So, I installed another version of apache, installed php5 on the server and both are now happily working away and on friendly terms with the 'main' system. Seemless install/compiles as well - luck is definatly on my side. There was only a single error on the 'configure' script and I had expected it to occur so I wasn't bothered by it.
I also installed a 'bug fix' patch on the forum at work. You know, its not stressful if you just offline the board, upgrade it and turn it back on without telling anyone. Board down for a total of 20 minutes (including the time to add my 'custom' hacks back).
How nice, a peaceful day and little stress. Thats it now, I must have used all my luck up now. Time for the bad luck to kick me back a few hundreds yards.