True to my normal form I find something interesting but am loathe to do anything too irrevocable!
In this case, I have found stumpwm which is a mouse-less window manager inspired by emacs - lots of key commands! Very fast ( when you know what you are doing)
The instructions talk about changes to .xinitrc which sounds much too difficult if things go wrong. Then I found this gem which describes how to add stumpwm (or any other window manager) as a choice under Ubuntu on login.
Now I just have to remeber a new set of key bindings!!
Update: Found this screencast. Very cool - note 2 things: 1) the ogg version is far clearer, C-e is used as the prefix whereas C-t is the default.