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In London one day—in Tooting (in south London)—I got on a double-deck red bus and, on the upper level, sat in a seat behind two old women, whereat I caught what was apparently the last word in a discussion they’d been having—one said to the other: “Ah yes, I do love an epic.”

The pair remained silent afterwards, never saying anything else, except maybe, “Here we are”, just before they got off at the Palace of Westminster stop.

In front of a non-stop fire—with an outhouse full of winter fuel—I spent all of December 2012 reading George R.R. Martin’s ‘Song of Ice & Fire’ series of novels—because of the HBO television series, now better known as Game of Thrones, which is the title of the first of the ‘Song of Ice & Fire’ novels. And I mean ALL of December, from the end of November to some time just after New Year’s Day—seven big books (5 novels in 7 books, each book with about 800 pages). Other than read that amazing saga (and attend a handful of social events), all I did for those 5 or 6 weeks was cook richish meals, tend the fire, and sleep—be it 4 AM or 4 PM—during which I had wonderful, colourful, vivid dreams, better than any film-maker could ever achieve.

The HBO TV series is, I must say, very good too—Martin was a Hollywood writer for years—season 3 of which is running at present (in Europe on Sky Atlantic). If you have not gotten into it already—and you think you might enjoy a War of the Roses type epic (Starks and Lannisters /Yorks and Lancasters)—later this year as the leaves fall one by one by one and the wispy mists of harvest-time engulf the stubble fields, get the box sets for seasons 1 to 3, stock up on food and fuel, and launch yourself into it . . . it’s like The Sopranos meets Tolstoy’s War and Peace and gets into a ménage à trois with Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings