Off for a few days on the continent. Fog in Faversham at 6.20am when we left. And big blobs of unmelted snow on the sides of the A2 heading down to Dover - these all rounded, brown and bolshie-looking, refusing to disappear, hinting that there's more wintry weather to come. But the view of the Channel - from Jubilee Way - is stunning. I have never seen France like this before - in detail, looking so close, large, almost magnified by the clear air.
We have booked into a b&b at a place called Villers Sainte Gertrude for tonight. As usual, the maps we have of Belgium are almost unreadable - either due to old-fashioned print, or unwieldy scale. It's really hard to work out which is the best way to go - we want to avoid the ring-road round Brussels, so it will probably be via Lille, Mons and then Namur...
I felt slightly less stressed packing this time, partly because I went into Canterbury yesterday and bought one or two small items to take with me: a pink pocketed bag to hold purse and passports, a pair of spectacle on a plastic chain - like lorgnettes - with old-fashioned-looking dark round frames, and a couple of sweaters from M&S.
For some reason, getting these semi-necessary things calmed me down, so my anxieties about taking or not taking the 'right' things with me ebbed a bit.
The reason for this journey is another JuicePlus+ conference - in Munich. It is projected to be a meeting of five or six thousand distributors - we shall see! The new CEO of our company is a Swiss millionaire who likes to put on a good show. He has already allocated 20 new Smart cars to be given away this time. I don't think I shall be one of the 'lucky winners' as I have not really stirred myself much over the winter.
But since Andrew and I both want to explore Germany a little more, we have taken a few days either side of the business meeting, and plan to go to Trier (Roman site), and perhaps to Nuremberg, and then to Lens on the way home to see the new Louvre museum.
Assuming I can get wifi as I go along, I will report on our findings as we go.
At this moment, at the front of the quiet DFDS ferry, the sea is ruffled but calm. The light is complex, making the water a slatey grey, with streaks of vivid green on the horizon. We see tankers looking like toys in the distance, and patches of almost unbearably brilliant light where the sun has banged through the scattered clouds at the edge of the visible world.