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Tom Fordyce

Heading back to old Blighty (85)

Calais ferry port, Monday morning - C’est tout. Seven weeks to the day that we set sail from Dover, hope in our hearts and three clean pairs of socks apiece in our luggage, the time has come for Ben and me to go home.

It’s a very quiet Bloggernaut the pair of us sit in today. For once the well-known brand of mp3 player is silent, the rugby ball motionless on the floor.

The rear of the campervan, as always, looks like a cross between an abandoned refugee camp and an explosion in a pant factory.

At times like these, a man must take comfort in the words of one of the great poets of our isles:
"We nearly made it
We nearly found the perfect combination
The road was right, we must have read the signs wrong
And now it’s all gone"

When Nick Berry penned those famous words, the World Cup was but a distant twinkle in the IRB’s finance department’s eye - yet somehow he summed up perfectly how two tired young blades would be feeling on a cold Monday morning more than 20 years later.

Ah, but what memories we have.

At least, what memories I have – Ben finds it difficult to remember his own reflection, let alone which towns and matches we went to.

The Bloggernaut boys

Where to begin?

Welshmen in white Speedos and green wigs covered head to toe in red body-paint; roaring Irish fans crammed into trams on a steamy night in Bordeaux; kilted Scotsmen dancing in the rain after the win over Italy, and that insane, never-ending Saturday night in the Vieux Port in Marseille, when English, Australian and French fans partied so hard that even Keith Moon would have made his excuses and left.

Games so tense that we could hardly breathe, tackles so hard we could hear them the length of the pitch away and fans so loud the rafters rattled.

Blue cheeses for Ben, mountain-top cycles for me. Charcuterie platters, cold campsite wash-blocks, Calvados night-caps and chemical toilets.

Stale baguettes, festering duvets, waterfront muggings and recycled t-shirts.

Quaffing in Cognac, swimming in seas, Monaco motoring and piling through pressions.

Three days ago, as we sat in a Parisien café watching the world hurrying by, it hit home: we’ll never have another adventure like this as long as we live.

I don’t think either of us can believe it’s over.

A special nod must go to my compadre through all those escapades - the Oscar to my Felix, the Thelma to my Louise – Dirsy.

From way back at the start of September, when we sat in board shorts and flip flops and watched Wales wriggle clear of Canada, we’ve been perched next to each other through rain and shine, in stadiums the length and breadth of the country, cheering, chanting and cavorting.

Like an unwashed version of Paul and Linda McCartney, we’ve spent every single night there has been in each other’s company, albeit with a minimum six-inch gap between us on all occasions.

We’ve woken up together on freezing industrial estates in St Etienne, in deserted car-parks near Montpellier and tucked away behind the lorries in autoroute service stations.

At times, when I’ve been rudely disturbed in the middle of the night by his thunderous snoring, or had to watch him stuffing down half a saucisson for breakfast while standing there in nothing but his E LeClerc boxer-shorts, it hasn’t been easy.

Yet not once has he complained about being stuck with a man who eats dry cereal directly from his hand, wears running vests as a fashion statement and ruins every song that comes on the stereo by bellowing along to it like a wildebeest in a mine shaft.

Of our 4,800 miles on the road, he didn’t drive a single one. Of the 800,000 words of French we spoke, he was responsible for less than 10. Yet without Ben, this trip would have been nothing.

In a few hours’ time, Le Bloggernaut’s engine will be turned off for the final time. Ben will be tucking into a homecoming feast at his mum and dad’s; I’ll be carving the fatted cauliflower at mine.

Before we go, a salutation and salute to everyone who’s been part of this blog – reading, watching, writing, arguing, criticising, debating and ranting.

To those who’ve enjoyed it, email our bosses with suggestions of where we should go next.

To those who’ve accused us of wasting the licence fee: I’m sorry. Next time I’ll turn a gig like this down, and make sure the money goes to Celebrity Sword-Juggling On Ice instead.

To all of you: sante. And remember:

“There is some part of a foreign field, that is forever Bloggernaut.”


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 07:15 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Matthew wrote:

I know where to send you both...New Zealand 2011.

Might, with a bit of luck, see you there!

