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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...


US Advent-ure for young Scott Ballantyne

August 13 2010

An eight-year-old boy who designed his own board game has set his sights on conquering America, after watching the first copy of his game roll off the presses in Dundee. Scott Ballantyne from Tillicoultry dreamed up his Advent-ure board game when he was just seven years old and recuperating at home from an operation to repair a ruptured intestine. He used an old advent calendar for the game, with each door hiding challenges and questions. Although his prototype was inspired by the hit film Pirates Of The Caribbean, the game can be customised to suit any subject. The game earned him a place as a finalist in the John Logie Baird Awards, the competition to find Scotland's top inventor, and has now won him an invitation to the Chicago Toy and Games Fair in November. Scott and his family visited Dundee printing company Trendell Simpson, which printed the first 2000 copies of the game for sale, on Thursday. Scott's mum Patricia said, "There has been so much interest that we've been invited to the Chicago Toy Fair and Scott has been nominated as the Young Games Inventor of the Year. "We're going to be introduced to people from Hasbro and Disney, as well as Toys R Us, so we already have interest from three key markets." Scott, who will be nine this month, said he is looking forward to travelling to Chicago but admitted to feeling anxious watching his game being made professionally for the first time. "I did feel a bit nervous but it was quite enjoyable," he said. "I think most people like the game this is one that is very different to play." The young inventor does not intend to rest on his laurels and is already planning his next game. "It's called Space Chess," he said. "It's like chess but played with things you find in outer space." Euan McGill, sales manager of Trendell Simpson, said, "We've made a few board games before but Scott is definitely our youngest ever client." The plucky eight-year-old has also written to business guru Sir Alan Sugar about his entrepreneurial streak. "He's only eight but he's a lot better than a lot of people on that programme," Patricia said.


Mum and son jailed for dealing drugs from Lochgelly home

February 14 2014

A Lochgelly mother and son have been jailed after admitting dealing drugs from their family home. Pauline Simpson, 41, of Stationhead Road, and Steven Gray, 23, of Andrew Street, pleaded guilty on indictment to one charge each of being concerned in the supply of drugs. Cupar Sheriff Court heard that £2,010 worth of amphetamine was found in Simpson’s freezer at her home address by police following an anonymous tip-off. Meanwhile, Gray admitted being concerned in the supply of former legal high methylethcatinone, otherwise known as “magic”, which is now a class B substance. Fiscal depute Nicola Henderson told the court: “Gray was 23 at the time of the offence and was arrested with his mother, and co-accused, Pauline Gray, who was 41. “They are both unemployed and live on benefits. As a result of reliable, confidential information that the accused were concerned in the supply of drugs a search warrant was granted. “They were detained and the accused Gray told the police to check the freezer. “There officers found 201 grams of amphetamine worth £2,010. A total of 20.49 grams of methylethcatinone were also found, valued at around £400. “Gray advised he had been selling ‘magic’ while Simpson said the amphetamine was hers.” Simpson’s lawyer told the court she had planned to peddle the drugs because she wanted to put down a deposit on a bigger house. Sheriff Charles Macnair QC blasted Simpson for having illegal substances within reach of three young children. “Is it in the interests of the children of that age to have dangerous illegal drugs sat around within their reach?” he said. “That is perhaps something that the social work department should take an interest in. “This was nothing but a commercial enterprise. I take into account the impact this will have on your children but that’s tempered by the fact you were living with dangerous drugs lying around your house in the reach of your children.” Simpson was jailed for 18 months while Gray received a nine-month sentence.

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.

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


Dundee fan who assaulted Aberdeen supporter has sentence cut in half

October 16 2013

A football thug who attacked a rival supporter in Dundee city centre has had his sentence almost halved on appeal. Judges ruled that despite committing a “wholly unprovoked, vicious” assault, William Simpson should serve five months instead of the 11 originally imposed. Simpson, of Balunie Drive, had seen Dundee FC lose 3-1 at home to Aberdeen on December 29. The member of the Alliance Under Fives casuals group then targeted Connor Leslie, who was making his way to the railway station, after asking if he was an Aberdeen fan. Police CCTV cameras captured the attack and Simpson admitted at the city’s sheriff court in July to punching his victim on the head, knocking him to the ground and repeatedly punching him on the head and kicking him on his body to his injury. He was sentenced to 11 months’ detention at Polmont Young Offenders’ Institution and banned from attending football matches for 30 months. Simpson appealed against his detention. The Appeal Court studied a report from Sheriff Alastair Brown, who said the CCTV recording had shown Simpson approach the scene of the assault in Shore Terrace in a “swaggering and aggressive” manner. “It was my opinion that it was a particularly unpleasant incident in which a man, on his own in a public place, was assaulted with no immediately obvious reason except for the fact that he was an Aberdeen supporter, was knocked to the ground and punched several times and kicked. “Notwithstanding the fact that the appellant is a first offender, I consider that that was so serious to merit not only a custodial disposal but a starting point at the maximum of 12 months. “I discounted that to take account of the stage at which the plea was tendered,” Sheriff Brown added. Simpson’s agent argued the sentence was excessive. His client had given up drinking and had shown genuine remorse. He had also experienced the “short sharp shock” of eight weeks’ detention before being released pending his appeal. The Appeal Court was asked to consider ordering Simpson to do unpaid work in the community as an alternative to custody. Delivering the ruling, Lady Smith said: “We agree...this was a very serious offence. The assault by the appellant was wholly unprovoked, vicious and motivated by allegiance to a football team. “That context was of particular significance. Experience has shown there is serious and real risk of any violence that occurs between football supporters escalating.” The judge said Sheriff Brown had been right to consider that only a custodial sentence was appropriate but, given Simpson was a first offender and the other “positive factors” referred to by his agent, he had erred in determining the length of sentence. Simpson’s football banning order remains in force.


