I have recently returned from a two week holiday in France and whilst there, on the 22nd August, I celebrated my 35th birthday. I was on holiday with my long-term, same-sex partner J. We have been together for eight years, and although we have not entered into a formal civil contract, we consider ourselves to be effectively married, a situation fully supported by our friends and both our families. I teach English at secondary level, whilst J is the headmistress of a local primary school. She is three years older than me and takes a lead role in our relationship as the dominant partner. We are extremely happy and live full and enriched lives.

J’s parents own a holiday home in France and as they never use it in August (“too hot and too many kids!”) they were happy for us to borrow it for our summer break. The cottage is quite remote and utterly charming. It stands in a reasonable sized plot about a kilometer from the nearest village. It is the ideal spot for complete rest and a much needed battery recharge. The accommodation is simple, but comfortable, and the property has been tastefully restored and decorated by J’s Dad, and furnished by her Mum. It consists of a modern kitchen, sitting/dining room, cloakroom, two bedrooms, bathroom and loo. Outside there is a spacious covered terrace with a built-in barbeque, and plenty of garden furniture for unashamed lounging.

Like all couples, J and I have our own personal routines and traditions and one of ours is that each year we are given a birthday spanking by the other; me on 22nd August, and J on 7th November. These are not punishment spankings, although J is not above administering these if she feels it necessary, but rather a fun way to help celebrate the birthday. It is up to the spanker to decide exactly how and where it will be given, but they are always fun and given in a playful spirit.

This year my birthday fell on a Saturday, and we had decided to spend the day in the cottage with a special meal in the evening. As a treat J decided to take me out to a local restaurant for lunch on the Friday. The village boasts two restaurants, one decidedly better than the other which is a bit basic although incredible value for money, and so we went to the Cheval Blanc, a Logis de France with three ‘chimney pots’ for its cuisine. We were not disappointed. Sitting at an outside table with a large umbrella sheltering us from the lunchtime temperature of around 28 degrees Celsius, we started off with a refreshing glass of chilled peach-flavoured kir, with homemade nibbles. The stage was set. The meal seamlessly progressed from better to better with individual plates of fresh seafood served with a bottle of chilled Muscadet, duck breasts in a sour cherry sauce with Rosé wine, then one of the most extensive cheeseboards we have ever seen, all finished off with ‘café gourmand which is an espresso coffee and a selection of four homemade miniature desserts. It was fabulous.

There was, of course, a downside. Sitting in the midday sun with the wine flowing freely, by the time we left the restaurant we were both, to say the least, slightly tipsy, and the walk back to the cottage somewhat hilarious. But, if you can’t get a bit squiffy on your birthday treat, when can you? No harm done, and we got back in great spirits, although a little tired. J, very sensibly, decided that a nap would be a good idea, and suggested that I joined her. Foolishly I, or the wine already in my system, refused.

As J dozed in the coolness of our bedroom, I changed into a bikini and took a book and a bottle of Rosé out to the terrace, where I sat reading, and drinking, for the next hour or so. The result was inevitable, and by the time J came back out I was more than a little tipsy, and she was less than pleased. However, as it was my birthday she obviously decided not to tell me off, but suggested that maybe if I went and laid down for a while I would feel better later. Of course, being in the state that I was, I did not realise that I felt worse, and ignored her suggestion. In fact I reacted rather badly, and effectively told her that I was perfectly alright, and could look after myself perfectly well. She gave me a knowing look, which in any other situation would have acted as a clear warning to me, but stupidly I ignored it.

“Come on J,” I said. “Let’s not fall out. How about I get you a nice cold glass of Rosé?”

J looked at me, and decided that she couldn’t be cross with me, and so said that she would love a glass. I went into the kitchen where I opened another bottle and took it, with two glasses, back outside. J looked at the second glass but said nothing.

We sat outside drinking the wine, chatting about our plans for the rest of the weekend, admittedly with me drinking quite a lot more than J. At about eight o’clock J decided that we, and I guess she meant me in particular, should have something to eat as we, and once again she meant me, had been drinking for some time on an empty stomach. Whilst J prepared some cheese and pate, I very stupidly opened yet another bottle of wine. This time she was not at all pleased and told me so in no uncertain terms. Although I knew that I was drunk (a very rare occurrence), I was not thinking rationally, and something inside me snapped. I effectively told her to mind her own business and that I was old enough to do what I wanted. That was bad enough, but it was made a thousand times worse by the language that I used. J and I do not use very bad language, the odd bloody or bugger being the worst. But for reasons still beyond my comprehension I really disgraced myself, and badly upset J with the words that I used. When my rant was over, and I began to realise exactly what I had done, I started to try to apologise, but J simply gave me an icy stare and said: “Please go to bed, S.” The tone of her voice did not invite any argument, so off I went in disgrace.

