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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...

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.

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

Business news

New foray into China for textiles firm

June 21 2016

A historic Perth-based textiles firm has strengthened its presence in the Chinese market place after opening a showroom in the world’s most populous city. Isle Mill, the furnishings and fabrics arm of Macnaughton Holdings which is headquartered at Tower House at Inveralmond Industrial Estate, worked with Shanghai Home Expo Company to create the outlet in China’s second city. The new showroom showcases a number of Isle Mill’s wool upholstery and window fabrics. Sales director Bill Wheelan said the opportunity had grown from a meeting at a trade fair in Paris. The new showroom opened its doors last week to a potential local market of more than 24 million people. “We first met Shanghai Home Expo in 2015, when they visited us at the prestigious interiors and lifestyle exhibition, Maison & Objet in Paris,” Mr Wheelan said. “We initially sent them a number of our pattern books, and over the coming months, they sampled a variety of our products. “Having established the market for the Isle Mill’s products in China, they approached us with the showroom proposal, which will see our fabrics displayed alongside many of Europe’s top designer brands.” Macnaughton is one of Scotland’s oldest textile companies, and remains in the hands of the seventh generation of the founding family. The company employs around 70 staff at its three Scottish sites. Aside from the furnishings business, the firm produces neckerchiefs for the Scouts and traditional Highlandwear.

Readers' letters

April 8: Lessons we can learn from River Tay beavers

April 8 2011

This morning's letters look at the River Tay beavers and wildlife management, taxation, fuel prices, and road safety in Fife. Lessons we can learn from River Tay beavers Sir,-I read with interest your article 'Call for halt to beaver damage' (April 6) regarding the acceleration of beaver damage on the lower River Earn, reported to Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) by an angler. As with other wildlife, most notably deer, whether the felled trees are viewed as damage or not is only really the concern of the landowner involved. SNH maintain that it is legal for landowners to kill or remove beavers if they deem it necessary so, officially, there is no problem here. If the landowner thinks he has a problem, SNH say he can do something about it. Others will dispute this and the legal position does require to be clarified. This is why the River Tay beavers are important. They will force us to address these issues much sooner than the official Scottish Government reintroduction of beavers into Argyll and everyone will benefit from that, whatever their views on beavers might be. There is little point in calling for a halt to the beaver damage as the Tay beavers do not read The Courier. What we need is a pragmatic approach from government to this issue which allows us to learn how these animals will interact with other land uses and provides landowners with a workable mechanism for dealing with problem situations. Ultimately, all our wildlife should be managed locally according to local circumstances and sensitivities, not by a centralised quango in Inverness. Scottish Natural Heritage are all over the place on this issue and do not have the answers. We will have to look elsewhere for those. Victor Clements.1 Crieff Road,Aberfeldy. Victorian species cull Sir,-I agree in part with Eric McVicar's letter (April 5) about culling non-indigenous species but he shows a severe lack of knowledge in some areas. For example, beavers are a native species, as are bears and wolves. The absence of these animals is solely down to Victorian bloodlust, which saw the eradication of a vast number of species worldwide simply to amuse bored aristocrats. This has left us with a red deer population held on estates causing genetic diversity issues and out of control numbers, due to the lack of natural predators. I believe he is referring to Japanese knotweed, not Japanese hogweed. If Mr McVicar is a teacher then I fear for his pupils as he seems to be giving out wrong information and failing to teach them to check their facts. (Mr) J. Phillip.3 Lyninghills,Forfar. March of indirect taxation Sir,-Your editorial (April 5) and related article on the launch of the Scottish Conservative election manifesto for Holyrood misses an important fact. The fees or graduate contribution to the sum of £4000 is for every year of study. Parents and students can do the maths. Common sense it may be for Conservatives but, for those affected, it will feel very much like indirect taxation much favoured, as many of your readers will recall, by the Conservative governments of the 1980s and 1990s. Iain Anderson.41 West End,St Monans. Motorists need fuel transparency Sir,-We were conned in the Budget last month. The petrol companies had predicted the one penny reduction and had already upped the price by three or four pence. So is it now possible for the UK Government to do two specific things to regain some credibility? First tell the fuel retailers to instantly removed the ridiculous 0.99 they tag on at the end of their main price and, second, make it a rule to give the displayed price per gallon and not per litre. After all, cars in particular are sold with predicted miles per gallon consumption (admittedly often optimistic) not miles per litre. And if motorists were to see immediately the true cost of fuel for their car, instead of ridiculously having to multiply the litre price by 4.546 to find out, they would most certainly be more cautious with their travels and work a lot harder at reducing petrol/diesel consumption. Having been conned a few weeks ago, vehicle owners are surely entitled to some honesty now. Ian Wheeler.Springfield,Cupar. Wind farm risk to road users Sir,-I feel compelled to reply to your article regarding Fife's fatal road crashes. With 10 out of 13 fatal crashes in 2010 happening on rural roads, the most common contributory factor given in your article was failure to observe the road properly. My concerns are related to the plans submitted to Fife Council for the giant wind turbines on Clatto Hill. The road that runs adjacent to the proposed site is the C30. This rural road demands your full attention and concentration while driving in either direction. With the road being narrow, it requires even medium-sized cars to slow down or pull in when passing. The road has several vertical crests and sharp vertical curvatures which would make the turbines appear suddenly then disappear just as quickly. As this road has seen many accidents over a number of years, this would surely add another driving distraction to an already dangerous road. Norman Moodie.Craigview,Clatto Farm,Cupar. 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.

