Well...it looks as though I have a working laptop again! Woohoo! Mind you, I have lost some photos and information that I had on the laptop, I am not so bothered about that as I had expected that to happen. (Fortunately my Dubai photos were still on my camera - surprisingly enough!)
The chap was very good and actually managed to find the root of the problem (instead of just wiping everything and reinstalling) and it would appear that I have a faulty memory card which he took out. That will need replacing at some point but at the moment the laptop functions with the remaining memory card so I am ok for the time being.
The fee was cheap so that was good, the only downside being that the laptop and bag came back rather smokey smelling! Clearly the chap is a smoker and while I am surprised by how little time it takes to make something smell of cigarette smoke, I am pleased to have a working laptop that I can overlook that.
Am still on holiday in beautiful Cornwall and am making very good use of my National Trust card and seeing some historic houses. I also managed to avoid getting burnt again although my original sun burn is now peeling - ewgh! (serves me right for not being careful - all I can say to you folk out there - slip, slap, slop - as they apparently say in Australia - slip on a t-short, slap on a hat and slop on some suncream!)