Matt

  • 2.
  • At 07:38 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Carlos wrote:

I for one an jealous!

  • 3.
  • At 07:51 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • jim hancot wrote:

Great blog, fellas. Thanks for making work, and Monday mornings in work, bearable. Next stop - cricket in Sri Lanka?!

  • 4.
  • At 08:02 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Alex D wrote:

Thoroughly enjoyed your blogs - seeing a personal experience of an event like this has only made the RWC 2007 more interesting for me. Well-written, funny, subjective and remarkably professional at times are just a few of the things I could say. Oh, and the cheetah video was one of the funniest things I've seen in some time.

To the naysayers and those who believe the licence fee is wasted on escapades like this, I would like to slowly raise my first two fingers in a longbowman's salute in your general direction and invite you to post your comments elsewhere - most of us just want to say thanks!

  • 5.
  • At 08:28 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Scottie wrote:

I think, if anyone looks up "jammy bu99ers" in the dictionary it will resolve to Tom and Ben 2007.

  • 6.
  • At 08:31 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Craig wrote:

Excellent blog, entertaining and well informed, thank you.

I suggest Dubai 7's next. First weekend in December, pack shorts and waterproofs.

  • 7.
  • At 08:34 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Stonethecrows wrote:

Thanks guys...Its been a blast and I've enjoyed every minute, every game and every blog.

Will you be driving the bloggernaut to the land of the long white cloud to see the Rugby World Cup in 2011?

If so, you'd better start now, you're already a week behind schedule!!!

  • 8.
  • At 08:47 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Neal Whittle wrote:

Well done boys, a great effort. Enjoyed the blog, great SOH, and even better you know the true spirit of the games we boys love to play

  • 9.
  • At 08:49 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Mog wrote:

I have to say after the first few days I thought your blogs were a huge waste of time and money, but over the past 6 weeks they've become part of my RWC daily life, a way of absorbing some of that fabulous atmosphere, whilst being perched over a PC on an industrial estate. Good one boys and a fabulous world cup. Roll on 2011!

  • 10.
  • At 08:57 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Steve Hunt wrote:

Brilliant. Truly brilliant. Good work lads. Its been a pleasure reading this for the last 7 weeks.

Surely NZ in 2011 awaits???

  • 11.
  • At 09:04 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • r0nin wrote:

Terrific blog guys and throughly enjoyed the journey... Not sure what is going to fill the hole left by the RWC 2007....

Here's to 2011!

  • 12.
  • At 09:05 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • muadh wrote:

so you got a ticket

Welcome home, lads. And thank you for your fabulous blogging these past 7 weeks - very much enjoyed.

  • 14.
  • At 09:11 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • muadh wrote:

so you got a ticket

  • 15.
  • At 09:20 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Rob Payne wrote:

i think I might cry! I don't even care for Rugby all that much! This blog has kept me going over the last month or so! You both write like a cross between Bill Bryson and Keith Richards! Absoultly spot on! Would love to send you to Austria and Switzland next summer, but that might really wind up the liscence fee moaners, espically as there'll be no uk intrest from the look of things! Well done to both of you for grabbing this great oppertunity given to you by the horns and having the time of your lives on our behalf! Looking forward to Dirs getting back to the cricket now! Maybe you should get your own bbc series, knid of like some Michael Palin travel thing, with more wine chesse fags and vests obviously! All the best boys, and thanks for the laughs!

  • 16.
  • At 09:21 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Lucy T wrote:

Guy the two of you have been awesome. Gutted France 2007 has been and gone but you made the detail relevant, the days between matches entertaining and helped me up from my post-Marseille comedown- quarter final weekend there was epic and people wouldn't believe me if it hadn't been for blog backing up my story. Even if we'd have won, I wouldn't have had the trophy in my living room- but I have memories that'll put a grin on my face for a long time.
Vive le bloggernaut, nice work boys.

  • 17.
  • At 09:22 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Jon wrote:

Thanks lads, you brought the atmosphere of the RWC directly to my computer hugely successfully - & made me wish I was there. The videos had me chuckling like a chicken, you're worth every penny!

  • 18.
  • At 09:25 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Richard Fletcher wrote:

I love these blogs...

