Sunday serialisation – Knight after Knight, 3.2

Knight after Knight250

In Knight & Deigh, Hannice Knight suffered a back injury that left him without the use of his legs. Sophie Deigh, physiotherapist and recent widow, devoted herself to supporting him.

As Hannice’s body recovered, he became ever closer to Sophie, and soon they found themselves in a relationship they had neither anticipated nor intended, and for which neither was fully prepared.

A bump in the Knight followed Hannice as he juggled business, hedonism, marriage and ultimately parenthood.

Knight after Knight is the third and final part of the Hannice Knight story. Starting after the marriage of Hannice and Sophie’s only son, David to Jess, the only child of Jason and Noelani Reeves of Hawaii, it traces the Knight family’s progression through the generations.


Knight after Knight. Chapter three, part two.

Sophie and I heard the doorbell ring during our dinner the following evening, but as we also heard footsteps walking towards the door, we decided to let it be. From the muffled conversation we managed to discern two female voices, which we assumed to be Jen with Janine. They went through into the kitchen.

Jen had learnt to listen for the sounds of cutlery being placed back on plates, and we saw her head poke around the dining room door.

“Excuse me, Sir, Mrs Knight, Janine has arrived. The Dietitian. Did you want to see her?”

“Yes please, Jen,” I said, “show her through. And come through yourself.”

“Shall we leave?” Eddie asked.

“No need. This concerns you two as well.”

Moments later Jen came through with an older woman, probably in her late thirties or early forties. Dressed in a businesslike two-piece her accent gave her away as West Indian.

“Hello, Mr and Mrs Knight. My name is Janine Richards. I am the dietitian working with Dr Willis.” Turning to face Eddie and Martha, she said, “And you must be Mr and Mrs Beard. Dr Willis has briefed me on your circumstances and needs, and as much of your history as we have on record.”

“Which, in my case, is nearly all of it,” I said.

“Except for some large gaps when you were resident in Africa.”

“Quite.”

“You have quite a cook here,” she said, “she has talked me through her menu plans and I have to say I’m impressed. Apart from a few tweaks here and there in terms of ingredients and portion sizes, I can find nothing to be unhappy about.”

“These tweaks,” Sophie said, “what differences will we see?”

“In terms of your appreciation of the meals, or in terms of the effects on your health?”

“Both.”

“You will hardly notice either.”

“Then what’s the point?”

“From the flavour point of view, I am merely suggesting replacement of unhealthy ingredients with similarly-tasting but healthy alternatives. On the health side, we’re looking more at reducing or eliminating risk factors. You may achieve the weight loss that Doctor is looking for if you increase exercise at the same time, and that may make you feel better.”

“Then what’s the point, if there’s no noticeable advantage?” I asked.

“Look at it this way, Mr Knight. If you get on a plane at Heathrow and set out for New York, what will be the effect of steering point one-five of a degree further north?”

“Not much.”

“You’d land in Boston, Massachusetts.”

“I see what you’re saying. But to change from New York to Boston from only one hundred miles out would need a massive change.”

“Precisely. I’m looking for small course corrections at first. Later on, depending on how you all feel about it, we can talk about other, more fundamental changes.”

“Like the amount of meat we eat?” Martha asked.

“Amongst other things, yes.”

“See?” she said to Eddie then, looking back at Janine she said, “I’ve been telling him for years he eats too much red meat. Took me nearly twenty years to get him to eat anything green.”

“Didn’t do my folks any harm,” Eddie said with a pout.

“If you call dying of heart failure in their sixties no harm.”

I decided to steer the conversation back on track. “So, Janine, you’re looking for evolution, rather than revolution?”

“I am. There’s nothing really bad in your diet, but we can do better. And once I start teaching this young lady the finer points of nutrition and dietetics, you’ll start to notice a difference. And it will not be an unpleasant experience, I can assure you.”

“That sounds splendid,” I said, “now, about Jen’s training…”

“I’ve been giving that some thought. My current group is mostly British with a couple of Europeans, but I also have one young chef and two nurses from sub-Saharan Africa, and two Caribbean students – one chef and one nurse – and although they’re fitting in well and keeping up, I am aware that their cultural start-point differs vastly from the rest of the group. How would you feel if I were to add Jen to that group and teach them together, separately from the rest?”

“What effect will that have on the content and pace of their course?”

“None. Being Caribbean myself, as you may have guessed, I can relate to them well. In fact, my father is from Barbados, but my mother is Kenyan, so I cover both traditions. As part of my beginners’ course in dietetics I include a number of practical cooking sessions with guest lecturers from catering colleges and commercial chefs. We generally only look at British, French and Italian cooking, but there’s no reason I shouldn’t include Caribbean and African traditions.”

“And Indian?” Eddie asked, having developed a liking for some of the recipes we brought back from Kerala.

“Why not? So, Mr Knight, what do you think?”

“I think you could do a lot worse than host the cookery demonstrations here.”

“I was hoping you’d say that. I was admiring your kitchen when talking to Jen.”

