thanks *very* much - your suggestion worked, so the panic's over for me and my kernel!
As for customising lilo.conf for different network configs - I've been following:
I think the idea is that when booting, an environment variable is set according to which lilo configuration you pick, and then your scripts can then make use of this variable, e.g. to choose which network script to run,
not sure if I'm brave enough to mess around more, though!