The highlights of the Sunday School year were the Christmas Party, the Prize Giving and best of all, the Picnic in summer. In those days there were no bus trips to the seaside. We used the bogies (flat topped carts for carrying hay ricks) pulled by a Clydesdale. We all sat with our legs dangling over the edge as Jock (or Prince) plodded up the narrow road, edged with wild roses and honeysuckle, their scents mingling with that of new mown hay. Funny it never seemed to rain, not in my memory anyway!

For days Roy and I had groomed our horse to his gleaming best, polished the harness and taken out the horse brasses for their annual airing – shining them up till they winked in the sunlight on that idyllic day. How my heart swelled with pride to see our horse quite as magnificent as the Clydesdales at the show – and much superior to the Corsefield horse!

The picnic was held at Springfieldhill on the Pictish Camp (called the Roman camp then). Sited on top of a hill where a small child felt even smaller, surveying what seemed a vast vista, even as far as Criffel, which, if Criffel had its cap on (hidden in cloud) it was said to be a sign of rain. There were earthen ramparts around one end of the fort where no doubt the Picts kept watch for marauding Romans or enemy tribes. But on Sunday School picnic day the air was filled with excited young voices as we ran up and rolled down these slopes on sun warmed grass.

At the other side of the camp the whin grew freely. There the adults gathered enough dry wood to build a fire to boil water for cups of tea. I seem to remember the dry needles crackling as they flamed up with the distinctive smoke billowing, then dying down to glowing embers which soon had the water bubbling merrily.

The young generation were handed a brown paper bag each with sandwiches and delicious homemade cakes or biscuits. It was with great anticipation we peeped into our bags, not all the same selection, so there was always some swapping and bartering.

Races were run on the flat summit – foot races, three legged and egg and spoon, sack races and so on. I can’t remember if the winners reward was 1d or maybe 3d or a few sweeties.

Then it was back down the hill to the church, sitting on the bogie, singing as we went, pleasently tired but happy and light hearted.

This was the East Kirk Sunday School. As it was during the war the beaches were probably out of bounds anyway.

Margaret (Spence) Rodrick, Victoria, Australia.

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