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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...

Angus & The Mearns

Owner puts up £1,000 reward in final effort to trace dog missing since April

October 25 2011

An Angus dog owner has put up a large reward in one final plea for information on its whereabouts. Barbara Brown placed an advert with The Courier promising £1,000 for the safe return of shih tzu Cari, which went missing in Montrose. Despite the dog having disappeared on April 22, Ms Brown has reasons to believe Cari short for Cariad is alive and staying with another family, who may be unaware someone is searching for the dog. Cari was also chipped under the name Shantell, given by dog breeders. Confusion is also possible as Ms Brown stays in Newport, and had left her pet with her parents before she went on holiday to Cyprus. Her dog slipped the lead two days before her return, never being seen again. Ms Brown, who is deaf and has cared for Cari since a five-year breeding programme ended in July last year, said the dog is not confident around people as a result. With a few months of gentle handling and retraining, the dog was starting to gain confidence after having been subject to a very restrictive dog breeding environment in Wales. Ms Brown said: ''She is the mother of my other shih tzu Millie, and from day one was a lovely-natured little dog. ''For a good few months to start with Cari required gentle handling and retraining to become confident and comfortable around people.'' When Ms Brown's long-term relationship ended in January, her three dogs became even more important to her. She has spoken to vets and dog groomers along the coast, from Aberdeenshire to West Lothian, but has now taken the step of offering a sizeable reward. Recalling the day Cari went missing, she said: ''My mother was out for the evening and my father, forgetting about Cari, left the front door open while he emptied the bins. ''Cari slipped out without her collar and has not been seen since. This is my final attempt and this time there is a reward of £1,000 to the person who comes forward with information leading to a happy reunion with Cari.''


Fife pet minder given 40-month ban from working with animals

March 22 2013

A St Andrews pet minder left animals in her care unattended for five days, after forgetting to put a note in her diary. Gaynor Burgess, 60, of Brigston Cottages, was disqualified from working with animals for 40 months after pleading guilty to two charges of animal neglect. Cupar Sheriff Court heard Ms Burgess, a former veterinary nurse with over 40 years’ experience of working with animals, had agreed to look after the two shih tzu dogs and two cats at a home in Winram Place and a further three shih tzu dogs at Radernie Place for two and five days, respectively, in October last year. She had met the owners to collect the keys to their properties beforehand. Having been contacted following their return, Burgess is said to have stated: “Thank God the dogs are all right.” Charles Jackson, for Burgess, told the court that although Burgess, whose business has in the region of 100 clients, had taken keys to both properties from the owners, she had failed to take a note of her duties. He said: “She has run a pet-minding business for many years and had looked after one of the owners’ pets in the past. “She failed to diary these duties and it went out of her head. She wrote to both owners to apologise and returned their money.” In sentencing Burgess, Sheriff Charles Macnair said: “You were running a business caring for animals and that requires responsibilities of you. You failed in these in a substantial way. “Luckily, the animals don’t appear to have suffered any long-term problems. “In considering your penalty, the statute requires me to give a reason not to disqualify you. In my view, no such reason exists.” He fined Burgess a total of £400 and banned her from working with animals for 40 months.

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.

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


Woman claims fan kicked her puppy outside Tannadice

November 9 2016

The owner of a five-month-old puppy has claimed her pet was kicked "up in the air" by a middle-aged man in Dundee. Ellie Brown said she was taking her puppy, Skye, for a walk around Arklay Street as fans made their way to Tannadice for Dundee United's clash with Dunfermline. She claims that as she passed crowds of supporters on their way to the match, a man wearing a Dundee United top kicked her pet. According to Ellie, Skye "flew past" due to the force of the kick. After angrily confronting the alleged attacker, Ellie claims he simply "smiled, said sorry and walked away". The devastated dog lover told The Courier: "It's been a bit of a nightmare ... I shouted at him, but he just smiled, said sorry and walked away. The frustrating thing is that no one seemed to react." Ellie says Skye appears to be unharmed but she has contacted Dundee United and Police Scotland to report the incident. A police spokesperson said: ““Police Scotland received a report that a dog had been kicked by a man in Arklay Street, Dundee at about 8pm on Tuesday November 8. "The Shih Tzu dog had no apparent injuries. Anyone who was in the area at the time and witnessed the incident is asked to contact 101.” For more on this story, see Thursday's Courier  

