- 23 Oct 07, 09:01 AM
Hang out the bunting, strike up the band, Tom and Ben are home.
Not quite in a jet draped with flags, awaiting a press corps and tumult of fans, more in a campervan, on a ferry, still wearing those flip-flops. And that vest. Probably.
So here's a best of Fordyce & Dirs, in photos and links to remind you of the past seven weeks' adventure.
You can check out all of their photos on flickr.com.
And to think, they left for France with high hopes of adventure and low hopes for the home nations...
Le Bloggernaut. Before the chemical toilet collapsed, the cooker packed in, and the food went off. Will do 4,800 miles in seven weeks.
Welsh fans in Nantes show Tom and Ben how to make your flip-flops the best looking part of your outfit.
Tom and Ben got broken by the Toulouse road system, totally missing the Japan - Fiji match. They did make it to 13 other games, though.
Despite the lows of dry pasta, losing arm-wrestling matches and south-western French one-way systems, Tom and Ben found ways to relieve the tension on the road and also attempt to cut the cost of the trip in half.
Fisticuffs aside, Tom and Ben continued to justify their "diligence and resourcefulness" to the London office with numerous jours de reserche. Such as visiting the grave of William Webb-Ellis (man turning in grave sound not available).
...or Tom cycling up the toughest mountain trail in all of Europe. (Ben got to visit the Hennessy cognac headquarters.)
...and taking a lap of the Monte Carlo grand prix circuit in a vehicle with all the dexterity, speed, and girth of a single-story building. The Monaco mobile library was giving them a serious toot at one point.
Unfortunately, we are restricted in terms of images the BBC may use from inside the Stade Velodrome during England's quarter-final win over Australia. Unfortunately, we are not restricted in the images we may use after the quarter-final.
Midnight, Saturday 13 October 2007, England have beaten France in the Rugby World Cup semi-final and the Stade de France has emptied on to the Paris streets to party. Except our man Fordyce, who knows that decent beer, attractive women, hugging strangers and no feasible curfew in perhaps the most glamorous city in the world are but nothing compared to typing out his blog. That's how much he loves you.
Meanwhile, Ben, knowing a good thing when he drinks a lot of it, dances the night away, and even scores fellow BBC blogger Rob Hodgetts for company on the floor of a hotel room.
It would be churlish for us to ignore the many rugby fans of evey nation that Tom and Ben met and were welcomed by along the way, and the triumph of South Africa in winning the thing.
Tom and Ben were so hard at work they only had time to invent one silly game: Ubogu. He (or she) who can say the word 'Ubogu' the most times without drawing breath is the winner. The big V himself caught wind of this and promptly schooled (the then Ubogu world champion) Tom first go. It is the first time Tom has ever been beaten at a sport.
Ben, midnight, Stade de France, 20 October 2007, can not quite comprehend that England had got so far against expectation, only to lose at the last. He is now planning to manage an Ubogu re-match against South Africa, with Tom, Victor, and Carole in Maidenhead playing for England; Bryan, Schalk and JM Coetzee for SA, double or quits on the Webb-Ellis trophy...
Le Bloggernaut, on arrival in Dover. Sadly, it must be returned to the rental company. Gonzo Fordyce and Hunter S Dirs have tried their best to have it not accepted back...