OK here is what happened.
Firefox had gotten itself into a dither and seized on me, so closed it down via Windows Task Manager and reopen via the normal route. (This happens from time to time and I always follow the same procedure)
This when the wierdness happens. My good old firefox has amnesia. No bookmarks, no link bar (or whatever you call it) no nothing, everything is gone. It is just a clean slate as if I had just installed it.
WTF! What happened? And how do I get my bookmarks and everything back?