If Paul did say that, he's wrong. The _Master_ boot record is on hda - the first sector.
My mistake, I misunderstood by not seeing the difference between hda and hda1. If I've been able to follow this thread since I started it then I get the idea that while there is a _Master_ BR at the start of hda, there is also a space at the start of hda1 and each partition - for the purpose of each partition being able to be bootable and hold a boot manager.
I am basically on track?
Yes. The Windows bootloader that it puts in the MBR just looks for the first "bootable" partition and loads the bootloader from the start of that partition. On the other hand, if grub is installed in the MBR, it uses its configuration file to decide what to do and completely ignores the "bootable" flags on the partition table entries.
At least that's my understanding.