Being there

 Hello from England! For the past week I’ve been traveling around England. One of the many pleasures of my trip has been seeing and smelling and touching places that I’ve only just read about. As science fiction writers know, it is not actually necessary to go to a place to write about it, but it does open up amazing vistas when you can actually be there.    Today we went to Eltham Palace, which was a significant place during the Tudor era. Here is where Henry VIII’s nursery was. Elizabeth I was a baby here as well, and her older half sister, Mary, was forced to help take care of her.  Anne Boleyn spent her last Christmas here, and some of the crimes she was accused of committing were said to have taken place here. So it is resonant. And there I was in the Great Hall, looking up at the same incredible carved wood ceiling Anne Boleyn would have stared at. It’s a huge room. The Tudors were not into privacy.  You can almost hear the commotion. Much of the building is gone, but you get a sense of the massiveness of it. Then I went out into the lawn and was wandering around and looked south and saw London. Of course,  she probably would not have been able to see anything in the 1500s. No sky scrapers then. But it gave me a sense of the geography of her life.  It helps me understand her better, and that’s the point.     

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