through a process of elimination i know that the film was exposed correctly - i've taken the same shots under the same conditions - the first time i had them developed by a lab so i know what results i should be like.

thanks for the explanation of the stop bath process. I had no idea that the development carried on after dumping the developer...stupid i guess, but that didnt cross my mind. I was developing for the 3 min 15 secs as suggested and then dumping, and then doing the water rinses so what you said makes a lot of sense. I was probably being a bit overcautious and taking my time too since this is the first time i've developed anything - so the time was probably like 4mins or something!!! I'll get myself a stop bath and start using that instead. Seems like it could make a lot of sense.

Have I got this right then (this is gonna sound stupid) - but the developing adds to the film? I mean the density is created by developing for longer? So if I develop for slightly less time then this might reduce the density?

Probably worth adding that I can only see the frame numbers once held up to the light. I've been told elsewhere that this could be a blix problem (i.e. needing longer on the blix stage).

thanks again, greatly appreciated!