thanks speedy but i think it is morelikely to be a dodgy sensor, possibly the lambda probe. It has been on for 60K miles now so prob due for a new one. Incidentally there is a guy on ebay selling lambdas for £18 NEW
I have recently changed the thermostat cos it was stuck open and the car was not getting any way near warm. I also changed the temp sensor. Got one for £7:50 from local motor factors they even had one on the shelf. Now runs a treat, touch wood. It seems the tempsensor is shared with most fiats and alfas. It is not a genuine bosch part but seems to work fine.