[update] Got the problem resolved today, managed to do a direct trade-in of the broken magsafe at a local Apple retail store and bought another spare adaptor. All's well that ends well... I've been a very satisfied switcher with my new MacBook Pro and Parallels setup, until the inevitable happened over the weekend. First my magsafe adaptor cable started to show some abnormal bending near the magnet connection and a little while later it started to go brown with the insulation wire melting away.
Definitely not a good thing to happen with something plugged into a 2000 USD piece of equipment you love (and rely on on a daily basis). Being a Sunday Apple telephone support was unavailable.
I called them today and after walking through the problem with the support engineer (followed by some 20 minutes of holding music) was told my best chance was to head out to an Apple retail store and hand the thing in for *repair* which would take approximately 2 weeks.
Luckily did some research beforehand and told him Apple support generally sends out a new adaptor right away and let's you return the broken item. "We can do that..." was the answer but it would take them a minimum of 5 days. I can't believe it - they seriously expect you to go without your Mac for close to a week, since there is now no way to charge it.
Now for the best bit -- I can *buy* a new magsafe adaptor on their online Apple store and have it shipped within 24 hours -- apparently the same doesn't apply to hardware covered by their seriously overpriced and apparently useless AppleCare extended warranty.
With Flash on the Beach coming up I wanted to play it safe and bought a second adaptor online (unfortunately went for the wrong model, a 60 Watt version for the MacBook whereas MacBook Pro needs 85 Watt -- will have to check if it still works). If worst comes to worst I'll just have to drop in at the London Apple store and buy another magsafe adaptor there.
Meanwhile its back to a very dodgy PC notebook... I am not amused Steve Jobs!