Category: Knight after Knight

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.

“Who?”

“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.

 

Sunday serialisation – Knight after Knight, 8.1

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 eight, part one.

A few weeks later, Max and I arrived in Dar-es-Salaam. Lindy came to meet us at the airport. It was the first time he and I had been able to have a decent chat in rather a long time.

“Business aside, Lindy, how are you doing?”

“Doing good, Boss,” he said, “should I still call you Boss, you not being my Boss any longer?”

“Given the new arrangement, I think I may have to start calling you Boss. But I think it’s about time you called me by my given name, don’t you?”

“I don’t know if I can do that, Boss. It just doesn’t seem right. How do you manage, Max?”

“Easy,” Max replied, “but then, I have known the old fool for better than half a century.”

“Now you’re trying to make me feel old,” I complained, “but, Lindy, how are things between you and Tanja these days?”

“There was never much between us, Boss. It was always business; a bit like you and Max. You’re close, and good friends, but I don’t see anything romantic going on. Anyway, never mind me, how are you coping, Boss? I was devastated when I heard.”

“Thanks, Lindy. I’ll never fully get over losing her, but I’m learning to deal with it.”

“Will it cheer you up if I give you some of my good news?”

“You can try.”

“Well. You remember Roger?”

“Roger… Roger… No, you’ll have to give me more than that.”

“Roger Crawford.”

“Roger Crawford…” I was having serious trouble with this, though I noticed Max smiling. I looked at her and raised my eyebrows. She smiled back. Then a light-bulb moment arrived, “Wasn’t that the guy who worked as something-or-other with Jaxsons?”

“Yes, he was in charge of administration and we worked together to make the takeover of the pharmaceutical thing work.”

“Okay, what about him?”

Lindy looked at us, stiffened with excitement, clenched his fists and started to shake a little. “We’re getting married!” he all but screamed.

My jaw must have visibly dropped. I had known from the very beginning that Lindy was, as I had told Sophie, as camp as a row of pink tents, that many of his expressions and actions bordered on the effeminate, but it never occurred to me for one second that he was actually gay, especially after all that business with Tanja.

“I never knew you were gay, Lindy,” I exclaimed.

Max and Lindy looked at each other, then at me. Both had furrowed brows.

“Hannice,” Max said, “how could you not have known that since forever?”

“It just never occurred to me. How long have you suspected it, Max?”

“I never suspected it, Hannice. Not for one moment.”

“So how…”

“Hannice. Can I ask you how long you’ve suspected that the sky is blue on sunny days.”

“I’ve never suspected it. It’s just the way it is, it’s obvious, you only have to … oh, I see what you’re saying. Am I thick or what?”

“No, Boss. I’m flattered. It means you’ve always accepted me as I am, without judging or categorising, without putting any expectations on me. And I love you for it.”

“Steady!” I said.

“Not like that, silly. Anyway, I’m true to Roger. Will you come to the wedding?”

“When is it?” Max asked.

“Saturday week!” Lindy screamed.

Max and I looked at each other. “Wouldn’t miss it for anything,” I said, “anything we can do?”

“I was hoping you’d ask, Boss. Will you be my honour attendant?”

“Your what?”

“Honour attendant. It’s like the best man but it can be done by someone of any gender.”

“I’m not sure if I—”

“Hannice!” Max said, “It’s a great honour to be asked to be best man. You can’t refuse.”

“I’m not refusing. I don’t know if I’m ready for this kind of thing yet, and I don’t even know what a best man’s supposed to do in a same-sex marriage. I mean, do you both have a best man, or what?”

“We’ll both have honour attendants, Boss. Roger has chosen one of his old friends from school, but it’s taken me ages to decide. Even when I knew you were coming here I wasn’t sure whether to ask you, Boss or you, Max.”

“I’m surprised you wouldn’t ask someone of your own age group to do it,” I said.

“I could, but you two just happen to be the two people I respect most in the whole world.”

“Then why not have us both?” Max asked.

