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 one, part two.
Having left Hawaii in the middle of a mini-heatwave, Sophie and I were not really prepared for the worse-than-normal early-November weather we found when we arrived back at Knight Towers. We’d heard on the news that there had been high winds and near-blizzard conditions in our corner of England a few days earlier, so we weren’t surprised by the scattering of unmelted snow in various places. We weren’t prepared, though, for the three fallen trees along the main driveway from the clinic to the house. At least something was happening – a couple of men were working with chainsaws to clear the trees from the road.
Martha was waiting for us when we got into the house.
“We’d rather not be left here alone again,” she said to Sophie, “we can’t be expected to take care of this big house. It’s a good job David came with his new wife – isn’t she lovely by the way?”
“What happened, Mum?” Sophie asked her.
“Well. All this wind came, and the snow; we heard the trees cracking and falling. My God, we thought one might land on the house, and then what? But we’re not as young as we used to be. We’re both over eighty, you know. Anyway, we might have been here a few times, but we don’t really know anyone apart from the doctors and nurses at the clinic, of course. But you know your father. He felt that, as the man, he should do something about it. I had to stop him from going looking for a chainsaw to deal with the trees, I mean, really, at his age! But we had no idea who to call and—”
“Martha, it’s alright,” I said, “We wouldn’t expect you to deal with it. You had only to call or message me and I would have organised something.”
“We know that now, don’t we? But you weren’t here, were you? There was no electric so we couldn’t get the interweb. We didn’t have the telephone either – not even the mobiles were working, so we had no way to get in touch; and Eddie – well, he’s always been the one to deal with these things and – why don’t you go up and see for yourselves.”
“Where is Dad,” Sophie asked.
“He’s taken to his bed. Palpitations. Bad ones. Thought he was going to have a heart attack or something. Had me properly worried he did.”
“Have you called the doctor?” I asked, picking up the phone.
“Oh yes. I’d forgotten that Doctor Lockhart had retired so I called his mobile once we’d got the phone and power back. He passed it to the new man—”
“That’s him. Anyway, he came the day before yesterday and told Eddie to have complete rest.”
“Did he give him anything?”
“Said there was no need, just rest and calm. He’ll come back in a few days to see how he’s doing. Anyway, when David came, he called the tree surgeon and had him come around to start the work he’s doing now. David reckoned it’d take him a few days to clear everything.”
“Did David and Jess get away okay?”
“Yes. Andrews took them to the airport yesterday.”
“Good. Let’s go up and see Eddie.”
“Don’t go exciting him, though. He’s supposed to stay calm.”
“It’s alright, Mum,” Sophie said, “we’ll be gentle with him.”
It was a shock when we entered Eddie’s room. He looked old, frail and grey. Neither of us had ever seen him looking like that before.
“How are you, Dad?” Sophie asked him.
“Not so dusty,” he said, “I’m just sorry I couldn’t deal with this lot.”
“Eddie, you’re not here to manage our estate,” I said, “you’re here to enjoy your retirement and to have as easy a life as we can give you. I’m just sorry that all this happened while we were away.”
“Not your fault, Hannice,” he said, “David’s a great lad though, isn’t he? And that gorgeous young wife of his, wow! Might have been the sight of her gave me the palpitations!”
“Down boy!” I said, “I’ll do a deal with you, Eddie. You get better and get your strength back, and we’ll advertise for some help. We’ll see if we can take on a couple: we need to find permanent replacements for Bly and Mrs Cooper. We can’t keep borrowing Andrews; he’s supposed to be full-time with the clinic. I’m sure we ought to be able to find someone who can be our driver and act as estate manager to look after the place, with a wife who can take Mrs Cooper’s place. We haven’t had a full-time cook/housekeeper since she retired and it’s not fair to keep calling her out of retirement every time we do a bit of entertaining. I can have the flat above the garages refurbished so they don’t have to live in the house if they’d rather not.”
“You’d do that, for me and Eddie?” Martha asked.
“It’s for all of us, Martha. We’re none of us getting any younger, and in truth, I’m not sure how well I would have dealt with this crisis, even if I’d been here.”
“Thank you, Hannice,” Sophie said, squeezing my arm, “I’ll talk to Mrs Cooper and see if she can recommend anyone.”
“Good idea,” I said, “talk to the people at the clinic, too, and I’ll give Bly a call. I’d be much happier working on a recommendation than advertising.”