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Ben Dirs

Life thru a Lens (75)

Near Lens

BEN: There is something slightly disturbing about watching a man kissing and stroking a 3G internet card in the back of a darkened motor home in a remote campsite in Normandy…Tommy?

TOM: Desperation can force a man to do many things, Benjamin. Why, there was the time that, naked as the day I was born, I was forced to… but no. That story is perhaps a little racy for the current climate. And I’ve apologised to the Mother Superior in question a thousand times, anyway.

BEN: Talking of racy, when Internet connection was finally achieved after fully three hours of phone calls to BBC support, our line manager and some work experience oik from our internet provider, I came very close to losing control and administering a few kisses of my own. In fact, Tommy, I came very close to sticking you through the wall of the Winnebago. Sorry, the luxury motor home…

TOM: Back yourself on this one - the Monty Panesar-style celebration gallop went down a storm with the open-mouthed French family on the adjacent pitch.

BEN: Yes, Tommy, but the quiet French family on the adjacent pitch hadn’t spent most of their the day wrestling with unfathomable technology – beam benders anyone? Nope, I still haven’t got a clue either. I get the feeling I’m going to spend a lot of time on this trip nodding while Tom talks, pretending that I’ve got some idea what’s going on. So far, I don’t…

TOM: In the van of the mute, the man with GCSE French is king. Personally, I’m getting my kicks from the way we seem to have inadvertently been granted access to some sort of secret motorhome-drivers’ club. Every time we pass a Winnebago, the driver raises the motorhome Hand of Friendship. It almost makes up for all the maniacal car drivers who keep blasting their horns and waving unfriendly fingers at our giant bumpers.

BEN: I suspect those angry horns might have had something to do with The Fureys LP we had blasting out as we bombed down the D224. Being a non-driver, I’m not normally big on motor vehicles, but this thing Tom’s driving really is a thing of beauty. I’ve been getting a little bit aroused every time my thighs make contact with the brushed leather seats. It is, however, listing alarmingly to one side already and I’m thinking that the Camembert was a bit of an impetuous buy. It smells like we’ve got a French tramp living in one of the cubby holes.

TOM: You wait till the seal gets broken on the chemical convenience out the back. Incidentally, you know the Beeb bosses have given you the gig of emptying that hellish contraption for the next seven weeks, seeing that I’m chauffeuring you round the greatest jolly of your life as if you were a rugby-reporting Princess Margaret?

BEN: Shut it Trapalot, have you seen the books I’ve brought with me? The Good, The Bad and The Bubbly by George Best, ‘Arry, by Harry Redknapp and The Guv'nor by Lenny McLean – because of me, you’re basically travelling round France with the Library of Alexandria in the boot.

TOM: I’m more than happy to read them all to you too. Plus those copies of Heat and Grazia you stashed in the cutlery draw.

BEN: Pipe down Parker…where you driving me tomorrow?

TOM: We’re off to Lens. Time to see what’s going on there ahead of England’s opener against the USA. And see if we can be the first ones to use “Life Thru A Lens” as a headline.

BEN: Fifty euros if we get that as a headline on the site. By the way, since Internet connection was achieved, my worries have become rather more mundane, like “how can I let Tom, a man who is trimmer than a butcher’s apron, see me in nothing but my smalls every day?” I was tiptoeing around the van this morning in my t-shirt like a fat man after a one-night stand.

TOM: Relax, my friend – I’ve always been more of a personality man. And those limited edition briefs you were sporting from the Matt Dawson at Primark range made the very most of your stout assets.

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.


Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 12:04 PM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • Iain, Dubln wrote:

I was going to pity you having to live in a camper van for 7 weeks but since i read about this 42ft van i decided you have got it easy. It is bigger than my house

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/main.jhtml?xml=/motoring/2007/09/01/mrmay01.xml

  • 2.
  • At 12:11 PM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • John wrote:

Not my cup of tea I am afraid. Want to hear about rugby and the experience of traveling around France for the World Cup, not just two little kids squabbling. Sorry.

