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.”
“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?”
“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?”
“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.”