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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...

Farming news

Pupils prepare award-winning burgers

April 26 2018

Meat may be off the menu in Edinburgh schools, but in Perthshire a primary class has helped a local butcher scoop a gold award for its Scotch lamb and mint burgers. Taking inspiration from Alexander McCall Smith’s novel The Perfect Hamburger, the Primary 4 children at Morrison’s Academy in Crieff developed their recipe then created promotional packaging, a poster and a short promotional video to enter the competition run by the Scottish Craft Butchers. The burger was produced by Murray Lauchlan, a seventh-generation butcher at David Comrie and Son. Morrison’s Academy head of primary, Morven Bulloch, said: “The pupils have developed their teamwork and leadership, listening and presenting, problem solving and creativity skills and really brought the project to life by working in partnership with a local family butcher. “Mr Lauchlan guided and assisted the pupils in running their own business and making their own burgers and to win gold is an amazing achievement. “We are looking forward to celebrating this success by holding our own barbecue, to allow the school community to sample the delights of Primary 4’s hard work.” Class teacher Gillian Lauchlan said the children had explored what it means to be enterprising. She added: “Making our own burger recipes and cooking them brought the project to life and knowing the burgers are now being made commercially is so exciting.” nnicolson@thecourier.co.uk


1,400 people apply for work at new Kirkcaldy supermarket

August 28 2013

Demand for jobs at a Morrison’s supermarket in Kirkcaldy has been huge, with 1,400 people chasing the 250 jobs at the store. Opportunities Fife worked in partnership with the supermarket giant which will open its Invertiel store by the end of the year to sift through the large number of applications from people of all ages that came in through its advertising campaign. Councillor Tony Martin, Fife Council’s Ambassador of Youth Employment and chairman of Opportunities Fife Partnership, said: “The fact that Morrison’s were able to tap into the main Opportunities Fife hotline, allowed us to ‘piggy back’ the applications. Out of the 1,400, 250 jobs will be available at the store but we will work with the remainder to identify and secure other opportunities for training and jobs. “Morrison’s has said that this recruitment campaign has been one of the quickest and smoothest ever done for a store. This shows the benefit of all the partners working together. “The biggest impact on reducing unemployment figures in Fife is due to the massive investment made by Fife Council of £5 million over three years in apprenticeships and a further, recurring £1m per year for Fife Council apprenticeships.”

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

Perth & Kinross

Perform in Perth competitors shine

March 7 2017

The annual Perform in Perth music festival got off to a flying start with good numbers of spectators dropping in for the opening classes of the two week event. “The piping, pipe band drumming and Scottish country dancing went extremely well,” said festival secretary Michael Jameson. “The adjudicators have been very impressed with the standard.” Mr Jameson said that they had been pleased by audience numbers and stressed that they were always delighted to welcome members of the public. The festival, which runs until March 18, moves from St Leonard's-in-the-Fields Church to the Soutar Theatre of the AK Bell Library for Wednesday March 8. The day involves drum and xylophone classes. On Thursday March 9, in the same venue, it will be verse speaking, Burns poems, prepared readings, public speaking and bible reading. Strings, beginners – 1 Martha Harvey, Kinross PS (88); 2 Caitlin Jack, Craigclowan (87); 3 Callum Newton, Kinross PS (86). Violin solo, beginners – 1 Caitlin Cowie, Invergowrie (88); 2 Maisie Dyer, Wormit (86); 3 Maisie Tares, Morrison’s Academy (83). Violin solo, elementary – 1 Emma Denny, Kilgraston (88); 2 Erin Craig, Fowlis (87); 3 Munro Strachan, Milnathort PS (86). Viola solo, elementary – 1 Kirsty Darbyshire, Milnathort PS (84); Ruaraidh Sturgess, Kinross PS (83); Chloe Vlasto, Portmoak PS (82). Cello solo, beginners – 1 Alistair Milne, Viewlands PS (88). Cello solo, elementary – 1 Logan Reynolds, Letham, Cupar (89); 2 Sophie Evans, Viewlands PS (86); 3 Rhys Plunkett, Breadalbane Academy (83). Cello solo, transitional – 1 Lauren Castle, Perth High (87); 2 Vhairi Jordan, Perth Academy (86); 3 Jack McKay, Perth Academy (85). Double bass solo, transitional – 1 Lucas Snellgrove, Auchterarder (86). Cello solo, intermediate – 1 Alasdair Richmond, High School of Dundee (88); 2 Zoe Burrowes, Morrison’s Academy (87); 3 Lily Heming-Tolentino, Morrison’s Academy (86). Cello solo, advanced – 1 Ben Clark, Craigclowan (85); 2 equal Euan Adam, Perth Academy, and Alexander Broad, Crieff High School (both 84); 3 Calum Macpherson, Kinross High (82). Violin solo, transitional – 1 Jessica Drury, Harrietfield (88); 2 Logan Carlisle, Milnathort (87); 3 equal Niall Skinn, Morrison’s Academy, and Maden Paris, Crieff High (both 85). Violin solo, intermediate 1 Heather Rodger, Perth High (88); 2 Maya Christie, Community School of Auchterarder (87); 3 Lewis Carlisle, Kinross High (84). Violin solo, advanced – 1 Lorna Rae, Perth (87). Violin solo, open – 1 Conrad Ihering, Glenalmond College (88); 2 Lissie Cook, Kilgraston (84); 3 Rowan Heron, Community School of Auchterarder (83). String recital class, open – Conrad Ihering, Glenalmond College (90); 2 Ola Stanton, Kinross High (88); 3 Zosia Stanton, Kinross High (87). Trumpet solo, beginners – 1 Jamie Gorton, Viewlands PS (86); 2 Orin Magee, RDM Primary (85); 3 Lawrence Whyte, Oakbank PS (85). Trumpet solo, elementary – 1 Callum Fawcus, Pitlochry HS Primary (87); 2 Ashton Senior-Twine, RDM Primary (86); 3 Charlie Harvey, Perth Grammar (84). Horn in F solo elementary – 1 Olivia Griffin, Perth High (83).

