Thanks for the reply Ray. We have now formally applied and our notice date was 21 November 2013. I have a number and I'm in the system! Since applying I do check the Immigration bulletin every so often to see how the progress is for our category as I know I'm in for a long wait.

I hope to still be able to visit the US without problems in the meantime as I would never try to enter on a Visa waiver and not leave. I'm happy to wait my turn and do things properly.