I woke at about eleven the next morning, my birthday, feeling physically and mentally terrible. J brought me a cup of coffee in bed and wished me a happy birthday. Once again I tried to apologise but she merely told me that we would talk about it later. I got up and showered, and we had a scrambled egg brunch in the kitchen. After we had cleared up, J told me that it was time for our little talk, and so we went into the sitting room and sat on the sofa together.

I knew that I was deservedly in big trouble, and so started our talk by profusely and sincerely apologising for my shocking behaviour the previous evening. J thanked me for my apology but explained that it was not enough to end the matter. She then proceeded to give me a severe telling off, but doing so in a soft but firm voice. She never raises her voice when angry which actually makes the words far more effective.

I felt totally ashamed of myself, and was unable to argue with anything she said; it was all deserved. Then she told me that we would go ahead with my birthday spanking, but this year it would be a little different because of my bad behaviour. She told me to go into our bedroom and get myself ready.

I must explain something about our birthday tradition, and that is that the birthday girl is given her birthday spanking in her birthday suit, which is no problem as we actually see each other naked virtually every day. And so I went into the bedroom and stripped completely, then waited for J.

She left me for a few minutes then came into the room, and stood in front of me.

“As I told you, your birthday spanking this year is going to be different, and by that I mean that instead of the gentle smacks we usually give each other, I intend to give you a harder, punishment spanking. Is that clear?” She announced.

I bowed my head and replied: “Yes J, it’s what I deserve.”

Taking my hand, she then said: “Please come with me,” and led me out of the bedroom, through the kitchen and onto the terrace. Then it dawned on me, I was going to be spanked in the open air! I should explain that as well as being remote the cottage is surrounded by a sturdy hedge, and in the unlikely event of anybody walking past, they wouldn’t be able to see what was happening on the terrace, but no doubt would clearly hear the resonant slaps as J’s hand hit my bare bottom, and the inevitable, but very unladylike yelps as it did so! Even so, the idea of an outside spanking was very strange, and not very pleasant.

J pulled out one of the armless chairs from the table and placed it in a very open area and sat down.

“Come here,” she instructed. “And stand next to me.”

I obeyed and was told that my punishment was to be the 35 smacks that I was expecting, but that they wouldn’t be playful and that further I was to count each one out loud followed by the words: “I’m very sorry, J.”

She then took my wrist and helped me to position myself in the traditional position across her knee.

When she was satisfied with the arrangement the spanking started. As she had said I realised after the first hit that this was not a normal birthday spanking, and I certainly wasn’t going to enjoy it. The smacks were hard, but not as hard as they could have been. J knew that I was totally remorseful, but still needed to reinforce to me just how upset she was. I have never been spanked with a hangover before, and I certainly do not recommend it! After the 25th smack I could no longer hold back the tears, and by number 35 I was sobbing like a baby.

I thought it was over, but then J reminded me: “Now one for luck and one to grow on,” and two more hard stingers came down, one on each cheek.

I was then allowed to stand up and told to put my hands on top of my head, which I did. J sometimes gives me a period of corner-time after a punishment spanking, and this time I was told to stand facing one of the ancient oak supports that held the roof up. J went inside leaving me alone. It struck me as I stood there that if anybody could see through the hedge they would see a 35 year old schoolteacher standing naked with her hands on her head clearly crying because of a well spanked bottom!

J didn’t leave me there for long; in fact I doubt that it wasn’t much more than five minutes when she called out: “You can come in now, S.”

I didn’t need telling twice, and went indoors. She was not in the kitchen and so I went into the sitting room which was also empty. I then heard her voice again, this time softer and gentler.

“I’m in the bedroom, darling.” The words and her tone told me that I was forgiven and that the rest of the day would be very special, and it was.

Did I deserve my punishment? Yes I did.

Did I learn my lesson? Yes I did.

Will I ever act so stupidly again? No I won’t.

Do I resent J for what she did? No I don’t.

Did I thank her later on? Yes I did.