Readers' letters

Cricket lives on at Morrison’s Academy

June 19 2015

Sir - I need to clarify an important point in relation to the story carried by your newspaper recently over the decision by the director of sport at Morrison’s Academy to move away from cricket as the main summer sport. Cricket at Morrison’s Academy is not being banned, nor is it coming to an end. Hereafter, cricketwill continue to be offered at Morrison’s Academy but as a part of our programme ofco-curricular activities rather than as a major summer sport. Instead, and with the express purpose of trying to increase participation by the boys and girls in summer games, all will take part in a programme of athletics, tennis and outdoor pursuits, thelatter having the considerable advantage of being able to go ahead in conditions that would ordinarily lead to the cancellation of traditional field sports. In practical terms, little will change. Cricket will still be played, although it has not had a high profile for some time because of the press of early examinations in what is a relatively short term combined with the vagaries of our local climate: we live amid mountains. What the changewill do is enable more girls and boys to enjoy regular sport and this has to be a good thing in a world where we have concerns about the overuse of screens and the increase in childhood obesity. Simon Pengelley. Rector and Principal, Morrison’s Academy, Crieff. Tories righton fiscal policy Sir, - I refer to Alan Hinnrich’s one-sided outburst (June 11) in which seeks to blame theConservatives for just about everything that hesees as a problem in his life. I’m surprised he didn’t try to blame the Tories for recent minor increases in the cost of fish suppers. The Tory party is simply doing what any responsible company would do after a period of lengthy economic difficulty during which the consultants brought in to assist in solving the problems, in this case the Liberal Democrats in Government, failed to produce a meaningful result. The Tory strategy includes living within our means; selling assets to reduce the costs of borrowing and contribute to deficit reduction; encouraging business investment to create jobs. It also includesreducing the poisonous influence of welfare handouts. Let’s remember that the economic situation from which we are still recovering wascreated by Labour ingovernment which it was for 13 years. Derek Farmer. Knightsward Farm, Anstruther. No magnanimity by nationalists Sir, - I am indebted to your letter writers Ken Clark and George White for proving the point I made in mine published on June 12. I dared to put my head above the parapet to put forward a temperate case and was immediately vociferously attacked, presumably by SNPsupporters. Magnanimous invictory they are not. I rest my case. Anthony Garrett. 1 Royal Terrace, Falkland. Time to issue our own money Sir, - Although First Minister Nicola Sturgeon would probably notrecognise austerityif it was served up toher on a plate surrounded by watercress, she does unknowingly have a point whenit comes to austerityand the banking system of the world. In 2014, the Bank of England finally admitted what many have known for some time. Money is just an IOU signed by those whoborrow from banks,who have not lentthem the savings of some spinster, but have merely created that money themselves as anelectronic book-keeping entry. They create moneyby making loans and those loans now form 97% of the UK money supply. There is no limit to the amount of money the banks can create,provided they can find someone willing toborrow it. So why are weaccepting the notion that the government is broke and must slash publicservices to pay its debts and reduce the annual deficit? The government could simply pay the debts of the nation in the same way the banks paythem by electronic accounting entries in cyberspace. The privately-owned parasitic banking system is based on a fraud and we the public could be creating moneyourselves throughpublicly-owned banks that returned theirprofits to us, instead of to the perpetrators of the gigantic private banking swindle. Malcolm Parkin. 