Saturday, August 11, 2007

It'd take a dozen skivvies, his clothes to wash and scrub

Woo, the football season is back! And with it comes Match of the Day on the BBC on Saturday nights, coinciding nicely with the othello tournament on kurnik! I can get back to my usual Saturday routine of avoiding seeing the football results so I can be surprised when I watch the highlights. Which is going to be a bit harder this year, with Derby being back in the Premiership. I haven't heard any celebrating fans running through the streets this evening, so they probably lost.

Normally speaking, staying up till nearly midnight isn't a problem, it being Saturday, but tomorrow I need to be up at the crack of dawn to get a series of rail replacement buses down to Boston, so I can be filmed hanging out in Tumby Woodside. Times like this I need reminding why I agreed to this whole documentary idea. I'm still getting used to working five days a week again, I can do without giving up half of my weekend too. Moan, mutter, grumble...

Friday, August 10, 2007

I have GOT to learn to say no on the phone!

The Daily Mail phoned me tonight and I ended up agreeing to let them send someone round to interview me next Wednesday night. I should have said something along the lines of "Sorry, I don't really want to be interviewed", but as regular readers of my blog will know, I'm not good at that. So I said that I'm quite busy at the moment, and let myself be talked round.

Seriously, the Telegraph was bad enough, but the Daily Mail? I do have a strict rule in this blog of not talking politics, and I only break it very occasionally, but I do have quite extreme left-wing views, and it's not that much of a secret. So why is it only the right-wing papers that want to talk to me? I'm the kind of typical weirdo bearded lefty Guardian reader (except that I don't read the Guardian), aren't they curious about the world memory championships? Is the Mirror completely uninterested in the mechanics of memorising a pack of cards? Doesn't the Socialist Worker want to make me a pin-up of the week?

I'm going to get out of this, I can't actually appear in the Daily Mail.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

The problem with working

Is that I go to work, juggle numbers, come home and do nothing exciting or blogworthy a lot of the time. And I'm in a bit of a lull between memory championships. I should be training in the evenings, but I haven't been in the mood this week. I'll try to do an hour numbers again on Saturday, and maybe hour cards too. But I need to get into the habit of doing some speed and spoken numbers in the evenings, because that's what I need to work on.

Who knows, maybe something interesting will happen to me tomorrow?

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

It was quite a day

Donald woke up on the morning of his thirty-seventh birthday to find himself not in his bed, but lying in the middle of a mini-roundabout, tied by the wrists and ankles to a tree trunk and blindfolded with what a quick probe with his unusually long tongue suggested was a medium-sized woman's handkerchief. "What's going on?" he asked.

A medium-sized woman took off the blindfold and started to untie him. "Surprise!" she said.

"Prudence?" said Donald, a little confused. "Why am I tied to a tree trunk in the middle of a mini-roundabout?"

"I wanted to bring you here as a birthday surprise, so I drugged you last night and dragged you here. I don't own a car, so I have to travel everywhere by dragging a tree trunk around."

"But why a mini-roundabout? Many lazy drivers drive over the painted white circle over the edges of which your tree trunk is dangerously jutting. We're not entirely safe here."

"I had to stop here because I ran out of petrol. I was heading for the car park half a mile down the road."

"Wait a minute," said Donald, with a look of dread on his face. "A car park half a mile down the road from a mini-roundabout? There's only one place in the world where that occurs! We're in WELWYN GARDEN CITY!"

"Yep!" said Prudence, finally freeing Donald from the trunk. "Happy birthday! I knew you'd like it!"

"Like it?!" Donald screamed. "Like it? I hate Welwyn Garden City! You know I can't ever bring myself to go within fifty miles of the place! I've told you about it several times - when I was ten years old I was chased by a rabid pig through the streets of Welwyn Garden City for seventeen hours until it was finally killed by a white hunter! It left me permanently psychologically scarred!"

"Oh," said Prudence, frowning. "A pig? I thought it was a rabid horse."

"But you did know it was Welwyn Garden City? And still brought me here?"

"Well, yes, but I checked with the Lady Mayoress before we came that they weren't intending to have any rabid horses roaming the streets today. I didn't check for pigs, though."

