and brother-in-law, were devastated. He said: “I’m absolutely gobsmacked. “I’ve never had to deal with anything like this before it’s completely shocking. “All I know is that my auntie has been murdered. I don’t want to court any of the rumours around it because we know very little at this stage.” More than a week later the family still know very little about the circumstances or the investigation of the killing. Colin said: “It’s still incredibly raw for a lot of us. “Her sister and brother-in-law are still out in South Africa after the funeral. “It’s just a horrible thing, but we really don’t know anything else. “Her funeral was on Saturday so that’s the end of it really.” Sandra’s grandson is believed to have climbed through a bathroom window to investigate after she failed to answer her door. Forensic experts and detectives combed the scene for hours in the wake of the incident, with neighbours and relatives looking on.

Angus & The Mearns

Barry Mill will inspire Sandra’s new novel

July 1 2016

A programme of writing events is running at the National Trust for Scotland’s Barry Mill near Carnoustie this summer, thanks to a generous grant from Creative Scotland. The £13,880 funding means that local author Sandra Ireland will not only work at the historic mill over the next year on her second novel, but also that she will lead a series of literary-themed workshops for visitors. The next event is a family writing workshop on July 16. Taking inspiration from the mill and its work, Sandra Ireland will guide families through the process of writing a short story or poem that captures the Barry Mill experience. Sandra said: “I’m always amazed at how the mill can trigger strong reactions and emotional responses, resulting in some really powerful work. “Past participants have also had a chance to showcase their poetry and stories at a special mill event, and we hope to repeat that this year.” Sandra is currently writing her second novel which will feature a fictionalised version of Barry Mill. Her debut, Beneath the Skin, is published by Polygon in September. A mill has been onsite at this spot in Angus since at least 1539, but the current building was built in 1814, after a fire.

Angus & The Mearns

Emotional concert tribute to Ross Ramsay

April 21 2015

A memorial concert at the Webster Theatre in Arbroath paid an emotional musical tribute to the late Ross Ramsay. The 30-year-old was found dead in Glasgow in 2013 after going missing from his home in the Maryhill area of the city, where he had secured a job with the National Theatre of Scotland. Ross was regarded as a friendly, modest and talented man but one who was sadly affected by mental health issues, which eventually led to his death. All of the performers offered their services free and the concert involved many of his friends and family who were keen to lend their support to the event which was organised by his mother Sandra. The concert was a family affair with performances from dad Jim, uncle Ian and brother Ryan, who is the drummer in Made of Mannequins. Ross’s friend Michael Brandie performed his magic, with other acts including singers Rebecca Connelly, Alan and Val Mowatt and Cheryl Brown. https://www.youtube.com/embed/EBeMh8ABATE?rel=0 In the show’s finale, all the artists joined together on stageincluding Ross’s mum Sandrato perform a rendition of the Proclaimers song 500 Miles. The proceeds will be split between the Scottish Association for Mental Health’s (SAMH) Community Support Network and Artmoves, which provides theatrical opportunities for people with learning disabilities. Adrian McLaughlin, chairman of the Angus Suicide Prevention Collaborative, said he was proud to support the event to raise awareness of the impact of suicide. He said: “It is apt that this evening is about music and creativity for such was Ross’s life. “The proceeds from this evening will go to two charities close to Sandra’s heart. Sandra launched the Scottish Association for Mental Health’s Community Support Network which will ensure people have a place to turn to with a listening ear when feeling suicidal or caring for someone who has suicidal thoughts. SAMH can help people to cope with the aftermath of such a tragic event such as suicide. “Sandra’s second charity is Artmoves, which provides opportunities for people who have learning and/or physical disabilities to showcase their achievements in staging drama productions and other cultural arts.” He added: “We want, and need, to do much more to prevent the further loss of people like Ross.” Sandra, Jim and Ryan paid a huge thank you to everyone who contributed to the fundraising event and gave their support, generosity and time. They gave a special thanks to producer James Hutcheson, musical director Richard Allan, Paul Smith of Apex Acoustics, Garry Mitchell, Dave Cargill and Angus Minstrels for their help in making it a night to remember.

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

Business news

Businesses see new life for jute in coffins and bags

April 4 2011

Dundee's fading links with the jute trade have been strengthened by the growth in demand for "environmentally-friendly" coffins and designer handbags. The two products are unlikely saviours of the jute industry in Dundee, which has resulted in the last two companies involved in the trade joining forces. Helping keep the city's links with India alive are Simon Pritchard of the Natural Bag Co Ltd and Sandra Thomson of McGregor Balfour (Textiles) Ltd. They have merged their companies and now plan to launch a range of shopping and designer bags this summer. Both have a wealth of experience in the industry and work closely with their Kolkata suppliers, making frequent visits to the Indian city, thereby keeping alive the links which began in 1833. Simon was company secretary with his great-grandfather's firm, J. Mackenzie Stewart, which was founded in 1911. "Our products were mainly jute yarns for carpets and it was a declining market," he said. "I set up my company a few years ago and and then left J. McKenzie Stewart to concentrate on it full time. "This is the big growth area for jute ... and Sandra and I already knew each other." He continued, "We decided to join up together instead of being in competition it seemed the natural thing to do." Sandra said, "We are very excited. Simon will concentrate on the promotional bags and I want to do the designer bags and coffins. "That's growing very quickly with the green movement people are going green for their funerals as the carbon emissions are very low." Sandra has strong links with Kolkata she was born and spent the first 14 years of her life there. "My father, James Davidson, worked in the jute industry there," she said. "When I came back from India I went to Grove Academy and then was working for Perth Council's education department, but I went to work for my father's company, McGregor Balfour Sales, importing jute yarn." She said she started her own business when jute went into decline, adding, "but at the same time India went on strike so that was a disaster. "I finally started doing designer bags and it's been very good now we've joined forces I've got someone else to give an opinion and to bounce ideas off. "We're very busy with a lot of new ideas which we will launch in June." They are already working on the jute shopping bags and handbags, using the talents of local designers.

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