It seems as though obscure folks of a certain age feel impelled to include spanking references in their autobiographies, perhaps to boost sales to the likes of us. A quick bookshop browse can invariably turn up a startle.

Take the following description of the tawses in use at the school attended by David Findlay Clark, taken from “Remember who you are”:

“Some were so hardened by soaking in brine that they could be used as pointers in class”

Now, I’m familiar with said technique for making birches more flexible; it’s fascinating to see that it has the opposite results for the tawse. I may have to experiment with one of ours to see if I can replicate the results.

The same book contained an interesting reference to the daughter of the rather fierce Headmaster being withdrawn from her father’s establishment. One wonders to what extent his strict approach at school was replicated at home.