This was August 1974 and we were going to spend a week in a chalet at the seaside in South West England. It was a long way for Dad to drive so we had to get up very early and Beccy and I had not slept much the night before through excitement. We had breakfast and got in the car. I remember it was very quiet at 6 o’clock with barely any traffic. Mum went back to the house about 3 times to check that she hadn’t left the gas on, or a window open etc, and we were all impatient to be on our way when she came out for the last time holding the slipper.

“Mustn’t forget this,” she said, putting it in the boot on top of all the other luggage.

We eventually got going and headed South, but it was a long and boring drive and Rebecca and I were tired and soon became irritable. We had not been out for more than an hour before we were pushing each other around and squabbling. Mum had to keep turning round in her seat and telling us to behave. Dad said nothing and just kept driving. He was never very talkative. This went on for another hour or so and we were already doing the ‘Are we nearly there yet?’ routine when we were not even halfway there!

Mum had just told us to pack it in for the millionth time when Dad indicated left and pulled off the road into a large lay-by where there was a caravan cafe selling tea and bacon rolls etc. I thought that he was stopping for a cuppa and a break from driving but he got out of the car, went round the back and opened the boot. When he closed it again I saw through the back window that he was holding the slipper. My heart jumped. This was a public place. There were at least half a dozen other cars in the lay-by and families sitting at the picnic benches with their tea.

Dad opened the passenger side rear door where Beccy was sitting and hauled her out of the car. She struggled and protested but to no avail and in a few seconds Dad had pushed her, face down over the boot of the car so that her face and mine were only separated by the glass of the back window. I could see the shock and despair on her face from mere inches away, and behind her I could see that Dad was fumbling with her clothing. I couldn’t see exactly what he was doing but could tell he was yanking her trousers down. I had never seen my sister being spanked before. It had always been in private.

I would have preferred to be watching from an angle where I could see her bum rather than her face but it was certainly an interesting perspective seeing the expression on her face change at every whack. I was fascinated. The only thing preventing me from enjoying it hugely was the certainty that it was going to be me next. I could see that most of the other people in the lay-by were watching and their expressions ranged from disgust to approval and in some cases, delighted grins. I imagine that some of the ones who looked like they approved had been similarly vexed by their children on their long drives South and thought their own kids might decide to behave for the rest of the journey when they saw the potential consequences of their behaviour.

Rebecca got the usual ten whacks and was left hopping around clutching her bum while Dad hauled me out of the driver’s side and placed me in the same position. I too was wearing trousers. They were denim jeans but they didn’t button up, they had an elasticated waistband and so they came down with the minimum of fuss, as did my knickers. Dad gave me the same, ten hard whacks on my bare bottom. In terms of pain it was no worse than any previous whackings he had given me, but the humiliation of being watched by a lot of grinning judgemental strangers made it seem much worse. Also, Beccy had not got back in the car so she got to see my bottom being turned red and I had still never seen hers getting spanked, which seemed most unfair. After my whacking, Mum decided that she would quite like a cup of tea so we had to stay at the scene of our humiliation for another 15 minutes or so, sitting on our throbbing bottoms at a picnic table, being ogled and laughed at by several kids of around our own age.