Your experiences seem extremely similar to mine. Fully concur on the how helpful Jim Colt here has been - without him not sure how far I'd have got. The UK salesman has as you say been friendly and helpful but not techy. The distributer here in the UK that I was put in touch with has been helpful and one guy in particular has gone out of his way to find the techy stuff I've asked for. In all I'm very pleased with their service. The only thing I suppose of interest was when I actually ordered the PM45 it took a couple of weeks as it had to shipped from the US. Seems my distributer doesn't actually have them in stock - but in this case that didn't pose a problem for me - not sure about consumables etc. All in all very pleased.
Work on the THC is now going well. Do you use one?