Angus & The Mearns

Angus councillor inspired by great-granny’s essay on the suffragists

February 9 2018

An Angus councillor has unearthed a fascinating insight into men’s views on the suffragists as the nation commemorated the centenary of some women winning the right to vote. Brenda Durno, SNP member for Arbroath and East Lunan, has been so inspired by an essay written by her great-grandmother in 1904, she is hoping to donate it to a museum in the north east. The amusing reflection was written in the Doric language by Isabella Moir, a 12-year-old pupil at Belhelvie School in Aberdeenshire. She was the eldest of 10 children and had two sisters and seven brothers. Councillor Durno said: “The celebration for the 100 years since women won the right to vote made me think of the essay. “My great grandmother was born in September 1892 and died in May 1992. “She latterly lived in Potterton with my aunt and uncle who ran the shop there and I found the essay when she died.” Mrs Durno chose to enter local politics in the footstep of her father, the SNP councillor Alex Shand, but admitted her great-grandmother was a Liberal supporter. “She was right into politics and was a great friend of Lord Tweedsmuir - the SNP wasn’t around then.” The essay relates to a conversation between a brother and sister as he reads a newspaper article on ‘The Suffragists’. As he works his way through the article, his views become apparent. He berates the efforts of the “limmers of suffragists” claiming “weemans place is at hame” It reads: “They canna mak an men their men’s sarks, keep a clean fireside an have a vote. “Gie then an inch an they wid tak an ill (mile).” The essay goes on to say there a was a time when women were happy “tae tak the chance o’ the first man that socht them, an thankful tae leave the voting an the rulin o the nation tae him”. It was on February 6, 1918 that women aged over 30, those who owned property or had a university education were granted the right to vote through the Representation of the People Act. Mrs Durno is hoping to donate the essay to a museum which specialises in the Doric and would welcome suggestions as to who to contact.

