The cane had been banned by the time I got to High School but a certain PE Mistress, Miss H, who was very “jolly hockeysticks” was always telling us how she would soon have us all more obedient and respectful. She was very hearty and loud and when we got older the girls used to joke about her possible sexuality.

I remember being caught by her, along with another two girls, in the gymnasium stock room at lunchtime. We had found a hidey hole away from the rest of the school, or so we thought, until she appeared before us.

She DID give us a scare. We were only 1st years, in year 7 they call it now, 11 or 12 years of age, and she was built like a discus thrower, towering above us and lecturing us about the dangers of being out of bounds and the consequences for HER is we had been injured, playing on the boxes and horses. We had only been jumping off them onto the high jump mattresses, but we must have been too noisy and not realised that the stock room backed onto her office.

Anyway, after promising profusely that we would never sneak in there again (the door was supposed to be locked so it was HER mistake) she had bit of information for us. She told us how lucky we were that this had happened now and not a few years ago when corporal punishment was still allowed.

“Oh My Goodness,” she exclaimed. “You little darlings so badly need a few strokes of Mistress Slipper.”

She went into her office and came back with a large plimsoll, black and with a rubberised sole. As we blushed and stood there waiting for her to finish her lecture and let us go she was pacing up and down in front of us, in our faces, and then she added the information that: “I would have put you all together, like THIS.”

With that, she lifted Tracy up and bent her over the box, then me, and then finally Rose so that we were all bent over the box facing the other side and listening as she came around to face us, our eyes at her level now.

“And Mistress Slipper,” she said as she slapped it into her hand a few times. “Would be landing on some naughty bottoms and making some very naughty girls cry. And as for YOU, Josie,” she said, walking around and giving my backside a gentle few taps with the hand. “I AM surprised.”

I had done very well in the school tests that first year, but I must have been bright red by now and feeling very vulnerable. I knew from my experiences at home how my bottom would sting if she decided to use it, even across my school skirt.

But that was as far as it went. Sorry!

Apart from a few more warnings and a short memory of hers about how “The last girls I caught in here were soundly spanked”, she let us go and we scuttled off.

Did we sneak into her stock room again? No, we met up behind the bike sheds after that, along with the smokers.

Anyway, I thought I must share a story with you that I would die of shame if I told anybody in my normal life, so to speak. I am in my 60s now, so we are talking about 1955 to 1966, my school years.

When I was at school it was rumoured that the cane was only used on the hands of girls, much more often the strap, although some say boys got both across the seat of their trousers. If the cane and strap were used, I never saw it.

But the plimsoll? That has brought back memories. It made me think of my old PE schoolmistress, Miss H. And I was certainly spanked by my dad with a plimsoll.

For non-UK readers, I’d better explain. Plimsolls are gym shoes which, in the UK, are usually black but they are used in England by every child in Primary school today and used to be used by all children for PE before trainers came into fashion.

Ask anyone in England over a certain age what else “plimsolls” could be used for! I have lots of anecdotes with conversations about spankings all safely stored in my memory.

Dad was always threatening what he would do if he ever caught us, and we had all had our bottoms smacked by my mum and dad when younger, and so I should have known what to expect, especially as my sister had been slippered just before me.

On that occasion, my sister, Patricia, had made the mistake of being overheard saying some very naughty words, and was shown another use for the school plimsoll by dad.

She had been taken into the back room by Dad to face the music over swearing in her temper. I think it was at my brother, David. Mum had overheard and Dad was called in to do his duty. It was when she was older, maybe 14, and it must have been a school day.

Dad stood up and said something about it being the last time she would use language like that and hoping that she didn’t think she was too old for a good old fashioned spanking over his knee. He always did this in front of the rest of the family as if we weren’t embarrassed enough.

I was about 12 on this occasion, and she was led away from the TV room, and into the back room, where he often took us to be spanked. She had on her school tunic and blouse but when she came back through the TV room a couple of minutes later and ran upstairs she was just in her knickers and short slip covering her trainer bra. Maybe she was 14? I was very disappointed because I had heard no sounds of a spanking although I had been straining my ears like the rest of the family, I bet!

We heard her stamping downstairs again. When she came in all became clear because she was carrying one of her school plimsolls. Dad had obviously undressed her and then sent her to get it. She had taken it from her PE kit bag no doubt which was always hanging on the back of our bedroom door so we would not forget them on PE days. This one was a black affair with elasticated sides and, more importantly, with a hard rubber sole. Teachers used them a lot in the old days!