"There might be rabid pigs? Seriously, what's wrong with you?"

Prudence sniffled and her lip wobbled. "I only wanted to give you a birthday surprise! I thought you'd like it!"

"I wanted to spend my birthday with my wife and children! It's not that I don't appreciate your gesture, but we just work together, we're not even particularly close friends. You could have just sent me a card. Oh heck, here comes a rabid horse!"

"It can't be! The Lady Mayoress promised me!" Prudence screamed as the horse bore down on them. Abandoning the tree trunk, which was subsequently towed away and crushed into a cube, the two of them ran headlong through the streets for eighteen hours until the horse was felled by a collapsing statue of Disraeli.

"Sorry the birthday surprise didn't work out quite the way I'd expected," Prudence gasped, lying down in the gutter to catch her breath.

"Don't worry about it," Donald smiled. "It was a surprisingly pleasant experience, all in all. Apart from the bit with the horse."

This has been a presentation of the Welwyn Garden City Tourist Board. Come to Welwyn Garden City. A great day out for all the family.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Vaše pravo na glasanje (Your Right To Vote)

Had my voter registration form in the post today along with a booklet explaining it in English, Albanian, Arabic, Bosnian, Chinese, Farsi, French, Hindi, Kurdish, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Punjabi, Somali, Turkish, Ukrainian and Urdu. I'm going to campaign to get German added to the list. Derby needs to become a worldwide capital of 'memory sports', and that'll mean there'll be a swarm of German immigrants coming and setting up home here.

Yes, I couldn't think of anything to write about tonight. Is that a crime?

Monday, August 06, 2007

Homeward bound

The TV people are taking me to my old house in Tumby Woodside on Sunday, presumably to wander around and point at things as if they hold some special significance to me. Which will be cool. I haven't been there since, ooh, probably more than five years ago, whenever it was that my dad moved out. When was that, anyway? See, this is why I'm famous for my bad memory. Now, hang on, association techniques ahoy, I remember talking on VPS about having to take all our old toys to my flat in Boston, and subsequently talking about it in real life at what was almost certainly the famous VPS Meet 7th April 2000. So it's probably more than seven years, if that's right. My passport has his original address in Huntingdon as my emergency contact details (I should probably change those some day - my emergency contacts are my late father and my brother at an address he left about two years ago), and I got the passport in June 2000. Although I might not have filled in the contacts bit for a year or two.

I can't imagine Tumby Woodside has changed very much since I was last there (come to think of it, I went down there on my motorbike once or twice to see what the new owners had done with the house, so it was well before I got rid of the bike in late 2002). There isn't much to change - it isn't so much a village as a road, about a mile long, with farmhouses here and there and a clump of four council houses incongruously dropped in the middle of nowhere, possibly due to a clerical error, in one of which I spent my halcyon days. The whole idea of going there has put me in a nostalgic kind of mood, though. Some time when I'm not being filmed, I'll take my bike down to Boston on the train and cycle out to Tumby Woodside, Coningsby and Tattershall and all the surrounding places. Maybe up to Horncastle too, although that would take a lot of cycling (ten miles from Boston to Tumby, and another ten from there to Horncastle, which involves cycling up the only hill in that part of Lincolnshire along the way). Yep, I really like this plan now. I'll have to see when I can fit it into my busy schedule...

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Five Not Live

I know I said I wasn't going to write about memory-related stuff for a while, but I had to record that I've just done an interview over the phone for Radio Five Live, that's going to be broadcast some time around midnight tonight, under the pretence that it's a live chat with a 'fascinating person'. I've said it before and I'll say it again, the media are all a bunch of fakers. They did actually want me to do it live, at midnight, but I told them I've got to work tomorrow. And really, if I'm not important enough to be on the air at half past eight on a Sunday night, I'm not going to stay up late until we get to a timeslot with few enough listeners. I'm almost a celebrity, dagnabbit! I should be demanding all sorts of concessions for this kind of work! My own dressing room, and a box of really nice chocolates with no nuts in, brought to me by trained squirrels. And a Big Yellow Teapot.