Thursday, 23 July 2009

Old habits

It's strange how old habits die hard. When I was working, Tuesday was my day off. Retirement seems not to have deprogrammed me. So this week, Tuesday came... and off we went to the Outlet Village. On the way, I listened to a chap being honest on a phone-in and then being done over by an angry listener, two 'experts' and the presenter. OK, what he described was not a good example, but his honesty and the insight we got was. So unusually I turned it off, and we made for the shopping mall. In the car park, Jane, as she sometimes does, took the shortest route to the disabled bays, while I shut my eyes. Well, we got safely there, and soon a uniformed man popped out of the office and I held my breath. 'Hello,' Jane got out of the car. He'd come over because it was raining to hand her the yellow free exit ticket. 'What a nice man!'

The main thing I wanted was a short waterproof jacket to wear in the wheelchair, and Jane needed a reasonable pair of shoes. Since I walk so little, of course, I rarely need new shoes, whereas Jane does all the walking for two of us, including pushing me. In the end we did quite well, I think. I came back home to find that Bradley Wiggins was doing remarkably well in the Tour de France, not up with Alberto Contador, the little Spaniard, but up in the top five. Now the Tour is a real test of endurance, it seems to me. I don't know how many miles they cycle, but it's basically three weeks with a couple of rest days. On Sunday they'll be streaming up the Champs Elysées in Paris. I think it's the single sporting event with the most spectators, even though the spectators may see the riders for little more than seconds or minutes.

Today we had a visit from Jean, one of the trustees of the MND Association. She has the variant known as PMA (Progressive Muscular Atrophy), and is still able to walk with difficulty. She is the most dynamic person. She coordinates the newsletter which links people with the rarest forms of MND (PMA and PLS). She travels round. For example she was up in Sheffield two days ago for the groundbreaking ceremony of the new Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience (SITraN), researching into MND and other neurodegenerative diseases, headed up by Professor Pamela Shaw, one of the world's leading experts in MND. There's a long way to go but a dedicated research centre is a good start.

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