Anyway, down she came carrying it and trying to seem ‘not bothered’. Once again, nobody said a word except for Mum who said something like: “Good, and about time too!”

Within seconds, the distant sounds of smacks and shrieks filtered through to us and then my big sister, still in sobs, burst through the door with her slip still rolled up a bit and her white school knickers not quite covering her pinkened bottom. She was carrying the neatly folded pile of all her school uniform, having to use both hands (while I bet she was dying to rub her bum), with the plimsoll balanced on top, hurrying and sobbing all the way upstairs to an early bed.

My turn was a truly mortifying occasion, all over a stolen bike incident. I pretended I was innocent but that did not last. I was aged 13 or so and, after a few minutes of cross examination where my lies were becoming confused and contradicted, Daddy had had enough.

I was soon admitting everything and more. It was the time that I had tried to be a good friend to some local gang idiots. Instead, I ended up sobbing in front of a policewoman. And this happened long after I thought I was too old for a smacked bottom.

I had been foolish enough to start meeting up with a couple of local 16 year old lads who I knew to be mad, but more the pleasure of forbidden fruit. They asked me if I could look after a couple of motorcross type bikes that were not taxed and needed to be hidden off the road. We had an old shed at the bottom of the garden and I hid them in there, under a carpet.

After I had done it I was accepted as a member of the gang and it was thrilling to be told that the bikes had been stolen. I felt like a gangster’s girl, loyal to the end. Lots of local kids seemed to know about it though, and I was getting nervous.

One night, a week or so later, a knock came on the door and there stood a policewoman. The story was told in front of my parents, the shed searched and the bikes recovered.

I would not say who had given them to me. I pretended I did not know them, describing them as ‘just some lads’. At 13, I was too young to be prosecuted but was cautioned instead. I had to stand there being lectured, and looking very ashamed. Daddy was strangely silent.

While Mummy was talking to the woman police officer about my behaviour, she said something like: “Josephine is getting quite unruly. I just don’t know what to do.”

This woman officer said: “Well to be honest, if she was my daughter, I’d definitely know what to do. She would be across the kitchen table getting the hiding of her life.”

Hearing this, Daddy stood up. Taking me by the hand, he led me upstairs after excusing himself by asking for: “A few moments with my foolish daughter, if you don’t mind.”

He took me into my bedroom, closed the door and sat on the bed. Beckoning me to stand in front of him, he first helped me off with my trainers and then he undid my belt and pulled my jeans right down, helping me out of them. Then he tugged up my sweater, up and over my head, leaving me in just my vest, knickers and socks. I was a bit of a late developer where bras were concerned.

Oh I knew I was in for a spanking all right. I just hoped it wouldn’t be heard downstairs.

He was just helping me over his knee when he seemed to have second thoughts. He helped me up to a standing position and said: “First, give me your PE bag.”

I did so and he rummaged in it and took out just one of my plimsolls.

“But, I think I can remember the boys’ names,” I said.

But Dad seemed deaf.

“Over my knee, now!”

Well, you can guess, can’t you? Knickers down, over Daddy’s knee again and my wrist firmly held in the middle of my back to avoid me protecting my bare bottom.

Within a very few seconds I had yelped out the names of the two boys, but he didn’t stop smacking me right away. Another 20 whacks or so with that rubber soled plimsoll had me shrieking like a baby.

I was stood up, my knickers pulled back up, and told to get dressed, sharpish. I squeezed back into my jeans and put my sweater back on while sobbing steadily. Then I was brought, bare-footed, still sobbing, back into the kitchen where I tearfully told everything I knew, much to the delight of the lady officer. I had to sign some paper or other she had prepared, but I could not read it because everything was misty and blurred.

My Dad said something about being ‘sure I would not be doing it again’ and the police woman said: “There’s nothing quite like a good spanking for getting to the truth,” or some such stupid quip.

I had to apologise again to her before she went out. She asked if I thought I had learnt my lesson and I answered: “Yes, Miss.”

She smiled and left, saying that she would see to it that the matter ended there.

Did I ever even dream about handling stolen goods again? Don’t be daft!

I was warned by Dad what would happen if I went with that gang again but, strangely, the gang leaders wanted nothing to do with me after that. I have an awful feeling that my big-mouthed sister told them what had happened, and that thought was too mortifying for words. At least I wasn’t called a ‘grass’.

Imagine this happening in these ‘enlightened times’. The woman police officer would likely have arrested my Dad for assault.