Thanks for the help.
unfortunately i've got the slowest and least reliable of internet connections at the moment so i can't try loading the files separately like nuntias suggests ( i tried in the past but didn't get very far )
Installing SLIME just means putting it into your Emacs load-path and enabling it when you enter lisp-mode. Once the Emacs code is loaded, the Common Lisp code is compiled and loaded automatically and on-demand.
Here is the Elisp code. You can paste this into your ~/.emacs after changing the path on the first line to suit your installation.
(add-to-list 'load-path "/the/path/to/slime")
(add-hook 'lisp-mode-hook (lambda () (slime-mode t)))
(add-hook 'inferior-lisp-mode-hook (lambda () (inferior-slime-mode t)))
;; Optionally, specify the lisp program you are using. Default is "lisp"
(setq inferior-lisp-program "yourlisp")
Not sure where my /.emacs file would be? perhaps i need to get a handle on Unix first
Anyway i'll potter on in a non-Emacs way with a previously installed free version of LispWorks
i'll drop back in some time in Feb when i get home again