They make the long days in the office disappear by slightly less slowly.

*tips hat*

You guys rule.

As an aside, how do you get a job like that?

  • 19.
  • At 09:26 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • ANDY K wrote:

A great blog that somehow put into words what we were all feeling. The RWC was, at times, unbearable to watch, but provided great entertainment from start to finish. This blog helped us all (especially those of us unlucky enough not to get to france) feel more a part of the whole experience.

Plus the added bonus of a world cup game (Ubogu) to help wile away the hours where we were all stuck at work, and fill the time between games.

Much thanks,

P.S. the england boys did us all proud!

  • 20.
  • At 09:35 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • George wrote:

Hi fellas, loved the blog, even more so because I was jealous!!!

  • 21.
  • At 09:36 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • ANDY K wrote:

A great blog that somehow put into words what we were all feeling. The RWC was, at times, unbearable to watch, but provided great entertainment from start to finish. This blog helped us all (especially those of us unlucky enough not to get to france) feel more a part of the whole experience.

Plus the added bonus of a world cup game (Ubogu) to help wile away the hours where we were all stuck at work, and fill the time between games.

Much thanks,

P.S. the england boys did us all proud!

Congrats Tom and Ben - we at the office are very excited to see what wonderful presents you have brought back for us! Sante.

  • 23.
  • At 09:56 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Gully wrote:

very entertaining blog, thank you both


the next adventure for you 2 would surely have to be cricket

  • 24.
  • At 10:07 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Steve wrote:

Yes, good one. Enjoyed all your awful, glorious moments. Glad it was only vicarious - I couldn't have stood the pace for real. Dirs has been a bit quiet, but I can guess why, I think. You will have more wonderful moments in the future, I'm sure. Salut.

  • 25.
  • At 10:18 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Nathan Smith wrote:

Fantastic coloumn throughout the world cup, has kept me entertained completely.

What's your boss's email address so I can say what a fantastic job you have done please?

  • 26.
  • At 10:21 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Owain wrote:

Thanks lads, great blog. Passing the time at work has been a lot easier thanks to your ridiculous escapades. Hats off for the variety of topics covered too.

I note that some people want to see you in NZ in 2011. I believe there will be a few English players in a red lions jersey with a score to settle in SA first.

  • 27.
  • At 10:27 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Richard Taylor wrote:

Ashby RFC tour to Canada in 2008 - they have camper vans the size of houses there!

  • 28.
  • At 10:29 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Alex Lumley wrote:

Phenomenal job boys! have enjoyed reading of your travels and adventures since day one, so i take it you are of to New Zealand in 2011 then? well, fingers crossed!

  • 29.
  • At 10:31 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Peter O'Farrell wrote:

I was lucky enough to head over to France for about two weeks earlier in the tournament and took in six games, including two England, two Ireland and two Italy matches.

Its been fascinating to read this blog, partly because it's always a good read, and mainly because we had some similar incidents ourselves.

We managed to have our bag stolen in Paris the day before we were leaving, meaning we had but €9 Euros and a phone between myself and my mate, and we missed the Australia game down in Montpellier.

Despite all this, it was hard not to get caught up with it all, the organisation in every City was impeccable, the French people tolerant of our piegeon attempt at their language, the transport on time (London 2012 take note) and the whole atmosphere superb.

And having been there, sampled the sights and having met so many people, including Irish who seemed happy to give us €3 Euro red wine (never again), many friendly French who were only too happy to point us in the right direction, hundreds of English on that night against South Africa when all seemed lost, and the undeniable enthusiasm of the 'second tier' nations, I feel a sense of loss now that the tournament has gone.

This, without doubt, has been the best World Cup ever. I just feel lucky to have been a small part of it.

Anyone for 2011?

Oh and thanks to you two of course for providing such enjoyment over recent weeks. That goes without saying.

Great blog guys and shame about Old Bill not coming back to dear old Blighty but at least it is not winging its way to here in Auckland! ;o)

Looking forward to 2011....

  • 31.
  • At 11:23 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Helen wrote:

awesome travelling with you boys round france - from my office in Scotland (abuse all round after the weekend) where I am the only England fan, you helped me through... *sigh* how about you guys get the next ashes tour?!?!

