The situation has changed quite a bit.
Whilst I was fiddling with bits of cable in the magic box (checking for loose connections) I happened to touch the plastic housing of the chip cooling fan slightly with the back of my hand. It moved. A further investigative poke indicated that the cowling was indeed quite lose. So I decided the best thing to do, considering the age of the assemblage, was to replace the lot...Motherboard, CPU, PSU and consequentially a new DVD (sata) drive and a new chunk of RAM.
It all arrived and I put it all together, along with the old SDD drive, that started off this pantomime, and the new larger replacement one.
It fired up nicely off the old SDD and I was able to partition the new one, sdb, using the Gparted on sda.
I then went into the terminal and fed in
sudo dd if/dev/sda of/dev/sdb bs=32M
After going for a cup of tea and a walk round the garden I came back to find it had completed, and had left a message, saying it had been done successfully.
Sadly, I feel it was as far from the truth as most of our politicians are.
When I changed the boot up sequence in the bios, and tried to fire up, I got a message that was far above my level of competence to understand, but it did mention the need for e2fsprogsv1.41+
I looked in Synaptic PM and there was e2fsprogsv1.42-1ubuntu2.
This problem would seem to be connected to the formatting of the new sdb, so I thought a wipe clean and a recopy, letting dd have its head, might be the answer, but my problem now is how do I wipe sdb clean for further use.
Oh, sod it.