bbc.co.uk Navigation

Tom Fordyce

Up with les oiseaux (29)

Day three – somewhere near Arras

Lesson number 62 of motorhome camping – don’t leave the window and skylight open when you crawl into your bunk at night.

Someone – I’m not naming names, but since it wasn’t me, you can probably guess who it might have been – also inadvertently turned the electricity off in the middle of the night.

“I thought I was switching the lights off,” was the mumbled excuse at dawn this morning, when the brutal reality of sub-zero temperatures in the van woke both of us up before the sun had even cleared the horizon.

Still, the 6am start did give us a glimpse of a hitherto-forbidden world of campsite behaviour.

As the pair of us sat shell-shocked in our freezer-on-wheels, duvets over our heads and all available blankets covering everything else, the rest of the campsite had come alive.

All around, happy figures were skipping across the dewy lawns towards the wash block, towels in one hand, triple-ply toilet roll in the other, each positively overjoyed to be up and awake at the yawn of the day.

One day, we shall be part of this inner circle. But not for now.

Today, van wheels and thoughts start turning west, to the Atlantic coast. After a little stop-off in Versailles tonight, we’re planning to chug across to Nantes for the entire opening weekend of La Coupe de Monde.

Tickets having been secured for Wales v Canada on Sunday, we’re going to get over there early so we can catch France v Argentina on Friday and England-USA on Saturday in the company of some like-minded high-spirited enthusiasts.

Pleasant though our current campsite copains undoubtedly are, I can’t see them getting stuck in to a 40-man game of touch rugby before sinking a few rafraîchissement in front of a giant screen. We need to move on.

Any tips/recommendations for campsites, bars and, erm, local sites of cultural importance much appreciated.

If you’re in Nantes already, or over on Friday night, let’s see if we can get a little posse sorted out to watch the France match - somewhere dripping with Gallic atmos.

And where’s the best park for a spot of touch rugby on Saturday lunchtime, before the All Blacks v Italy clash at 1.45pm local time?

Hopefully Dirs and I will have warmed up in time to take part.

Tom Fordyce is a BBC Sport journalist travelling around France in a camper van with Ben Dirs. Click here to search for all of Tom and Ben's blog videos.


Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 09:58 AM on 05 Sep 2007,
  • Mark Thomas wrote:

have you posted the flickr pictures you were talking about yesterday and if so whats the link?

  • 2.
  • At 10:01 AM on 05 Sep 2007,
  • Fiona wrote:

If its any consolation.....I was cold in bed last night but not as cold as you I guess.....

  • 3.
  • At 10:08 AM on 05 Sep 2007,
  • Glenn in Dubai wrote:

Ben and Diry,
Besides the three games mentioned Wales, France, and Canada are you going to publish your itinerary? Let the license payers marvel at the deep pockets of the BBC. Then the "disgruntled from" and "indignant of" will really come out of the woodwork. Personally there isn't much I wouldn't do to be there, the chemical bog, no.
Give it to em boys!

  • 4.
  • At 10:16 AM on 05 Sep 2007,
  • Moby Dick wrote:

Its nearly here and I cant wait!!!

We fly into Nantes on Saturday afternoon ready for the big game Sunday. The bags are packed and the Itinerary printed out (fly out Sat, Game Sun, fly home Mon)

I understand there is a "rugby village" set up but does anyone know the best places to eat?

Good luck with the touch rugby, we will just miss it.
C'MON WALES

  • 5.
  • At 10:26 AM on 05 Sep 2007,
  • fatbob wrote:

".......Tom will never know, once he's off to bed I'll have a growler out of the window and it'll definitely clear by morning....."

  • 6.
  • At 11:13 AM on 05 Sep 2007,
  • Jon Tunney wrote:

Surely the lads' technology can handle a live feed from the Oval today? With Dirs doing nothing more productive than dribbling into the passenger-side seat belt, I would've thought there was an ideal opportunity to milk just that little bit of extra value from our tax pounds. Come on Dirs, stir your stumps. A live text commentary from the autoroutes please.

  • 7.
  • At 11:48 AM on 05 Sep 2007,
  • Dublin Insurance broker....Bored at work wrote:

Are you goin to any of the Irish matches? Surely the fact that they're viewed as serious underdogs would make them an enjoyable spectacle to behold! Besides they'll kick the Argies asses! and mop le floor avec the french.

