Although in reality spanking with a switch isn’t my favourite thing – because it really hurts, you know? – it has a permanent place in my fantasy landscape. An irate Daddy grasps a sulking teenager firmly by her ear, marches her to the tool drawer and extracts his secateurs.

“Here, young lady,” he says grimly. “Go outside and cut me a switch. You know what will happen if it’s not thick enough.”

And the girl does know: first comes the whipping with a thinner switch, which will be painful despite its inadequacy, and then Daddy will go into the garden to make his own choice, and the switch he chooses will be so much worse.

Begging will do no good, so the girl reluctantly takes the secateurs and goes outside, where she walks up to…

What? Is it an apple tree? A rowan? A willow? A plum? In warmer climates, maybe a peach? I wonder what switches are most effective?

Personally, I’ve been known to be made howl with a switch cut from a weeping willow, though apple trees are also quite deadly. The willow was worse, or maybe the switch was wielded with more force?

If you have a theory on the best tree for a switch spanking, I’d gladly take notes.