What is of particular interest here is the sheer number of stations from the UK and the Netherlands that were heard... i.e. approx 500 to 1000 kms range.
This is where monitoring FT8 signals on 28 MHz can be very useful. If you are hearing 28 MHz signals that are 500-1000 kms distant then the MUF (Maximum Usable Frequency) is probably much higher.
This turned out to be the case as there were Sporadic-E signals all the way up to 144 MHz. Looking at the DX cluster, there was an opening from Ireland to the south of Italy in the evening. I also came across an Italian radio station on 104.9 MHz while I was checking to see if BBC Radio 4 was coming in from Wales.
The OZ7IGY beacon on 40.071 MHz from Denmark was also in for about an hour.
As a tool for checking propagation, FT8 is proving very useful.