“Ooh. I hadn’t thought of that. Yeah. We can make that work. Boss and Max, how do you feel about being joint honour attendants?”

“What do we have to do?” I asked.

“Mostly just be there for me. Oh, and if one of you could make a little speech at the reception, it would be terrific.”

“So we don’t have to organise a … I don’t know what to call it – can’t be stag party or hen party—”

“No, Boss. Neither of us is going to get wasted before our wedding. We can spend the evening before together – the three of us – and on the day, one of you will need to pass me the ring—”

“And if I know you, Lindy, the other will need to pass you a hankie!” I said, jokingly.

“You know me too well, Boss.”

Max and I looked at each other. “So, Lindy,” Max said, “HanMax Consultants to the rescue – our first joint project.”

“Can you do the speech, Max? It’s too close to losing Sophie for me to be waxing lyrical about someone else’s wedding.”

“Oh, God, Boss. I hadn’t even thought about that. You must think I’m dreadful.”

“Not at all, Lindy. You’re so wrapped up in your own stuff, no-one expects you to think of everything.”

“But I should have thought of that. I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay, Hannice,” Max said, “I’ll be happy to do the speech. I wouldn’t mind the opportunity to run it past you, though, and to have you listen whilst I rehearse it.”

“Surely. I could probably write it if you prefer. I just don’t think I’m ready to deliver it.”

“No, I’ll write it. If I’m giving it, It has to be in my voice, not yours. Thanks for the offer, though, all the same.”

“That’s settled, then,” Lindy said, “Max will do the speech. Will you be happy to pass me the ring in the ceremony, Boss?”

“Of course, Lindy. That puts you on handkerchief duty then, Max.”

 

Sunday serialisation – Knight after Knight, 7.3

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 seven, part three.

During the weeks that followed, Max and I were in constant contact, either in person or over the phone or Skype. Lindy had made the changes necessary to incorporate our activities into Holy Island Services and set us up with office space and the equipment needed for us to do our job and communicate with the world. He had registered HanMax Consultants as a not-for-profit partnership working in the humanitarian sector and prepared contracts which provided for an honorarium to be paid to the partnership by Holy Island Services that exactly matched the charge to be made on us by his company for rental of the office space and provision of services and support to us. All very tidily done, all well within the various local laws and regulations and, as regional director, well within his authority to arrange without needing Board approval. That’s right, the Board knew nothing about it until Max and I were ready to tell them.

David and Jess had been aware that we were up to something but couldn’t get out of us what it was. Beyond saying that we were working on a project which would involve us relocating to Africa, I told them nothing.

So it was that, when we notified the Board, every one of them was surprised. Jess was well into the first trimester of her pregnancy and back to work full-time, so she was at the meeting, too. After expressing their surprise, all present were most supportive of what we were trying to do, happy that we were doing it under the KGT umbrella, but disappointed at the route we had chosen. As Chief Executive, David summed it up at the meeting.

“This is a good thing you are doing and we support it one hundred per cent,” he said, “However, had you brought the proposal to us in the first place, we could have set your venture up as a profit centre within LJ’s domain, funded it properly and had it operate on a more secure commercial basis. And we are a little disappointed that LJ chose to do it all without running it by us first.”

Max stood and faced David. “Before you go any further, let me explain to you why we chose to set it up the way we did. And I need to come to Mr Aldredge’s defence here, too. In the first place, my original plan was to go out there on my own, fully self-funded, and do whatever I could to help people who, through no fault of their own, are in desperate need of help. My intention was to give myself a purpose in my declining years and to give back to East Africa some of the many benefits that it had given to me over the years. It was only after Hannice’s circumstances changed,” …every head in the room nodded gravely in acknowledgement… “that I considered the possibility of extending and formalising it. All I asked of our regional director was assistance with the registration with the authorities of the project, enterprise, whatever you want to call it, and a few pointers. However, whilst talking to him, we saw the possibility of it becoming, in part, a useful and valuable adjunct to what Knight Investments and Holy Island Services are already doing, at no cost to the business. Hannice and I have no wish to act as employees of the Group in this matter. We are to be independent consultants. That we shall provide advice and support services to clients of the Group is a given, but this will be a cost-free option to them. We shall also provide consultancy services to organisations and enterprises that have no connection with Knight Global and who may be unsympathetic or even antagonistic to what you are trying to achieve in the area. Some may be direct competitors. We cannot do that as KGT employees. We cannot select whom we help on the basis of their relationship with this company.”

