I'm not entirely sure how, or what was going on with the instructions you gave (especially with regard to recovering the 'deleted' partitions) but am very grateful. I will have to try and work my way through the stages, to see if I can work out what was happening.
The only niggle now is that it is very noticeable how much better the graphics, text sizes, etc. were while I was using the Live CD, as compared to how they are now running under my NVIDAI (GeForce 8600M GT) graphics card. I wasn't too happy with how it looked previously, but got used to it.
The current screen resolution is 1280x800 and when I try to increase it to 1280x1024 the text gets a lot bigger and I can only view a quarter of the screen at a time.
Also, when I log on the laptop, the name and password boxes are only barely visible at the bottom right of the screen, as if the resolution has been turned to 1280x1024 (as above). When I get to the desktop, the resolution reverts back to 1280x800.
The Hardware Drivers screen shows the graphics card enabled and in use but the resolution, etc. suggest otherwise.
Any ideas ? Don't worry if you haven't, because this probably isn't the right forum : I will try a search to see if others have had the same problem.
Thanks again for helping me recover from the previous disaster !