My books are here! Yay yay yay yay! *dances around bouncing madly*
I found a freight company to ship them more or less blindly with Google; I filled in a bunch of web forms for meta-search systems which promised to pass on my details to companies who would then provide me with quotations. Simarco stood out above the others; not only was their quote cheaper by a significant margin, but they actually paid attention to the information I put on the form and gave me personal rather than generic responses, and did so promptly.
I've been impressed with the service they have provided throughout. Which is particularly cool given that I picked them out on the basis of almost no knowledge. They were very helpful about arranging pick-up, they collected my boxes without trouble, and delivered them to me extremely quickly, considering that they left Cambridge on 4th July and arrived just now! And they were cheap because they charged me precisely for the service I wanted, and didn't insist on any unnecessary extras.
The only quibble I would have is that although they told me when I booked that the delivery would probably be today, they didn't actually confirm this until 7 o'clock this morning. It's lucky I have a job where I can just decide at 7 am that I'm going to take the morning off to receive the delivery! Because for a lot of people, that would be really inadequate.
In other stuff news, I decided that I need a stereo of some sort, primarily because I still have some of my music collection on tapes. My requirements were that I wanted something that would play tapes as well as CDs and radio, and relatively small and portable and not unreasonably expensive. That would have been pretty simple 10 years ago, but it's getting harder to find anything that includes a tape recorder! The high-end machines usually do, but I'm not really prepared to spend several hundred pounds on a stereo. But it seems a lot of small, entry-level stereos are selling themselves on being able to read mp3s and recordable CDs, which I don't care about (I have my computer for that!), and don't have cassette ability at all.
I shopped around for a bit and settled on this baby music centre from Denver. However, when I went to the electronics store I discovered that they had discontinued this model. It has been replaced with a fairly similar model, but the newer version is IMO uglier and the tape player is really awkward to use. So I decided to try my luck and smiled sweetly at the sales assistant and asked him if I buy the display model. Since clearly the shop had no use for a display model of a machine they're not selling any more.
To my surprise, this approach worked; the guy agreed to sell me the display model for a greatly reduced price. So I got the stereo I was intending to buy for 400 SEK for 150 instead, which equates to slightly over £10. OK, it doesn't have a remote and I didn't get a box to carry it home in. But I'm pretty pleased with myself.
My life is going to be so much better with plenty of books to read, and all my music available, and all the little silly things that make home feel like home!