When I was about 16 my parents took me and my two younger sisters to visit our cousins in America. Transatlantic crossings were not as plentiful as today but my father managed to wangle some tickets for us all via his business interests. The idea was that part of the time we should stay with our aunt and uncle (and our cousins) for a week while mum and dad attended a business conference. Then mum and dad would join us for the rest of the time.

When we got there we were delighted to see our cousins, two girls of nearly our age and a younger boy. Aunt and uncle informed us we will be staying in a chalet next to a lake where we could swim, which seemed great as the weather was lovely. So mum and dad set off for the business conference while we went to the chalet with aunt and uncle and cousins.

We had a great time and met some boys who were staying nearby. It was fun, although very innocent by today’s standards. However, on about the third day the boys invited us to come for a midnight swim. This seemed to my older cousin and me too good an opportunity to miss, but of course our younger sisters wanted to come in on it too. We left out our boy cousin as he was sleeping with his parents anyway. So that night after aunt and uncle were asleep, we five girls slipped out in our bikinis at midnight to meet the boys for a midnight swim.

As I say, it was all very innocent and just good fun, but we knew would be in trouble if we were discovered, which of course added to the excitement. Unfortunately for us, my young boy cousin woke up in the night with stomach ache, so my aunt had to get out of bed and attend to him. While she was doing so, she checked in on our room and saw the beds were empty, so she woke my uncle up and sent him out post-haste to summon us back.

My uncle, a very mild mannered man, got out of bed and obeyed his wife and the next thing we knew we heard him shouting to us to come in.

Rather shamefacedly, we left the boys and came out the water and trooped back into the chalet where my aunt, who was not nearly as mild mannered as her husband, was waiting with a ping-pong paddle she had thoughtfully brought with her in case of need. By the look on her face, the ping-pong paddle was about to be not only needed but very usefully employed on certain naughty young ladies’ bottoms.

My uncle looked rather uneasily at the scene and said, “Well, if there’s no more I can do, I’ll go back to bed!”

He went back to bed but I don’t know how much sleep he got as the volume in the room was quite tremendous as first my aunt gave us a major scolding and then sat on a hardback chair and told us to line up, youngest first, and get over her knee. I watched with sinking heart as my youngest sister bent over aunt’s knee and had a major application of the paddle to her bottom. How she yelled and then hopped around holding her bum!

Of course, her yells were joined by the next candidate over the knee. And then the third, with aunt spanking away as if her life depended on it.

By the time my turn came, there were three young ladies hopping around rubbing their bottoms, but if I hoped that my aunt’s arm was getting a bit tired, those hopes were dashed and she seemed invigorated by the exercise. As I went over the knee and contemplated the floor below, she gave me the unwelcome news that me and my elder cousin would be getting more spanks as we were older and she held us responsible.

Then came the spanking and I learned that an American-style paddle hurts just as much, if not more than, an English style slipper my mother used. I squealed and howled and yelled but my aunt was quite oblivious to the piteous sounds coming from my mouth as she had been awakened half way through the night and was determined to make our bottoms pay for it. By the time she finished, my bottom felt like an erupting volcano.

As I got off the lap and jumped around holding my stinging bottom, I noticed my young boy cousin sitting there. He had obviously got out of bed and was watching the show with great amusement. By this time, my eldest cousin was over the knee and hollering like anything as her mum applied the paddle very firmly to her cute bottom.

By the time my aunt finished, I noticed she was breathing quite heavily as my cousin abandoned all dignity and jumped around howling like the rest of us had. I just hope there weren’t too many neighbours listening, but the chalets were a reasonable distance apart and my uncle thoughtfully closed the windows and doors before he went to bed.

After a further breathless lecture from my aunt, who promised us we would be doing all the washing up the next day, us girls went tearfully to bed with sizzling bums and slept on our tummies.

The next day, as we did the washing up, we could still feel the effects of aunty’s paddle but we had to admit that the adventures the previous night had been fun! Whether they were worth getting spanked for, of course, is another matter, which caused some discussion. We still sometimes discuss that point all these years later! One thing we were sure of is that fear of aunty’s paddle meant we wouldn’t try it again!