It's a calm evening as I approach the river, I peer up at the sun as it skips in and out of the clouds, much like I once did in the mornings as a child from beneath the duvet, eyes dilating painfully, urging me to cover my head. The sound of flowing water whets my appetite as does the merry whistle of the electric blue, as it flies by I smile and offer a salute, modest acknowledgement for the king of fishers.
The river is part obscured by balsam and nettle, as I fumble through the vegetation it is with a sense of urgency and yearning, the invitation for me to lose myself is strong almost incessant.
Finally my eyes rest upon the river, its subaquatic jungle beckoning me to wet a line, dense cabbage patch giving way to streamer weed and intimate gravel runs, there is no rush to cast, a deep breath is taken, nostrils fill with the heady aroma of balsam, I rustle about in the rucksack for the small tub of bait that has hidden itself in this Aladdin's cave of piscatorial paraphernalia, sure enough it is to be found at the very bottom where it has secreted itself away, a few minutes later and an underarm cast is made, ripples break the surface film and my connection to the river is complete.
Very few thoughts other than the here and now break into my mind, a chance to wonder what might lurk beneath, I'm excitable as the rod shakes, a faint wing beat can be heard and the culprit soon reveals itself to be a Pipistrelle bat, I watch as it flutters between water and foliage, its balletic movement mesmerising me.
The evening cloud cover slowly disperses and a heavy dew begins to form on the grass, its beads illuminated by an awoken moon, my breath is visible, I shudder a little as night air and expectation meet for the first time.
It is not long before a moonlit hunter can be heard, the wood mice that were chattering so enthusiastically, planning a daring raid on my rucksack fall silent, rustling can be heard as they disperse, lest they become a midnight feast for an owl, its presence given away as leaves fall from the bough above.
A series of staccato taps leave my rod shaking, an odd bite and one that fills me with apprehension and unease, images of crayfish and their shellfish attitude for toying with an anglers bait begin to invade my thoughts, these soon vanish as the rod makes a sudden bid for freedom from the rest.
The lead can be felt tumbling through the cabbage patch as the occupant at the other end gatecrashes its way to safety, the clutch ticking steadily, a splash is heard and a golden bar breaks the surface, I'm more than ready for it to slip into the net but it has other ideas as it disappears under the surface and back downstream. By now my heart beats hard and fast but not from where it should reside, for it has taken a small excursion to keep my dry throat company, the mixture of adrenaline and anticipation creates the oddest of emotional concoctions, but it is one every angler is accustom to and something we willingly repeat.
Eventually the folds of the landing net sag and I come to realise that all along it has been fish playing angler.
As I say a final farewell the hourglass is neigh on empty, I spend the last few grains of it watching this muscular beauty swim off and rejoin its brethren.