“Max,” David replied, “of course, we applaud your intentions and we understand your reasoning. However, the fact remains that my father is the Chairman of Knight Global Trading and as such this seems to introduce a deep conflict of interests. Everything he does, whatever his personal feelings, will be seen as being done by Knight Global Trading, simply because he is our Chairman and majority shareholder—”

“Was,” Hannice said.

“I beg your pardon?”

“Was Chairman of Knight Global Trading.”

“According to all the paperwork, you still are our Chairman.”

“Then we’ll have to change the paperwork, won’t we?”

“You mean…”

“I mean, David, that I am relinquishing my post as Chairman of the Group, effective immediately. As my last act from this chair, I am recommending that the Board elect from its number a new Chairman, and I propose and cast my vote for the Chief Executive, David Knight.”

Before anyone could say anything else, at least four voices shouted, “Seconded.”

“Seconded by Mr Aldredge, Miss Voorwinde and Mrs Russell. So minuted,” Owen said, “Any further nominations?” he paused for a while, “In that case, the minutes will reflect that Mr David Knight was elected unopposed as Chairman of Knight Global Trading.”

I got up from my seat and indicated to David that, as Chairman, he should occupy it. I took my place with Max at the other end of the table.

“Thank you all,” David said, “I think that resolves my father’s conflict of interests, potential or actual.”

The meeting came to a close. Back at home, David looked concerned.

“What’s eating you?” I asked.

“You’re going off to Africa with Max,” he said.

“That’s very observant of you, how did you work that out?”

“Don’t play with me, Dad. Don’t you think it’s a bit soon after, you know?”

“After your mother died? Don’t beat around the bush, David. Say what you mean.”

“I’m worried that you’re acting in haste and possibly disrespecting Mum’s memory.”

“So you’d prefer me to mope around here, vegetating. Is that it?”

“No, but I didn’t expect you to run into the arms of another woman so soon.”

“For God’s sake grow up, David. Firstly, I am not running into anyone’s arms, I am entering into a business arrangement with a long-term, trusted and respected senior colleague and friend. Our relationship will never go beyond what it has been for a lot longer than you have been around. And don’t forget that, for some years before I met your mother, Max was her employer and friend. It was Max who helped her through the death of her first husband, Dave. Max and your mother were as thick as thieves well before we met and have continued to be so ever since.”

“Sorry, dad. I just thought—”

“That’s just the trouble, David. You didn’t think. You just jumped to a conclusion. Now, get on the blower to Joe Green or whoever you’ve got looking after the Group now and get him over here.”

“Joe is still our lead, though he has some of his other people doing most things now.”

“Well, get Joe over here. I know him and I’d trust him with my life.”

“Can I ask what you want him for?”

“I need to sign over my shares to you and Jess. That way, my only link with the business will be my pension.”

“What about—”

“Don’t worry about the rest of my stuff. You’ll get it all when I go, and I’m not planning to get through much of it in East Africa. I can manage very well on my pensions without dipping too much into my assets.”

“That’s not what I was worried about, Dad.”

“Spit it out, then.”

“Well, there’s your health—”

“My health is fine, there’s excellent provision in Dar-es-Salaam and if all else fails, I can fly back, like I did before. What else?”

“What about the baby?”

“If you think I won’t fly back to be here in plenty of time when Jess is ready to deliver, you don’t know me very well. Anything else?”

“No, Dad. I’ll call Joe.”