Having watched a science teacher blow the lid off a tin at school, I decided to replicate the experiment at home. It wasn’t difficult, 1 tin can with lid, some match heads and a heat source known as the gas stove. Now I was set to show my brother Peter how it was done.

Firstly, I dropped a large number of match heads inside the tin and firmly replaced the lid, then I placed the tin over a burner and ignited it. It didn’t take long before there was an almighty bang as the lid took off towards the ceiling and the smell and smoke of used matches spilled into the kitchen. Mum was in like a shot, looked at the pair of and told us to get ready for bed. Going to bed would have been better, getting ready implied she hadn’t finished with us and it wasn’t long before we were back down in our pyjamas. In her hand she had the dreaded hairbrush and I had to remove my pyjama bottoms and bend over her knee for a well deserved good hiding. When she had finished with me my bottom was on fire. I stood there in buckets of tears, rocking and rubbing for all I was worth as Peter went through a similar ordeal across mum’s knee before she sent us to bed.

I followed Peter up the stairs, both of us still minus our pyjama bottoms and me staring at his punished rear and thinking: ‘What went wrong?’

The following day it was school for us, still feeling the effects of the previous night in my bottom. I was unaware of what effect it was having on Peter but sitting down was still unpleasant for me as I squirmed around on the seats. Still, at least it was over and could only get better. Mum had certainly put more effort into the hairbrush than normal.

It was mid afternoon when a message arrived in class for me to see the headmaster after school. I wasn’t unduly worried for there was no reason to be. It was only when I saw Peter leaving his office I put two and two together and realised mum had something to do with it.

Peter had left with a smile on his face, so I still had no reason to worry. It was more likely to be a telling off over the event. How wrong could I have been? Mum had certainly bent his ear that day and he was not happy. I was to blame, not Peter, and I couldn’t disagree and expected to be marched next door to see the headmistress and her cane.

Good news, or so I thought, followed; she was unavailable for a few days and I knew the head did not like caning girls. But, and there always is a downside, he would use the slipper instead. The Secretary was called in to witness before I assumed the bending position, and it was she who raised my skirt out of the way to reveal my tightly stretched maroon knickers to the daylight.

‘Better than a caning,’ I thought, especially on an already sore bum. Then the ‘but’ came to fruition; ‘twelve strokes’. I couldn’t believe what he said next but he wasn’t kidding and it was twelve strokes I got from his slipper.

I trudged my way home to face mum, who already knew the results of her complaining by the time got home. She’d had to accept to head’s decision about Peter. I, on the other hand, could hardly sit down even if was the slipper and not the cane as she had hoped. Both of us were grounded, not that I had any inclination to go out for some time.

Annie