"Nope - virus checking & firewall are not the problem. I'm on dial-up still - am in a farmhouse in rural Ireland, not Eircom's prime concern it seems. "
Oh, well that's it - just dial up. Let's see, with firefox it takes around 2-5 secs to get the initial page of pins - that's mostly the map, I think. The pin data is trivial, and it will also depend on how many Americans are bashing Google's server - fewest in the AM.
Now if it takes say 5 seconds on 600 Kb, it will take erm erm at least a minute on 56Kb.
I have an idea how to make this more useful for people like you - won't happen straight away, but it's interesting. Thanks for trying.
I'll post here and in u.m.f. when I've come up with something.