Your blog would make a great book so we can remember special times.

  • 33.
  • At 11:38 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Ben Dirs wrote:

Yo bloggers! Many thanks for all of your kind words. I write this sitting on a ferry chugging its way towards Dover. After seven of the best weeks of my life, that's pretty much the definition of depressing. You've all been great - you can't imagine how gratifying it is to wake up in an industrial estate, log on to this blog, read your chat and realise it's all been worthwhile. I'm actually a little bit choked up writing this, and that doesn't happen very often. Thanks to every one of you we met on our travels, to the French, to France and everyone who lived this incredible trip through this blog. Word round the BBC campfire is that I might see you in Vegas, baby. Farewell World Cup 2007, roll on The Hitman...

  • 34.
  • At 11:47 AM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Rich Hudson wrote:

Absolutely outstanding fellas. A pleasure to read over the last month and a half.

  • 35.
  • At 12:16 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Blodwyn from Bangor wrote:

Have enjoyed every one of these blogs - thank you guys for keeping me sane in the madness of "the dark side's" awful coverage of our wonderful game. You've done us proud. Hard to type with the emotion of it all being over.

Looked for you at Stade de France, hoped and prayed you'd got a ticket - even asked random Englishmen in chicken hats if they'd heard.

Shared the flight home with the great Mr U - but too fragile to challenge him to a bout of Ubogu...

Anyone know what's on telly now?

  • 36.
  • At 12:17 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Paulina wrote:

Ben - Am so glad you eat dry cornflakes straight from packet as well! I have lots of packets of Special K & Corn Flakes in my kitchen in Geneva, waiting for you next summer for the Euro 2008...

I will really miss having a laugh every day reading your blog - it has been brilliant.

Merci beaucoup! Three Swiss kisses for you both xxx xxx

  • 37.
  • At 12:19 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Katharine wrote:

You've been great! I'd never read a blog before but got addicted to yours. Hope the return to normality isn't too painful.

  • 38.
  • At 12:23 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Rhys Williams wrote:

Thanks for the memories. Have really enjoyed reading your blog, has given me a warm and comforting distraction in work. And has even got me reading other blogs not only on the BBC Sport website but on other sites on the vast expanse called the internet. You gave us passion, humour and some images that no amount of alcohol could rid the memory of! I say good luck on your next adventure and hope it will be as well reported on as the last. I hope they send you both to what i think is the next big adventure.... The British Lions Tour in the World Champions home soil of the Big SA! Although something tells me you'll need something a bit tougher than le Bloggernaut to fend off the cheetahs and the Lions!
Good bye and Good Luck.

  • 39.
  • At 12:27 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Blodwyn from Bangor wrote:

Cheers boys - have enjoyed every one of these blogs - thank you for keeping me sane in the madness of "the dark side's" awful coverage of our wonderful game. You've done us proud. Hard to type with the emotion of it all being over.

Looked for you at Stade de France, hoped and prayed you'd got a ticket - even asked random Englishmen in chicken hats if they'd heard.

Shared the flight home with the great Mr U - but too fragile to challenge him to a bout of Ubogu...

Anyone know what's on telly now?

  • 40.
  • At 12:27 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • doctormatt wrote:

good effort chaps
roll on the cricket season
see you next year

  • 41.
  • At 12:33 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Peter Singleton wrote:

I have to admit to being a wee bit envious but you guys have done a great job.You at least lived the fantasy of doing something like this and gave others the opportunity not only to experience it too(albeit second hand) but also to participate in it through the bloggs. It was endlessly facinating to read the contributions and very satisfying to take part.It gave you the feeling that in some small way you were actually a part of the whole rugby world cup happening. Standard of your writing very was good and seemed to get better towards the end. You have earned your next assignment...You havn't room for one more have you?

  • 42.
  • At 12:37 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Valmobabe wrote:

Brilliant - loved it all on a sporting level.

Having spent 6 weeks in NZ in a campervan two years ago and just going back for another month in a bigger van it brought back both the good and the not so good memories of that mode of transport and accomodation.

I'm Welsh - husband English but we may buy French shirts for the forthcoming trip.