  • 8.
  • At 12:10 PM on 05 Sep 2007,
  • Ben Dirs wrote:

Mark Thomas - Our tech bods back in Blighty were supposed to have sorted the flickr thing out, but they don't seem to have come through as yet. I hope it will be rectified tomorrow.

I am currently party to one of the most surreal telephone conversations I've ever heard - we have our editing guru on loudspeaker on the table of the van taking us through how to add a graphic to a piece of video we've just filmed while his four-year-old son goes mental in the background. "You better bring him back some Asterix paraphernalia," says the legendary Redders. Poor little fella, I think he wanted to go the Brighton for the day...

  • 9.
  • At 12:28 PM on 05 Sep 2007,
  • Rushers wrote:

Tommo and Dirsy

Apologies for jumping ahead of your more impending itineary issues, but referring back to the Beach Cricket event first mentioned a few days ago: This takes place on La Baule Plage on Fri 21/09/07, kicking off at approx 3pm local time. Look for the baguettes being used as stumps. It should be an interesting game as I've heard the wicket isnt up to much, so when it all ends rather promptly we'll move onto Tag Rugby.

If you fancy sticking around for some refuelling afterwards, we have researched the local bars and found a couple of gems, including 'Le Paradise' which according to one review is "the newest, biggest and most popular disco in town. It is noted for its big dance floor and phallic-like pillar rising from it, on top of it there is a semi-naked woman dancing. This is a great place to go if you're looking to dance the night away, while meeting new people."

See you there!

Rushers

  • 10.
  • At 12:47 PM on 05 Sep 2007,
  • Steve C wrote:

.........both of us up before the sun had even cleared the Normandy horizon.

Hope the rugby commentary is better than the geography, I think you will find that Arras is not in Normandy.

  • 11.
  • At 01:27 PM on 05 Sep 2007,
  • Fiona wrote:

Ben and Tom, Tom and Ben

I dont know which one sounds better so I have put both.

Anyway are you both going to write books about your memoirs touring France in a Camper Van during the Rugby World Cup 2007?

You could make an absolute fortune....I'll keep it quite as well. Dont worry about that.

You could call the book "Memoirs from Touring France in a Camper Can during the Rugby World Cup 2007".

You dont have to use that as a title. It was only a suggestion. You could call it what you want??

  • 12.
  • At 01:59 PM on 05 Sep 2007,
  • Fiona wrote:

Tom and Ben

That sounds better I think.

Anyway. Listen. If you want to keep it quiet, thus making an absolute packet without the BBC knowing about it, then I suggest you change the title of the book?

You could call it "Tom and Ben, Sports Journalists for the BBC, Tour France during the Rugby World Cup 2007"

Its an absolute cert!!! Can I have a cut?

  • 13.
  • At 02:32 PM on 05 Sep 2007,
  • Fiona wrote:

Tom and Ben

As most of the readers are actually following the cricket and not the rugby I thought I would try for my third email on the trot!!

Would this be some sort of record? Please confirm?

Do I get a prize, however small it would be??

  • 14.
  • At 03:05 PM on 05 Sep 2007,
  • Richard wrote:

gentlemen,
are you planning on getting up to Lens for any of hte games? There's a group of 4 of us from Oxfordshire there from 7th - 9th and from 21st to 26th. Only catching one England game but we also have tickets for SA vs. Tonga and the mighty Georgia vs Namibia (!).

  • 15.
  • At 03:12 PM on 05 Sep 2007,
  • Ben Dirs wrote:

Arras not in Normandy? Whereabouts are we in France then? Anyone?

Yes Fiona, I believe you have set a record for the most consecutive posts on our blog. If you make it out to France, I'll give you a jammy donut.

Dublin Insurance broker - we are indeed going to some Ireland games, starting with what should be an absolute humdinger against Georgia in Bordeaux on 15 September.

Jon Tunney - oh, to be on the autoroute...unfortunately, we've both been stuck with our head in an Apple Mac for the last five hours...looks like another night in...I can't even remember what this place is called...LORD, GIVE ME STRENGTH!

  • 16.
  • At 03:13 PM on 05 Sep 2007,
  • Tom wrote:

Tom,

I suggest you go easy on any ideas that Dirsy will be of use in a game of touch rugby. The last time I saw him don a pair of boots he lasted 5 minutes before declaring "..the hammy gone!"

That was against Campion RFC under 7s.

