Chief Cricket Writer George Dobell talks to England's Bears duo after their moments of Ashes glory...
Ashley Giles, perhaps more than anyone, has experienced the highs and lows of a remarkable summer of Test cricket.
Lampooned by some sections of the media after an indifferent start to the series at Lord's, it was perhaps fitting that his battling half-century played a vital role in securing the all-important draw at The Oval on Monday.
Back at Edgbaston yesterday, perched on the upper level of the open-deck bus that had taken the victorious team around London the previous day, Giles reflected on a great season.
"When I think back to Lord's, it is amazing how things have changed," he said. "I'd never experienced such a bad week in my life. I was wondering whether it was worth it.
"People may say I overreacted a bit, but I think it was justified really. We've shown we're a pretty good team now, anyway.
"It's been such a dramatic series. I've been struggling to sleep for the last seven weeks, it's been incredibly hectic.
"We've worked exceptionally hard and now's the time to enjoy it. Winning the Ashes is a huge achievement. Some guys go through their whole career without winning the Ashes.
"It hasn't really sunk in yet, but we know it's a huge achievement."
One thing that comes through strongly when talking to any of the present England team is the amazing sense of unity. The spirit within the dressing room is clearly exceptional.
"The guys in the team will be mates all my life," Giles said. "I've loved every second of it.
"We'll always be the side that won the Ashes. No-one will ever be able to take that away from us."
Giles' own returns from the series are, on the face of it, somewhat modest. But figures, as we all know, tell only part of the story. Giles weighed in with tight spells at important times, took some great catches and played at least two vital innings: Trent Bridge and The Oval, for example.
"I'm just happy to have played a little bit of a part," Giles said modestly. "I was playing with great cricketers - Andrew Flintoff must be the best in the world - and I know I'll never play a more important innings than I did on the last day. It all seemed to be slipping away from us on that last day.
"The whole summer simply couldn't have been scripted better. It's been wonderful and the celebrations in London just capped it off.
"We were joking that they'd probably be a couple of pensioners on their sticks, but the streets were packed. They just couldn't have fitted more people in!
"It won't change me as a person - my family wouldn't allow that - but I think it's bound to change all our lives a bit."
Giles' appetite for international cricket - waning somewhat after Lord's - is now voracious again.
"I couldn't honestly say I'd relish a Test series starting tomorrow," he admitted, "but yes, there is a lot to look forward to. I wouldn't want to leave that team of guys.
"I'd love to play a part in us winning the World Cup and I'd love to play a part in us retaining the Ashes in Australia. I still feel I've a lot to offer."
While Giles is anticipating putting his feet up, however, Ian Bell is relishing the prospect of getting back to Warwickshire.
"I'm looking forward to the Championship game against Gloucestershire (starting next Wednesday)," he said, rather improbably.
"I haven't had as much batting as I would have liked of late and it will be good to get back to things in a slightly less pressurised environment."
Bell bagged a 'pair' at The Oval, but feels he learned a great deal from the summer and will be a better player as a consequence.
"The focus is always on the team, so it really wasn't a case of thinking about me," he said. "Obviously it was disappointing, but I was just thinking about the rest of the cricket there was left in the day.
"The pleasing thing from a personal perspective was the two half-centuries I scored at Old Trafford.
"I batted for a long time there and felt really confident after that so it was a disappointment not to build on that at Trent Bridge or The Oval. I'd definitely have liked another half-century.
"I guess there is a bit of a get-out in that I was out to two of the great bowlers in Test history.
"Playing against Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath was amazing. I'm sure I'll take a lot from the experience and will be a better player for it.
"It was a really pleasant surprise how we all got on with one another, too. There was a great rapport with the Aussies and, as a 23-year-old, it was just fantastic to be part of what may turn out to be one of the greatest series in Test history."
And what about the big question? In light of their celebrations of the last couple of days, just what is the best cure for a hangover?
Giles and Bell look at each other for a moment and say together: "Just keep going!"