So they have revalued my house and the rates are going up.
‘You can object,’ they say.
I think about it. Last time I did not because the value then was fair. Now, though, it’s a different story. With the property market being as it is, I know the value has increased. But not by so much. So I decide, this time, I will place an objection. I download the forms. They are complicated, asking me questions I do not know how to answer.
I meet a neighbour in the street.
‘Have you had the letter …?’
‘Yes, yes …’
‘What are you going to do?’
‘Object, I think.’
‘Yes, me too.’
There are more and more of us, shocked by the increase.
I gather the documents and fill in the forms.
‘Let’s go together to hand them in.’
Four of us agree.
On this wet, gray morning we pile into the car and head off. The traffic is light and we arrive with no problem.
The objections hall is well sign-posted, the offices fairly new, brightly lit, the staff friendly.
We follow the arrows.
And find the queue.
It is double-lined – and I can see the arm of someone sitting around the corner. My heart sinks. It looks as if we are here for the long haul.
One by one we edge up the queue, seat by seat. I chat with the man ahead of me. He needs some forms and one of the staff prints them off for him. There are three staff members, wandering up and down, chatting to the waiting objectors. Pleasant and smiling they are helpful and spend time sorting out one question after another.
I get to the end of the line – I was right – it does go round the corner. I peer around and count the heads – sixteen!
At least we are not in a hurry. One of us has brought knitting and I am sad I forgot to pack my book. I should have known. I usually do. But this time I left it on the table at home. It’s a nuisance because I am enjoying it and it would have been a good opportunity to find out what happened in the cliff-hanger where I left it last night.
Ah well, it’s still raining – I can spend the afternoon with it and a cup of tea. Something to look forward to.
We shift up, seat by seat. Lunchtime is approaching. But we have made such progress in the last two hours we will wait it out.
‘This too will pass,’ I think.
And you know something? As I sit in this long, long queue, I find myself being grateful
Because at least I have a home to be valued. And I know I am blessed and whisper a prayer of thanks to my God who cares for me.
PS: The lady who helped me was friendly and efficient. Ten minutes later I was out – in the pouring rain heading home to my book!