A sing-a-long: an ancient, bony hand claws softly at my elbow; a trembling jaw carefully, quietly enunciates, “It’s good here.”
Years flash by. Council empires rise and fall. Cuts and mergers bring out the placards. I travel across counties to keep in work.
There’s no bingo now. No council homes. Our folk sit alone, Skype from time to time and order grub online.
Colleagues, like seasons, flutter in and out of frame. I age in the mirror. I glimpse myself in shop fronts – suited, greyer than before. My handbag holds a magical, glossy pane through which I view every report, budget or email and every care record of every individual in our protective embrace.
I’m late for an evening meeting 70 miles away. My car blinks its welcome. I sling my bag on the passenger seat. A satisfying clunk of the door. I’m in. I check the rear view mirror and pull away.
Last thing: the sound of my slate cracking the windscreen; the pillars and the rumble-strip.
Pippa Corner has been working in health and social care for 20 years, in the NHS and Local Authorities, as well as a short spell at the Audit Commission. She has held several senior roles with a focus on partnership and integration and is currently a Head of Service at Calderdale Council