Like most girls growing up in the 1970s, I thought that smoking was cool. When I was about thirteen I was persuaded to try it by one of my friends and, although I didn’t really like it, I thought I should persevere so that I would look cool and boys would fancy me. My mum was a smoker and I worked out that it was possible to steal fags from her packet as long as it wasn’t too full or too empty. If there were only a few left, or if there were only a few missing, the difference was noticeable, but between about eight to fourteen, a person would not realise if one disappeared.

So, for a while, over the course of a few weeks, I was able to help myself to cigarettes without having to buy them. I started off just taking one at a time, but soon thought I was safe taking two. I was always careful, of course, to never risk being caught in the act of taking them, so I thought I would get away with it indefinitely.

However, my mum must have noticed that she was getting through packs of cigarettes faster than usual without actually smoking any more and so one morning, as I was about to leave the house to go to school, she stopped me, cigarette packet in hand, and said. “There were fourteen fags in here, now there are only twelve. Have you taken the others?”

Of course, I denied it, but I must have been blushing and looking guilty because she demanded that I empty my pockets. The missing cigarettes were found and Mum took them back and sent me off to school. She did not need to tell me what to expect when my dad got home that evening.

All that day at school I was unable to concentrate on my lessons. All I could think about was the spanking I was sure to get later. I thought about all the various offences that my parents would be taking into account. Smoking; That was pretty serious on its own, but stealing from my mum! Lying about it when confronted! I was in some serious trouble.

The day dragged on and all the time I was looking up at the clocks, wishing for the four o’clock bell. I was not keen to face my parents, but the waiting was excruciating. I just wanted my ordeal to be over.

At last, school finished and I walked slowly home to meet my fate. Sarah walked home with me as far as her house and must have wondered why I was so quiet and miserable because for once I hadn’t even told her what I had done. When I got home, my mum hadn’t even got the slipper out like she normally did if one of us was going to get it. She just lit a cigarette when I came in, blew the smoke in my direction and sent me to my room.

I had an hour and a half to wait until my dad got home. It occurred to me that I might not even get the slipper, I might get the cane. Maybe that was why Mum hadn’t got the slipper out when I got home. I was suddenly very scared indeed. Rebecca arrived home from her school and mum must have told her what I had done because she came up to our bedroom and started teasing me mercilessly about how much trouble I was in, until Mum came up and told her to leave me alone. Literally, I was not to see anyone until I saw Dad.

At six o’clock, I heard Dad’s car pull up outside. I was trembling with fear. I heard the door open and close and I strained my ears to hear what Mum was saying to him, but I couldn’t hear. I heard the Hall cupboard door open. Of course, the slipper and the cane were both kept in there so I still didn’t know what I was going to get. I heard footsteps on the stairs. Mum’s and Dad’s. Then the door opened and they both came in.

Dad closed the door behind him. I was relieved to see that he was holding the slipper rather than the cane, but my relief was short lived when I saw the look on his face and realised that he was really very angry with me. He pulled me to my feet by my arm and sat down on the bed. In no time at all I found myself across his lap with my pants pulled down, while my mother stood watching, arms folded, with a look of satisfaction on her face.

I imagined Rebecca, at the top of the stairs, listening delightedly, just as I would have been had our roles been reversed, as Dad brought the slipper down hard on my bare bottom. Throughout the spanking, thirty whacks, he never said a word. He never thought it necessary to explain why I was being punished because, obviously, I knew what I had done and that I had been very naughty. When he had finished, he and Mum went downstairs to eat their tea, a meal to which I was not invited, and I was left, lying face down on my bed, sobbing, with my bum beetroot red and burning hot.

I never stole Mum’s fags again, although I did carry on smoking. The first thing Sarah did when I told her about it the next day was to give me a cigarette!