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

Pilot pleads not guilty over Shoreham Airshow manslaughter charges

May 15 2018

A pilot whose plane crashed during the 2015 Shoreham Airshow, killing 11 men, has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter.Andrew Hill, 54, faces trial on 11 charges of manslaughter by gross negligence and one of recklessly or negligently endangering an aircraft under air navigation laws.The defendant, who is on bail, pleaded not guilty to all the charges relating to the crash on August 22, 2015.He wore a grey suit and blue tie for his appearance at the Old Bailey before Judge Richard Marks QC.The judge set a trial for January 14 2019 and confirmed the case would be heard by a High Court judge.The trial is expected to go on for up to seven weeks.The victims were Maurice Rex Abrahams, Dylan Archer, Anthony David Brightwell, Matthew James Grimstone, Matthew Wesley Jones, James Graham Mallinson, Mark Alexander Reeves, Jacob Henry Schilt, Richard Jonathan Smith, Mark James Trussler and Daniele Gaetano Polito.Hill, of Sandon, Hertfordshire, is accused of “recklessly or negligently” endangering a Hawker Hunter G-BXFI or any person on that aircraft contrary to Article 137 of the Air Navigation Order 2009.Judge Marks ordered a pre-trial review at the Old Bailey on a date to be arranged at the end of October.Hill remains on unconditional bail.

Angus & The Mearns

Let there be rock for Bon Scott statue

August 30 2013

Some would move Heaven and Earth in order to pay tribute to their favourite musical group. However, a group of Angus volunteers have proved they are willing to move rock itself to participate in a world first. The annual Bon Fest, which sees thousands of people gather in Kirriemuir to renew their allegiance to tragic rocker Bon Scott, has been rescheduled to take advantage of a literally monumental moment. Next year they plan to unveil his homeland’s first statue dedicated to the AC/DC rocker, who died in 1980 at the age of 33 from alcohol poisoning. The festival is moving to August 15-17 and there are plans to bring camping to the event to address a lack of accommodation in the town. Organiser Graham Galloway, of DD8Music, said the May festival will move to August in order to boost worldwide interest. Mr Galloway told The Courier: “Hopefully, the statue, right, will be ready and we expect considerably larger numbers if that is the case. “We’re almost certain the statue will be a huge draw to the town all year round and the unveiling will be the big event. “We’re also planning for camping next year as well and you’re better off camping in the summer,” he joked. “The Kirrie show field is where we’re considering doing that, which we’re doing a poll on. We don’t run this as a money-making exercise it’s purely to keep the fans happy. “We see new fans and new countries every year, virtually every country in Europe and Australia, America and Canada coming over. “It’s possibly people are coming over from Brazil next year as there’s a passionate following for the band. They’re into their rock, there.” While a working design for Scott’s statue has been established by well-known sculptor John McKenna, fans will have to wait until next August to see the finished article. “We’re changing little bits about it as time goes on but the basic idea is there,” he added. Scott sang on AC/DC’s first six studio albums, including High Voltage, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, Let There Be Rock and Highway to Hell. The effort to raise money towards the statue is at more than £17,000, which is less than the amount raised by a Kickstarter fund previously. The fund failed as a £50,000 target was not hit within a month, causing the online effort to fail due to Kickstarter’s own rules. The target also included fees paid to the website, which no longer apply. Meanwhile, DD8 Music are planning another fundraiser for the Bon Scott statue on October 5. The Scottish AC/DC tribute band Volts will headline a gig at the Town Hall, with all proceeds going towards the statue fund. Visit Facebook to contribute ideas to the festival organisers.

Readers' letters

February 28: ‘Benefit packages’ mean developers know that their turbines are an eyesore

