Hallelujah! Barney, my beloved iPod, has come back from the dead!
Earlier today, I received this message through eBay's "Ask seller a question" feature:
Iwas looking on ebay and i noticed your 60gb ipod photo. I also have one which has the same problem with the hard drive occasionaly. I thought you would be interested to know that this problem can easily be fixed by plugging it into a charger and ,suprisingly,giving it a good whack as the apple logo comes up. This worked with mine and a nano belonging to a friend which went through the wash.thought you would like to know this since you could probably get a lot more for it if you got it working again. Happy Ebaying!!
So, figuring that I had nothing much to lose, I scampered home and did as the message suggested, giving my iPod a good hard thwack against the floor. Much to my amazement, he did indeed come back to life.
So, many thanks to mdhviking for that tip, and sincere apologies to the sole eBayer who bid £25 for Barney, but I'll be hanging onto him for a while longer.