Michael Simpson, senior partner with solicitors in Perth, dies suddenly

August 14 2014

Michael Simpson, senior partner with Condies Solicitors in Perth, has died suddenly at home aged 63. Born in Aberdeen, the eldest of four children, he enjoyed a happy childhood and showed an early addiction to card games. He did well at school before going on to take his law degree at Aberdeen University, graduating in 1972, before studying for his Masters in Edinburgh. His new career was to bring him more than just employment, it was also to lead him to meeting his future wife. Mr Simpson was serving an apprenticeship with a law firm in Eyemouth and staying in digs in Berwick upon Tweed when he met Lili Saint Quentain, a young teacher who was assisting with French tuition at the local school. They married in Aberdeen in 1975 and when Mr Simpson finished his apprenticeship in Eyemouth, he and Lili moved to Banff, where he had taken a local government job. Not content with a desk job, within the year he had secured his first post at Condies in Perth, and they made their way south to what was to be home from then on. Mr Simpson’s lifetime hobby was playing bridge which he learned as a boy and he went on to join the university club at Aberdeen, as well as taking classes in it. A long-time member of the Perth Bridge Club, he would be out two or three evenings a week, and was a respected and skilful player. He was a great reader and enjoyed fiction as well as biographies and works on history. Mr Simpson and his wife were frequent concert goers, with folk music high on their list of favourites. He always loved to eat out and while he was never a sportsman himself, he did enjoy watching sport. Jane Bechtel from the Humanist Society Scotland, who conducted Mr Simpson’s service, said that the “kind, generous and helpful side of Mike was one that seemed to have been built into his personality from a young age”. His legal colleague John McLaughlin spoke of his long friendship with Mr Simpson and said he was never happier than when he was tackling some complex legal problem. “Mike served as secretary for East of Scotland Farmers for 28 years,” said Mr McLaughlin. “He guided them through a number of complicated legal problems, he loved this role because it combined his love of agricultural law and meeting his friends.” Mr Simpson is survived by his wife Lili, children Sara, Emma and Nadine, and grandchildren Jessica and Jude.

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.


Man admits starting £90,000 Hilltown blaze

July 11 2013

A Dundee man who started a blaze causing £90,000 of damage to his top-floor flat had to be rescued from the roof by firefighters, a court has heard. David Simpson clung to a chimney stack outside the Hilltown property after setting fire to a barricade made out of furniture and household rubbish. The court heard that more than 20 firefighters were involved in tackling the blaze and rescuing Simpson on August 20 last year. Simpson, 38, of Transform, Soapwork Lane, admitted wilfully setting fire to furniture, household items and rubbish placed immediately behind the main door of the flat by means of pouring white spirit or similar accelerant over the property and igniting it. He admitted that the fire took effect and damaged the flat, furniture, household items, rubbish and other contents. Dundee Sheriff Court heard Simpson was seen standing on the roof of the property holding on to the chimney and was brought down by firefighters. Depute fiscal Susan Ruta said: “Fire investigators were able to confirm that in their opinion the fire had been started deliberately.” She said that lighters and a piece of carpet with an accelerant smell were taken from the flat. Firefighters attended at the scene and flats were evacuated. The accused was brought down by the fire brigade and spoken to by police. Ms Ruta said: “Simpson stated he thought someone was coming round to beat him up, so he started to throw things down the stairs to block the door and went to sleep. He said the next thing he knew, the flat was on fire.” Scenes of crime officers and fire officers went to the property to start an investigation the next day. Simpson’s lawyer Anne Johnston told the court he had suffered from a long-standing alcohol problem. Deferring sentence, Sheriff George Way said: “His own life was at stake, let alone anyone else’s. I think we have a serious risk to all concerned here.” Simpson was remanded in custody and his sentence was deferred to August 8 for reports.