15 Gamekeepers Road, Kinnesswood, Kinross. Unionists on dangerous path Sir, - Are unionistsserious about preserving the union? I ask because afterwitnessing a shamblesof a debate on morepowers for Scotland in the House of Commons, the answer would appear to be no. The Conservatives seem to be back-tracking on not only the infamous Vow but even the Smith Commission pledges that they signed up to after last year’sreferendum. Scotland will notbe getting 100% of Lord Smith’s proposals. It is not even getting 80% of what Lord Smith intended. They even shot down proposals for full fiscal autonomy. Who could argue against Scotland being responsible for more of its own money? By rejecting even this reasonable compromise, unionist parties have set Scotland down a path they themselves sought to avoid. R M F Brown. Hill Terrace, Markinch. Preserve our way of life Sir, - The continual calls from do-gooders that we should do more to stop young adults becoming radicalisedis getting rather monotonous. The 17-year-old who made his way from the United Kingdom to the Middle East, strapped himself in a bomb and blew himself to pieces was an adult. It was his choice and not the result of some Mr Nasty giving a toddler a box offireworks and a book of matches. We have got to move away from this mindset that is spreading over our country that we simply absorb the attitude of a medieval way of life as part of some better-for-us cultural integration project and start treating those who do notaccept our way of life as pariahs. Reality may be hard for some to accept but it needs to be part of our way of life in future. Colin Cookson. Hatton Green, Stenton. Glenrothes. No lender of last resort Sir, - In her triumphant tour of US chat shows and lecture halls, the First Minister asserted that full fiscal responsibility would enable her to grow our economy and reduce inequality. Courtesy prevented her hosts questioning the Scottish economy or the new German model which has replaced her predecessors, Celtic Tigers and variousScandinavian Shangri-las. Innovation, high productivity and strong exports, she claimed, will create a Teutonic nirvana. But given our unhealthy, unqualified, unproductive workforce, that will be a neat trick. If George Osborne calls her bluff there is likely to be across-the-board tax increases and huge borrowing which, given our share of the UK’s accumulated debt, is going to be a tough call. The infamous White Paper gave the bland assurance that the Bank of England must act as lender of last resort but Mark Carney will insist the IMF drops in to sort out the mess. Dr John Cameron. 10 Howard Place, St Andrews. Take control of our borders Sir, - It is a chaotic situation in Calais where French authorities are in the ridiculous position of trying to mange thousands of immigrants who are trying to reach the promised land of Britain. These would-be entrants to this country believe the streets are paved with benefits, free healthcare, education and free interpretation services. Is it not time Britain changed her totallyineffective immigration system to a points-based one similar to Australia and America where immigrants are assessed on their skills, education and work experience. People who are undesirable, with criminal records, or have few skills would not have a hope of getting entry to this overstretched country. And this of course would ease pressure on other countries that immigrants use as a springboard to gain entry to the UK. But unfortunately, while Britain is still part of the European Union,I do not believe wehave any real hope of change. Gordon Kennedy. 117 Simpson Square, Perth. Embarrassing SNP actions Sir, - The SNP now want the UK Government to look at incentives to boost oil and gas exploration. It is another concrete sign of the desperate state of an industry so many of us rely on for work. It has been laid so and so many have been laid off since the oil price collapsed from $115 dollars a barrel to $63. But this was the industry that the SNP built its independence case on. It was oil revenue that was to bankroll Scotland to become anotherCeltic Tiger in an arc of prosperity in the north Atlantic. The truth is, if we had voted for independence last September, come 2016 we would have been in the poorhouse. I take no pleasure from this because I am a patriotic Scot who cares for his country. What I do object to is the SNP’s refusal to admit what our economic position would be. I wish they would state simply that they gambled everything on oil and got caught out by the price collapse. But the bluff, the fast talking and the howling down of opponentscontinues to drown out what should be a frank debate about our country’s finances and its future. Oil was to be the great wealth generator for Scotland but now First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is demanding support from the UK Government. Does she or the SNP not see the irony in this? I find it quite embarrassing. Charles Wilson. King’s Road, Rosyth.