“Could Janine use the library as her classroom?” Sophie asked, “That way the class would be in familiar surroundings all the time.”

“The meeting room might make more sense – it has direct access from the kitchen. What do you think, Janine?”

“I think we’ve just set up my new course. I can do Tuesday evenings if that suits.”

“We have a deal,” I said.

“What will happen about Pepu’s idea for an estate management course?” Jen asked.

“He can still go ahead with that, but he can take it any evening.”

“Thank you, Sir. I’ll tell him.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

GTI 7.2

Waist of Space, part one of the Unlikelihood series, followed Commanders Tarquin Stuart-Lane and Meredith Winstanley; hapless heroes of the Royal Space Regiment; who were sent on a mission to the Moon from which they were not expected to return. There they met with a group of aliens who had forged a living under the surface of the moon, and whose forebears were testing a new kind of spacecraft.

In part two, FLATUS, our dynamic duo help the aliens (and the RSR) build their own multi-locatable craft. Will the ships be built and if so, will the drives work? What are the possible effects of having three such craft in space at one time? FLATUS — Fantastically Large Assembly for Travel at Unbelievable Speeds. The most unlikely spacecraft never built?

Part three follows the preparation and development of the Gap Travel Initiative (code named GTI) and the developing relationships among and between species, races and genders. Will humankind achieve the nirvana of limitless travel and if so, at what cost. Stick with Tarquin and Meredith as they navigate their route through an uncertain future.


GTI. Chapter seven, scene two

“Have I understood this correctly?” Jason asked once the meeting was underway the following morning, “The pod never actually goes anywhere?”

“That’s right,” Kada Kolash replied, “its function is to prepare and convert what is to transport through the gap and present it, in the form of pure data, at the first transfer point.”

“Like the transporter room in Star Trek?”

“It is analogous, Jason. But don’t forget, Star Trek is fiction. This is real.”

“How does the transfer point know where to send the data?”

“It works in the same way your communications on Earth work. The data are presented in discrete packets. The header of each packet includes the IDs of the packet itself, the one before it and the one after it. That’s so that it can be reassembled at the other end. It also contains information about the source and destination, so the entire system knows where to send it.”

“Okay. What about getting someone back again? It is a two-way thing, after all.”

“That’s the easy part. Once you’ve set someone or something up for transport, you press the green ‘send’ button. To get them back, press the red ‘undo’ button. The orange ‘redo’ button repeats the last send.”

“So when Jinnis Keet was shot at on his first visit—”

“Undo followed by redo. The same when it came back to take pictures.”

“But Jinnis’s return wasn’t immediate then,” Meredith said, “Taking the pictures must have taken time, but Jinnis seemed to have returned the same time it left.”

“That’s because the default for ‘redo’ is to return the subject at the instant it left. In practice, there’s an element of latency in the system – about twenty milliseconds as you measure time. It’s not perfect, but it’s good enough for us.”

“In that case,” Arty asked, “why do we need these special suits?”

“Two reasons,” Kitara Navilli said, “firstly to contain and delimit your body during the encoding and decoding, but equally importantly to make sure you have the support and protection your body needs to survive at your destination.”

The Right Honourable (and Learned) Kayleigh Marsden PC, QC, MP fidgeted in her seat and looked around the table at the human, Borborygmi and Jinthate delegates around it. “I hope all this means something to some of you,” she said, “what I hear you people saying and what I seem to think I hear the little chubby ones saying although their lips aren’t moving or wouldn’t be if they had lips in the first place; anyway all that is clearly the King’s English or something approaching it, although it means absolutely nothing to me. But the tall ones – well, all I hear is steel band music!”

“Switch your translator on, Ma’am,” Ben Hussain whispered to her.

“What? Speak up, Ben, for goodness’ sake. If you’ve got something to say, say it. And don’t mumble!”

Ben spoke more loudly. “Switch your translator on, Ma’am,” he practically shouted, much to the amusement of everyone, particularly the Borborygmi. The Secretary of State for Alien Affairs opened and closed her mouth a few times in a passable imitation of a goldfish, before hissing at her assistant in an accusatory manner, “Isn’t it your job to do that for me?”

“Yes, Ma’am,” Ben said apologetically. Not that his boss could possibly have heard him above the laughter coming from all the other delegates.

The Secretary of State slapped the table as hard as she was able and shouted, “Order!” When that had no effect she added, “Quiet, please! NOW!” The room went quiet. “I have something to say. As the person responsible to the Prime Minister herself…” she inexplicably bowed her head and muttered something that was totally incomprehensible but that had the tone and rhythm of an incantation about it, “…it is incumbent on me, for the full, proper and timely discharge of my duties—”

“What Madam Secretary is trying to say,” Ben interrupted, “is that she doesn’t understand what is going on, but feels that she needs to.”

“Leave this to me,” Patsy said, rising from her seat and walking around the table. When she arrived behind Secretary Marsden, she whispered to the Secretary, did something with her hands that no-one else was able to see,  and returned to her seat.

“Alright,” the Secretary of State announced, “Okay. Finally. All understood. Carry on.”

