In the country where I live we like to hide the unpleasant.

8 miles from where I live there is a facility for disabled children

Once they called it “The Guild of brave poor things”

But they still hid it deep within the countryside.

6 miles from where I live there was a hospital for people with learning disabilities and also for people with dementia.  It was down a country lane. I worked there and I used to enjoy the birdsong as I walked to work.

No one ever came to visit.

A thousand people near me live in care homes.

No one says how many people have died there.

No one asks.

In my mother’s last years she lived in such a home.  The workers’ pay was poor and no one worked there who was not desperate for a job.

But now we have become able to hide the sick in plain sight.

When I first became ill l lay on the sofa and looked out the window.  For the first time I realise that in three houses across the street,  no one came and no one went except the carers.

They do not say “out of sight, out of mind” for no reason.

In the district that I live in a quarter of the population are over 65.  One in five people live with a long term illness or disability.  One in ten of us have a condition that affects us seriously.  How many of us do they want to hide away now?

So now there are people who want to return to “normal”.  They will sacrifice us if they can.

We are not powerful . It is hard to make our voices heard.

But where we can, let us speak, as loud and as clear as we can.

“We are alive, and we count”