Thanks to Richard for all your help so far....
The thing is now booting , (with initrd) well almost.
The last couple of messages are :
VFS : Mounted root (ext2 filesystem)
Freeing unused kernel memory : 40k freed
And then it hangs. I guess this is the standalone shell kicking in?
I'm running with a vt100 on the end of the serial port of the DS5000/25.
Could this be the problem (expecting the graphics console?)
console is set to 1 and osconsole to 3, although it doesn't seem to matter
much what I set osconsole to.