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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...

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

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.

Man admits unlawful killing of travel agent, court hears

February 19 2018

A man charged with murdering a travel agent at her workplace admits unlawful killing, a court has heard.Andrew Burke, 30, of Vincent Street, St Helens, did not enter pleas to the charges of murder and possessing an unlawful weapon in a public place when he appeared via videolink from prison at Liverpool Crown Court on Monday.Burke, who was holding a rosary throughout the hearing, is accused of the murder of Cassie Hayes, 28, who died in hospital from a wound to her throat inflicted at the Tui branch in Southport town centre on January 13.David McLachlan QC, defending, said there would be no issue that Ms Hayes was unlawfully killed by Burke but psychiatric reports on the defendant were still being prepared.Judge David Aubrey QC adjourned the hearing until April 9, when Burke is expected to enter pleas.In a tribute issued via Merseyside Police after her death, Ms Hayes’s partner Laura Williams said: “Cassie is my partner and words will not explain my sorrow and loss.“She is the most amazing, gorgeous, selfless and strong person I know. She is my future wife and my forever.”The family of Ms Hayes, who was originally from Alnwick, Northumberland, added: “Cassie was an amazing, kind human being who would do anything for anyone.“She doted on all her family and our loss is beyond calculation.”

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

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.

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.

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

Mother brands daughter’s killer ‘evil coward of a man’

April 9 2018

The mother of a travel agent executed in cold blood at her workplace has told her murderer face-to-face he was an “evil coward of a man” before he was jailed for life.Tracy Hayes entered the witness box at Liverpool Crown Court to read out a powerful victim personal statement at the sentencing of Andrew Burke, who viciously slashed her daughter’s throat as she tended to customers.Burke, 31, blamed Cassie Hayes, 28, an assistant manager at the Tui branch in Southport, Merseyside, for “ruining his life” after she began a relationship with his ex-girlfriend, Laura Williams, 29, following their break-up.A day before the brutal killing on a Saturday afternoon in front of her colleagues and customers, including children, the defendant appeared before magistrates where he admitted harassing Ms Williams months before. He was bailed ahead of sentencing and later told his sister on the phone: “I can’t do it any more. I’ll turn left and go home, or turn right, go to Wilkinsons, buy the biggest knife I can find, go to Southport and slit Cassie’s throat.”In 2017, Burke was warned by police, who issued an information notice for allegedly harassing Ms Hayes and also received a court fine and an unpaid work requirement after he admitting making a malicious communication to his mother in which he repeatedly threatened to kill Ms Hayes and himself.On January 13 this year, Burke bought a kitchen knife and entered the Chapel Street shop with his hood up and told a currency exchange cashier: “Ijust want to apologise for what I am about to do.”After he lowered his hood he walked behind Ms Hayes and placed his arms around her head before he cut her throat and sliced completely throughher voicebox.Burke calmly sat down amid the chaotic scenes and was later laid on the floor in the centre of the shop when police arrived in response to emergency calls, said prosecutor Gordon Cole QC.He told a firearms officer: “I was in court yesterday and I lost. It was either kill me or kill her, so I killed her.“The only reason I wasn’t still cutting her when you turned up was cos you’d shoot me and I didn’t want to put you through that.”Ms Hayes was rushed to hospital as stunned shoppers in the busy precinct looked on, but died later the same day.On Monday after Burke, of Vincent Street, St Helens, pleaded guilty to murder and possessing an offensive weapon in public, Ms Hayes’s mother came forward to the witness box, supported arm-in-arm by Ms Hayes’s sister, Nadine.Tracy Hayes, from Alnwick, Northumberland, told Burke, who sat emotionless in the dock: “You took the most precious gift I ever had in my life, my beautiful daughter, my baby, in the most horrific way ever.“You are the most evil, evil monster walking on this whole earth. You do not deserve to breathe fresh air.”She went on: “You are a sick, disturbed man and you do not deserve to walk the streets again. You should spend the rest of your life behind bars.“I just want my baby back and I hope you rot in hell you evil, evil coward of a man. You fat, evil coward.”As the pair returned to their seats, the packed public gallery broke into applause.David McLachlan QC, defending, said his client had led an “unremarkable and trouble-free life” up until the age of 29.He started a relationship with Ms Williams and they had a daughter together, but he later became depressed and moved out of their home, the court heard.Matters “turned toxic” when he discovered she was with Ms Hayes and he took it “very very badly” and took two overdoses.The court was told his life then revolved around an obsession with his ex-girlfriend and blaming Ms Hayes for their break-up.Sentencing Burke to a minimum of 26 years in jail before he can be considered for parole, Judge David Aubrey told the defendant: “You perpetrated a cold-blooded execution in public for the purpose of revenge and in my judgment the killing was an act of unspeakable savagery.“This was a cowardly act of revenge designed to kill and did kill a totally innocent person in broad daylight in front of, and witnessed by, so many.”Burke received a two-year concurrent sentence for possessing an offensive weapon in public.In February he was sentenced to 12 weeks in jail for the harassment of Ms Williams.

Obituaries

Ex-sea captain William Sawers

December 7 2010

A memorial service is to be held in Southport, North Carolina, on Saturday for a former Dundee merchant sea captain William Barclay Foreman Sawers, who died peacefully at his home aged 96. Captain Sawers was born in August 1914 in Calcutta, India, the only child of Angus parents Isabella Cathro (Foreman) and Thomas McIntosh Sawers. When he was two years old his parents brought him home to Carnoustie, where he lived with his grandparents. Educated at Carnoustie Primary School and later Morgan Academy in Dundee, he began a four-year apprenticeship with Andrew Weir & Company and boarded the MV Meneric at Dunston on Tyne in 1931. During periods ashore he studied at Dundee Technical College. In January 1949 he received his Master Mariner's Certificate and his sailing life took him all over the world on passenger and cargo ships. During the second world war he was inducted into the British Merchant Marine Corp. After the war he commanded various ships for The Anchor Line (British) and later for Zim Israel Navigation Company. The last ship he commanded was the Israeli flagship MV ANAT, transporting cargo between Sunny Point in North Carolina and Haifa, Israel. In 1969 he came ashore, continuing to work for the Zim Line as marine superintendent in New York, London and Houston. He had a passion for golf, having learned to play as a young lad at Carnoustie Golf Course. Later he became a member of Panmure Golf Club, near Carnoustie, and in later life enjoyed playing many of the courses in North and South Carolina and was a member of The Lakes Country Club. He was a Freemason and an elder of the Church of Scotland (Menzieshill, Dundee). A member of Southport Presbyterian Church, he was described as being a gentle, witty man, dearly loved by all who knew him. He is survived by his wife of 27 years, Judith Boyles Morris Sawers, stepson Neil Morris and stepdaughter J. Gayle Morris. The service will be held at Southport Presbyterian Church. Memorials may be made to Southport Presbyterian Church Building Fund.

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