It sounds like the text you pasted had been used in a right-to-left language setting (like Hebrew or Arabic). Those settings are possible in InDesign but are not built into the UI for the standard version (US English or European languages). But if you have a template built in those languages, it keeps the attributes of R2L.
Is it possible you acquired the text from someone who uses those settings?
Brilliant. Thanks for the reply. The file I'm using is the same one I've been using as a emplate for about 3 years now, but I've recently upgraded to Windows 8 and re-installed my copy of InDesign onto that, so I could have inadvertantly flicked one of these settings on during setup.
I'll look through the properties or something and see if I can find the language settings.
Thanks Steve, I appreciate your help. :-)
I'm not a language expert. I've been watching Diane Burns brilliant Lynda.com videos on Multilanguage Publishing Strategies with InDesign so I've been learning more about the subject:
Sussed it. I hadn't noticed the text tool I was using to make my text boxes had been changed to one where the "T" icon had a little right to left arrow under it. I switched it back to the normal "T" and we're back in business. :-)
Thanks again, Steve, I appreciate you taking the time to help.