Today I've done a final practice run of 30-minute binary and hour numbers, had a haircut, done some shopping and won an Online Memory Challenge, and it's only seven o'clock!
Let's talk about the OMC first, because we haven't had one for a while, and it's returned, better than ever, thanks to that statistics whiz and website-creating genius, Simon Orton. The website now has an excellent training system as well as regular online competitions, so it's well worth checking out - you need to email Simon to register, so check out this page for the details. There's another Challenge tomorrow morning at 11:00 British time!
And now let's talk about hour numbers, because I'm feeling very happy about that all of a sudden. Last year I didn't train on the final weekend before the WMC, because I had an annoying TV crew following me around, but that's not a problem this year - the BBC are safely packed off to America, filming somebody else, and I've only had one late-night phone call from Michael with a query about memory techniques (he really is enthusiastic about it, it's great! He can memorise a pack of cards already!) - and I'm very confident that it's going well this time round. I got a 3630in binary this morning, which isn't bad because it could have been much better with a little more effective time management and fewer silly mistakes, and then this afternoon a whopping 1960 in hour numbers. Would have been a nice round 2000 if not for a stupid error on the penultimate line - I memorised the right image but somehow wrote down the wrong numbers and didn't notice (I did go through and double-check what I'd written at the end, but my mind had obviously started to wander a little after 58 rows of numbers).
I credit this better-than-usual score (it'd be a world record, just barely, if I did it in the competition, although I'm expecting Gunther/Andi/Dr Yip/someone to beat that record by a bigger margin next week) to a slight change in technique. After reading through each journey's worth of digits (234) once, I normally whizz through them very quickly again, but this time I closed my eyes and went through what I'd memorised carefully in my head, only looking at the paper when I couldn't remember an image. It was quite a bit slower (4 minutes per journey instead of 2½), meaning I only went through the digits three times, but my recall was a lot more accurate. I think I'm slowing down in my old age, but that seems to not necessarily be a bad thing.
If tomorrow I manage to do another OMC plus an hour cards, and maybe a bit of spoken numbers, I will be fighting-fit for the world championship. I'm on form and (fingers crossed, touch wood) hopeful of winning!