I had 6 hours to kill Friday whilst the car was being serviced, so I made a beeline for Gullifords, having previously wandered past it blissfully unaware of its existence (they could do with a bigger sign!).
Didn't get an immediate greeting but I wasn't bothered as I knew I wasn't going to be buying anything, so to be honest I was trying to avoid attention! Bit difficult in an empty shop but I had a little wander around, nice range of kit, lots of Naim, including the Uniti, several Rega turntables, arcam represented, including the AVR600 and a number of different speaker brands, unfortunately I can't remember what most of the are (other than out of my price range!), but they did have a pair of Focal 806s, which I've previously been interested in, sadly it showed up that the gloss finish attracts quite a lot of dust, so I might have to rethink that idea, I don't think the other half will be too happy with that...
After a few minutes one of the guys said hello, we had a quick chat about this and that and he answered a few queries I had about the new cartridge I'd put on my turntable, despite me not having bought it there (I haven't been entirely sure about its performance, so I described the symptoms and he seemed to think it was probably just needed running in, I haven't used it much, so he's almost certainly right).
At that point my overwhelming guilt complex kicked in and I asked for 20m of QED micro, telling myself I needed it for the rear speakers when we move rooms, so I can hide the cable better.
I had a nosy at the demo room as well, looks good, pretty large, so it should be a realistic space for most homes, lots of vinyl on the shelves, which was nice to see but they also sell Sonos as well.
And then I wandered across the road to look at the refurbished Richer Sounds store, much bigger than before, mind the step, loads of TVs all running the BBCHD preview from the same source (Humax Freesat box apparently), useful to compare image quality side by side. Bit disappointed with the speaker selection, old KEFs and cheap Gale and Eltax, nothing of any note. Had a fiddle with the Sonos S5 they had in there, un-grouped from the zone group they'd replaced, selected radio 1 and turned it up, very impressive, surprising bass from such a shallow box, I'll definitely have to get one in the kitchen, it'll fit on the shelf perfectly I think. Did manage to leave without buying anything that time though...
Not a bad day out in all (other than the bill for the car...), ended up in the Rileys snooker and pool club, breaks of 28 and 23 with a club cue, can't argue with that seeing as I have been on a big table for months.
I can imagine I'll be paying Gullifords a visit again, once I've built my budget up, either for a new turntable or some speakers, no pressure, very friendly, good experience.