Perth & Kinross

Furious parent brands staff cuts at Morrison’s Academy ‘an absolute disgrace’

February 26 2015

Teachers at Hollywood superstar Ewan McGregor’s old Perthshire school are facing redundancy. The shock news was broken to staff at Morrison’s Academy in Crieff on Tuesday afternoon, with more than 500 parents informed by email shortly afterwards. School officials say the “small number of redundancies” they are looking for will have no impact on the quality of teaching at the site, where fees top £11,000 a year. The announcement has angered some parents, with one branding the move “an absolute scandal and a disgrace”. One parent said he understood the departments targeted included English, maths, science and PE. He claimed the job losses would be rector Simon Pengelley’s legacy to the school which opened in 1860. “Today I would describe myself as a furious parent and I am far from the only one,” he said. “In the same email that he (Mr Pengelley) announces that departments and teachers are at risk, he says there is good news as the school is creating a new all-weather pitch.” He also said parents had been “issued with what was essentially a gagging order” and told to keep quiet about the redundancies. Asked about the announcement and the parent’s claims, Mr Pengelley said in a statement: “As part of the continuing and prudent financial management of Morrison’s Academy, a small number of redundancies and the contracts of some staff will change from full-time to part-time status from the start of next session. “We have started a period of consultation with those concerned from the departments that have more staff than will be required for teaching the numbers of pupils we will have in the school in 2015-2016. “The staff changes being made will have no impact on the curriculum, the quality of teaching and learning or the provision of co-curricular activities. “Morrison’s Academy will continue to operate at the high level of attainment on which we pride ourselves.” Star Wars actor Ewan McGregor, who is the school’s most famous former pupil, left in 1987 to embark on his acting career with a job as a stagehand at Perth Theatre.

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.


St Johnstone looking forward to reaping benefit of Stevie May’s loan adventure

January 4 2012

St Johnstone boss Steve Lomas is thrilled that teenage striker Stevie May is making his mark with loan club Alloa. The youngster grabbed a hat-trick in the Wasps' 3-1 win over East Stirling at the weekend and Recreation Park manager Paul Hartley is keen to extend his stay. But Lomas, who is pressing Bulgarian outfit CSKA Sofia to let them keep Cillian Sheridan at McDiarmid Park through to the end of the campaign, admits he will have to assess his frontline options before giving Hartley the thumbs-up. When he does end his loan at Alloa be it this month or in the summer Lomas believes Saints will reap the benefits of May getting regular first-team football. He said: ''We're delighted for Stevie and the hat-trick will have sent his confidence soaring. We have already seen the benefits of his loan spell in training sessions. He is really buzzing. ''I'll have to sit down with coaches Tommy Wright and Alec Cleland to assess whether Stevie will be involved if he comes back, or whether it is better for him to be getting more first-team experience and getting goals at Alloa.'' The 19-year-old burst on to the SPL scene last season under previous boss Derek McInnes. He had a couple of man-of-the-match performances but slipped out of the top-team picture towards the end of the term. The local lad then dropped further down the pecking order with the arrival of Sheridan, Fran Sandaza and Marcus Haber in the summer. Lomas added: ''Kids are never the finished article when they come into the first team. The fear you have with youngsters is that they stagnate because of the under-21 rule. ''I know Paul Hartley and he has been good for Stevie. This is a young manager who has a wealth of experience at top clubs as a player and Stevie is learning all the time.'' Inverness have halved ticket prices for their rearranged SPL game against Saints as they apologised for the late postponement. The Perth club were well on the way to Inverness ahead of the 2pm kick-off and Lomas was left ''bamboozled'' over the change in circumstances.

Perth & Kinross

Bicycling thief sought by police after Perth handbag snatch

June 17 2016

Police are hunting for a thief who made off with a lady’s handbag on a bicycle. The woman was targeted in Perth on Thursday evening. The woman was in the car park of Morrison’s when the man approached and spoke to her. He then grabbed her bag and fled in the direction of Caledonian Road. He was last seen on York Place, heading in the direction of South Street. Police have now issued a description of the thief. A spokeswoman for Police Scotland said: “We are appealing for information after a 64 year old woman had her purse snatched in the car park at Morrison’s Supermarket, Caledonian Road, Perth at 5pm on Thursday evening. “The woman was near to the bike rack when a man approached her on a pedal cycle, engaged her in conversation and then made off with her purse. “The suspect is described as five feet eight inches tall, stocky build, clean shaven, wearing a black jacket, blue jeans and a red baseball cap. “He made off on his bike in the direction of Caledonian Road, then into York Place heading towards South Street.” Anyone with any information that may be useful should contact Police Scotland, Tayside Division on 101, or any police officer. Alternatively information can be passed anonymously via the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.