  • 3.
  • At 12:25 PM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • ian wrote:

Don't see the problem, the comments seem witty enough, and maybe we should judge it more once the tournament actually starts. Could of course be like the fabled false Moon Landings, and these two guys are actually sitting in the BBC's offices in London.

  • 4.
  • At 12:32 PM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • Mike wrote:

This is very, very poor stuff.

Read Nick Robinsons blog to see how it should be done.

  • 5.
  • At 12:35 PM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • Warren wrote:

Some very amusing bits! Will have a look every day and look forward with interest to when the rugby actually starts.

  • 6.
  • At 12:36 PM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • Bizzy_D wrote:

What a waste of bandwidth.

  • 7.
  • At 12:38 PM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • Raymond wrote:

I have to agree with John, more rugby and less talk of pants.

  • 8.
  • At 12:43 PM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • Martin Worsley wrote:

Heading down to Calais this weekend, intend to be in town for the opening match on Friday. Should be excellent, but one problem.... the official RWC site states that there will be a large outdoor screen showing the match live but no mention of where exactly. Do you fellas know? Does anyone?

  • 9.
  • At 12:48 PM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • Martin Worsley wrote:

Heading down to Calais this weekend, intend to be in town for the opening match on Friday. Should be excellent, but one problem.... the official RWC site states that there will be a large outdoor screen showing the match live but no mention of where exactly. Do you fellas know? Does anyone?

  • 10.
  • At 12:50 PM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • Kiwi in Bournemouth wrote:

Quit you're whinging - it's funny stuff. Not half as funny as Andy Robinson's comments about England making the Semi's though. Nearly made me choke on my morning tea Fox's Classic it did.

  • 11.
  • At 12:53 PM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • Andrew wrote:

The RWC hasn't started and people are moaning about the lack of rubgy related commentary ... crazy people. Keep up the good work chaps, sounds like you're having a ball ...

  • 12.
  • At 12:56 PM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • Combattant wrote:

You couldn't do some worthwhile research and recommend a few bars for pre-prandials on Saturday - we are due to arrive in Lens about 2.30pm and don't want waste valuable drinking er! exercise time searching for a place for our pre-match warm up!

Amazing blog, see this is far better than dull, monotone essays about the back four, or packs, or whatever rugby is about. I hate rugby.

Long live Ben and Tom!

Martin - there is indeed a big screen in the Calais area and here's the full list of big screens for those who are interested.

Full big screen list

Haven't yet been able to track down exact location in Calais either. But will get back to you if I have any joy.

  • 15.
  • At 12:59 PM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • Jim in Leeds wrote:

People complaining about the lack of sport commentary in the work of Dirsy and Tom? Surely not!

Keep it up chaps, if I wanted to read about actual news, I'd look elsewhere.

  • 16.
  • At 12:59 PM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • Kiwi in Bournemouth wrote:

Quit you're whinging - it's funny stuff. Not half as funny as Andy Robinson's comments about England making the Semi's though. Nearly made me choke on my morning tea Fox's Classic it did.

  • 17.
  • At 01:15 PM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • Andy wrote:

John, Mike, Bizzzy_D (wtf?) & Raymond - i think you're in the wrong place for in-depth guardian style reportage - just take it for what it's supposed to be - a bit of fun. Surely you can relate to the Primark underpants anyways...

I don't see why everyone is so quick to write-off the early ramblings of Ben and his Ballroom dancing sidekick. The shannanigans haven't started so how can we expect any updates on their match-making efforts?

Besides, I'm waiting for the description of when our heroes open the cupboard door to discover that locking Camembert in a cubby hole is akin to cornering a rat...

  • 19.
  • At 01:22 PM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • Bonzie wrote:

Just been offered tickets for 1/4 final 3 in Cardiff (NZ v Ire?), but will be in Texas - anyone know any good Rugby bars in El Paso?

Had a similar offer in '99 for the Dublin quarter (France Ire??), but Irish lost the play off to Argentina and found myself in the uncomfortable position of cheering for France!

