Sunday serialisation – Knight after Knight, 8.2

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 eight, part two.

As soon as we arrived at Nocturne, it was obvious that some of the external work was already underway. Judging by the tall posts that appeared at about two-metre intervals around, the new, a start had been made on the inner fence. Apart from that, the old place didn’t look any different from my last visit and, in fact, remarkably similar to when I lived there. The walinzi allowed us through the gate and the driver dropped us by the front door. Lindy called the man he named as General Factotum and asked him to take our luggage up to guest bedrooms two and three, then led us into the house.

“So, is he a retired soldier?” Max asked.


“The General.”

“General factotum,” Lindy said, laughing, “is the expression we use to describe a member of the household staff who can be called on to fill any number of requirements, like Man Friday but less dismissive, more respectful. I think so, anyway. It’s not his real name.”

“What is his real name?” she asked.

“Something I can’t pronounce. I call him General and he doesn’t seem to mind, in fact, I think I heard him boasting about it once.”

“So,” I said, “we’re in guest bedrooms two and three?”

“Yes, Boss.”

“What’s wrong with one?”

“Number one isn’t a guest bedroom. It’s where I sleep.”

“Have you numbered all the rooms?”

“Only where there’s more than one with the same function. It’s more efficient.”

“But this is your home. There’s no need to organise it efficiently.”

“Don’t let Roger hear you saying that, Boss. He always said that one of the things he loves about me is the level of organisation and efficiency I bring to everything. Besides, it may be a home for me, but for the staff, it’s a workplace.”

“I’ll not interfere, Lindy. It’s only for a few nights until we get our accommodation organised.”

“What will you be looking for?”

“Either a small house or an apartment. As long as it has at least two bedrooms it’ll do us.”

“Why don’t I have the workmen refurbish the lodge whilst they’re here, Boss? That was built as a kind of coach-house for the servants and I’m sure it will do the job.”

“I dread to think what sort of state it’s in. It was never opened whilst I was living here.”

“It’s solid, clean and dry,” Max said, “I had the staff open it up seven or eight years ago for archival storage of paper records and for storing grandfather tapes from the office computer backups. The father tapes were held in what was my study.”

“And is now my study,” Lindy said, “I do remember that, Max. It was more than eight years ago – more like a decade. But we haven’t been getting backup tapes from the office for about four years – backups are all done online to the KGT server in the office, which replicates with sister servers in all the other regional offices.”

“You’re right,” I said, “we chose to do that, rather than pay for space on someone else’s cloud. We have seven servers scattered around the world, each of which, as well as replicating all the others, also backs up to at least two divisional servers. I think we should be resilient enough.”

“So that building only needs decorating and furnishing. If you remember, Boss, it has three double bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms and three reception rooms which can serve as lounge, dining room and office.”

“Okay, Lindy, but on one condition.”

“Name it.”

“You charge us market rent for it.”

“Sure thing, Boss. I just won’t be drawn on which market.”

“Lindisfarne Julian Aldredge,” I said, “you are incorrigible.”

“And encourageable, don’t forget,” he replied with a grin.

“That’s between you and Roger.”

“It is,” he said, “but before we think about all that, I have a wedding to organise.”

“Haven’t you organised it yet?” Max asked, incredulously.

“Are you listening to yourself, Max? Of course I have. It’s me, remember? It’s what I do. Organise things. What’re you like?”

We laughed, then he talked us through all the arrangements. He had missed nothing. All we had to do, as ‘honour attendants’ was, as he had said, to stand with him at the ceremony, handing him things as needed, witness the official documents then eat, drink, be merry and, in Max’s case, make a speech.

I’m delighted to say that it all went smoothly and the happy couple went off to New York for a week’s honeymoon, leaving Max and me in temporary charge of Nocturne.


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