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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


George Watson’s College 5 Strathallan School 5: Under-16s Cup shared at Murrayfield

December 2 2015

Strathallan School were on balance the better team but the Scottish Schools Under-16s Cup final ended with the trophy shared between the Perthshire school and George Watson’s College after a try apiece. Strath played most of the entertaining rugby at pace on the big pitch at BT Murrayfield, but were unable to bring the school their first major rugby trophy. Centre Will Godard, one of several outstanding backs in the Strath team, was named man of the match. Replacement Finlay Laird scored Strath’s try early in the second half after they trailed at the break to Joseph Cantle’s try for Watson’s. However although all the best chances fell to Strath in the second half they were unable to force another score to win the cup outright, and by the rules of the competition the trophy was shared between the teams. Strathallan began brightly with skipper and playmaker Calum McKeown prompting things behind the scrum and they should have forced an opening try with several drives right at the Watson’s line. However referee Alex Obreja couldn’t see a grounding and a lost lineout allowed the Edinburgh team to eventually clear their lines. That scenario was repeated at the other end as Watson’s piled pressure on the Strath line, but stalwart defence managed to force a knock-on and a clearance kick. But Strath knocked on themselves trying to run from their own 22, and this time Watson’s repeated charges to the try-line brought an unconverted score for flanker Joseph Cantle, right on the 20 minute mark. Strath’s tenacity at the breakdown was bringing them plenty of ball and one clever kick from McKeown had Watson’s struggling in defence and conceding a penalty in their own half. There was another infringement at the resulting lineout and this time McKeown went for the posts with half-time looming, only to badly mis-hit his penalty attempt. But eight minutes into the second half Strathallan struck after some great hands kept a move alive deep in the Watson’s 22 and won a penalty. This time scrum-half Aedan Brennan went with the tap, and replacement prop Finlay Laird took Hamish White’s pass to stretch over for the equalising score in the corner. That probably convinced White to try another quick tap when Strath forced a penalty deep in the Watson’s 22, but this time they were stalled and the defenders won a penalty to clear. Still Strath looked the team more likely to win, with breaks from first Godard and then White almost providing the breakthrough but for loose passes. Late in the game Watson’s put together a series of drives in the Strathallan 22, but a fumble brought relief and the final whistle George Watson’s College: T Urquhart; B Grant, C Hoffie, J Milligan, J Cheung; L Miller, J Forrester; J Wilson, J Holligan, S Wright; B Marshall, A Stevenson; J Cantle, M Think (capt), S Gibson. Strathallan School: H Brown; S Aitken, T Clark, W Goddard, E Nicol; C McKeown (capt), A Brennan; M Walker, H Stewart, D Stirrat; M Reid, O Gleave; L Webster, C Henderson, H White. Reps F Laird, E Sutherland, J O’Brien, L Beveridge Ref: A Obreja.

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

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.

Angus & The Mearns

Watson honoured by Monifieth Golf Links

July 20 2016

Tom Watson was honoured in Monifieth when he returned to the scene of the first links course he ever played on Wednesday night. The five-time Open champion drove off the first Medal tee in front of Monifieth Links Trust members to re-enact his first shot on a links course. In 1975, the then 25-year-old played Monifieth Medal after he discovered nearby Carnoustie was closed for practice games ahead of his first Open. Watson - who stopped off ahead of his preparations for today’s Senior Open first-round - was presented with an honorary life membership and a plaque was embedded in the first tee to mark his return to where it all began. He described the honour bestowed on him at Monifieth as "very nice" and said it was a pleasure to return to a course which helped him come to terms with the peculiarities of links golf. He said: "The last time I hit the first tee ball at Monifieth I virtually lost it despite hitting it straight down the middle of the fairway. "It didn't get me off to a great start as far as my liking of links golf goes to put it mildly. "Going back to have a ceremonial first tee shot is very nice." Brought up land-locked in Kansas, Watson initially found links golf foreign and befuddling until his landmark round at Monifieth. His first drive in 1975 went straight down the middle of the fairway but he still ended up losing the ball in a tiny pot bunker 50 yards to the left. But Watson went on to win the 1975 Open at Carnoustie with a piece of white heather zipped inside his bag. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQpIyztLWdo A little girl had knocked on his door the morning of his Carnoustie play-off win against Australia’s Jack Newton and handed him the heather wrapped in foil as a good-luck charm. Watson rented a little house in Monifieth during The Open and that evening he said it “seemed like the whole neighbourhood came by” after he won the Claret Jug Few have come close to Watson’s Open achievements and he went on to win four more titles including the famous Duel in the Sun with Jack Nicklaus at Turnberry in 1977.


