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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...


Man jailed for stealing designer shirt from Dundee shop two days after appearing in court

April 21 2014

A Dundee man who stole a designer shirt only two days after appearing in court was sentenced to six months in prison. Steven Greig, 36, also attempted to make off with another two high-end items worth £774 from Threads on Commercial Street. Appearing at the city’s sheriff court on Saturday, Greig, of Adamson Court, admitted that on Thursday he stole a designer shirt costing £250. He also admitted removing the security tags and price labels from a Stone Island jacket and Stone Island shirt and attempting to steal them. Depute fiscal Isma Muktar said: “Around 4.50pm a member of staff at the store saw the accused. “The member of staff entered the second room area to speak with the male and he noticed a grey Stone Island jacket on the floor. “The accused said someone had dropped it. The member of staff hung it up and want to serve another customer.” Ms Muktar said the shop assistant thought it was strange the item had just been dropped as the second room housed the more expensive merchandise. Greig then left and the staff member found the labels had been ripped off the jacket and a shirt. He reviewed CCTV footage and contacted the police who were dealing with other matters. Ms Muktar said: “Around 6pm, the member of staff saw the accused standing outside Waterstones. He phoned the police on his mobile and began following the accused.” Police then traced Greig in Meadowside. He was searched and officers found two labels in his backpack and the £250 Stone Island shirt. Greig’s solicitor Jim Laverty said his client had left court on Tuesday with instructions to report to the social work offices. He said he had been on remand and had taken up residence with his wife but the family had not been in receipt of benefits. Mr Laverty said: “He came upon the idea of shoplifting to, in effect, put food on the table.” Sheriff Richard Macfarlane sentenced Greig to six months in prison.

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.

Perth & Kinross

Grumpy delivery driver makes Perth statue owner very Happy

May 4 2016

A stolen stone dwarf named Happy has been reunited with its owner after being found by a man nicknamed Grumpy. The figurine, part of a set depicting Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, was stolen from a garden in Perth’s Pitheavlis Crescent on April 9. The legs of the figurine were found nearby shortly after the theft but rest of the stone carving remained missing, leaving owner Marion Benstead distraught. The statue had been outside her home for 20 years. The rest of the piece was found more than three miles away on Tuesday by a delivery driver from local firm Sidey. Marion joked: “It was in Scone - how it got there with no legs I’ll never know.” She was reunited with the sculpture after its finder, Sidey logistics manager Maurice Allan recalled a Courier article about it’s theft. He said: “I was driving through Scone on my way to deliver windows to a trade customer when I noticed the statue at the top of a hill. Finding this strange, I got out the van to have a closer look. “I then recalled a colleague telling me about the story from the Courier about the missing dwarf so I contacted the police to inform them of Happy’s location. “My co-workers at Sidey have found the story ironic and amusing as I am often referred to as Grumpy. “On a serious note, I am delighted that Marion has been reunited with Happy.” The theft of the dwarf is not the most unusual report made to police. In 2012, thieves in the Czech Republic stole a 10-tonne bridge after convincing officials that they had been hired to demolish it. In 2008 it was reported that 400 metres of beach had disappeared from the Caribbean island of Jamaica. It was discovered that 500 truck-loads of sand had been removed outside a planned resort at Coral Spring beach.

Family Feeds

Standing Stane Restaurant, Wellsgreen Golf Club, Leven

October 12 2016

What is it? Large restaurant and bar within the golf club on the main road between Leven and Kirkcaldy. First impressions? Spacious, with lovely views over the course, and well furbished – even the menus had posh wooden covers. What did you have? Dad opted for the ciabatta with local Puddledub minute steak with fried onions and coarse grain mustard may (£5.60), Mum chose the soft toasted haggis roll, and our small daughter had the kids’ menu – for £6, you get main meal (she went for the homemade macaroni with garlic bread or fries), an ice cream and a drink. Desserts were a slice of cheesecake (£4.90) and sticky toffee pudding at £4.95. With drinks the total came to a little over £30. Much of a wait? It took a while for a member of staff to come and take our order but the food appeared fairly swiftly after that. How was the food? The ciabatta was well filled with succulent steak and onions, and the roll had two slices of haggis but came with no other adornments. The macaroni cheese was creamy and cheesy and went down a treat. So far, so good. However, the cheesecake slice (forest fruits) was a tiny sliver about an inch at its widest point and only a sorry half inch or so high – not worth nearly a fiver! It was almost certainly shop bought and an all-round disappointment. The sticky toffee pudding and ice cream were received with no complaints. Good for children? There’s a good menu for kids, and plenty of room for wheeling pushchairs around. The atmosphere is a little staid though and probably not great for very young kids. Good for the rest of the family? There’s a good choice on the menu, including lots of hot meals if you want something more substantial. The food is generally of a good standard but the staff could do with cracking an occasional smile. We could have also done without one member of staff hanging up decorations for a 60th birthday later in the day on the windows right by our table while we were eating. Would you go back? Possibly. Score: 3/5 Contact: :  Wellsgreen Golf Range and Restaurant, Windygates, Leven, Fife KY8 5RU. T: 01592 712435. W: www.wellsgreen.co.uk  


