Maria Greenwood’s on her musician of the month and a fear of flying

Amy Maye

Amy Maye - Credit: Archant

A fear of flying can severely limit your travelling horizons - unless you’re lucky enough to live in a beautiful staycation county like Dorset

Sat at the hairdresser’s trying not to eavesdrop (a conflict of interest when you’re a journalist) when the question came: “going anywhere nice for your holidays?” I smiled although it wasn’t directed at me. The young apprentice was washing a lady’s hair nearby and making polite conversation. My initial amusement was quickly replaced by a twinge of jealousy when I heard the reply. “Oh yes, we’re flying out to the Maldives next week.”

White sandy beaches, crystal clear blue water, slowly sipping a Del Boy style cocktail, with your biggest decision of the day being what to have for dinner. Sounds like bliss to me. It’s just a shame that to get there you have to be launched into the air, travelling at 600 miles per hour in a big tin tube and they don’t even give you a parachute. Can you tell why I won’t be following the jetsetters? Yes, because I am terrified of flying.

I have been on a plane a few times. One of the most memorable journeys was coming back from Dublin, when Keith Duffey from Boyzone chose to take the seat next to me. I’d been introduced to him when he was starring in a Weymouth pantomime, so he’d spotted a vaguely familiar face. Making small talk with a celebrity isn’t easy at the best of times let alone at 45,000 ft when you are desperately trying to cover up your flying phobia. I have a feeling my white knuckled grip on the arm rest might have been a slight giveaway.

So this year, I’m sparing myself the anguish of flying off on holiday. I’m taking the advice of the Government’s tourism minister, Helen Grant, who told everyone caught up in the recent passport delay fiasco to try a “staycation” and consider holidaying at home. OK, so she was in Brazil at the time she said it, but I think she does have a point.

If I want golden sands and azure blue waters, I’ve got Weymouth Bay. If I’m feeling adventurous and want to try sailing, windsurfing or diving I have Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy on my doorstep. If I want great night life, good places to eat and drink and live music of every genre, Dorset has it.

Sometimes I think we need to take a step back and view our beautiful county through the eyes of a tourist. It’s easy to take for granted what we have on our doorstep. So this summer I’ve decided that I’m going to rediscover everything that Dorset has to offer and do all the things that holidaymakers do. I’m going to be a tourist who’s holidaying at home.

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Maria’s Musician of the Month

People ask me what makes a good singer. Of course it’s having good pitch and tone, but to me what makes a good singer exceptional is their passion, and passion for music is something which Amy Mayes has in abundance. You can see it in her bare footed performances. Her repertoire has firm roots in soul music, which is perfectly suited to her voice, and she can sure belt out a tune. Amy’s also a great storyteller through song, conveying the meaning of every lyric that she sings. After spending 10 years in London, she’s now back in Dorset working with an array of talented musicians. You can see Amy Mayes on 21 August at The Stable, Weymouth with Andy Grant and Chris Taylor, she’s also going to be playing at the Dorchester Love Parade on 24 August with Grant Day and Steve Rossant. To find out more visit her website

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