The humans present reacted with facial expressions and fidgeting that betrayed their confusion (except Patsy, who was predictably sanguine about the whole thing), the Jinthae are incapable of facial expression and so looked the way they always look and the Borborygmi… let’s just say that their linguistic expression sounded eerily similar to Led Zeppelin’s ‘Dazed and Confused’ played on steel drums.

Patsy looked at the Secretary and made a sweeping movement with her right hand.

“Your mind tricks won’t work on the Secretary,” Ben said. Patsy produced her most angelic smile and demonstrated that she was still able to use a longbow.

Secretary Marsden stood, cleared her throat and said, “If there’s no other business…” she paused for a response, received none and so continued, “Very well. I now declare this meeting closed. Ben, get up; we’re going.”

The two government officials nodded to the group and, with no more ceremony than was necessary, they left. Okay, as he did on their arrival, Ben walked in front of his boss, sweeping the floor with his official broom so she didn’t get any dirt on the soles of her designer wellies.

“That was fun,” Meredith said, “Are we all okay with the pods now?” Andrea and Jason, Arty and Norman, Joan and Patsy, Kala and Kitara all nodded. “Good,” she said, “let’s just get on with it now, shall we?”

The remote links closed, the Jinthae returned to their home planet and the three officers… well, we don’t need to go into what Meredith, Joan and Patsy did next, do we?

Sunday serialisation – Knight after Knight, 3.1

Knight after Knight250

In Knight & Deigh, Hannice Knight suffered a back injury that left him without the use of his legs. Sophie Deigh, physiotherapist and recent widow, devoted herself to supporting him.

As Hannice’s body recovered, he became ever closer to Sophie, and soon they found themselves in a relationship they had neither anticipated nor intended, and for which neither was fully prepared.

A bump in the Knight followed Hannice as he juggled business, hedonism, marriage and ultimately parenthood.

Knight after Knight is the third and final part of the Hannice Knight story. Starting after the marriage of Hannice and Sophie’s only son, David to Jess, the only child of Jason and Noelani Reeves of Hawaii, it traces the Knight family’s progression through the generations.


Knight after Knight. Chapter three, part one.

Pepu had obviously seen us walking up the driveway and opened the door for us as soon as we arrived.

“Where’s Jen?” I asked.

“In the kitchen, Sir, making dinner.”

“Don’t stop her,” Sophie said, “we’ll go in and talk with her.”

“Is there a problem, Mrs Knight?”

“No, far from it, Pepu. You remember she said she wants to train as a dietitian?”

“Yes.”

“Well, our doctor said his woman wants to go through our diet with Jen, to make sure we’re getting everything we need—”

“And to make sure we don’t put on too much weight,” I interrupted.

“That, too,” Sophie agreed, “but she also teaches dietetics at the local college.”

Pepu seemed delighted for his wife and accompanied us to the kitchen, where Jen was busily chopping carrots.

“You want to see what I’m making for you, Sir?” she asked.

“Happy to,” I said, “but that’s not why we’re here. Our doctor – you met him for your medicals – wants his dietitian to have a chat with you.”

“What for, Sir?”

“To give you some advice about our diets. Apparently, we are now so old that we have to worry about these things.”

“Am I not looking after you well, Sir?”

“Yes, of course you are. This is more about making sure we don’t overeat or eat things that aren’t best for us. Anyway, she’ll come here for a chat, and – here’s the thing – she is not only a registered dietitian, she also teaches dietetics at the local college and may be willing to enrol you in her present class, or in her new one next term.”

“That’s very kind, Sir, but how would I get to the college?”

“I’ve heard that your husband is quite a good driver, Jen,” I said.

“Would you allow him the time to drive me there and back, Sir?”

“I’ll do more than that – I’ll even let him use the 4×4, although I may give him something to do while you are having your lessons.”

“Sir,” Pepu said, “what if I could find an estate management course that runs at the same time as Jen’s course?”

“I’d encourage you do take it.”

“But, Sir…”

“Yes, and I’ll pay for it.”

“Thank you, Sir. I will look.”

“Jen, the doctor’s dietitian will come here to see you sometime in the next couple of days. I don’t know, but I think she’s going to be asking you to keep sugar and salt to a minimum and avoid saturated fats. Now, I know nothing about cooking, but I don’t think we do too badly for those things, do we?”

“I have been trying for flavour and variety, Sir. It may be that I use too much of the things you mention. If so, I am truly sorry.”

“No need for that now. Let’s wait and see what she says, shall we? But when she comes, please do be completely honest with her. She isn’t coming to judge you, she’s coming mainly to help us. And even if she says that she isn’t happy with anything, it won’t mean your job here isn’t safe. You’re here to stay, young lady. So; how do you feel about training as a dietitian?”

“Very excited, Sir. I do my best now, but if I can be better, to repay you and Mrs Knight for all your kindness to us, well – I’ll do anything.”

“Thank you, Jen. We’ll leave you to carry on with your work. Smells delicious, by the way.”

And it was. Delicious, that is.