High School of Dundee 17 George Watson’s College 34: Brave High School go down to reigning champions in Schools Cup semi

November 25 2015

The High School of Dundee showed tremendous heart and no little skill but couldn’t quite unseat three-times champions George Watson’s College to reach the Scottish Rugby Schools Cup Final at Mayfield yesterday. Three tries in ten minutes just after half-time meant that the Edinburgh school won 34-17 and stayed on track for a fourth successive Cup ititle n the BT Murrayfield final next month but High, in their first year under new Head of Rugby Phil Godman, could hold their heads high after a supreme effort against the tournament favourites. High actually led 10-8 at half-time and had a man advantage for the early minutes of the second half but that was exactly when Ally Donaldson’s side tightened the noose. The three-try blitz that took Watson’s in front again might have floored the less-experienced home side but they rallied for a second try from flanker Angus Fraser and had chances to close the gap even more before a late score from Watson’s impressive full back Callum Martin finally broke their resistance. Godman, the former Scotland international stand-off, said he was proud of the effort of his young team. “We haven’t been together for a long time and if you’d suggested at the start of the term we’d be going toe-to-toe with George Watson’s in a Scottish Schools Cup semi-final I don’t think many would have believed it,” he said. “They’re the strongest team in the country and winning the cup three years in a row and doing well at Under-16s in that time shows what experience they have. “I think they maybe brought that to bear in that spell after half-time was really the winning of the game, but the application and fight our guys showed before half-time was fantastic. “The last ten minutes was what we’re all about, playing at pace, and with a lot of Form 5 boys in the team we can build from this.” Early exchanges were pretty level in front of a noisy crowd before Watson’s moved out to an 8-0 lead with impressive scrum-half Fraser Peters directing his big pack and midfield. However a long defensive stand by High on their own line followed a try from stand-off Euan Fox just before the break after a sweeping move from their own half seemed to have turned the game. Full back Rory Johnston kicked a penalty after a high tackle brought a yellow card for one of the Watson’s forwards and High had the lead at the changearound. But fired up by Donaldson’s half-time talk the champions swept in for three tries, both half-backs scoring and Peters kicking two conversions to add to his earlier penalty. Back came High however with renewed determination and after their impressive forwards No 8 Sean Gauld and captain and hooker Rehan Baig had made inroads, Fraser squeezed over for their second try, Johnston converting to make it 27-17 going into the final minutes. High had one more chance to edge closer but Watson’s defence held, and the powerfully built and pacy Martin smashed through tackles for the final score late on.

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.


Just champion – Fife black pudding wins top title

May 10 2016

It’s a red letter day for Fife black pudding experts. For butchers Watsons of Leven have been crowned this year’s Scottish black pudding champions after winning the final judged under the leadership of Wendy Barrie of the Scottish Food Guide. As East of Scotland champions, Watson’s black pudding was mystery shopped and tested against the other regional champs from Hawick, Dingwall, Largs and Wemyss Bay. Head judge Wendy said: “Five black puddings, they were delicious puddings and it wasn’t easy to decide. “We revisited some of them, we cooked some more samples and we take it very very seriously, our black puddings. “We did get a clear winner in the end.” The deciding factor was a combination, balance with texture and taste with no one thing overwhelming anything else. “It is a culmination of factors and it has to look good so that it appeals to the consumer,” she added. Wendy said the five finalists were all very different, but all had something which was “rather appealing”. “The Watsons black pudding was a delicious exemplar of its kind and I think will sit very well on a British and world plate.”