  • 17.
  • At 03:43 PM on 05 Sep 2007,
  • Tim G wrote:

Hi Guys,

If you're at a loose end on Saturday afternoon, Cowbridge RFC Under 13's are playing their equivalents in Clisson, their twin town which is conveniently located less than 20 mins from Nantes stadium. Huge party leaving Cowbridge Thurs pm, and camping in Clisson for the 3 nights returning Monday.

Tim G

  • 18.
  • At 04:31 PM on 05 Sep 2007,
  • Tez wrote:

Problems with flikr thing, tech bods back home, surreal telcons, heads in Apple Macs ... I bet you are being followed around by a BBC support van with numerous passpatout a la Michael Palin on one of his round the globe trips ! (Disgruntled licence payer)

  • 19.
  • At 04:50 PM on 05 Sep 2007,
  • Redders wrote:

Tez - if only

  • 20.
  • At 09:37 PM on 05 Sep 2007,
  • Mac Boy wrote:

Hey fellas. Five hours in an Apple Mac? Oh dear. That doesn't sound good. If you've got problems, let me know. I don't profess to know everything about macs, but I like to think I know quite a bit! Good blog again today. Keep up the good work.

  • 21.
  • At 11:08 PM on 05 Sep 2007,
  • simon wrote:

If u happen to find yourselves in nice or antibes ben may be interested in afamily connection

  • 22.
  • At 09:53 AM on 06 Sep 2007,
  • fatbob wrote:

Benny, please show some respect in your blog to the death of Pavarotti. Opera singers throughout the globe are force feeding themselves in mourning.

I've just had yoghurt/muesli/fruit, bacon/eggs/beans/mushrooms/pancake/maple syrup, followed by a healthy lump of soft cheese (this is where I've extended myself, don't usually touch the stuff before midday) and various meats and smoked salmon. Pint of coffee and orange juice just to set it alight in my stomach.

I feel a bit better about his death, it's weird.

  • 23.
  • At 10:37 AM on 06 Sep 2007,
  • Seb in Nantes wrote:

Hi guys,

Your best bet for touch rugby would be the Parc du Grand Blottereau which is located in the eastern suburb of Nantes:

http://www.nantes.fr/detente/parcs-et-jardins/le-parc-du-grand-blottereau.html

In France, we have never heard of touch rugby - could you explain the basics please?

Seb in Nantes.

  • 24.
  • At 10:39 AM on 06 Sep 2007,
  • fatbob wrote:

Benny, please show some respect in your blog to the death of Pavarotti. Opera singers throughout the globe are force feeding themselves in mourning.

I've just had yoghurt/muesli/fruit, bacon/eggs/beans/mushrooms/pancake/maple syrup, followed by a healthy lump of soft cheese (this is where I've extended myself, don't usually touch the stuff before midday) and various meats and smoked salmon. Pint of coffee and orange juice just to set it alight in my stomach.

I feel a bit better about his death, it's weird.

  • 25.
  • At 11:15 AM on 06 Sep 2007,
  • Matt wrote:

Surely one posting of fatbob's inane email was anough.

  • 26.
  • At 12:34 PM on 06 Sep 2007,
  • Nev wrote:

Chaps

On a recent holiday in the West of france we were short of something to do in bad weather so went to Nantes.

If you have time visit 'les machines d'ile' in the old ship yards. It is mad! They are strange inventions that make you wonder about the sanity of the French. The life size, people carrying, mechanical elephant is a sight to behold!

Nev

  • 27.
  • At 12:44 PM on 06 Sep 2007,
  • Fiona wrote:

Ben (lets just forget about Tom here)

A jammy donut?? Is that all?? How about a BBC pen, or mouse, or mousemat? You know something which will be of more use to me??

Hey fiona ,
I can see why you were in a cold bed then.....3 messages in a row?

  • 29.
  • At 02:26 PM on 08 Sep 2007,
  • David Whitewood wrote:

Why can't the genuine fans get to these matches?

I wanted to take my two keen rugby playing lads to the England v USA game in Lens tonight. I tried to book months ago but all the tickets were sold out. But I could go online and find dozens of Web sites and listings offering tickets at a huge premiums.
This week I was offered tickets to the England SA game in Paris. My colleague had beend offered up to 20 tickets for FREE by someone working for the one of corporate sponsors. Apparently they had 100's of tickets to give away.

Time someone exposed this ticket racket that prevents genuine fans getting to matches.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites