Well, Dale, Bob & John.... thank you all for your help and advice.
I am at once flattered that you all seem to "see" what I thought I wanted to capture - the mood, filtered light etc., and very pleased that you had very definite ideas for improving the shot, especially with the composition.
* The tree branch leading the eye out of the frame was obvious once pointed out.
* Cropping out un-neccessary content that detracts from the "heart" of the shot.
Dale, I obviously have a lot of practicing to do with the clone stamp tool, you should see the mess I made attempting to repeat your edit! The same luck with the "elegant" flare removal! At least now I know how others do these things, and can practice accordingly.
Bob, about the white balance .... I'm using PS RAW converter also; my camera is a Nikon D70, and I've found that, even using a WhiBal card, the camera nearly always get's it right without my "help", so I tend to leave the temperature setting "as shot". My feeling is that this is the way to go unless you're looking for an effect, which is what you seemed to be doing with your photo.
Another problem I have is that as yet I do not have a decent printer, nor have I attempted to profile my screen (Inspiron 6000 laptop with 1900x1200 screen) - doesn't seem much point in just doing the screen. As a consequence I have wasted quite a bit of admittedly cheap paper. My wife and I operate this guest house, I also work week on week off on an offshore oil rig, and I/we are about to retire from both activities, so I'm looking forward to investing some money in a couple of pieces of decent gear - always keeping in mind the hazards of browsing the LL web site as you've pointed out in another topic Bob!
John, thank you also for your comments. I am learning how interesting it is to hear how other people see one's work, and how interesting it is to learn from them!
Just for interest's sake I went down to the river today in the rain and shot the same scene with all the advice you guys have given me in mind. Of course, it's now late Spring here, no fires, and a totally different "feel", but I hope I've improved the composition.
I guess the name of the game is to get it as right as possible in the camera by learning to see.
Cheers, Bob Munro.