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Andy, I have also recently had this problem with Yahoo Mail (loading) when I press the check mail button -- it takes about 10 seconds of doing nothing to get past that point. I am not sure if it is only since I came to Colombia and used Yahoo Mail here but, in any case, the problem only started recently. Until you posted this, I assumed it had something to do with Flash and the fact that I am using a netbook which runs Flash slowly combined with recent changes in the Yahoo mail presentation page.
I have the HP laptop with Vista, I think I am fully loaded, this is truly a problem.
Andy, this problem is not as bad in the last day. I think my Firefox was automatically updated on my machine yesterday, and that is probably the difference. Now, it is like a one half second delay instead of 10 seconds. I checked both my Yahoo accounts, and it was drastically improved in both.
Have you been using Firefox? I think my upgrade to 3.0.13 fixed this (or else Yahoo coincidentally changed something at the same time). I have not tried anything in Internet Explorer.
I do not like Firefox, however do like Chrome. I just checked and Chrome has finally made autocomplete work in Yahoo mail. I have not made Chrome my default browser and see if it works.
I did learn this, if I closed Explorer, then reopened it stopped for awhile... maybe.
My tech say Ajax a type of code that is the same as Gmail.com. So they in a way copied Gmail badly. I on the other hand do not not use gmail because it will not load in slow Internet countries.
Close all the windows and clean cache with disk cleanup.
This is not a solution, but it may allow you to send when the Internet in your home or Internet cafe is slow bandwidth.