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Unable to download emails

Making moves

For the last week I have been getting the following message when I try to download into my Thunderbird inbox:

"Unable to write the email to the mailbox. Make sure the file system allows you write privileges, and you have enough disk space to copy the mailbox"

I know I have enough disc space and don't understand the rest of the message.  It's been working fine for years.  Please, someone, help me fix this (I am reasonably computer literate but NOT techy - English rather than tech-speak, please)