Well, after so many years it seems odd to be writing this now, but it would appear that I've encountered my shot at the BIG TIME.
I received a letter from Luigi Bonomi at LBA regarding the full manuscript of my novel Genesis, suggesting that it had promise but would require a radical re-write in order to bring it up to publishable standard. He asked for my thoughts on this, and in reply I said I'd be happy to do whatever was required in order to improve and polish the work, including some possible changes of my own.
To my surprise, this resulted in Mr Bonomi replying with a great deal of praise for my professionalism, and with a request that I should pop in to their offices in order to talk over the work some more. Since then, Luigi has really gone the distance for me, providing editorial suggestions and notes prior to our meeting next Thursday and generally telling me as much about what he does like about the novel as what he feels needs changing. I haven't been offered representation yet, and no doubt it will be a while before I am, but it's a hell of a good start!
For an agent as powerful as Luigi Bonomi ( Agent of the Year 2010 no less ) to spend this amount of time and energy on my not-yet-ready to publish book bodes extremely well for the future. For those aspiring writers who may come across these posts in the future, I'll keep recording events as an insight into what happens when an amateur writer finds him or herself crossing the magical boundary between lonely scribe and recognised talent!