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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


Morgan Academy fire: a new community spirit rose from the ashes

March 21 2011

The fire of 2001 was a devastating time for everyone associated with Morgan Academy. But in the last of our special articles marking the 10th anniversary of the blaze, then rector Alan Constable tells Stefan Morkis how it also marked a new beginning for the school and forged a feeling of togetherness that remains to this day. Alan Constable's tenure as rector of Morgan Academy can easily be described as the most dramatic in the school's long history. Not only did he watch the school burn to the ground, he was there to help ensure it rose phoenix-like from the ashes. Now retired from teaching, Mr Constable lives in St Andrews and advises on educational projects for construction firm Mansell the company responsible for rebuilding the devastated high school. Ten years on from one of the biggest ever fires in Dundee, Mr Constable said the school spirit that was forged in the flames will never be lost. "I think, like everybody that night and I'm talking about staff, pupils, parents and the community I was aware of a real devastating feeling," he said. "When it started we thought it was going to be just a small part of the building affected but as the wind picked up and it moved round the building we realised we were going to lose the whole school. "Once the shock settled we started to ask what we were going to do. It was amazing how people pulled together. "I have mixed feelings the fire was devastating but out of it came a great spirit, with all the staff and pupils working together. And that feeling is still there today." The rebuilding effort not only retained Morgan's Victorian facade immortalised on canvas by the artist J. McIntosh Patrick but allowed the city council to make much-needed improvements to the building. While that work was being carried out, however, pupils and staff turned the former Rockwell School into their home for three years. "It was a hard three years and we made the accommodation our home," said Mr Constable. "My main memory is of the huge response we got not just from the staff and pupils, but from the whole community."To see more on our special series on the Morgan Academy fire, click here.

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.

Farming news

Aberdeen-Angus DNA test hailed by Victor Wallace

February 13 2015

The adoption of a new DNA test to authenticate the pedigree of all Aberdeen-Angus calves will put the breed in the vanguard of genomic technology, retiring Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society president, Victor Wallace, told a packed annual at Stirling. The society has decided to collect blood samples using special ear tags which incorporate a small uniquely identified receptacle. As the tag is inserted soon after birth the small amount of displaced tissue and blood is captured ready for future DNA testing. Responding to criticism of the society’s decision to use only one company, Caisley, for the collection of samples, Mr Wallace insisted Caisley was the only ear tag company which had the technology to meet the society’s required specification. “We invited a number of ear tag companies to tender and some didn’t bother to reply while others couldn’t meet the spec,” said Mr Wallace. “It is a simple and inexpensive system which most breeders are finding easy to use.” The aim is to collect blood samples from all bull calves to enable the sire of all calves to be verified in the case of any uncertainty or dispute and to authenticate beef being sold as Aberdeen-Angus.” The move by the society has been welcomed by major supermarkets selling Aberdeen-Angus beef. Mr Wallace added: “This process was extensively and rigorously tested with management and council visits to the manufacturers in Germany and the completion of field trials. After this process it was brought back to council and unanimously approved. “Like all changes, there has been some resistance but I am convinced that putting the society in a position to be leading in genomic testing can only be a good one. “We should be leaders, not followers.” Mr Wallace admitted that a £34,000 re-branding exercise carried out over the past year, which included the dropping of the society’s long-established black, green and yellow colours, left room for “significant improvement”. The issue, particularly improvement to the website, would, he said, be addressed in the coming year. The decision to prop up the pension fund of chief executive, Ron McHattie, by £120,000 in four tranches was defended by new president, David Evans, who explained that it was a “catching up” operation as the funding of the pension had not been addressed for 11 years and annuity rates had halved in that time. Mr Evans, who works as a financial adviser, runs a 60-cow pedigree herd in Cleveland with his wife, Penny, and has been chairman of the society’s breed promotion committee. He is planning a series of open days throughout the country this year to promote the commercial attributes of the Aberdeen-Angus breed. “There is a huge and growing demand for certified Aberdeen-Angus beef with the active involvement of most of the leading supermarkets in the UK and registrations in the Herd Book are at a record level and continuing to increase,” said Mr Evans. “But we can’t stand still and it is important that the breed adopts all the latest technology to take the breed forward in the future.” New senior vice-president is Tom Arnott, Haymount, Kelso, while Alex Sanger, Prettycur, Montrose, was appointed junior vice-president.


