This year's Welsh Memory Championship was in the village hall in Llanover. I find it impossible to write that name without accidentally sticking a D in there and calling it 'Llandover', which makes Google maps redirect me to Llandovery, which is a different place entirely.
I got there by the unusual but healthy method of taking my bike on the train to Abergavenny and cycling the four-mile distance to the venue. I'd sort of assumed there would be road-signs, but there weren't, so I just relied on memory and knowing I was headed in roughly the right direction. When I saw a sign saying that Upper Llanover was half a mile away, I was pleased, and headed in that direction, only to find that 'Upper' means 'On top of a mountain' (I was hoping for 'to the north, and down a hole'), and when after about a mile of steeply uphill road I came across another sign saying Upper Llanover was half a mile ahead, I turned around and free-wheeled back to the road I was originally on. The real Llanover was about a hundred yards away if I'd kept going without turning off.
Anyway, I got there at about ten past nine (the competition was due to start at nine o'clock prompt), so I wasn't all that late, and found everyone else already there. The venue was perfect for a memory competition - spacious, quiet and with a little side-room for marking papers, plus a kitchen where people made sandwiches for us to have for lunch. The only problem, like the equally awesome venue in Highley, and for that matter the smaller and less-ideal (but still very nice) nature reserve where I held my own competition last year, is that it's quite difficult to get to. A quiet village hall in the middle of a big city would be a perfect location.
We had five competitors, me, rival Welsh memory-masters James Paterson and John Burrows, Joachim Andersson all the way from Sweden and small boy Alexander (whose surname nobody mentioned to me as far as I can remember) all the way from Denmark.
All I can say about my performance is that it was very obvious I hadn't done any training since last year. I couldn't even keep my concentration going for five minutes without my mind wandering, so I had to reduce my expectations sharply. I still won, just barely, but it was very close. James won the War of the Welsh to become the Welsh Champion.
The whole competition ran perfectly smoothly with no hiccups or delays at all! And it's not often you can say that about a memory championship, so kudos again to Dai Griffiths and Phil Chambers for running everything so well!
Now that I'm back in more of a memory-competition mood, I should organise a Cambridge Championship (something I've completely neglected so far this year). But when? The German Championship is at the end of July and the UK in August, so is there time to get one in before then?
And on a related note, would people want to come here for two days rather than one, and have some fun and different events as well as the 'real' competition?