  • 20.
  • At 01:25 PM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • jondxs wrote:

Hmm, a rugby-based trip on 606, look at the books mentioned - maybe we should suggest some more relevant reading for these two?

Always good to have a lighter look at things before the real business of the World Cup starts.

  • 22.
  • At 01:32 PM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • Rick Joshua wrote:

Garbage. It can only get better once the tournament begins - that is if anyone is around to read it.

  • 23.
  • At 01:34 PM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • Goldie wrote:

John, Mike, Bizzy et al

Jog on. Your surnames aren't Whitehouse are they by any chance? As stalwart guardianistas don't you have more important things to do? Of course you would answer that but you're not reading this any more are you?

Keep up the good work boys, I am living vicariously through your sterling journalism. C'est magnifique, etc

  • 24.
  • At 02:06 PM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • Martin Worsley wrote:

God lord, the bbc site is playing up...only posted it once.
Alex, comment 14, just asked my missus to try and find out (she's Calaisien) so hoping I'll have the answer soon.
Usually, they hold that kind of stuff in Place d'Armes, but with the tournament being quite long, not sure they'll want to tie it up that long (it also holds markets, etc).

  • 25.
  • At 02:22 PM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • Ben Dirs wrote:

Hello. Sat in a McDonalds (in France, they're not mobbed with menacing looking, tracksuited youths like they are in England. Actually, they're not mobbed with anyone...) tapping this out. First, I thought I should say to all those who have commented that there hasn't been enough rugby in our blog so far, I should point out that, erm, there hasn't been any rugby so far. As for Nick Robinson's blog (Mike), rest assured that if I'm ever sent to report on the goings on in Parliament, I will keep the tone slightly less frivolous. I'm off for a Royal Cheese...

  • 26.
  • At 02:23 PM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • Prestwick wrote:

Ben, you do realise that you've brought along books to read while covering a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT SPORT?!

Sheesh! Some people just don't learn! :D

  • 27.
  • At 02:24 PM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • Andrew T wrote:

Rock on lads!
Be advised the only sure and safe way of tackling a ripe camambert is to overpower it with a well worn, old, hot adidas trainer.

  • 28.
  • At 02:25 PM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • Tom Fordyce wrote:

England fans - hope your welcome in Lens is as warm as ours has just been. Not only did Dirsy get sorted out with free beer and cakes from the boys at the ground while we waited for our accreditation to be sorted out, but we then managed to stroll out onto the pitch at the Stade Felix Boullaert without anyone blinking an eyelash. Brian Ashton - if you're reading, the grass is as perfect as a night out with a frisky Brigitte Bardot in 1962 St Tropez.

  • 29.
  • At 02:37 PM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • Ben Dirs wrote:

Combattant - I have done some worthwhile research and had a chat with Philippe, one of the ultra-friendly media bods at the stadium, and he reckons Le MacEwans and the Irish Tavern on Avenue Briquet will be rammo this weekend, while if you fancy a bit of local culture, head to L'Abbaye on Place de General de Gaulle. By the way, we'll be posting some pics of the ground on our flickr site when we get back to the van - the local workmen are still putting some nuts and bolts in place, but it looks the daddy.

  • 30.
  • At 02:52 PM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • Chris the drummer wrote:

Good grief, I can't believe there are complaints about the lack of rugby in the blog so far. I for one wouldn't expect any rugby chat as, just with the cricket world cup, there's only going to be about 4 meaningful matches before the quarters so sit back, relax, and enjoy what going around France in a camper van following the rugby entails - beer, the fresh air, cheese, the 'joys' of camping and 2 guys beating each other up after being locked together for 6weeks.
Keep up the good work chaps - you are living the dream of many of us and we want to hear all about it.

  • 31.
  • At 03:33 PM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • Bobby Moaka wrote:

Ben

You should still be doing the cricket. Come back, you make cricket very interesting reading for me on internet.

Did you take "Sarah from Canterbury" with you in the van?

