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 thirteen, part one.
I spent a week with David, Jess and Hannah; long enough to have a few days with Jason and Nell, who came over the day after Hannah’s arrival. I was on the phone with Max at least once a day while there and fully up to date with the situation at her end. Things had reached the stage where there needed to be some face-to-face action which meant either she and I going to Songea or Gabriel coming to Dar, with or without Evaristo.
“I can be back in about three days,” I said, “I’ll be flying into Dar. If you wish, I can meet you there and we can fly to Songea together. Unless, of course, Gabriel comes to us.”
“Probably be better if we go there,” she said, “They want us to see in person what they’re trying to do. I had hoped Lindy’s people could come at the same time, but Gabriel says it’s too early for that; he probably won’t be ready for them for another three to four weeks.”
David was in the room and had heard some of what we were saying. He raised a finger.
“Hang on, Max,” I said, “David has a thought.”
“There are a couple of ways we can do this, Dad. Well, three, really, but one of them you won’t like as much. You can fly commercial to Dar then interface with a charter we can set up from here. It’s a shorter flight and Black and Gold are bound to have something available. Or we can start a charter from here to fly you to Dar, pick Max up and continue to Songea. The third option—”
“The one I won’t like?”
“Yeah. We can get a charter from here direct to Songea and you can meet Max there.”
“You’re right. I don’t like it.”
“So which do you prefer.”
“I’m not comfortable with the cost of flying one person on a charter from here to Dar. I know it worked out well last time, but how often do they just happen to be sending empty planes around the globe? No. I’ll fly commercial to Dar, then use a charter for the Dar to Songea leg.”
“Will you let us pay for first class?”
“No, David. I’ll let KGT pay for business class, but not first.”
“Okay, Dad. I’ll get it organised. When do you want to go?”
“I’ll see what we can do.”
I picked up the phone again. “How much of that did you hear?” I asked.
“All of it,” Max said, “give me the times and flight number when you have them. I’ll be at the airport with all the necessary paperwork.”
Accompanied by Abel, Black and Gold’s driver, Max met me at international arrivals. She said she’d brought a bag with some clothes for me, knowing I left with nothing and assuming that I may well return similarly. She was not entirely wrong. In fact, I had a single piece of cabin luggage that contained only a tablet computer, a book and a change of underwear. Abel offered me the front seat for the short run to the domestic charter area, where our aircraft awaited – a six-seater high-wing Cessna.
“Bit of a change from my last trip, Abel,” I said.
“You were most fortunate then, Mr Knight. Company rules say no passengers on shuttle flights. Someone must have a lot of influence.”
“Where is our pilot,” Max asked.
“I am here,” Abel replied.
“I thought you were a driver,” I said.
“I am, Sir. I am a pilot as well, but so far I’m not certified for anything bigger than the 206. When there’s a job for it, I pilot the 206, otherwise, I’m behind the wheel of the limo.”
“Quite a versatile man, then,” Max observed.
“Not really. Most pilots can drive,” he said with a cheeky grin, “mind you, not many drivers are qualified flying instructors.”
“Ooh,” I said, “are you?”
“Yes. See the little 172 over there,” he pointed to a smaller version of the 206 close to the Black and Gold hangar, “that’ll take you up to Private Pilot’s Licence.”
“Four seater?” I asked.
“If it was a car, you’d call it a two-plus-two, sir.”
“Mum, Dad and the kids, then.”
“As long as there aren’t more than two and they’re what… probably pre-teen.”
“Can old’uns like us learn to fly?”
“As far as I know, Mr Knight, there’s no upper age limit. You’d have to have a medical though – quite a strict one – to make sure you’re fit enough and not likely to be a danger to yourself or others.”
“What are you thinking, Hannice,” Max asked.
“Can’t you see us, Max, with a little plane like the one Abel teaches in, or maybe a full four-seater, swanning off to Songea or wherever on a whim?”
“Do you think? Are you fit enough?”
“I think we both are. What do you reckon? We could both take lessons; that way, if one of us is taken poorly or just plain tired, the other can take over.”
“I don’t know. What do you think, Abel? Would you be happy to train both of us?”
“More than happy to, Ms Matham. Double fees for a start! I’ll tell you what; why doesn’t one of you take the co-pilot’s seat, then you can have some hands-on. I’ll be there, and I’ll do the take-off and landing, but you can fly as much of the journey as you want. Then the other one can do the same on the way back. There’ll be no extra charge for that, but if you do decide to start training, I’ll log the trip as your first lesson. One thing I have to say, though: the actual flying is not the hardest part of getting a licence.”
“What is, then?” I asked.
“Navigation, aviation law, safety – there are a lot of exams involved.”
Max and I looked at each other quizzically. “What do you think?” Max asked.
“Why don’t we see how we get on with his trip, the work and the flying, and take a view afterwards?”
“Does that mean we can go now?” Abel asked.
“Good. Follow me.”