Having wrestled with attempting to build a custom theme for the blog all week I am slowly becoming resigned to the fact that I simply don't have the knowledge to do this myself in a reasonable time frame. I've spent a few nights hammering at half-remembered CSS and poking around the internet for answers only to meet with frustration, and it's taking away from actual writing time. There's little point in having a blog that you're not posting to.
So there's a revised plan:
Register a domain for the blog, stick with wordpress for the moment. Continue to look at alternative setups. Once the new blog is in place, repoint the domain.
This will in the long term I feel be the best approach and offer the least disruption for anyone reading and gives me time to invest in an appropriate service (and possibly enlist the assistance of a professional of some kind). I'm still absolutely open to suggestions and recommendations for services/software.
Appologies for boring you all with this stuff. The regular programme should resume shortly.