The goods news is that the Virgin Atlantic website is confirming what the BBC was saying ...
Books and "dry" duty free goods, such as cigarettes and electrical items, purchased airside i.e. after the airport central security point, are permitted in their original sealed packaging, with proof of purchase. No liquids, gels, lotions of any description are permitted, regardless of where purchased.
On the other hand, today, Saturday was the first day that the flight I am scheduled to take on Friday VS11 from LHR->BOS was actually canceled. It took off ~4 hours late on Thursday, ~2 hours late on Friday, and after a 7 or so hour delay on Saturday they apparently gave up.
As it stands now, I fully expect to be returning by way of Eurostar and Paris on Friday (there is no way in heck that I am checking my laptop).
P.S. I'm doing this from the "public" computer in the lounge of the Petersham Hotel where I am staying for the weekend. The good news is that it is free. The bad news is that they allow smoking. The drunk foreigners are just window dressing.