Thanks for the replies.
I can do 'okay' at best with lightening the load on a barre chord, but I can't get anywhere with 'palm muting'. More practice required I guess.
Had a poor guitar week last week, didn't pick it up that much and when I did it was just poor. In a bit of a rut at the moment. I am still 'usually' playing quite regularly, but the same stuff and not much improvement, so I was (am) looking for something to turn me on again. Have tried fingerpicking, blues you can use, and a few strumming styles that are still beyond me (Robbie Williams 'Angels' still alludes me: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFI5uYlxW54
). I even went to a friendly guitar store yesterday and played a few Yamahas and Martins.
Ah well, off camping with the family for a week today and am going to leave the guitar at home. Maybe I will come back better.
If anyone has any tips on how to break down and learn palm muting or the Robbie Williams song, I'd still be pleased to hear them.