Many thanks to Heath Road Garage, Sandbach.
I know I have said it before, but I really think we need to reccomend the good guys.
Alfie (the owner and ex Alfa main dealer mechanic) charged me just £117.50 including VAT to fit a couple of front shocks. They also looked over my other car - an MX5 to ensure nothing was wrong before I take it for an alignment, and did not even charge me for the time spent.
Verdict of new shocks - car is now a lot safer to drive. However, I think the front is now too sharp for the rear, so looking at new rears I think to complement the fronts, but will try to hold on until the next service in May.
I have heard that regardless how good the alignment is, I am likely to need another alignment after the new shocks have settled down - how long / many miles should I leave this until? Also, will I need another alignment after the rear shocks are done, or will this not affect the rear alignment? If so, I may just bite the bullet and get the rears done sooner..... (bank balance permitting!)
Almost there with the good handling I remembered when I got her at 35k's. I guess that at 72K's things like shocks are inevitable!
Alfie - if you are reading this, thanks a lot for all of your patience.