UK & World

Just 11 adorable doggos getting into the Easter spirit

April 1 2018

Just like Christmas before it, for dog owners Easter is yet another opportunity to decorate your loved ones.From dogs in bunny ears to pups surrounded by chocolates eggs, here’s 11 doggos who have got into the Easter Sunday spirit.1. Cherie the French bulldog with style2. Lil Cali, who’s celebrating two days3. Pebbles, the doggo with a photoshootPebbles’ owner, Twitter user @Forsaken_lovee, didn’t think one picture was enough – and rightly so.4. Cordelia, who looks super excited by the Easter dress up5, 6 and 7. These three musketeers, who look hungry for Easter treats8. This cutie, who’s not sure about their bunny ears9. This floppy-eared marvel10. This Shih Tzu ready for an Easter feed11. And Conway, whose face speaks volumesHappy Easter one and all!

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.

UK & World

Five ‘life-changing’ dogs shortlisted for top hero award at Crufts

February 27 2018

A rescue border terrier, a working border collie and a “heroic” Labrador retriever who helps his owner complete over 100 daily tasks are among the finalists for Crufts’ 2018 Friends For Life award.A total of five furry helpers, including a hearing assistance cocker-spaniel/poodle cross called Waffle and an ultra-loving shih tzu named Buttons are up for the prestigious annual prize which honours dogs who play a leading role in helping people battle adversity.Vanessa Holbrow, 47, from Burnham-on-Sea in Somerset, said her rehomed border terrier, Sir Jack Spratticus, has “saved her life” after helping her to manage complex mental health problems.“He’s had the most profound impact on my life,” she said.“Just owning him saved my life in many respects, and then we found this organisation last year, Canine Generated Independence, and he is now training to be my assistance dog.”Once neglected, scared and aggressive, Sir Jack, who was entered for the award’s Breed Rescue category, now proudly helps Ms Holbrow in her work promoting awareness and raising money for others suffering with a variety of mental health issues – and has transformed into a camera-loving companion.“I always say he’s the David Beckham of border terriers,” she said.“He loves to pose – he’s just such a character.”Clare Syvertsen, 29, from Northolt in north-west London, said her Labrador/golden retriever cross, Griffin, has completely transformed her ability to be independent in performing routine tasks.Ms Syvertsen, a wheelchair user who suffers from the rare connective tissue disorder, Ehlers Danlos syndrome, relies on Griffin to assist her with over 100 physical chores, from opening doors, to loading and unloading the washing machine and flushing the toilet.“He’s opened a whole new world for me,” she said.“I couldn’t be without him. I’m more independent, I can go out on my own, I can start doing all sorts of different things that I want to do, without the need of a carer.”Sir Jack and Griffin join 14-year-old Sarah Mohammadi’s hearing assistance cocker spaniel/poodle cross Waffle, 39-year-old Gayle Wilde’s Lanarkshire-based search and rescue border collie Taz, and 19-year-old Hannah Gates’ emotionally supportive shih tzu Buttons for a chance to be crowned overall winner of the Friends For Life Prize.Selected from more than 300 applicants by judges at Crufts’ governing body, The Kennel Club, each of the finalists has been chosen from five distinct categories before being entered for an all-important public vote to name the top dog at an awards ceremony next month.The winner will receive £5,000 from the Kennel Club Charitable Trust for the dog charity of their choice, and other finalists will also receive £1,000 towards their own canine charities.Kennel Club secretary Caroline Kisko said: “Friends For Life, the final of which is held on the world’s largest dog stage at Crufts, is an opportunity to celebrate these dogs that quietly go about changing people’s lives in their own unique and special way.”Members of the public can vote for the top prize winner at www.crufts.org.uk/friendsforlife, before the results are announced at Crufts, in the Genting Arena in Birmingham on Sunday, March 11.