As if this summer were already a thing of the distant past, most of the brochures I am receiving these days are for the summer of 1999. But would people really think of booking their holidays more than a year in advance if nobody had whispered in their ears that they were in danger of missing the boat? I don't think so, and for that reason I'll overlook the 1999 brochures for a few months.

Instead, I'll have a look at the brochure recently sent to me by the German Travel Centre Ltd, who, far from urging me to think about next summer, are suggesting that I look back to last year. Its brochure, designated for the period 1997/98 and covering a range of German cities, is a suitably conservative little creation containing a series of poor-quality snaps of German cities. The pictures of the Dresden Hotels look as though they might have been reused from an East German travel brochure of the 1970s in fact. On the other hand - and this is a big plus - the information is laid out with such extreme clarity that I was able to calculate almost instantly how much my putative two-night break to Hamburg would cost (exactly pounds 250). The attractions of each city are laid out with equally brutal clarity and, for a moment, one wonders what the teasing, confusing appearance of most modern print media is all about. I also found the A5 brochure so pleasingly

down-to-earth that I have decided to look for another one. Lo and behold, after Germany I find - Pembrokeshire. The tourist board's comprehensive visitors' guide is another model of unpretentious listings, with pages devoted to history, cycling, watersports, galleries etc. History? The castles and monuments of Pembrokeshire are numbered and mapped. Horse- riding? The riding centres are numbered and mapped. Brochures as easy to understand as these are almost enough to make me actually want to go to the places.

Jeremy Atiyah

German Travel Centre Ltd: 0181 429 2900; Pembrokeshire County Council Tourism and Leisure Department: 0990 103103.