February 28 2012

Today's letters to The Courier. Sir, - I was delighted to read that north east Fife planning committee has rejected the applications to install two windfarms on Clatto Hill. The landscape from Falkland to Cupar, and beyond to St Andrews and Newport, is very special, with many outstanding features such as the Lomonds, Cults Hill, Hill of Tarvit and Lucklaw. If wind turbine companies have their way, our glorious countryside will be blighted by these monstrosities, which probably in the short/medium term will become obsolete. Meantime the folks living in rural areas are expected to just tolerate these. Hopefully less intrusive windfarms out on the North Sea must be the priority, and perhaps in the course of time cold fusion can be harnessed. I gather that the next hearing relating to these windfarms is to be held shortly in Levenmouth. This anomaly is apparently because an anemometer mast is in their area. I would have thought it highly unlikely that anyone living in Kennoway or Leven would be able to see the turbines. I am most perturbed to learn that West Coast Energy is apparently offering a 'community benefit package' to the folks of Kennoway and Kingskettle. This form of 'enticement' indicates that windfarm developers do realise that their turbines are an eyesore. Such an offer may well interest Kennoway folk, who probably won't be able to see the turbines, but I'm certain residents of Kingskettle, Cults, Ladybank, Falkland, Cupar and Ceres and District would rather have a turbine-free landscape. Robert I. G. Scott.Honorary Secretary,Ceres & DistrictCommunity Council. A leader to be proud of Sir, - Saturday's letters page probably helps to point where The Courier's political sympathies may lie. We have Mr Davis from Pitlochry who welcomes Alistair Darling into the anti-independence debate on the basis that he will worry Alex Salmond. Really? Is this the same Alistair Darling who was part of one of the most inept UK governments in recent times? What difference is he, and other Labour MPs at Westminster, making to Scotland's well-being? We then have the ludicrous comments from Mr Wilson of Kingskettle about balanced views on the independence question. Does he read the daily papers? In almost every case there is the usual grinding negativity towards the idea this country should have the temerity to go it alone. Lastly we have Mr McKinnon's offensive personal attack on Alex Salmond which gives rise to the impression he is not only small-minded but jealous too. Those of us with a pride in Scotland know we have a leader many times the calibre of Mr McKinnon and his ilk. And for those correspondents I have only one question: are you Scots? John Campbell.Auchrannie Terrace,Dundee. Pipes should be replaced Sir, - Re the recent Letham water saga, I agree it wasn't fit for a dog to drink. I was notified by a neighbour querying the suitability of it for drinking. I looked for myself and couldn't see the bottom of the wash-hand basin! At the end of it all, there was half an inch of silt to clean out from the toilet cisterns. I ran a kitchen tap, a bath tap and a garden hose to an outside drain all day and night for a couple of days. It was only clear enough for a shower at 5am on the third day. Why was I not told of planned bottled water supplies when I phoned twice on Sunday? Why was I not called back to be informed of what was happening, when I had already left my name and number twice? Why was nothing put out on the radio or television? Why was there no loudspeaker van coming round to let everyone know? Considering our water is provided from the clouds for 'nowt' and we have to pay for it to be supplied to the house and again to put it down the sewer, the cost of information would have been minimal. I shall seek some sort of reimbursement for all the inconvenience. Scottish Water know their pipes are rotten. Get them replaced. Geoff Bray.Heather Croft,Letham, by Forfar. Support for schools idea Sir, - Your leader on Friday asked whether "all the main parties have agreed not to make Madras College an issue in the election". While the others may have, out of embarrassment at their failure to deliver, the Conservatives will continue to push for their two-school solution, one in St Andrews and one in the Tay Bridgehead area. We know there's significant support for our idea. At the very least, it should be offered to the public as part of a proper consultation, to be carried out before a decision is made. (Cllr) Dave Dempsey.Leader, Fife Council Conservatives. They should all have this right Sir, - Your recent article on dolphins started with "Dolphins deserve to be treated as 'non-human persons' whose rights to life and liberty should be respected". Unless they are a health hazard, surely all creatures should have these rights, not just dolphins. Why should we think that we are the superior species on this planet? Sheila Phillips.3 Strathaird Place,Dundee. Mild but also very wet Sir, - Daffodils have been in full bloom in Bruichladdich, Isle of Islay since Saturday February 18. This winter has been very mild in Islay but unfortunately also very wet. Douglas W. Tott.Stoneyburn,Bruichladdich,Isle of Islay. 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.