High praise for Kirkcaldy special constable

July 26 2010

A Kirkcaldy policeman has been commended for an "outstanding achievement." Special Constable Gregor Low (23) was praised by communities policing division head Chief Superintendant Tom Ewing for tracing a missing elderly man suffering from dementia this month. Mr Low, despite having just completed an eight-hour tour of duty, selflessly volunteered to help officers do an extensive search of the Kirkcaldy area. At around 4.30am on Sunday, July 4, he was searching in the Auchtertool area when he found the missing man lying face down, in a very distressed state. Mr Low comforted him until an ambulance took him to Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy for a check-up, which found he was not suffering any adverse effects from his ordeal. Chief Supt Ewing said, "The officers of the special constabulary work alongside regular police officers and play a vital role in providing operational policing to the communities of Fife. The involvement of SC Low in this matter reinforces the high standards that members of the special constabulary set themselves and which is evident week in and week out. "On this particular occasion SC Low carried out his duties in a professional and selfless manner and he should be justly proud of his actions on the night." Fife Constabulary's special constables coordinator Helen Lindsay said, "SC Low joined the force only nine months ago and is already showing himself to be an outstanding officer. "We are currently recruiting special constables. Applicants must be of good character, enthusiastic, committed to engaging with the local community and be able to commit to training at police HQ one night a week and one weekend day for eight weeks. "The role of the special constabulary is changing. No longer is it seen as a tool to aid Fife in times of emergency, with many of the 136-strong special constabulary out on patrol every weekend and throughout the week." For more information call Linda Davidson in police recruitment 01592 418842.


Raith Rovers cup hero faces misconduct charge after drug test failure

December 16 2016

Raith Rovers cup-winning hero Julian Broddle could be fired from the police after failing a drugs test. Broddle, who played at left back in the famous 1994 League Cup final win over Celtic, tested positive for cocaine while on duty with South Yorkshire Police. He joined the force after hanging up his boots following a 16-year career with Raith , East Fife, St Mirren and Barnsley, including playing against Bayern Munich during the Kirkcaldy club's UEFA Cup run. The 52-year-old provided a urine sample as part of a random drug test after attending its professional standards department on March 19. He tested positive for the Class A drug and will face a misconduct hearing next week, according to the force. The force's website states: "The sample was sent for analysis and Alere Toxicology have informed South Yorkshire Police that PC Broddle tested positively for a Class A drug, namely cocaine." The officer is due to attend a special case misconduct hearing where he will answer claims that his conduct was 'unprofessional and inappropriate and breached the Standards of Professional Behaviour, in particular those paragraphs relating to Discreditable Conduct'. Most police misconduct hearings have been held in public since last year as part of efforts by the Government to make forces more transparent and accountable. His case will be heard on the same afternoon as a case relating to Special Police Constable Oliver Paduch, who is accused of posting 'inappropriate and unacceptable comments of a potentially racist nature on Facebook'. Both cases on Thursday are special hearings, where the circumstances of the misconduct have already been considered by the force's deputy chief constable. A hero on the pitch and in uniform Broddle came to Scotland after spells in the English lower leagues to sign for St Mirren, before joining Jimmy Nicoll’s Raith Rovers in 1993. He played more than 70 times, including in the victory in the League Cup final in 1993 and both legs of their subsequent UEFA Cup tie against Bayern Munich. He stayed in Kirkcaldy for three seasons and retired from football in 1997 after spells at East Fife and Ross County before retiring in 1997. The medals kept coming after he joined the police as he was twice awarded for bravery, once for facing down a shotgun-wielding gang of masked bank robbers and then for saving a girl from drowning.

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


Grampian Police in drive for Mearns ‘specials’

April 30 2011

Residents in the Mearns have been urged to sign up to a campaign by Grampian Police aimed at attracting volunteers to become special constables. The force has 180 special constables and is aiming to boost that total to 250 in the next year with the help of online promotion. An awareness drive will be launched via radio and the internet, with students from Aberdeen College helping to promote the campaign on You Tube. Special constables co-ordinator, Sergeant Ian Chalmers said, "Specials are a valuable resource and can augment and provide additional support to local policing teams and communities." PC David McLean, who managed the project, added, "The students came up with the ideas and scripts and those selected have been made entirely by the students themselves. The results are fantastic, with both parties benefiting from the partnership." Special constables have the same powers and responsibilities as regular officers. The volunteers can be called upon to assist in all areas of police work including patrols, community engagement, specialist operations, attending incidents and royal visits. Officers can report for duty at anytime depending on their work or lifestyle commitments, with many choosing to serve in their local area. Special constables are unpaid but a £1000 award is available if they join the recognition award scheme which requires 45 four-hour shifts a year and some training nights. Assistant Chief Constable Colin Menzies said, "Those who volunteer as a special get a lot of satisfaction from helping make a difference to their community whilst improving their career prospects from the skills they develop working on the beat."Anyone interested can contact Sergeant Chalmers on 0845 600 5700, or visit www.grampian.police.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.