As I was walking to the MSO the night before last, in the still-pouring rain, a lightbulb fell from a theatre poster and missed me by a fraction of an inch before shattering on the ground. In fact, either on the way down or as the bits bounced back up, it burnt my arm just below the elbow! I have a feeling that this is the kind of thing I could sue someone for, but luckily my life isn't a courtroom drama, so I won't. And then as I was heading back to the hotel, I was halfway down to the platform at the Tottenham Court Road tube station when the fire alarms went off and the whole station was evacuated. Fire engines and everything, and I had to get the bus back. It was all terribly exciting, and also wet.
Anyway, I did end up winning the UK Championship after all, although I was quite some way off my best in everything except random words (don't ask me why, but I got a personal-best 200 in that). All the other disciplines, though, I was somewhere around 80-90% of the kind of scores I expect from a safe, unexceptional result. Boris took issue with that, saying that I could have come really quite close to my best-ever score if I hadn't messed up the speed cards, but I know how good I can be, and how good I wasn't all through this competition, and I need a big improvement if I'm going to do any good at the WMC. Still, it could have been a lot worse.
And the speed cards wasn't because I couldn't memorise them, it was just either tiredness or general stupidity - the first trial I came close but got mixed up with the images somewhere in the middle of the pack, but the second trial I remembered perfectly with almost no trouble at all. But then when I was re-ordering the recall pack I somehow put the first two cards down in the wrong order. Sigh. I still don't know how I did that, I've never done it before.
So, with a bit of training and some more 'practice competitions' in Sweden and Germany, I might be able to get back to my best results. I hope so, anyway, because even though I didn't lose this one, I'm feeling more in a memory-training kind of mood now.
There might be an article about the competition in the Washington Post, if you're a reader, because I did a big long interview with an enthusiastic journalist after the championship. Then we had a big international meal at an Italian restaurant, with at least ten or eleven nationalities represented among the nine people who were there - I had thought that Enrico would be chatting with the staff there, but our waitress turned out to be Lithuanian, so Robertas did the talking instead. All in all, it was a fantastic competition, and I'm looking forward to more!
Now, should I play Texas Hold'em tonight, or go and see Avenue Q?