So I wanted to record here that Netelectrics turned out to be very good, the site was easy to use and they delivered the stereo to la P'tite the day after I placed an order. They sent helpful and businesslike emails tracking the progress of the order, and their couriers coped very well with delivering the package to a student living in halls of residence.
I've been using Mail.com as my webmail system for a while. They're frankly pretty crap, but I have a university address for any serious purposes, and it feels like too much effort to change. Then they decided to filter LJ comment notifications as bulk mail, using a system which is both invisible and non user modifiable. Reluctantly, I switched to Hotmail, which at least has the possibility to whitelist. But whitelisting was meaning that people who don't know my real email address weren't able to get hold of me at all. And I'm still very reluctant to publish my real email address anywhere on the net.
pne recommended me Fastmail, and wow, they are amazing. The most amazing things are: there are no adverts on the site; they put a tagline in emails, but I'm not using the service to send mail anyway, so this doesn't affect me. And they have IMAP for free users. So now I have a decent, usable webmail system that I can also work with from my desktop. More minor good points: there's loads of functionality, a beautifully clean interface, and the site is skinnable by switching stylesheets, which is of course how web pages should work. It's sufficiently impressive that I'm thinking seriously of switching to it completely, and not bothering with a work address at all. Highly recommended!
Just over a month ago, I had my purse nicked. To my surprise, when I reported this to the police, they jumped into action, sent out a constable who not only took a statement, but accompanied me back to my flat and helped me organize to call out an emergency locksmith and hung around until the job was done. The locksmith came from Dynolocks; their switchboard were pretty crap, and spent a long time faffing about telling me that they couldn't send anyone out unless they had a phone number they could call, and I kept pointing out that I couldn't get to my phone since it was locked in the house, which would be why I needed a locksmith in the first place. The nice policeman waited with me the whole time this was going on, even though it was nearly 90 minutes before the locksmith actually showed up, and only then after they'd stupidly phoned the person whose mobile I had borrowed to make the initial report to the police, despite being told several times that that was not my phone.
But the locksmith, once he did arrive, was very good. Very friendly and chatty without being obtrusive, and did the job efficiently and, as far as I can tell, well. He described himself as a 'professional burglar', which immediately made me think of Bilbo, especially as he did have a rather hobbit-esque physique. And, very amusingly, he turned out to be Jewish. Once he discovered that I was likewise, he gave me a long story about why he doesn't go to shul. I basically don't care if he wants to be part of the Jewish community or not, but I think it is a problem that his demographic (early 30s, active, unmarried and not looking to settle down any time soon) generally aren't involved in community life. The main reason this particular hobbit gave was that the minute he set foot in a synagogue, hordes of old women would descend on him and try to matchmake him...
But anyway, much as the police were extremly lovely and helpful, I never thought for a moment that they'd be able to do anything about it. A woman snatches a purse in the street, and disappears off into the crowd, and that's the end of it, right? But no, last week, I got a knock on my door and it was the same policeman with a page of photos of youngish white women, asking me to identify the thief. I picked one picture immediately, but then I wasn't absolutely certain she was the same person who had taken my purse. Anyway, the policeman said he had enough to go on, since I had identified the same person that he already suspected, and who apparently has a history of similar offences. And next I heard, they left me a phone message saying that she had admitted to the theft and would go before the Procurator Fiscal in the next couple of weeks to determine whether she should be formally charged.
I don't know quite how I feel about this, really. I mean, I am definitely very impressed with the police, who contrary to their reputation have done a thoroughly good job in this case. But beyond that... I'm pretty much contented that the thief should stand trial and hopefully go to jail, but at the end of the day, what she did wasn't all that serious and it wouldn't be just for her to serve more than a few weeks. And I know this has happened before so it's already known that a mild jail sentence won't discourage her from repeating the same pattern in future. So in a way the whole thing seems kind of pointless.