  • 32.
  • At 03:41 PM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • James B wrote:

Hear Hear Chris the drummer

  • 33.
  • At 04:06 PM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • Tom wrote:

See John at 12.11

If you wanted some rugby commentary I'm afraid that Dirsy is the wrong man for you.

  • 34.
  • At 04:13 PM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • Jon Woodhams wrote:

You guys staying a campsite in Lens? Had no luck looking and need to find somewhere quick!!

  • 35.
  • At 04:20 PM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • Baz wrote:

Tripe, utter tripe. I can't believe my licence fee is paying for this.

  • 36.
  • At 04:31 PM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • Ian wrote:

The big screen will be up on the main square in Calais I believe.

  • 37.
  • At 04:45 PM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • Georgie Girl wrote:

Only 4 more sleeps till the Boys trot out in Lens to defend the Cup. It's going to be quite a while till we're in that position again so let's just enjoy the moment.

Can't wait to be there to cheer them on.

Thanks for the watering hole tips!

  • 38.
  • At 04:59 PM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • Ben Dirs wrote:

Thanks for all your chat ladies and gents, much appreciated. Myself and Tom have just wound our way from Lens to a little place called Boiry Notre Dame, just outside Arras. Astonishingly, despite the campsite being surrounded by fields as far as the eyes can see on all sides, we have Internet access. Although I've seen some pretty awe-inspiring WW1 memorials over in the Champagne region, this is the first time I've seen the graves of British Tommies and it was a pretty humbling experience. Bit of a Somme tour tomorrow, I could find myself in floods of tears...

  • 39.
  • At 05:02 PM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • lawrence dorrian wrote:

its not only england in this world cup after all its not the english broadcasting corpatin.

  • 40.
  • At 05:12 PM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • Ben Dirs wrote:

Jon Woodhams - We've had to look outside of Lens for a campsite because of this mammoth we're holed up in. It's not far out though, about 25 minutes in a proper car - it's called La Paille Haute and it's in a place called Boiry Notre Dame, just off the road leading from Arras to Cambrai. Lovely spot as it goes...

  • 41.
  • At 05:14 PM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • Fatbob wrote:

Easy fellas looks like you've really upset some of these blogging dudes...

Tom, regarding Ben's worst habits, here's just a couple of printable ones to watch out for over the next few weeks: When drunk, trying to box in an old fashioned way and stepping over a little over the line and then jabbing someone markedly bigger than him (I imagine could be a favourite when surrounded by enormous rugby fans); his feet (not strictly a habit but everything to do with them); doing his Bruce Forsyth impression (the guy who he learned that off is also terrible) or even better, his Scottish accent when approaching the ladies....

When you've ticked them off I'll give you a few more to play with.

In an attempt to remain fair and equal shouldn't some of Tom's acqaintances be helping Ben with tips on how to get through the next couple of months with him?

  • 42.
  • At 05:30 PM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • The D.S wrote:

Gday boys.

Looks like great minds think alike. I'm an Austrlian who has been living in London for a few months in order to get over the liver poisoning the Caribbean rum inflicted on me during the cricket world cup, and more importantly to earn some pounds before following the Wallabies around southern France and Wales.

Like you we have decided to go the luxery option and pick up a campervan. Will be keeping an eye out for any tips you might have.

Hope you boys have an absolute cracker and will see you in Marseille come quarter finals.

  • 43.
  • At 05:31 PM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • Indignant of Tunbridge Wells wrote:

Baz - I can't believe my licence fee is paying for people like you (and various others above) to decree that this is 'tripe' or 'garbage'. Yes, it may not be to your taste, the same as certain programmes the BBC produces aren't to mine - in fact there are some BBC channels I have never even switched on - but I'm not self-centred enough to believe that because I don't like something it is 'garbage' or a waste of money.

If you don't like it just don't read it.

  • 44.
  • At 05:36 PM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • P for Prop wrote:

will there be any mention, or visit to, any venue that a home nation team other than England is playing at? or will the BBC sponsor a trip like this for the reporting of games/atmospheres involving Wales, Ireland and Scotland?

