One of the great pleasures of writing Whitehall is simply the pleasure of traveling to England in my mind, wandering around smelling pies baking and exploring the deepest reaches of those old kitchens and admiring the pelicans in St. James Park.
London is rich and full of history, of course, but my favorite part of the land lies just south, the Weald of Kent, which even in the modern day is a green and fertile place, laced with roads that travel beneath green tunnels of trees. This is the native land of my partner, who grew up in the Weald. His mother lived there until she departed for the great beyond only a couple of years ago, and many was the day she and I piled into her car and careened around those far-too-narrow roads, taking tea in this garden shop or that one, stopping at farm stands to buy strawberries or whatever other wealth of produce the land offered that week.
So it was great fun for me to head out of the city with Catherine in Episode 9 and travel that lush landscape. Catherine escapes Whitehall to “take the waters” in hopes of improving her health, and thus increase her chances of conceiving a child. The medicinal aspects of what now seems to us a strange practice indeed are not entirely without merit—but Catherine is lucky enough to have her champion Jenny at her side, who also offers more practical cures.
When Charles, too, arrives in the country, things begin to look up again. At least for Catherine. Poor Barbara, knocking around Whitehall without king to seduce or queen to bedevil, finds herself exploring some other possibilities for giving her life richness. Maybe it’s a ploy—or maybe she means it. Who knows? Tune in and decide for yourself.