Well done both of you - brilliant

  • 43.
  • At 01:20 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Rob Payne wrote:

Vegas Baby?!! That would most definatly be money! How do I get a job at the bbc?!

  • 44.
  • At 01:27 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • james bond wrote:

All I can say is that if this is the standard of sports journalism at the BBC then let's hope a large proportion of the 1,800 jobs that are going go in the sports department. England reach a RWC final and we have to put up with this rubbish? Terrible RWC coverage all round.

  • 45.
  • At 01:30 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Fiona wrote:

I only caught onto you guys over the last ten days because I'm currently overseas, but am reading the whole thing from start to finish. You've clearly had a ball and your blog is truly magnifique!

Here's a proposition for you...... how about I join you in 2011 in New Zealand? How much fun would that be?!?!
I can offer a female perspective on matters like.....erm, men in shorts! Where should I send my CV? :-)

Safe journey home boys!

Thanks for sharing the great experience, loved all the posts. Are you going to carry on blogging?

  • 47.
  • At 01:47 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Ian wrote:

To all you over confident English folk - I told you so.

Why do you always set yourself up for disapointment?

I know you won't publish this but I don't care.

BOKNAAI!

  • 48.
  • At 02:05 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Liam wrote:

Bloggernaut to the Lions tour to SA 2009??

  • 49.
  • At 02:06 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Nick wrote:

euro 20... oh wait forgot we will not be there

  • 50.
  • At 02:08 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Keo wrote:

Lads all I can say is that you should do the same in NZ in 2011. As your time on this tour, has inspired me to doing the same. We've even made a thread on facebook for those whose interested.

https://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=19857196448

Anyone is welcome, we've already made plans to get 3 of our own bloggernaughts. I also plan to regularly update videos on the tour, and leave blogs just like these ones. It's been a great 8 weeks lads, and maybe we will bump into eachother in 4 years time.

Rich

  • 51.
  • At 02:11 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Rob Payne wrote:

I always knew james bond was a bit of a prat, but moaning about our beloved blogger boys is really taking it a bit far!

  • 52.
  • At 02:18 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Jim wrote:

I was in Marseille by the Port that night and even bumped into Sheridan and Lol watching the French beat the Kiwis. I don't think I'll ever top it, I also got mugged and didn't care! What memories and what a commentary you chaps provided to it all. I can't believe it's all over - I think I'm going to have to sneak into the work toilets and have a little cry.

  • 53.
  • At 02:26 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Jonathan Palfreyman wrote:

Having just made it back home on a limp SpeedFerry last night, I confess to feeling almost as emotional as Dirs. Thanks to you two I've just relived my own campervan trip to the European GP's when our James was crowned champ of F1.

It's been brilliant to read every stupid column inch of your twaddle, lads - hope your bruises from Marseilles are healing, and just wonder if there's be more for you (or Ricky) in Vegas? Bound to be some interesting insects awaiting you in SL!

Bravo the Beeb!

  • 54.
  • At 02:41 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Tom wrote:

Thanks for the blog, have enjoyed reading every one!

Look forward to the next trip, I hope over the 6 Nations!?

  • 55.
  • At 03:37 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • allen wrote:

Top effort guys

you brought the whole RWC alive in a very personal and funny way. Well worth every penny of my licence fee.

Goes without saying that you should get the same gig in 4 years time in middle earth, but not sure i can wait that long, why not a 6 nations road trip.

not sure what i am going to do each morning now, checking blogs became part of the morning ritual.

ENGLAND should be proud of both their rugby team and their bloggernaut inhabitants

  • 56.
  • At 04:04 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Carole in Maidenhead wrote:

Have sent a number of blogs today, but my computer keeps failing. Either they've sussed me at work and blocked me, or Dirsy has had a word with the techie boys to prevent them coming through. Ben? Would you? SO am I wasting my time typing this? Oh it's a blessed mystery.

  • 57.
  • At 04:21 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Neil wrote:

Great blog chaps. Ubogu Ubogu Ubogu!

  • 58.
  • At 04:25 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Pembers wrote:

Asbolutely fantastic effort Chaps. You have had me laughing, crying and holding my nose (Dirsy's underwear) for 7 weeks. Wish I could have been in Marseille but our rugby club came a close second.
Can the Director General send you to SA for the Lions tour?

