What a joy Mecanim is, solid and bug free. Yeah right.
So after 2 days trying to work out why my emotes system only worked on the second attempt, I finally narrowed it down to mecanim's understanding of "current" and my understanding of "current" not being anywhere near the same thing. Situation normal. Anyway, now that's sorted, and I have a couple of basic emotes to start with, I can get back to the initial quest of some character movement. How hard can that be?
Have basic movement working locally, and sending data to the server. Next job to work on the data, and broadcast the results if any to all other players in range. Now very close to a multiplayer walking simulator which is the first step of the journey. One thing is very noticeable; I need better walking animations. Mine are horrid.