It seems that while I survived Christmas, my laptop wasn't quite so lucky. Following the trip to my parents' it wouldn't turn on properly. Briefly there was hope, as I got into Windows and got online. Then, just as all seemed to be going normally, it crashed completely and wouldn't even load up in Safe Mode. A few turn-ons later and I can't even get as far as selecting Safe Mode, since it refuses to turn on for more than about 2 seconds.
Another victim of Christmas rail travel.
Still, on the positive side, I have a new laptop. Also, most of my stuff was backed up, and many of my more recent documents and files will either be attached to e-mails (on webmail accounts), on my MP3 player, or in some rough form in my notebook (the old-fashioned paper kind). Some things might be more difficult to recover, however; I guess I'll find out more about that later today [sigh].
Anyway, there was a point to this post: namely, that I now have the ideal opportunity - and the motivation - to start investigating backing up more of my stuff online, and perhaps getting into the whole cloud computing thing - anything to make any subsequent hardware failures easier to deal with. In other words, for better or worse, expect a few posts along those lines in the coming weeks. And probably at least one more entitled 'Argh!': when I fire the new laptop up for the first time I shall finally be entering Vista territory...