Wow! Thanks so much for this, Jon. So pleased with what you said generally - that Neil's engaging, that you want to read more about the three of them, that the writing and pace are good.
The consensus seems to be to cut that journey and funnily enough, before I read your comment I'd just cut the service station scene completely. It adds nothing much that isn't said elsewhere. Though I have shown them starting off from Milton Keynes (Neil's first glimpse of the distorted shadows) and reaching the butcher's shop, reinforcing his own guilt over leaving the family home and heritage behind. I'll take another read through before I send it to the agent though, in case I feel I can cut more. I'm tightening everything as I go, obviously.
Hoping I have time to repost before my 121 in a few weeks, but if not, wish me luck.
Thanks again for taking the time to read and feedback