Two heads are better than one when personal problems loom. This week, Aunty Ag and Uncle Ony tackle in-flight phobia, empty feelings and mute admiration

I am flying off for a winter holiday shortly. I have never been a confident flyer and with all the recent press coverage of air rage, I am now absolutely terrified of the journey.

Lisa, via e-mail

Aunty Ag: A jolly incident of air rage is likely to be far more entertaining than anything the in-flight film can provide. If you see a family of a dozen merry Irish travellers in the check-in queue, you should rejoice. Incidentally, did road rage stop you driving? Thought not.

Uncle Ony: Yes, it is a bit of a worry. After all, it takes quite a lot to bring a plane down and leave the unfortunate crew and passengers horribly mangled in the wreckage, but then one thinks of the chap who actually managed to punch out a window recently... Brrrrr! Scary, isn't it? I'm not surprised you're worked up. I suggest hypnosis, a gentle, non-invasive remedy that will softly soothe away your fear - you could try my very own tape, Overcome That Phobia!, available from reputable retailers nationwide at pounds 74.99.


I have a pretty good job, a long-term relationship with a nice man, a pleasant flat in a pleasant area of London and plenty of friends. I am even on good terms with almost every member of my family. However, over the past few weeks I haven't been able to stop myself feeling that there must be more to life, and that I was born to do something more exciting, thrilling and glamorous. Is this pure fantasy or should I generally be feeling more fulfilled?

Rachel, London SW19

Aunty Ag: We all fantasise about suddenly being recognised as a long- lost scion of some fabulously aristo family, born to greatness, with pots of money and a jetset lifestyle, just as we all imagine discovering some latent talent, like acting or singing or writing, that will put the world at our feet. To be brutally honest, though, you're more likely to win the Lottery. If you were the new Kate Winslet or Martine McCutcheon or even Tamara Beckwith, I suspect you'd have had an inkling of it by now. You are probably just fed-up with the greyness of life in this country in February. Book a sunny holiday and you will miraculously feel more fulfilled.

Uncle Ony: There is a spiritual void at the centre of many lives that are materially very successful. As the new millennium creeps towards us many people are taking stock. However, I notice that your ambitions are not terribly spiritual: remember, a thrilling, glamorous life can be as hollow as any other. What you should aim for are goals that are significant and spiritually rewarding rather than superficially glittering. Try some voluntary work that would make you appreciate what you have and give you the real satisfaction of helping others. I would also point out, in the gentlest possible way, that many people would envy your tranquil if rather mediocre lifestyle. To some it would seem unimaginably glamorous to have a job, home and partner. Count your blessings!


There is a lovely girl who works in my office whom I have long admired from afar but never plucked up the courage to approach in any romantic way, though we get on well. The other day I overheard her telling a friend over the phone about her new boyfriend. My heart sank into my boots and I wished I had been more assertive earlier. Is there anything I can do to retrieve the situation?

Mark, Warrington

Aunty Ag: Oh dear. It's a well-known syndrome: a woman can be happily single for weeks, months and years, and when she gets a new man, suddenly she needs a big stick to beat off droves of other suitors. What is it about being unavailable that's so attractive? I'm afraid, Mark, you have probably missed the boat. Don't be so weedy in future. Incidental memo to all single women: have a loud phone conversation in the office about your gorgeous, sensitive new bloke (real or fictitious) and watch the rest queue up.

Uncle Ony: It's never too late. Officially, you know nothing about this new boyfriend. So what's to stop you asking her out for a friendly drink after work one evening? For all you know, she has been secretly hankering after you too, and this new romantic interest is simply second-best for her. Remember, faint hearts never won fair ladies!