Yep, I know what you mean - straight over their heads.
I run the same "speed" mix as you and find it works a treat. Mine's the cheap rubbish though, Record 8spd cassette, SRAM 9spd chain, Chorus 10-spd chainset, Veloce 8spd rear mech and Veloce 8spd downtube levers. The only problem I have is that the chain take-up rivets on the inside of the 53 ring catch the chain if I use the second smallest sprocket with the 39 ring. Not a huge problem, it just makes a nice ding ding sound as I pedal. It reminds me to change up to the big ring!
Thats not cheap rubbish!!!!