AUNTY AG UNCLE ONY

Is it possible to take one's Louis Vuitton suitcase on a hiking holiday? And will a personal trainer guarantee victory in the London Marathon? Aunty Ag and Uncle Ony have all the answers
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Indy Lifestyle Online
For the past few years I have always holidayed in glamorous beach resorts and sipped cocktails by the pool, as one does. This year, however, for some reason I have a strange urge to go on a walking tour of the Lake District. All my friends are laughing at me and making snide comments about hiking sandals and rucksacks hung with frying pans and Swiss army knives, and I'm now having second thoughts. Is this really such an uncool option?

Tracey, via e-mail

Aunty Ag: I'm quite sure it is possible to have a glamorous walking tour of the Lake District, if you put your mind to it. First, plot your route between gorgeous country house hotels with proper restaurants and beauty salons. And don't dream of carrying everything with you: hire some nice little man to courier your luggage from place to place (certainly no rucksacks - Louis Vuitton as per usual, if you please!). This way you will be able to stroll along in a lovely floaty dress and a pair of flat but pretty sandals. As you sniff dreamily at wild flowers, with an elegant edition of Wordsworth's poems dangling at your fingertips, you will cause strange stirrings and longings among the hearty hikers along the way. It sounds wonderful.

Uncle Ony: Hiking an uncool option? It will potentially be very cool indeed if the weather we've been having lately is anything to go by. The precipitation in the Lake District is quite considerable, I believe. If you are really worried about being uncool, take some short-sleeved T-shirts. If you are worried about being too cool, pack a substantial sweater to pop on over the top.

If I start training now, do you think there's any chance I'll be fit enough to run the London Marathon next year? Would a personal trainer be a good investment?

Rupert, Clapham, London

Aunty Ag: I have no idea. Why would you want to do such a thing anyway? All that sweating, and competing with all those people in rhinoceros costumes ... if you were to set aside the money you'd spend on a personal trainer between now and next spring, and hand it over to the charity of your choice, you'd probably make just as much as you would by doing the run.

Uncle Ony: Reading between the lines I suspect you are a bit of a couch potato - a Mr Blobby who wants to achieve this goal as much for the sake of your self-esteem as to raise money for charity. And why not? As much as fitness, Rupert, this is an issue of self-belief! While a personal trainer might help, you must believe within yourself that you can pound the pavements for hours on end, ignoring the agony in knees, ankles and chest when there are still many miles to go! Before you even buy your running shoes concentrate on your psyche. I recommend personal affirmations. Repeat each morning 10 times: "I, Rupert, can become lithe and fit and able to run nearly 30 miles without collapsing in the process". You will be halfway there already!

A few days ago a friend persuaded me to have fibreglass nail extensions. They look fantastic, but since I've had them, I can't write or type or wash up or do housework or gardening. This is having quite a profound effect on my life and I wonder how other women manage.

Lucy, via e-mail

Aunty Ag: It's just a question of getting used to your lovely new nails. You'll find you'll start holding a pen slightly differently, typing at a different angle, and using rubber gloves where you never bothered before. Just give it a few days and you won't even notice you have them. But in the meantime, why not just enjoy your enforced laziness while it lasts? Have a few days off work and let your house get dirty.

Uncle Ony: Having these ridiculous talons is a way of subconsciously trying to cut down on your mundane everyday tasks. You are attempting to join an elite group of high-maintenance women whose only raison d'etre is looking elegant and groomed. Sadly, when the state of your nails means you have to be waited on hand and foot, you also have to have the wherewithal to pay for such a lifestyle. Come down to earth and have them taken off.

Send your problems to Aunty Ag and Uncle Ony at the Independent on Sunday, Canary Wharf, 1 Canada Square, London E14 5DL or e-mail agony@independent.co.uk

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