We were having a family day out at a beach on the UK’s Yorkshire coast – it was 1971 and I was 11 years old.
I had been reluctant to go on the trip, wanting instead to spend time with my friends, but my father told me: “Paul, you’re going, and that’s that.” As a result, I was moody in the car and said very little during the journey.
It was warm and sunny as we arrived at the seaside. As I was already wearing swimming trunks under my shorts, I took the rest of my clothes off on the beach and ran into the sea.
After swimming around for some time, I came out of the water to find that my younger brother was making a sandcastle. Like many siblings, we didn’t have the best of childhood relationships, and I deliberately ran over his sandcastle. My brother burst into tears and Dad marched across the beach ominously – I could tell from the tone of his voice that I was in trouble!
Taking me by the arm, Dad marched me to the back of the beach. He sat down on a large rock, then stood me in front of him, holding both my arms as he delivered a lecture.
“You’re behaving like a petulant child! Well, you know what happens when you push me too far, my lad…”
I knew exactly what Dad meant and pleaded: “No, Dad, please – not here!” My father’s only response was to take hold of the waistband of my trunks and lower them to my knees. “Over my knee – now!”
I was very scared but reluctantly obeyed, my legs dangling and very aware of my bare bottom up in the air. Dad’s large hand patted my cheeks momentarily, causing me to squirm. The next thing his hand came down hard on my bare buttocks.
This initial smack was quickly followed by more, and by about the sixth I began to kick and cried out: “No more, Dad! Please stop!” My plea was of course ignored, as further smacks connected with my sore bottom. I tried to take my punishment bravely but tears soon began to run down my cheeks as the pain built up.
After what seemed an eternity, my punishment finally came to an end and Dad helped me to my feet. “Well, I hope you have learned a lesson, young man – now, pull your trunks up!”
Finally released from my chastisement, I ran back into the sea to hide my tears. The cool water against my newly smacked bottom was a blessed relief.