Sherlock sidekick’s elementary link to Dundee

February 6 2014

Dr Watson, companion of Sherlock Holmes in fiction’s most famous detective double act, was a doctor in the west end of Dundee. The elementary and astonishing piece of evidence that Watson was based on osteopath William Smith has been discovered by city osteopath Tim Baker. He also learned that the inspiration for the famous detective’s companion treated patients a few yards from his own surgery on Perth Road from 1910 to 1912. Tim was attending the annual meeting of the Scottish Osteopathic Society in Aberdeen when a guest speaker related the story of William Smith a story with some surprising twists. Smith (1862-1912) was one of Britain’s first osteopaths. He opened a practice in Dundee in 1910 after years working in the United States but Tim knew little of his background. Conference speaker Jason Haxton, curator of the American Museum of Osteopathy, brought various artefacts to illustrate his talk, including an article from an American newspaper written by Smith’s son Cuthbert in 1938. In the Des Moines Sunday Register account headlined “Watson’s Son Reveals Real Sherlock Holmes,” Cuthbert Smith disclosed Holmes’ author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle modelled Dr Watson on his father, William Smith. Doyle and William Smith were fellow medical students at Edinburgh University in the 1880s and it was their experience with Dr Joseph Bell that inspired Doyle to create Sherlock Holmes and his trusting companion. Doyle was so impressed by Bell’s powers of deduction an uncanny ability to diagnose patients before they would speak a word to him about their afflictions that he used him as the inspiration for Holmes. Dr John Watson, a Southsea doctor who served time in Manchuria and was an acquaintance of Doyle, was honoured with having Holmes’ partner named for him. There is also evidence from A Study in Scarlet, Doyle’s first story to feature Sherlock Holmes, that Surgeon-Major Alexander Francis Preston may have been the model for Dr Watson, as their experiences from the Afghan war were similar However, the revelation that Dr Watson was based on William Smith casts new light on the character. Tim Baker attended the Scottish Osteopathic Society annual meeting and found a table with various curiosities brought over by Mr Haxton from the American museum. “I glanced at the display but did not really pay heed to it,” Tim said. “Jason Haxton had done some work on the history of osteopathy with reference to Scotland and two of the main players were William Smith and Martin Littlejohn, both Edinburgh-trained doctors who went to America and played a leading role in bringing osteopathy into the 20th Century. “I started to pay a bit more attention as I knew that William Smith had a practice in Dundee in the early part of the century but I knew nothing else. “Over coffee I asked Jason more questions and I realised that William Smith had been practising 50 yards from me 100 years ago.” Tim then saw the speaker’s archive material, which contained the startling revelation in the article by Smith’s son that his father was Dr Watson. In the Iowa state capital’s newspaper on January 16 1938, Cuthbert Smith recalled Doyle, who also became a doctor, fashioned Sherlock Holmes on Bell. Cuthbert Smith said: “The detective’s companion Watson was my father William Smith.” He explained how Doyle and his father marvelled at Bell’s talent presented in a daily parade of breathtaking deliberations. One day, Doyle confided in William Smith that he was playing around with the idea of writings based on the faculties of Bell, who was approached and not only agreed but offered many helpful suggestions. “The character of Watson was written around my father but it was merely a friendly gesture on Doyle’s part and not based on any personal merits connected with the remarkable character of the stories of Joseph,” wrote Cuthbert Smith. Cuthbert Smith went on to describe when, as a pupil at Dollar and his father was in Dundee, he was taken by his father to meet Bell and Doyle in Edinburgh a special occasion when Holmes and Watson were with their creator. Cuthbert later settled in Des Moines.