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Two Agony Aunts, Two Different Perspectives

Updated on November 8, 2017
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The author of this article is an ex-adult education lecturer and retired expat who has lived in France since 2001.

Octavia, a bit of an old goat
Octavia, a bit of an old goat | Source

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Octavia's Perspective is a spoof agony aunt column that appears in a new, free, online magazine entitled 'Le Gallophile'. As the name implies, this is a magazine catering for those who have an interest in all things French and is based in Nouvelle Aquitaine, France, but that doesn't mean it can't appeal to others.

Octavia is a fictional character, a bit of an old goat who has a slight medical problem for which she has to imbibe copious amounts of wine throughout the day and night for medicinal reasons. She has lived life to the full and at 96 years of age is convinced that her vast and unique life experience qualifies her to offer her own particular brand of worldly advice to other, less worldly-wise mortals.

Unfortunate People

Despite her tendency towards bluntness and her many unpleasant character deficiencies, Octavia runs a successful column and has developed a wide and loyal readership base. She receives many letters on a range of topics from all kinds of unfortunate people desperately seeking help in their personal lives.

Desperate Characters

Cheapus Skinflint

Cheapus is a bedridden invalid with not much time left in this world who has won a considerable fortune on the EuroMillions lottery. He wants advice regarding who to leave it to in his will. Octavia has no doubt about who the money should go to.

Anita Gonow

Ms. Gonow has a desperate problem with incontinence pads. Octavia has wide personal experience with this particular issue on a daily basis and has been able to offer her own unique solution to Ms. Gonow.

Olivia Twist

Olivia has written in regarding the uncanny resemblance that is evident in a photograph of herself when comparing it with one of Octavia. As she was abandoned by her mother at birth, she asks if there is any chance that Octavia could be her mother. The likeness is indeed remarkable, and Octavia does admit to having produced a few wild oats in her time, but firmly rejects the possibility that Olivia could be one of them.

Octavia's daughter, Sylvia, has a much more serious approach.
Octavia's daughter, Sylvia, has a much more serious approach.

Sylvia's Perception

Octavia shares her platform on Le Gallophile with another agony aunt who happens to be her one and only legitimate daughter, Sylvia. Sylvia is also a fictional character who appeared on this earth as a result of a short marriage lasting only 24 hours before her newly-wed husband, the love of her life (who incidentally she can't remember the name of), met a cruel and brutal end.

Despite being the daughter of a toothless wandering tramp of no fixed abode, Sylvia has turned out rather well and is far more sensible than her mother, offering a serious advice service to readers. She possesses a high level of emotional intelligence and is sensitive to other people's problems, She takes her responsibilities as an online counsellor and adviser very seriously and approaches her job in a professional manner.

No Problem Too Small

Readers have written in to Sylvia's Perception on topics ranging from something as simple as a minor lover's tiff to major divorce problems, problems with neighbours and issues at a local choir. Some things may seem like minor problems to those reading about them, but to the individuals concerned, they are of major importance.

As stated clearly above, Sylvia is a fictional character. The name Sylvia is merely a pen name. However, behind the name stands a real individual who takes every letter seriously and gives an honest and sensitive response to all genuine letters. She does not portray herself as a trained psychotherapist or professionally qualified in any way in this field, but merely offers a sympathetic ear to listen and friendly words of advice. Anonymity is guaranteed.

More details and a fuller explanation appear on Le Gallophile website.

© 2017 Annabelle Johnson


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