  • 59.
  • At 04:32 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Martin Byrne wrote:

Benjamin Dirs, you‘ve come an awfully long way since sitting headmasters’ Latin tests to enable you to go on rugby tours...the same can be said for the England Rugby team and this blog. I think your efforts are a great example of how the licence fee can and should be spent, I for one feel enormously grateful to you both for making the whole experience so much fun...so until the next time…dare I say it…. Lions tour South Africa

  • 60.
  • At 05:22 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Pagey 54 wrote:

So you didnt need our ticket after all. We sold it at cost in the end to a guy called Lee who joined us for the evening and was great company. What an awesome afternoon, evening, and night pity they could not quite get the result. I shudder to think what would have happened if they had - think we would still all be there now!Your blogs have been great think the Lions Tour next. Suppose it would be too cold in the campervan to do the 6 Nations?

  • 61.
  • At 05:38 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Ian A wrote:

Great job boys, safe home!
More of the same 2011!

  • 62.
  • At 05:39 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Stavros wrote:

We come (back) on the slow ferry
My fellow blogger and me
Around marseille town we did roam
Drinking all night
Got into a fight (well a mugging)
Well I feel so broke up
I want to go home

Do you want to go home though?

  • 63.
  • At 05:40 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • cabbagestew wrote:

License payers' money well spent, I say, and obviously the closest the Beeb came to live coverage! They should be very grateful to you for getting so many people to log onto the BBC website every day: I hope they will respond appropriately when they send you off to SA for the Lions, and NZ in 2011, by providing you with enough funds to rent a Winnebago, or at least something with enough space for you to tuck away your dirty washing, and space enough to give a few poor travelling England fans a lift!

  • 64.
  • At 05:45 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Ian A wrote:

Great job boys, safe home!
More of the same 2011!

  • 65.
  • At 06:08 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Peter Bernard Thompson wrote:

Hello to you both and thank you, thank you, thank you a million!
You turned the Rugby World Cup into an experience that has seeped into me. Something I loved, enjoyed and suffered as I were part of it despite never having set foot in France during the seven weeks. I hope to be reading your blog next time round in 2011!! Cheers from an exile in Italy! Ciao :-)

  • 66.
  • At 06:28 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Sam Fold wrote:

I'd just like to say thank you to you both for such a wonderful and entertaining blog.

I've always been a big fan of your writing style and always knew your blog would be highly amusing.

I'm thankful that the bosses gave you this gig so that many more people have had the chance to experience a different form of sports journalism.

An indicator of how well written your blog was, is that I really feel like I know you both well and am a bit gutted it's all over.

Thanks again and good luck for the future guys.

  • 67.
  • At 06:28 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • HT wrote:

Lads, thanks for the entertainment. I have to admit, I thought it was a bit pointless at the beginning but by the end you recreated the mood and feeling that RWC'07 generated and transcended it upon your faithful readers in a totally spot on manner. Hope the beeb take note of these comments and make you guys roving reporters for all major sporting tournaments in the future. Nice one and hope the come down isn't too painful...

  • 68.
  • At 06:40 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Sam Fold wrote:

I'd just like to say thank you to you both for such a wonderful and entertaining blog.

I've always been a big fan of your writing style and always knew your blog would be highly amusing.

I'm thankful that the bosses gave you this gig so that many more people have had the chance to experience a different form of sports journalism.

An indicator of how well written your blog was, is that I really feel like I know you both well and am a bit gutted it's all over.

Thanks again and good luck for the future guys.

  • 69.
  • At 06:48 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • jule-ann singleton wrote:

We too feel very flat today. We took the TGV from Paris to Nantes yesterday, met some England supporters, had a couple of lemonades with them, and as they had time to kill before their plane, they came back to ours, had a roast dinner, drank all me wine, left me with the hangover from hell, but what a fitting end to our 6 weeks of sheer bliss. Thanks you guys for fab blogs. Feel like we've lived it with you. Got photo souvenirs you would die for with chabal, pelous, will greenwood, a very pissed austin healy in Marseille (even big hugs with mr laporte after we sqished those frogs)! Happy days. Well done lads, you're worth your salt. Go to the pub tonight. You know it makes sense!