  • 45.
  • At 05:40 PM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • Martin Worsley wrote:

Ian, (comment 36), there's three main squares in Calais..

  • 46.
  • At 05:52 PM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • jonnytrafalgar wrote:

As a friend of Tom's since 1995, I feel I am well-placed to advise on his worst habits. Ben can look forward to:

- endless chirpy whistling in the mornings - usually while walking around semi-naked eating fist-fulls of dry muesli which is distributed equally between floor and mouth.

- those little, watery disposable-contact-lens-packets placed around the van with similar care to the muesli.

- a diet consisting almost entirely of tuna, salad and pasta (and muesli).

I would have said "a strong belief in the continued fashionability of fauxhicans and Hoxton Mullets" but he's seen sense at last.

I'll think of more...

  • 47.
  • At 06:00 PM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • Rob Payne wrote:

Less egg chasing, more comedy! Honestly! Some people need to calm down and enjoy the fact that sport at it's best is about the people that watch it, as much as the over paid oiks that play it! The more irelevent the blogs, be it football, cricket or rugby, the better! People that are crazy enough to travel around watching sports teams don't just do it to watch the game, it's all about the experiance! I went to frankfurt for about 36 hours last summer, had a great time, meet great people, saw a lot of european roads, found out that in belgium people smoke in petrol stations, and that flemish seems to be a made up language! The worst bit of the trip was england huffing and puffing to a 1-0 win!

  • 48.
  • At 06:37 PM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • Baz wrote:

Indignant of Tunbridge Wells: at least I don't have a strop when other folks' opinions differ from mine. My opinion that this is puerile garbage is every bit as valid as your opinion (whatever that might be).

The only way in which your licence fee is paying for me to exercise my inalienable right to express my opinion is in the unmeasurably-small amount of bandwidth and server resource it takes for me to post this and you to receive it. This is in a rather different league to whatever the BBC is paying for these two overgrown schoolboys to gallivant around France making side-splitting jokes about chemical toilets.

I used to be a staunch supporter of Auntie Beeb but rubbish like this is pushing me into the camp that believes the licence fee should be abolished and the BBC should make it's own way in a cold hard world like everyone else has to.

  • 49.
  • At 06:40 PM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • Bill wrote:

great stuff lads, keep it up!

  • 50.
  • At 06:48 PM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • I. Sawyer wrote:

I'm more than happy for my licence fee to be used in this way. The little details are often the best things about intrepid journeys, and I'd much rather be reading about camping antics and boozing in small French towns than yet another alternative theory on Jonny's injury problems.
Enjoy your trip fellas, and if you happen to be passing thru Champagne again then I heartily recommend stopping in at Gallimard in Les Riceys for some cheap yet quality bubbles.

  • 51.
  • At 07:14 PM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • Indignant of Tunbridge Wells wrote:

Baz: I think you misunderstood my point, so I'm sorry if I didn't explain it properly.

You note yourself that I didn't disclose my opinion on this; that's because I didn't think other people would be interested. But nevertheless here is an opinion: I do happen to believe that too often on these blogs people play the old 'don't waste my licence fee' card - apologies that you were the target this time. I also think that the real value in social media such as these blogs and their interactivity lies in the ability for people to ask questions and shape the blog, rather than simply complaining or stating an opinion (sorry for this post!).

So instead of 'this is rubbish' presented as fact, would it not be better to say, 'Can we have more rugby focus?', or 'Can you tell us what the atmosphere in the campsites is like?' I'm not suggesting that anybody's opinion is more valid than another, it's just that it can be depressing to try to read a blog you are interested in and see how other people are engaging with it and how they want shape it, only to see yet another moan. Again, if I don't like a blog, I vote by not reading it and I certainly don't reply. A blog will soon get canned if nobody reads it and nobody replies.

This isn't directed just at you by any means - more a general observation that your comment happened to spark.

