The mountains surrounded us on all sides. They were of red rock and snowy capped. We started to climb. The air was so fresh and I felt amazed when I looked down at the view below us. I could see for miles. I could see the sea.
James walked up to me and said, “ Shall we stop for lunch now, Matt?"
“Sure” I replied, “I am starting to feel rather hungry”.
So we looked back down the steep path that wound down between the pines. Beth and Jack came up through the trees and we all stopped for lunch. We sat on top of a large rock close to the edge of a very high cliff. Jack opened a bottle of wine and we passed it round. Then we ate the food. French bread with salami, ham and cheese. We all had quite an appetite. After I finished eating I made a cigarette and laid back against the warm rock.
“The wines nice” Jack said.
“Sure is” James said, “ Shall we open another bottle?
“Why not?” I said.
So we opened another bottle and passed it round. I could see a wide river at the bottom of the mountain. It sparkled in the sun.
“Being here does something to you,” Beth said."It humbles you. Do you guys know what I mean?”
“Its like a breath of fresh air” I said.
Jack laughed and said “Well, it certainly beats sitting in an office all week".
I said,” Yes, it's funny how far we’ve come from our roots. When I went back to the city after last time I was here I felt totally energised. I think I might have to leave the city soon.
“Oh no you don’t,” James said, “What would I do without you? I would become so bored".
“You have Laura,” I replied.
“Yes, I know but she’s not up for adventure. You know what she’s like. Who would I go fishing with for a start?"
“I want to learn,” Jack said.
“We want to learn,” Beth said resting her head on Jacks lap. They were engaged.
I felt the wine making me feel tipsy. I was glad there weren’t any dangerous bits to climb up.
“Shall we go tonight?” James said.
“Where?” I had forgotten what we had been talking about.
“Night fishing,” Beth said.
“Sounds good,” I replied.
That night after dinner and some more drinks we made our way down from the campsite to the river. The river shone dark blue in the moonlight. James was quite drunk and fell in. We started a fire and cast out our lines. “I am bloody freezing," James said from by the fire. I looked over at him. His bare upper body was lit up orange by the fire. The fire crackled and whined as the dry wood burned.
“I hope you’re going to come back over here,” Beth said, “Jack and I don’t have a clue what we are doing with this line”.
“Matt, help them with their line,” James said.
I left my rod on the rest and walked over to Jack and Beth. “God damn midges,” Jack said “they seem to be having a carnival on my head”.
“I told you to put lemon on your hair” I replied.
“Oh, come on and show us how to do this” Jack said.
I picked up the rod ands said “like this” and cast the line.
“Ah. I see,” Jack said, “I thought it was from the side”.
“Have you got it now?”
“Yes thanks Matt”.
Then the fish took the worm on my line. James was already there, standing in his boxer shorts, swaying drunkenly; he started to reel it in. “For god sake,” I said “I knew something like this was going to happen”.
“Sorry Matt,” Beth said.
“Now he has my fish”.
“I don’t know he is pretty drunk,” Jack said staring at James with a big smile on his face.
“It’s a big one” James shouted.
“Can you manage it”?
“Sure. Of course I can bloody manage it.”
He had almost reeled the fish in. I could hear the fish slapping the water as he reeled him out of it. I saw the fish leave the water. It was a big one. Its silver scales glistened in the moonlight. James was not prepared for it and as it struggled, hanging over the water James lost his balance and fell in again. We all laughed. I could see my rod getting dragged out into the middle of the river so I quickly stripped down and jumped in. It was cold but refreshing. I swam out to where my rod was spinning in circles. I finished reeling in the fish whilst I trod water. Then I swam back to the bank with the fish slung over my shoulder. “Well done Matt,” James said shivering by the fire. Jack and Beth both laughed.