  • 70.
  • At 06:48 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Tony Hart wrote:

The 606 message boards - despite the good nature of many - have been awash with hard feelings and petitness for many years. Your blog has been a true revelation. Well written, engaging and in the very best of rugby spirits, what I have read here over the last 7 weeks has been great, magical stuff, that makes me proud to follow this game. Congratulations to Dirs and yourself.

The final was a tense affair, not a classic by any stretch of the imagination, and if you ask me the try as legit. But this is rugby, this is sport, and my insistance that it was good will be matched by others adamant that there was a foot in touch and at the end of the day you have to say that Rugby was the winner tonight. What a TREMENDOUS world cup. Brilliant play from start to finish, a form guide thrown out the window and a French nation that despite the agony of their teams tournament took the championship to their hearts.

Damn (can I say that???) what a fine sport we have here!!!

  • 71.
  • At 08:25 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Tez wrote:

Superb stuff lads, thoroughly enjoyed following you round on your trek, brought RWC 2007 even more to life. I know despite what many of us may have thought that you were actually working all the way round, without even the luxury of any weekends off! What's going to happen to Le Bloggernaut? Next thing how about Euro Footy Finals next summer ?

  • 72.
  • At 08:42 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Ade wrote:

brilliant, what more can i say! Will miss the blog, as it made the world cup a lot more personal.

just a shame it all has to end, but let's hope you guys get to ride the bloggernaught again, as it will make any tournament more insightful and humourous!

adieu

  • 73.
  • At 08:52 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Ade wrote:

brilliant, what more can i say! Will miss the blog, as it made the world cup a lot more personal.

just a shame it all has to end, but let's hope you guys get to ride the bloggernaught again, as it will make any tournament more insightful and humourous!

adieu

  • 74.
  • At 09:19 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Kate Herbert wrote:

Thanks to you both,

Still feeling the aftereffects of Saturday night, the 7am EuroStar this morning was NOT my friend - but hwat a fantastic weekend and what a fantastic tournament.

I still have my crush on Tom, regardless of his lack of personal hygenie over the past 7 weeks or his close proximity to Ben.

I hope you both enjoy getting back to your family and friends and thanks for the excellent blogs,

Kate

  • 75.
  • At 11:11 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Reyniers wrote:

You absolutely bossed it! Witty, emotional, insightful. Well done lads. Currently suffering from a double whammy of RWC withdrawal symptoms and the gut wrenching pain of defeat, as well as lack of throat from cheering so hard in the Stade and therefore resorting to communicating by the medium of strange dance. But my God, what an October!

England did us so proud. Their world cup journey was the food of life. Onward to Lions '09

Strenght and honour x

  • 76.
  • At 11:35 PM on 22 Oct 2007,
  • Reyniers wrote:

You absolutely bossed it! Witty, emotional, insightful. Well done lads. Currently suffering from a double whammy of RWC withdrawal symptoms and the gut wrenching pain of defeat, as well as lack of throat from cheering so hard in the Stade and therefore resorting to communicating by the medium of strange dance. But my God, what an October!

England did us so proud. Their world cup journey was the food of life. Onward to Lions '09

Gents, thanks to you both. You've kept me sane through training and my first weeks in a new job. Very funny, very amusing - and if you want a pint, let me know and I'll buy you one at my local. That's one each. Hope you've got home safe and look forward to the resumption of you on the cricket.

  • 78.
  • At 12:04 AM on 23 Oct 2007,
  • mutley5 wrote:

Bit like the England team, the blog started slowly, but, by the end, the boys found a rich vein of form, making this required reading every morning (and afternoon) throughout the WC. Videos were gems, espec the Morecome & Wise endings. Please don't get carried away, however - we don't want to be seeeing a mini-series (like May and Clarkes's wine trips), we want you back in what's left of White City back on the cricket through winter. Finally, for the licence fee complainers, content is king and this was supreme material + I would guess at a fraction of the cost of others in the extensive BBC team (no hotels, few big dinners, but lots of dry cereal etc)..