Re: the licence fee point, knowing the BBC I'd suggest that Tom and Ben will be asked to do everything on the cheap and that money will be tightly controlled. The money required to develop blogging software, moderate the comments etc will be far greater - so I'll shut up now...

  • 52.
  • At 08:22 PM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • HugoCortes wrote:

I think you've missed a trick here chaps. The best way to get around France is on the train. Quick, comfortable and eco-friendly. Flog the van and get a couple of rail passes and folding bikes....that would be a Tour de France.

  • 53.
  • At 08:45 PM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • Tez wrote:

Indignant one: Laissez-faire our two amigos so we other licence payers can enjoy this adventure. I hope they will be Copains Comme Cochons by the end of the trip.

  • 54.
  • At 09:00 PM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • Tom Fordyce wrote:

Lawrence D, P For Prop - you'll be glad to know that we'll be spending as much time with Wales, Ireland and Scotland as we are with England. We're moving on from Lens on Wednesday and steaming over to Nantes to see how the Welsh boys are getting on, and then heading down to Bordeaux to do the same with Ireland. And then, after more miles behind the wheel, we'll be in St Etienne to monkey about with the Scots. And for any Samoans reading, we'll see you at the bashfest v Tonga.

jonnytrafalgar - don't ruin the surprise for Dirsy so soon. He'll work out in his own good time why there's cereal all over the floor of the van. And what's so wrong with two men working in a sweaty, confined space wearing nothing but flip-flops and E Leclerc briefs?

  • 55.
  • At 09:04 PM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • Midland Wasp wrote:

Probably going a bit off theme here but! As I am going to Lens on Saturday does anyone know how many tickets have been sold? Hope it is a good turn out

  • 56.
  • At 09:06 PM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • Chris of the drums wrote:

I object to Jonathon Ross, can we get rid of him as well - that'd save a few hundred grand of license fee money........

  • 57.
  • At 09:18 PM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • Mac Boy wrote:

Fantastic blog chaps. Really enjoying it so far. Can only get better. Enjoy your trip and the many matches you get to.

  • 58.
  • At 10:32 PM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • Combattant wrote:

Thanks for the watering hole tips lads! Keep up the good work - see you and Georgie Girl in the Irish Tavern around 3pm on Sat and I'll buy you a pichet - I'm the ugly looking ex-prop in an Englund shirt with my mate Dirk Bogarde!

  • 59.
  • At 11:10 PM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • Charlie wrote:

This stuff is comedy gold. For all you whingers about more rugby talk, there hasnt been any yet so what on earth are you expecting.

  • 60.
  • At 12:19 AM on 05 Sep 2007,
  • Brian M wrote:

Bobby Moaka wrote:
Did you take "Sarah from Canterbury" with you in the van?

I thought that 'Sarah from Canterbury' had got fixed up with some bloke from Switzerland, so why would she be in the van with Ben ?

  • 61.
  • At 02:28 AM on 05 Sep 2007,
  • Ritchie wrote:

It may not be entirely about the rugby (yet!) but this is better than reading about "Jonny" and his never ending injury list.
This blog will hopefully remind us why we want to be on tour!

  • 62.
  • At 02:30 AM on 05 Sep 2007,
  • Lucy wrote:

Guys, and anyone else who's heading to Lens on Saturday - I know this is really dull, but if anyone finds a good spot to park in Lens that's not miles from the stadium and doesn't cost an arm and a leg, please let me know! Doing the ferry haul to save money for the rest of the matches... :-(

  • 63.
  • At 06:31 AM on 05 Sep 2007,
  • Tom Fordyce wrote:

Woken up at dawn today by the Arctic temperatures in the van - who left the window open? - so while Dirsy snoozes on oblivious, here's a frozen-fingered update...

Midland Wasp - the chat from our mate Philippe at the stadium in Lens is that there are still about 1,000 unsold tickets available for Saturday's match. That's the good news. The bad news is that he reckons you'd need to get down the stadium in person on Wed or Thurs to get hold of one. Zut alors.

