I am probably not the only middle-aged woman in Deepest Sussex who is a very keen consumer of The Archers and Game of Thrones, probably…
An Oxfam colleague and I came across a whole heap of the George R R Martin books in the bottom of a box and, rather to my surprise, he said/admitted he and his wife were addicted to both the books and the television series.
He encouraged me to take the first in the series and said he was sure I would be a happy reader. Yes, dear reader, I was.
I am not about to go into a critical analysis of the books but suffice it to say there is a lot of historical allusions and I rather like that in my fantasy book, between lots of gory violence and no mean amount of sex.
The best beloved thought about buying me the box set of the first series but then realised he could get it all from LoveFilm.
Now we spend many a happy evening ploughing through them and I have learned to stop saying,’Oh but it’s not like that in the book. They …..’ It doesn’t go down all that well.
(After long and stressful days, we have been known to resort to an episode or two of Doc Martin but we try not to admit that in public.
But now we salivate over the nest series of Game of Thrones. I do realise they are different genres and Martin Clunes might find himself adrift in Westeros.)
Game of Thrones allusions have been making their way into our conversations.
Up on the Malvern Hills the other day we were pretty sure that the wildings would be living on the Herefordshire side and our friend with the small holding near Bromyard should be on the lookout.
I do realise this won’t mean much to anyone who has never bothered with the series so instead of amusing you with even more conversational allusions, I will desist.
Except to say that a regular comment on any aspect of the news these days is ‘Winter is Coming!’
The Archers of course are one long box set, running year after year, after year after year stretching back in my case to my early twenties. (At least now I am in the proper, ageing, Radio 4 demographic.)
I find it mildly amusing to know that I share a hairdresser with Shula, who lives nearby shacked up with Brian. I know, I know, you didn’t think that was happening did you…
The best beloved has worked rather hard to tune out of The Archers for all the years I have known him but of course, even he, did get into the Helen and Rob story line.
It is surprising who you meet who are Archers fans – the most unlikely of people sometimes, and of course it is part of the fabric of Radio 4 – and I am an unashamed wall-to-wall Radio 4 listener.
Way back, on Radio 4 I first heard The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and raved about it to my fellow students – as you can imagine a Radio 4 listening, bread baking, dog owning, mostly non-drinking student as I was, was viewed as odd but then as I had found the only centrally-heated flat for miles around, I was indulged.
I like Desert Island Discs, I love I Am Sorry I haven’t a Clue and am even willing to tolerate Money Box and Poetry Please. The trouble is that Radio 4 does a lot of repeats then a weekly round up of the best of the output so you can hear the same thing quite a lot of times.
(In a spirit of full confession and in the sure knowledge not many people will read this, I have to admit that I am not a huge fan of the Shipping Forecast.
I’d like to be, and I understand why people do like it but for me, I am happy when it is over and The World Service kicks in and I can hear about revolutionary sheep farming in Nigeria or whatever.)
But then you do hear stuff on Radio 4 that is quite marvellous. Just last week, for example, there was the story of two people who had both been wrongfully jailed for many years – him in Northern Ireland and her in America. They had met at an Amnesty International Conference and ended up together.
They bought a place in the quiet countryside and set up a refuge, half-way house whatever you might call it, for other people who got out after years of being locked up for something they never did.
Listening to them and the people they had helped was just fascinating.
So, though I realise Radio 4 is made for me – lefty, liberal, middle-aged and thus it feeds my own world view, I am not giving up and challenging myself to anything new – except of course another episode of Game of Thrones which is not really my world.