This is the "before" situation, showing one of the trees in its original state - with a very sparse covering of dull pale yellow leaves:
After considerable exertions, I managed to extract the two trees from their terracotta pots and re-plant them into much larger plastic pots, adding fresh compost and plenty of general-purpose plant food:
Since then, I have been administering a good level of TLC to these trees, watering them frequently (especially during the spell of exceptionally hot dry weather we had in July) and giving them a dose of liquid feed every so often. They have responded well to the treatment. Just look at this, which is the same tree as the one in my first photo above:
The tree now has loads of fresh leaves, and they are a nice dark glossy green! I have trimmed a few of the twigs too, endeavouring to achieve a nice "lollipop" shape. More work is needed on this, but we're getting there.
The other tree is also much improved, though its lower branches still have fewer leaves than I would like.
By next Summer I think these trees will be back on top form again. Note to self: next time don't leave it so long before re-potting! Actually, come to think of it, it will be VERY difficult to re-pot them again in a few years' time. How big would the containers need to be?? Maybe I'll start some cuttings now, so that I can begin again with a new generation of Bay trees. Does anyone know what is the best time of year to take Bay cuttings?