Lucy - you can't move for car-parks down by the ground. There's space for 2,000 cars at the Stade Felix B, which allowed us the luxury of parking diagonally across about eight slots in our behemothmobile. And since the majority of England fans will be sans voiture on match-day (local drink-driving rules being as harsh as a porcupine pillow) you should have no troubles.

Right - where's me thermal untercrackers?

  • 64.
  • At 06:54 AM on 05 Sep 2007,
  • Steve M wrote:

Ben,
I emailed you during the last test.
If you need any help with the toxic software dump, I have plenty of vivid experience to share of this complex science/art - maybe privately!
The main secret - wear rubber gloves or better still a scuba suit plus goggles - as you will be a pretty blue otherwise wherever it splashes!

  • 65.
  • At 07:41 AM on 05 Sep 2007,
  • Baxter wrote:

Staying in Arras Fri - Sun .Anybody recommend a suitable watering hole for Friday's match?

Can't afford a tent or camper so making do with a hotel.

  • 66.
  • At 08:23 AM on 05 Sep 2007,
  • Baz wrote:

Indignant from Tunbridge Wells: the conciliatory tone is appreciated, nice to know that you didn't intend a personal attack.

Personally I would like to see the BBC desist from wasting ANY money on these fripperies: wendyball-supporter bloggers, messageboards, the lot of it. Maybe then they would be able to afford to cover some proper sport on the box.

It's the British Broadcasting Corporation, not the British Blogging Corporation.

  • 67.
  • At 08:24 AM on 05 Sep 2007,
  • Combattant wrote:

Baxter, there are a fare few bars, including several Irish pubs, around the Grand Place and Place des Heros in Arras.
As for those of you wanting to watch France v Argentina on the big screen, as well as the venue in Calais, I notice they have a screen in Yveline, a quieter coastal resort in the Dunkirk direction not far from Calais, which has a reputation for being as rough as a bear's bum!

  • 68.
  • At 11:36 AM on 05 Sep 2007,
  • Bobby Moaka wrote:

Brian M

I have been back home recently and missed the developments of "Sarah from Canterbury" I apologise for my misinformation.

  • 69.
  • At 01:15 PM on 05 Sep 2007,
  • Griff wrote:

I'd just like to know where they're parking their monster motorhome - we're off for nearly three weeks tomorrow in ours (a measly 6m campervan) and in the big cities there aren't many places to pull up and stop overnight.....

  • 70.
  • At 02:54 PM on 05 Sep 2007,
  • Paddy wrote:

More rugby for gods sake, its what I'm paying you for.....not this rubbish.

  • 71.
  • At 03:53 PM on 05 Sep 2007,
  • David Thorburn wrote:

Relax, plenty of rugby to discussed! Hopefully lots of exciting chat about Scotland.

Sounds like these guys will have great time.

  • 72.
  • At 04:30 PM on 05 Sep 2007,
  • nickc wrote:

While messrs Dirs and Fordyce are discovering the wonders of French campsites they seem to be missing a cracking game of cricket. Can they go away every time I need livening up in the office?

  • 73.
  • At 06:40 PM on 05 Sep 2007,
  • Adam wrote:

Ben, you should head down to Bordeaux to join the Irish contingent. We've got a house near Soulac sur mer if you chaps want to park up for the night and get involved in the beach rugby that should be going on all next week. And beers to follow of course.

Adam (Think The Chel in Belfast)

  • 74.
  • At 09:52 PM on 05 Sep 2007,
  • John wrote:

Me and my mate are off to the delights of Argentina v Namibia in Marseille on 22nd September, will you be joining us to watch possibly the most entertaining side in the competition? Oh and the week after we're watching England v Tonga but that wont be anything compared to watching the Namibians!!

  • 75.
  • At 10:21 PM on 05 Sep 2007,
  • Ben Dirs wrote:

Many thanks for the offer Adam, we may well take you up on it. Beach rugby and beers in Soulac sur Mer sounds absolutely magnificent. I'll repost this on the latest blog entry and hopefully we can hook up.

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