Roughly on the topic of trying out recorders, what I'd really like to do is go to one of the big recorder events that has trade stands, as there would be lots of choice and, probably, lots of opportunity to try without being under too much pressure to buy. I have a friend in London who lives within walking distance of EMS and once, when visiting, I took advantage of the opportunity to walk down to EMS and try a couple of recorders. They didn't have what I most wanted to try in stock (I think the Yorkshire branch is bigger?). They would have got it for me if I'd been able to return another day, but somehow it feels more difficult to say no after someone has gone to that sort of trouble. I know it shouldn't, but it does.
Has anyone been to Stockstade recorder festival? That looks fantastic - plenty of trying out opportunity (the trade exhibitors list is like a who's who of recorder making/selling), plus I see this year they have Dorothee Oberlinger, Prisma, Seldom Sene and Erik Bosgraaf there amongst others: the expense of going would at least in part be balanced by the opportunity to see so many top names in recorder playing in one place at one time. Sadly, I don't feel I can justify the expense this year ;(