'm hovercraft ydy llonaid chan llyswennod. I have returned from the land of bilingual traffic signs and train station announcements after a very fun weekend! Ai Ddeudais caech a 'n arddun chorff , afaelech 'i rhago? Wales is certainly an interesting place to visit, and it's funny that I've never found a reason to do it before now. Dwi na 'n bellach heintiedig. The first-ever Welsh memory championship was a big success, even attracting three Welsh competitors (as many UK competitors who turned up for the first UK championship) as well as six outsiders. 'm ddidennau chwala ag ddifyrra! And I did rather better than I'd expected to do, which is reassuring!
It's great to be officially back in the memory-competition season! Ringland Community Centre, near Newport, welcomed a posse of new and old memorisers - a Welsh Team made up of old hand James Paterson, newbie Carl Griffin and new-to-competitions-but-not-to-memorising-cards John Burrows; an English Team of me, Katie Kermode and Ameel Hoque; and a Foreigners Team of Dagfinn Hammar (Norway), Idriz Zogaj (Albanio-Sweden) and Conor Muldoon (Ireland). Plus an all-important organising and arbiting team of Dai, Dai's dad and neighbour Sian, Phil, Warren and (Ameel's girlfriend who mentioned during one conversation that nobody ever spells her name right but who for some reason I didn't ask to tell me the correct spelling, so if this is right I'll be very surprised) Dionne.
I haven't got the final results to hand, so can only rely on my memory, but we started off with a new world record in the 5-minute words, from Katie of course, with 109 (or something close to it). I think that was the only world record of the day, I certainly wasn't up to speed enough to set one, unless there was one in the names and faces right at the end (we did that discipline last, unusually, for technical reasons - the papers needed to be printed out during the competition). I got an 82 in the words, which I was entirely happy with. I moved into the lead after discipline two, 5-minute binary, with a pretty impressive 840, and I think held on to it all the way through from then on. Throughout the competition, I was some distance away from my best, but not as far off as I'd thought I would be - my brain was running slower than it does when I've been training, and I was completely burnt out by the end of the day, but I posted quite acceptable scores in nearly everything.
Katie was a fairly comfortable second place - she's the top contender for next-new-British-World-Champion at the moment, unless she forgets everything during the general excitement of having a baby in August - and Ameel and James were fighting it out all the way through for third, with Ameel ending up on top. Hooray for Team England!
Dai provided floor-space (and even bed-space for me! I'm privileged, on account of I'm the world champion, you see), food, drink and fun for everyone, and organised a cracking weekend. Book your tickets for the next one, this time next year!