Yesterday it was the Welsh Memory Championship in the scenic surroundings of Llanover. I got a lift there and back courtesy of Darren and Claire Ferguson, and we had a great turnout of the cream of English, Welsh and Danish memorisers. Simultaneously (except for the four-hour time difference), the US Memory Championship was happening in New York - Nelson won that one, which is awesome.
Back in Wales, Dai put on another fantastic competition - it was a close-fought thing for the Welsh title between John Burrows and James Paterson, but John came through in the end with a few new national records along the way. Not having done any training for this kind of event (it's all been Extreme for the last month), I was quite a long way from my best, but I managed a 35-second pack of cards at the end to beat off the challenge of the increasingly great Marlo Knight. His brother Cole made his debut too - we really need more sibling rivalries in memory sports, and we welcomed another newcomer Dan Evans and not-newcomers-any-more Phill Ash and Jake O'Gorman, as well as the international contingent Søren Damtoft. Am I forgetting anyone? I bet I am, I always do.
We also had a team of arbiters led by the irreplaceable Phil Chambers, so the whole competition went super-smoothly, even though the village hall was double-booked with an army of singing children. That's the kind of thing that tends to get in the way of a memory competition, but it really didn't. And we all filled in a questionnaire from a psychology PhD student, so she'll no doubt come to some disturbing conclusions about memory people in general and publish them for the world to see.
But I return to Belper loaded with cool gifts from Dai, including a totally awesome shiny gold clock with elephants on it, which is hanging precariously on my wall (blu-tack probably isn't going to work, but you never know). I've been wanting to get a clock for the living room for ages.