Sunday serialisation – Knight after Knight, 14.1

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 fourteen, part one.

Max controlled the plane for a lot of the journey back to Dar and was tolerably happy with it.

“I enjoyed that, Hannice,” she said on the way home, “but I don’t think I want to go into it any farther.”

“Agreed,” I said, “it was okay but not brilliant, and I certainly don’t want to be doing all that studying now. I would, however, be happy to buy a small plane and employ Abel or someone like him as driver-cum-pilot.”

“But wouldn’t he be under-employed?”

“That’s the part I can’t get past. If we were to do enough travelling to justify the cost of a plane and a pilot/driver, we’d be travelling just to justify having them.”

“And it would be difficult to justify the cost to clients who, let’s not forget, are struggling to get important new businesses off the starting blocks.”

“How often do you imagine we’d need to fly internally?”

“To justify the cost or for the demands of the job?”

“The latter.”

“Hard to say, but probably no more than two or three times a year.”

“That’s what I thought.”

“So what are you saying, Hannice?”

“I’m suggesting we don’t buy a plane and we don’t learn to fly. Agreed?”


I’m happy to say that Gabriel’s business took off really well and was soon growing. We kept an eye on it during its formative years, gradually easing back on our involvement as it progressed. By the time it reached its third birthday, Knight Investments had stopped providing funding and was beginning to receive repayments, and Holy Island Services, having trained a group of accountants and administrators, had backed away and moved on to other projects.

David, Jess and Hannah, then approaching her fifth birthday, came out for a few days during the dry season. We took the opportunity to take them to see the project – not because of our involvement in its success, but because his investment arm had funded and supported it. By that stage the business was running on its own, using the plan we’d proposed and we were sitting back ready for the next job to come in.

Although David and Jess had spent time in Africa before they were married, this was Hannah’s first visit and the first time any of them had been in such a small aircraft. Black and Gold had offered a ten-seater, twin-prop King Air, but Max and I decided the family needed to experience a flying Land Rover, rather than a flying luxury people carrier. On top of which, we’d grown quite fond of Abel during our many trips to Songea and we wanted to give him a bit more work. They all enjoyed the flight, especially as Abel flew at relatively low altitude, to give the family a better look at the Tanzanian countryside. David and Jess were interested in the project – Hannah found it boring but was being brought up to be polite enough not to let on. On the trip back to Dar-es-Salaam, we reduced altitude, circled over a clearing and passed very low over what had the appearance of a little-used grass landing-strip. Abel declared it safe and brought the aircraft in to land. Minutes later, a pair of open-topped Land Rovers appeared and we all went off in them into the savannah for a spot of wildlife watching. There wasn’t a lot, but we did see some elephants, giraffe, zebra and wildebeest – all from a safe distance, of course, but the vehicles carried binoculars and spotter-scopes which we made good use of. On the final leg of the journey, I asked Hannah if she was still bored. She wasn’t. This was a trip she’d remember for a while.

By then, Max and I were approaching our eightieth birthdays a lot faster than we would have liked. The fact of getting older wasn’t important to us: there was much we both still wanted to do and we were both fit enough, physically and mentally, to achieve all the goals we set ourselves. That’s not to say things weren’t becoming more challenging as the days went by. We had both stopped climbing the two sets of stairs necessary to get to our second-floor office in favour of the passenger lift that opened directly opposite our door. Not that we couldn’t still use the stairs if we had to; we did at home (although I did occasionally harbour a secret desire for a stair-lift), but I certainly could no longer make it in one go, or without a degree of pain. In an attempt to alleviate the effects of the years on our bodies, we had enrolled in a gentle exercise regime at a local gym. In fact, we each had our own personal trainer who expressed satisfaction at our progress (though progress towards what I never could find out). We did notice that our evening walks, once of no more than a few hundred metres, were stretching to four or sometimes even five kilometres. This was, in large part, thanks to our companions – we had signed up as volunteers with a local pet rescue centre and each took a large dog with us on our walks – but we did remark that we often felt as fit at the end of the walk as we had at its commencement. Well, almost, anyway. We were also using the electric car less and less for getting around town, preferring to walk whenever we could. Obviously, we couldn’t walk everywhere; sometimes the distances were just too great and we had time constraints.




3 thoughts on “Sunday serialisation – Knight after Knight, 14.1

  1. Now approaching 80, I can identify with the Hannice and Max’s need to walk and keep active. Let some of those muscles go unused too long and all of a sudden they are missing. Enjoyed reading my own challenges, Keith. (I think Max and Hannice made the right decision not to take up flying too.)

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    1. Fully agree on the flying. I made a similar decision in my early 30s, though for a different reason. Living in Dubai, I was earning enough to pay for the lessons and hours, but with three young kids, I just couldn’t justify to myself taking all that money out of the family budget.
      Hannice has been a bit of a challenge to write, especially in his later years. Imagination is a wondrous thing – so is research.

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      1. I hear you on the money side of flying. The other side is if you don’t do it often you become a danger to yourself and others. I could see old Hannice forgetting a run up before take off and then having and engine failure.

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