By Brake to Bishopston by B. STEELE A FEW WEEKS AGO I visited Bishopston Valley. It was the height of summer and the trees were heavy with blossom and brilliant green leaf. In spite of the children's holidays and the visitors, there were few people, and deep in the shade of the trees were quiet, dim glades. One never sees charabancs rolling up and depositing hordes of happy picnickers, as they did sixty years ago. In those days picnics formed the main outing of the year, and any Temperance Society, Ladies' Guild or Bible Class could hire a brake and set off for the day of their life. From distant Swansea, Bishopston Valley had all the thrill of a foreign country, for it was well away from civilization. Apart from the odd farm folded into the hills, no houses could be seen. When the day dawned at last, it was sure to be sunny. The summers of sixty years ago knew how to behave, no one expected it to rain, so it didn't. Long before the brake arrived, the people would gather in their best clothes. Money was short and mothers almost always made their own clothes and their daughters'. Muslin at lid. a yard lent itself beautifully to frills and flounces and I had a dress of rose-sprigged lawn every year. No one would have dreamed of wearing old clothes to lounge about in, and every child was rigged out" in a complete set of clothes, whatever they went without for the next few months, and woe betide the boy who fell into the stream or the girl who muddied her dress. The excitement had reached a high pitch by the time the brake finally appeared. Mr. Morris drove us on all our ten picnics. Stoutly dressed in homespun breeches, cloth cap and heavy boots, he saluted us all with a dignity befitting the occasion. Bottles of home-made lemonade and large hampers of food were quickly packed. Oh for one of those yard-long cakes, cherries bursting from the egg-yellow sponge. It was my special favourite, and I always ate so much of it that I arrived home at my door, handkerchief pressed to mouth, just before retribution overtook me. It was worth it. Somehow we jammed in, with even a few dribbly babies and squalling toddlers. The journey took quite a time, because we walked up all the hills and cruised shrieking down the far slopes. Untrodden daisy-strewn verges swayed dizzily by as we jogged along. The Common stretched away into the heat haze and the hot coconut smell of the gorse hung on the air, while the larks rose and fell- above.