  • 79.
  • At 07:33 AM on 23 Oct 2007,
  • Ian Edward Holmes wrote:

The Webb-Ellis trophy has returned to where it rightfully belongs in the Southern Hemisphere. Watching English teams play Rugby Union is as exciting as watching Boycott Bat. Teams that run in tries make Rugby palatable especially if you follow Australian Rules football. See you in New Delhi and then New Zealand.

the 'tom's ticket' soap opera was never really cleared up, although the "I'm in! I'm in! I'm in" bit on flickr moreorless confirms that you did get in. but not how you got in. is it because a bbc source finally delivered the goods, or because you had to pay a heavy price - in pounds, euros or sexual favours - in exchange and don't want to broadcast this? will the truth not be revealed until your joint auto-biography is published?!

a cracking day, the only downsides being the fact that we lost (it's been over-analysed, but suffice to say a few mistakes, a couple of contentious decisions, some bad luck with injuries, and some efficient rugby by the winners) the transport problems, and the fake tickets (one of my pals got a pair for 1200 euros from a site called gumtree, but they were false, he was refused admission, and had to pay another thousand to a tout for a genuine pair). maybe those of us who were in sydney find it easier to bear?

was it me or were the south african fans really downbeat? my pal picked up on this as we left the ground, and said he'd shake hands and congratulate every south african who he saw who was smiling. by the time we returned to our hotel about five hours later i think he'd shaken four hands. were they just exhausted with relief at winning narrowly in spite of not playing all that well (albeit better than us)? or do they think we're football hooligans and were going to punch them if we saw them celebrating? is it because the only songs they know are "ole ole" and two lines of "we are the champions"? it was almost eerie - if you'd teleported someone into paris at 0200 they would have sworn england had been the victors.

welcome back to england anyway tom and ben, and mark, great blogging, the ride has indeed been a good one...

tomthepom

  • 81.
  • At 08:15 AM on 23 Oct 2007,
  • karl southall wrote:

guys when you come to NZ in 2011 come stay with us.the last 7 weeks in new zealand have been great.the kiwis thought they would win with out even turning up.ha ha how i laughed when they lost,and then cried when we reached the final.
i read your blog every monday morning before going to work and boy did it set me up for the day.cheers lads

  • 82.
  • At 08:40 AM on 23 Oct 2007,
  • karl southall wrote:

guys when you come to NZ in 2011 come stay with us.the last 7 weeks in new zealand have been great.the kiwis thought they would win with out even turning up.ha ha how i laughed when they lost,and then cried when we reached the final.
i read your blog every monday morning before going to work and boy did it set me up for the day.cheers lads

  • 83.
  • At 09:08 AM on 23 Oct 2007,
  • IainB wrote:

Guys

I'm planning a bit of a drive in the summer of 2009, taking 2 Landrover Defenders from Twickenham Stadium to the Telstra Dome in Sydney. Part of it in support of IRB SOS Kit Aid.

I'd be delighted if one or both of you wanted to come along to help chart the journey. I don't think I could compete with your humour if I did the blog myself!

Something a bit different and one hell of a challenge if you are up for it!

Great work on the blog over the world cup lads - tournament over, I now need to gently coax my liver back into some sort of semblance of working order...

Iain

  • 84.
  • At 09:34 AM on 23 Oct 2007,
  • Lucy T wrote:

Guy the two of you have been awesome. Gutted France 2007 has been and gone but you made the detail relevant, the days between matches entertaining and helped me up from my post-Marseille comedown- quarter final weekend there was epic and people wouldn't believe me if it hadn't been for blog backing up my story. Even if we'd have won, I wouldn't have had the trophy in my living room- but I have memories that'll put a grin on my face for a long time.
Vive le bloggernaut, nice work boys.

  • 85.
  • At 11:08 AM on 23 Oct 2007,
  • Richard Walker wrote:

Totally share your feeling of flat sadness,even though we we were only in France for the semi and the final.......

Anyone that was at the toll booth just oustide paris will know that feeling of shared unity on foriegn soil,the french were in awe of our synchronised hooters and swing low....

and the young student I was amazed to find bevvying on the 5 am ferry on sat morning...impressive I said....youve got to take one for the team he said....awesome

Thanks guys,please do it again in NZ

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