Lucky escapes following Fife road crashes

January 15 2017

Two drivers have had lucky escapes after two separate crashes on Fife's roads on Sunday evening. The first incident happened on Hill Road, Ballingry, at around 7.15pm, with a vehicle ending up on its roof after apparently swerving to avoid an animal on the road. No-one was injured in the incident, although the road was closed for a time as the car involved was recovered and debris removed from the roadway. That was followed just under two hours later by another car landing on its roof on the Standing Stane Road between Kirkcaldy and Leven. Police arrived on the scene, which was just passed the Wellsgreen driving range, and were directing traffic, although again no injuries were reported.

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.

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

Family Feeds

Balbirnie Bistro, Balbirnie House, Markinch, (4/5)

October 26 2016

What is it? One of two restaurants at Balbirnie, a hotel set in beautiful parkland near the Fife town of Markinch. The bistro is located in the lower ground floor in what was once the old kitchens. First impressions? As the way to the bistro wasn’t signposted the friendly hotel receptionist organised someone to take us there - just as well as it required a journey down by lift as we had the pushchair. However, there were still six steps that we had to lift the buggie down - not ideal and very difficult for anyone requiring disabled access. What did you have? The lunch deal offers two courses for £9.95 (three courses for £12.95) so Dad opted for the lamb broth and pumpkin, and parmesan risotto, Mum had the 6oz Scotch beef burger and the little one had chicken goujons with fries and baked beans from the kids’ menu at £4.95. Mum chose the sorbet for dessert, and with drinks the total came to just over £30. Much of a wait? The soup appeared after about 10 minutes and the rest of the food came once the soup was finished. How was the food? The lamb broth seemed to be lacking any actual lamb pieces but was a tasty and filling barley and veg broth. The risotto was absolutely delicious – really cheesy and topped with an artistic crispy frill of parmesan which melted in to teh dish. Pumpkin seeds sprinkled atop finished it off to perfection.  The burger was succulent and good quality and came in a soft brioche roll with beautifully cooked skinny fries. The chicken goujons were homemade from real chicken and rolled in breadcrumbs. The sorbet (a scoop of cassis, and one of black cherry) was melt in the mouth and the ideal end to a great meal. Good for kids? The kids’ menu has a good selection and highchairs are readily available. Despite the fairy lights twinkling on the ceiling, its subterranean location makes it a little dingy. Good for the rest of the family?  The menu is good value, the food great quality and service was excellent. The only downside was the tricky access – not ideal for nappy changing and for the elderly. Would you go back? Definitely. It's a great opportunity to have an upmarket meal at a good price. Score: 4/5 Contact: : Balbirnie House, Balbirnie Park, Markinch, KY7 6NE. T: 01592 610066. W: www.balbirnie.co.uk  

Scottish politics

Labour figures eyeing up independence are ‘living in fairyland’, says party veteran

August 23 2016

Labour grandee Tam Dalyell has said those in the party warming to Scottish independence on the back of the Brexit vote are “living in fairyland”. Former First Minister Henry McLeish and David Martin, who is Labour’s longest-serving MEP, are among the senior Labour figures who have said they could be converted to the independence cause. Official Scottish Labour policy is to oppose a second referendum on secession until at least 2021, but leader Kezia Dugdale has been accused by some quarters of softening her pro-Union stance. Delivering his assessment of those in the party shifting towards independence, Sir Tam told The Courier: “They are living in fairyland. I think they are wrong. “McLeish and others had better realise that there is no chance of an independent Scotland being admitted into the European Union. “No prime minister of Spain would allow it and nor would the Germans.” Mr McLeish, who led a Scottish Labour government in 2000/01, said earlier this year the party must abandon its strategy of “just saying no to independence” and advocated a “new alternative of real home rule”. Mr Martin, who is on Ms Sturgeon’s Standing Council on Europe, has said independence is “worth considering” if Scotland cannot retain access to the single market. Scottish Labour deputy leader Alex Rowley revealed last month that he would not oppose a second independence referendum, saying the Brexit vote had shifted the debate. His boss Ms Dugdale reprimanded on live radio yesterday saying it was “wrong” for Mr Rowley to take that stance against party policy. Sir Tam, who was an MP in Scotland for 43 years and a fervent Unionist, called on MPs from all parties to block Brexit. “I believe it is up to every member of Parliament to do the right thing and to vote against the triggering of Article 50,” he said. “I would hope the House of Commons blocks Brexit and I have very strong views on this.” He said the referendum result does not have to be enacted because “people were lied to and misled by (Boris) Johnson and others”. “You look at what Brexit would mean for places like Dundee, and the damage it could do to universities like Dundee, and I am very angry about it,” he added. Article 50 is the legal mechanism through which member states leave the EU. Political and constitutional experts disagree on whether Parliament has to vote on whether it is triggered.