Back to school

It’s September and Jean is back teaching. I am at home alone with Poppy and Dora. Mind you, they have to go to school as well. So keeping in tradition with the posting of a back to school picture, here they are.

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This means I am responsible for dreaming up evening meals for the week. I can still cook, although it’s a bit slow. I start at 4pm to make it look impressive. Chicken is always a good foundation. I suggested a nice french classic, Coq au Vin. That’s “au” not “avec” Jean. It’s only Tuesday!

The first week back from being away on holiday is always odd don’t you find? Driving though the Village to pick up our dogs last Sunday felt so eery. It was like “Why is da no one around?” Has something happened we don’t know about?

Lord Bragg is also back from the USA and he has loads of ideas. Hearing of the America’s fondness for British heritage such as Stonehenge, he has decided to capitalise by opening his own attraction.

He is building Bragghenge, sponsored by IKEA.

He found some plans from his great grandfather Winston Bragg, seen here working on a prototype scale model of Bragghenge in 1941. Winston Bragg was also the developer of the Inprecisology technique, an interesting manufacturing process that leads to every 10th screw being 1/10 inch shorter than the rest of the parts. A process that flat pack furniture today has built into its designs! Typically this leads to any assembled flat pack furniture leaning by 12.5 degrees and much swearing. Winston, a true visionary!

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Lord Bragg tells me that Bragghenge will be quite unlike a lot of our tourist sites, in that it will be built within easy access of the M25 Motorway! Genius.

I went to see my physio as usual on Monday, or as I like to call her Governess Julie (name changed to protect Jane). We didn’t rest much whilst away, so bits of me had suffered. My feet in particular were very tender, something was definitely afoot (sorry!!). Anyway after one hour of punishment I was released feeling battered. It’s a nice pain though. It appears that this soft tissue massage is still very helpful to me. As my muscles tighten and weaken, not only is walking affected, but they can cramp severely. You can treat symptoms with drugs such as Baclofen. However, this drug hits every muscle in the body. Massage and exercise of my legs is managing this for me. I feel this is a much better way currently to treat my muscles. As the disease progresses, of course, I may have to use such drugs. In fact I am considering prescription quinine, the active ingredient in tonic water. I drink this regularly, minus the gin!

This week the Paralympics is underway. It is a very fascinating event, showcasing amazing achievement despite great adversity. I wonder if there is a sport for me? However, I don’t think they have a class for “being completely crap” at something! I could do lawn-mowing, slow class.

Time passes so quickly. We are getting our back door lowered for when I have to use a wheelchair. I must admit to really not thinking about it too much, but as I have mentioned in previous blogs, we will just scratch away at the changes.

After last week’s walking with a rollator, this week I have mainly been at home and try to avoiding using it. I take a walking stick for short walks to and from the car.  I have also used my trike. I really cannot over emphasise how doing this exercise raises my morale.

Well, what’s been in the news this week?! I start my day at 6am-ish by getting up and doing my stretches.  I have BBC Breakfast on my iPad. On the whole BBC Breakfast is good intelligent stuff and generally has interesting stories. This week they have been discussing life in remote parts of the U.K, including Rathlin Island, famous for its Puffins.

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Although it looked like they had to get a stand in puffin from Bragg’s Big Birds! (All well-known birds available supplied complete with zip failure insurance and medical recovery).

Learnt a new word this week. Sapiosexual! How did you learn this you ask? No I was not searching for anything related, in fact it was a type ahead on Google, where I typed “SA.”

Well, apparently it means that you are attracted to someone’s mind as the most sexually appealing feature! For those in the know it apparently is used on dating sites now!

Interestingly enough one story this week shows that nothing ever changes. Apple announced the iPhone 7, confirming the rumour that the headphone socket was being removed! Oh my god, world panic! Forget Syria, Trump, Brexit, the *** headphone jack is being removed!

Do people really want to continue to use a twisted cable that gets in a knot?

Is using the supplied adapter such a pain if you insist?

Luddites still exist!

But is there a real point to your rant? Oh yes, there always is! Having MND gives you time to think about medicine and health care.

I visit my GP or hospital rarely as we know there is no treatment for MND. However, when I do go to the doctor’s I observe. I think as well as being a political hot potato, the NHS is an incredibly interesting service. Critically it will be always free at the point of service and, unlike many, I don’t worry that it will ever change. But how it’s deployed will, and needs to, change dramatically. This is what makes it really interesting to my crazy analytical brain. Technology, future therapies and changing demographics mean that we will have to alter the delivery to truly scale the service with quality. This is good and needs to be non political. Sadly we only hear about NHS conflict with the government and almost nothing about innovations. These are there to be implemented. In addition, this topic is so highly charged that raising any criticism or observation is feared. It shouldn’t be. One thing is for sure, and that is we cannot remain with the current system which is largely unchanged since 1948.  Yet we have had unprecedented medical advancement. The simple populist argument about funding being the issue is missing some of the key constructs of this huge, vastly complex national institution.

On this serious point, I must go. I have just picked up my MND prescription! 1 a day, 7 times a week!

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