Having touched on the rather controversial subject of placebos in my last research post, this weeks usual fare scrawl has a loose theme of another, and that is Class!

Of course, Lord Lee Bragg has a certain je ne sais quoi, but is it true Class? I don’t think so. However, he does provide us with a benchmark against which we can measure all others!

Class to me, in the 21st Century, is more of a behaviour than the Class system, which I believe distorts the term. We know there are members of all communities who are less than classy despite their apparent position!

However, I start this post off with a real classy character, the Duke of Buccleuch.

Duke of Buccleuch – Portrait by Allan Warren – CC BY-SA 3.0

The Duke kindly hosted an event that Jean and I were fortunate enough to be invited to recently to mark the 40th Anniversary of the MND Association This was an important and timely reminder to us all. It both highlighted the eternal urgency of finding a cure and also the absolute isolation that would have been faced by sufferers just some 40 years ago. They had no one. Doctors knew nothing about the disease and everyone felt alone. The MND Association is now a firmly established charity and provides huge support to people living with MND and their families, whilst at the same time striving to find a cure.

But back to the Duke….

Yes, he is privileged but boy this guy (sorry His Grace) has been brung up right proper!

What a jolly nice chap! He is, as Lord Bragg would say, a thoroughly affable and erudite bloke.

His welcome at his family home, Boughton House, to the association and guests was wonderful. I felt quite emotional when he stated, with total and enormous sincerity, that it was his honour to be hosting the day.

His grace even took us on a personal guided tour of his marvellous gardens and willingly answered questions. Charming was too small a word. Jean foolishly looked up some information on google for one unrecognised plant and told his Grace something he didn’t know! I scootered off most briskly in this show of utter and total disrespect. However, he it took it well apparently!

Once I removed myself and my scooter from the Duke’s lake, we all enjoyed lunch and the afternoon speakers covering such wide ranging subjects as the latest research, the history of the association and, of course, the future priorities.

My focus was the research presentation by Professor Ammar Al-Chalabi. His gripping talk detailed the last 40 years of research and highlighted the critical progress made in the time. Despite still not yet having an effective therapy, our understanding now is simply staggering compared to the 1970s. Crucially, with the increasing lines of attack, and potential targets in the disease, it now means it is only a matter of time before we have a therapy. Further, I genuinely feel this is not too far away. I will write about some aspects in upcoming research comment posts.

We finished the day with a group photograph. I am in there, my scooter having made mincemeat of the lawn, ooops!

I think I saw that bounder, Lord Bragg, selling the Duke his patented Secondary Double Glazing – Palatial Signature Edition Quality, at the end of the day. He generously indicated he only needed pre-payment for 10% of the Duke’s windows!

What a guy!

We finished day off with a quiet walk and scooter around the estate in a planned and relaxed delay to our leaving so as to avoid rush hour. #smugfeeling. We were able to help those I left still stuck in the lake and give them some of the food from the earlier buffet to revive their spirits!

Finally thanks to the Duke for the plant cuttings, errr I mean gift shop purchases! They are doing grand in the garden, but the giant hogweed……

Back at home I have been getting out on my trike quite a bit lately. This device, which I acquired 3 years ago, has been a game changing, life enriching revelation and just goes to show there are many adaptations out there to make life a little more normal.

In this time of annual MND awareness raising, I do wear my MNDA jersey, as always, but also I decided to make my bike flag more classy with the addition of a bit of bunting! I successfully tied some MND Association flags to the pole. Hopefully they will withstand the wind!?

Finally this week, we just spent the last few days away at relatives and to add a classy note to a couple of evenings we partook in games of scrabble. The alternative to this was watching “Love Island”!

Scrabble Board – thebarrowboy – CC BY 2.0

We used Lord Bragg’s official Scrabble word dictionary as the bible for the games. It is reputed that a copy of his guide was purchased by the local church secretary. Apparently she had an extreme touch of the vapours when she read some of the choice acceptable words. But seriously folks, the real official guide has some quite blunt words in, in both singular and plural form!

I have got to go, all. It’s summer so I might wait a bit for the next post, however, who knows! But I do appreciate the world is on holiday/vacation/vacances/urlab/vacación.

I now, apparently, need to help Lord Bragg with his administration of the Duke’s window order! Not only did Lord Lee discount but he promised a free poppa-point pencil for each and every member of the Duke’s staff!