This post is really a public thanks to Leigh McKinney and the rest of the Eclipse team, and to Noel Langley, for a thoroughly enjoyable Friday afternoon. Choosing an Eclipse trumpet at the workshop in Luton has to be one of the most fun (legal and marriage-friendly) ways to spend a few hours. I've been to the Eclipse workshop, both the old one and the new one, a few times before, and I've played pretty much all of their trumpets, Bb, C, flugels, but I've always just been playing them for fun before. This time, I decided to stop boring everyone (particularly my wife) with going on about how great they are and spend my bonus (and the rest!) on one to replace my Bach Strad 37. So, on Friday afternoon I went down to Luton and spend a very happy few hours with Leigh and Noel working my way through the Eclipse Bb range. I was initially really nervous about exposing my dodgy playing to someone of Noel's ability, but he's such a friendly, easy-going bloke that I soon felt really comfortable playing. We went through a process of elimination with me playing whilst Leigh and Noel listened, and with Noel playing whilst I listened. Not a chore! Eventually, I couldn't choose between the Medium Red and the Medium Yellow, so Noel had a chat with Leigh and then Leigh re-belled a MHY as a MY and somehow managed to add a little more richness and warmth into the sound than the standard MY bell. Not a huge amount, but enough to make me 100% happy with it and end the indecision. That horn now has my name on it. In black marker pen on the bell. Next to the word 'sold' . I've now got a week to decide whether to have it in polished gold plate or scratched gold with polished highlights. Decisions, decisions.... Anyway, a big thanks to Leigh and Eclipse team, and also to Noel, who only came up from London to help me out. I'd never met him before, and he was very generous with his time and advice. I know Leigh has just sold me an expensive trumpet, but that kind of care and attention to customers is rare, and it's made me feel really good about the whole process. One of the pieces I tend to play when I'm comparing trumpets is Fantasie Brillante from the back of the Arban and I've still got a little warm glow from when Noel said "that was really nicely played. I enjoyed listening to it". No idea if he was just being nice, or if he really meant it, but I'll choose to believe he meant it! It's looking like it will be ready for collection on the day I go away for a long weekend at the other end of the country. That will feel like the longest weekend away I've ever had! Rich.