Thank you Ben
yes, odd indeed. I would have suspected that entry to course contents would be by default. I have actually just been able to get access for a user. A role allocation for authenticated user that was not visible before is now showing and allowed access... which is good. I'm very much a beginner here so am acutely aware that any errors will be mine but I was getting a little exasperated version is 2.5 btw and the error message was "you do not have permission to do that (read book) despite being enrolled in the course. similar for forums etc. Going right back to system wide permissions seems to have cracked it but it took some burrowing. thank you for your time. I appreciate it.