- 14 Sep 07, 12:57 PM
Bordeaux - When you’re down and troubled, and you need some love and care, go out and have a few scoops with the Irish in Bordeaux. You’re likely to get absolutely rubbered and forget about all the bad things that have happened.
Not me of course. I was nursing a Guinness in The Connemara thinking up possibly the worst opening paragraph in the history of the written word.
From digestives in the back of The Bloggernaut to foie gras in a bistro in Bordeaux (it had tablecloths and everything!) in the space of 24 hours – this trip has had more gut-wrenching lows and euphoric highs than an entire series of The X Factor.
Thursday began with a hair-raising drive to the petrol station in Agen, fuel needle deep in the red while Tom and I belted out that old Benediction classic Therefore We, Before Him Bending to keep the spirits up.
We made it in the nick of time, and when we nabbed the last spot on what appears to be the only campsite in Bordeaux, we knew our luck had changed. For a while at least.
Wednesday’s experience on the ringroads of Toulouse changed me momentarily, and I didn’t like what I saw. From fully paid-up Francophile to V-sign flicking (“REMEMBER AGINCOURT!”) lunatic in the blink of an eye. Horrific.
In contrast, La Belle Au Bois Dormant looks like a cheeky city where we could have some fun. One thing’s certain, the little beauty won’t be getting much kip while the Irish are in town for Saturday’s game against Georgia.
Our spot in Gradignan, on the outskirts of Bordeaux, hasn’t gone green quite yet, but the advance party in the van next door assure me the hordes are on their way.
The Welsh set the bar pretty high last week in Nantes, but, having seen the Irish in action countless times over the years, I’m fairly confident they will achieve new standards over the coming days.
Tonight, Tom and I will watch the England-South Africa clash in The Connemara, I fear with gritted teeth.
Taking one injury-prone specialist fly-half to a World Cup is a bit like rocking up to a nightclub with one ropey chat-up line in your locker. If that fails, you’re pretty much having to make it up as you go along.
On Sunday we head for Montpellier for Tonga-Samoa, which promises to be the mother of all smash-ups. Any tips as to where to stay or where to get a few gargles down our neck after the match would, as ever, be greatly appreciated.
My head feels like it’s got a group of lads from Kildare living in it, but the spirits are high. And remember, when the van is a rockin’, don’t come a knockin’. Tom will probably be doing some press-ups.
Ben Dirs is a BBC Sport journalist travelling around France in a camper van with Tom Fordyce. Click here to search for all of Tom and Ben's blog videos.