Moment of truth...it was just what I wanted and needed. Felt very much like the hand-and-a-half I got to handle briefly at Weta Workshop. Weight, balance...yeah. Everyone had to touch it to prove it was real, then I retrieved it and managed *not* to whack the blades on the ceiling fan. (None of us have houses with high ceilings, alas. And some people's blades have connected with the ceiling fan on previous occasions.)
So then after people ate, and other people came, and the usual, we wandered outside bit by bit. I had to fetch the rest of my gear from the car. C- and G- arrived, but not the other G-, the guilty party who lured me into swordlust for this sword. The others set to rapier exercises, while I messed about slowly with the new blade, feeling it out. What did it "want" to do and what did it resist doing, and so on. C- got her camera out and had me pose ("Look fierce" she said. Judging by the results, either I grin when I'm feeling fierce, or I was too happy to pull fierce into focus.)
DRW took one of his oak wasters the right size, and started taking me through some formal basics...as always, at least in my over-fifty...er...sixty...state, I'm slow to build muscle memory and speed. Certain kinds of moves are difficult, partly that and partly old injuries. By the end of the evening, when I had to pick Michael up from ice-skating, I was feeling it in a lot of new places (and some old.) The adventures with the sacks of cement the previous day were also making themselves felt. Stupid hip joints. By the time I got home from fencing, after sitting in the car that far, I felt like the creaky old lady indeed, but two ibuprofen and a night's sleep left me just ordinarily stiff with a little more angst in the shoulders.
So I went out and considered the dead ash tree stump on the yard. Hmmmm. Needs something wrapped around it. But also--there's a remaining dead limb, with all its little limbs and a lot of twiggy stuff hanging down. So after warming up a bit (not hard on a hot morning) I beheaded (or befooted, since they were hanging down) helpless little twigs. Felt good.
Unfortunately, since the pictures are out and about, as it were, my reputation as the sweet, harmless little ol' gray-haired lady may have taken another dive. I mean, I'm smiling, all right. The sword isn't even sharp. I chose the unsharp version. So I should look as harmless as I am. Think of that, when you see the pictures.
Oh--you want to see the pictures? Imagine that.
Now keep repeating: sweet, old, near-sighted, overweight and undermuscled, gray-haired, HARMLESS. Really.
On the writing-research end, I've already found what objects in the house can be sat upon while wearing the sword. And which spaces in the house give it room enough to be a useful weapon (the short broadsword, which is quite sharp, would be a much better in-house weapon if I weren't sweet, old, weak, etc. and HARMLESS. ) Already one scene in progress has picked up some useful "feel". Characters do not spend all (or most) of their time fighting (though they are far less harmless than I am) so a lot of what I need is stuff like "If you're about to sit on a stump to eat supper around a campfire...does the sword jam into your short ribs?" If it's going to impede a particular common activity, I need to know it--feel it--and not have the character do something impossible (like the writer who had a character, riding a horse in a normal fashion, "knee" the horse in the flank.)
Luckily, thanks to the various dead trees, rocks, and other natural features, I have many things to play--er, do research--with. I'm pretty sure, though, that getting into and out of a hammock with a longsword on one's belt is a mistake. Esp. the one at Owl, which is so low and saggy.
Anyway. I have a new sword. Happy, happy day.