Margaret McKenzie inherited the academy from her late mother - Agnes. Agnes McKenzie had established the boarding school for the daughters of the middle classes in the late 1940’s. The academy was run on the traditional values of the Scottish educational system. It was very popular in its time and places had been hard to come by. But by the 1970’s people were no longer interested in what were seen as old-fashioned teaching methods. The school was gradually run down and Agnes retired, finally using just two rooms in the rambling house as her own accommodation. These had, in more affluent times, been the housekeeper’s quarters. The reason Agnes chose those as her living space was simple - the drawing room, one of the smallest rooms in the old house, was the easiest to maintain and most economical to keep warm.
Margaret looked sadly round the building. A wealthy merchant had built it in 1793 as his family home. As with many such homes it had become far too expensive run. In the First War it had been used as a military hospital, later it had become a private maternity hospital, which it remained until Agnes took it over. It was located in an isolated part of Scotland, just to the north of The Solway Firth. The nearest village was some five miles away, along quiet country roads. The old desks were there still, stacked in one of the disused classrooms. Some of the desks had the initials of ex-pupils. Margaret half smiled as she thought of the punishment that would have been meted out to any girl caught defacing school property in that way. Margaret opened the small cupboard in the corner of the room and found three canes and a selection of tawses - the traditional school punishment of Scotland. Of course modern ideas were coming in and these instruments had fallen into disuse. What a shame.
The best thing Margaret could think of was to sell the house. Thus it was that she seated the two men from the estate agency on the sofa in the old housekeeper’s room. As they sipped their tea and nibbled a Scottish shortbread, the men gave their appraisal:
‘I’m sorry, but selling the house as it is will be difficult, ‘ said Mr Hardacres. ‘Certainly it has potential, but will require at least £30,000 to bring it up to modern standards. To start with, a central heating system is a must, ‘ the older man said as he glanced toward the wood burning stove in the hearth. ‘People are just not interested in properties without proper heating these days. Winters are cold enough here as it is.’
As the conversation went on, Margaret’s heart sank. She just could not see how she could raise the necessary finance.
Later, after the estate agents had departed, Margaret put another log in the stove and tried to work out a solution. Suddenly an idea came to her. She remembered reading a magazine article about an academy for grown women who wanted to recapture their youth at a traditional boarding school. There was a dress code, classrooms, hockey and netball, choir practice, school dinners, prefects and even corporal punishment. Apparently it was a great success. The academy in the article was very spartan, certainly no central heating. The Agnes McKenzie Academy was just perfect for the purpose. It could be both profitable and exciting. Without further ado Margaret reached over to the table and took her notebook and pencil and began to write:
DRESS CODE: All girls must provide themselves with an official school uniform, including plaid skirt, white blouse, white socks, white school knickers. and sports attire. Those girls appointed as prefects will be permitted to wear their own underwear and stockings.
DISCIPLINE: Girls may be promoted to prefect provided they have attended at least two semesters at the academy. They will be permitted to chastise junior pupils with hand spanking only. More severe punishments will be carried out by staff members only. Margaret scribbled away. Idea followed idea, until she felt she had covered all the necessary areas.
Margaret eyed the two girls seated on the sofa before her. The younger one, Jennifer was in her mid twenties and wearing her Agnes McKenzie uniform. The second girl, Tina, was in her early thirties and just a touch over weight. She was wearing her gym kit of white vest and shorts.
‘Jennifer, stand up. What is that pinned to your blouse?’
Jennifer glanced down at the bit of leopard skin material fastened to her blouse with a safety pin. ‘Please Miss KcKenzie, it’s my thong.’
‘Your what?’ queried Margaret.
‘My thong Miss KcKenzie.’
‘Show me.’ Jennifer unfastened the bit of material and held it up. A miniscule piece of material, about the size of an eye patch.
‘Why, may I ask, is it pinned to your blouse?’
‘Mr Jones saw it in choir practise and made me put it there.’
‘And how did Mr Jones see what sort of underwear you were wearing.’
‘Well Miss KcKenzie, he saw me chewing gum while we were singing ‘Nymphs and Shepherds.’ He made me go out to the front and lifted my skirt to slap my bum and then he saw my knickers. He made me lift my skirt right up and walk round the class, so all the girls could see what a naughty girl I was. It was very embarrassing, the thong doesn’t cover much up. Mr Jones and all the girls could see my bum and all. Then he made me take it right off and pin it to my blouse. Then Mr Jones made me stand on a chair at the front of the class and lift up my skirt. All the girls could see my quim. Some laughed and pointed at me. I had to stay there all through the lesson and I still had to join in the singing. It is no fun singing with no knickers on and your skirt pulled up, while standing on a chair and a dozen pairs of eyes staring at your fanny. It has been an awful day. I have been so humiliated.
‘Yes quite, Jennifer. Now you know why we have a dress code. Rules have to be obeyed. Mr Jones was quite right to teach you a lesson and send you to me. Now I want you to bend right over and lift your skirt up for me. I don’t believe you have had the cane before, so I will just give you two strokes as a warning.
‘Yes Miss KcKenzie.’ Jennifer bent over and lifted her skirt as instructed and presented her already bare bottom for punishment. Margaret took her regular school cane and swung it down in a graceful arc to make contact with Jennifer’s pale bottom. Jennifer yelped and sprang up wiggly her bottom in pain.
‘Back in position, ‘ ordered Margaret. Jennifer assumed the position again and Margaret paused to allow the first stroke take effect. She looked approvingly at the red line that was already appearing. SWISH. The second stroke made contact. Jennifer shrieked and grabbed her buttocks as she wriggled and squirmed.
‘Hands away NOW, or you’ll get another. Jennifer sobbed and moved her hands away, so that Margaret could see the results of her handiwork. Two parallel red lines. Excellent. ‘Right, Jennifer. I think you will remember our dress code in future. Go and put your knickers on and go back to your dorm.’
As Jennifer dashed out, Margaret turned to the second girl, who was blushing furiously after watching the ordeal of her companion. ‘Tina, why are you here?’
‘Matron sent me Miss. I was doing aerobics and pulled a muscle in my thigh. Matron massaged it for me. She said I’d got to come to you and show you my bottom.’
‘Why on earth did she do that, Tina?’
‘Please Miss, ‘ said Tina, ‘Heather caned me and marked my bum.’
‘Good gracious, ‘ said Margaret. ‘You’d better show me then.’
Something was wrong here. Heather was a senior prefect, entitled to administer a hand spanking, but certainly not a caning.