Hi both, and thanks.
That was my first thought, but the php.ini did not already list any extensions so I would have had to insert those lines, declare a path to the extension folder (which was empty), then go off in search of the required files for both the extension folder (php_curl.dll, php_gd2.dll) and, apparently, the necessary system folder dlls (libeay32.dll, ssleay32.dll), and I'm not even sure what those are for.
The last PHP installation was from a windows msi installer, which came with the barest working config, (replacing my previous full install) and not from a 'noistall' zip.
So my choice was to either (to be safe) download the zip full 'noinstall' version and then re-install and configure, or download xampp and give that a whirl.
Now I'm torn. If I do the XAMPP thing, even if there are no problems, I am going to have to redefine testing server for rather a lot of local sites.
Still don't know what to expect!
I do have a question though, - with XAMPP - how does one update the components? Or does XAMPP automate that? Also still like to know if mySql workbench/gui tools would be OK with XAMPP.