Some years ago we were travelling in France with some friends. It was autumn, and the nights were drawing in with darkness coming early. We had travelled down to Mont St Michel and were returning by a different route to that which we had taken on our trip down. The towns were smaller, and so were the roads.
We were very tired, having travelled for most of the day, and had decided to stay in a certain town overnight. We rang ahead and booked a room in a local hotel. The only local hotel.
The journey took longer than expected, and we were later than we had anticipated, so therefore it was completely dark and we were driving along a road with very few signs. We hoped we were headed in the right direction.
All of a sudden, the road ran out. It simply wasn't there any more. Instead, there were a couple of signs - not too big - telling us that 20 metres in front was the River Seine and that we would need to catch the ferry to get to the other side.
I suppose we waited for around twenty minutes, and then suddenly lights seemed to be coming towards us from across the river. A ferry (just like this one) materialised out of the darkness and very shortly we were being shepherded aboard. I think we were the only vehicle. The crossing took around ten minutes and soon we were on our way once again, giggling nervously about our experience.
The small town we sought was only a ten minute drive and we were soon checking in to a hotel looking like something out of the 1950s - plain, austere and lacking in character. Nevertheless our rooms were clean if somewhat simple.
However, we were then informed that they didn't 'do' evening meals, and that we would have to make our own arrangements.
So we literally toured the town. It didn't take long. There wasn't much to be seen, especially in the darkness. Our tummies were rumbling and we were thinking that we were going to have to go without. There wasn't even a bar anywhere, let alone a restaurant.
Then rounding a corner, we espied a huge brightly lit neon sign. It was in the shape of a huge hand with a pointing finger. It was pointing towards a dark and dismal little cafe with plastic flowers in the window. We looked at each other and decided that it was going to have to be that or nothing.
We opened the door.
What a surprise! It was brightly lit, cheerful, full of character, and the menu was extraordinary.
I really cannot remember what we all ate individually, but I remember Dan and our male friend having difficulty in translating and understanding what a certain dish was. Literally translated it said "Creature from the forest". Luckily, as they both decided to try their luck and order it, it turned out to be hare, and it was apparently superb.
I know we each had three or four courses, and it wasn't expensive either. The patron was very friendly and we laughed and joked, and ended up with liqueurs on the house.
Looking back, it was one of the best evenings we have ever had in France. Very memorable.
So, what I want to ask is 'What happens when we run out of road?
How do we cope with a cessation of spanking activities, and how do we face up to the challenge of returning to them?
I won't deny that it's been a bugger of a summer for us in the Starsong household.
Dan attended his post-op checkup and I am happy to report that he is doing really well; his PSA is right down, and he looks so much better than he did. They intend to monitor him regularly, but the new treatment has been everything we hoped it would be.
We attended a wonderful wedding in the middle of July - our son's best friend got married. The weather was hotter than hot, we were spending lots of time in the garden and out and about.
I went into hospital soon after, to have a small but significant operation (down there) which I had been putting off for the last thirty years or so. It was excruciating and I was one miserable bunny for the first couple of weeks until I healed.
However, and this is a big however, just over a week after my operation Dan developed viral pneumonia. So instead of resting and being able to move around at a snail's pace, I had to go into "carer, sympathy provider, and full-time attendant" mode.
In all our married life I have never known my husband take to his bed for four whole days, and several half days thereafter. It was the middle of August before the second lot of antibiotics started to have a positive effect - and then, naturally, I got it too. For a time our house echoed with the pair of us coughing in stereo!
Sadly, Dan is not very good at the nurturing role. He can't cook for a start. Laundry, with modern computerised machines, has him in a meltdown, and even trying to organise the dishwasher requires supreme effort.
Eventually I had to get up and stagger around. It wasn't funny. I got a heck of a telling off from our daughter who stated that her father is only like this because I have spent a lifetime running around after him.
Personally I have never seen it from that perspective. He has his jobs around the house (chopping wood, sorting out the septic tank, mowing lawns, keeping the cars fuelled up and regularly serviced, seeing that all the finances are trouble-free) and I have mine (cleaning, cooking, laundry, shopping and everything else associated with running a household). For thirty seven years it has worked like a charm.
But throw into the mix a new dynamic, a new way of "sharing the load", of addressing problems and hiccups that every marriage encounters, and you begin to wonder whether in fact you were right to bring about such changes, and whether in fact they are doing any good.
When I had my operation, I was told that it was likely to be six weeks before I felt anything like my old self, and so Dan gave me a light spanking (for luck) the night before, careful to leave no marks, and we discussed the fact that I would probably not feel like any 'touching' at all 'down there' for the foreseeable future. LOL!
There was just one small window of opportunity, (Ha!) when Dan began to feel better and over his pneumonia and before I began to feel ill with mine.
I was becoming increasingly snappy, irritable and keen for a fight.
Dan announced calmly at breakfast one morning that he felt I was due for a spanking and that we would be going back upstairs immediately after breakfast.
I was so amazed that he had noticed my lack of co-operation, and that I had not had to remind him of what to do under such circumstances, that I was momentarily rendered speechless. Which, for those who know me well, will seem like an impossibility.
Later, upstairs and over his knee, he explained that he was going to go very carefully and easy on me, (he used the leather paddle - that is what he thinks of as 'going easy' - wish you could see my eyes narrow!)
and whilst he intended to use the paddle to warm me up as well as spank, he would go gently and for a bit longer than he normally does when he is whaling away. Hmmm.
True to his word he was very careful (of my bottom) but the backs of my poor thighs, and my sit spots, were deemed to be safe to attack. He sizzled me till I thought I would spontaneously combust from the heat, but all I could see when I checked in the mirror afterwards was a pulsating scarlet. No marks or bruises. In fact although I gritted my teeth, it was not so bad I felt I had to shed any tears. Whew!
I think I can safely say we are over it at last. His coughing has now stopped, and mine is getting further and further between bouts. We still both feel as weak as kittens, and need a short sit down in the afternoons, (well an hour or so, in my case) but things are once more on the up.
So, having run out of road, and safely negotiated the ferry across the river, we are now in the town and looking for a decent restaurant, or in our case, we need, desperately, to get back to what has, for us, become a normal part of our lives - Dan spanking my bottom!
And it's hard.
When you stop something, it is hard to go back. You feel nervous. Shy.
Do you just plunge in, or do you put a toe in the water and estimate how cold it is and whether you need to proceed with caution?
Dan has gone into "tick over" mode, and I am rapidly reverting to "bring it on" mode.
He is trying his best to be solicitous to my needs, without mentioning the spanking 'word', and I am seething, champing at the bit, and feeling out of sorts with the world.
Every time I read a post about someone else's delicious spanking, I froth at the mouth!
Yet I have become too much of a coward to say anything to him. I just can't bring myself to ask.
Because I know exactly what will happen. That bloody "little nipper" will come out and I am not sure I will be able to cope with it. Almost sooner the bath brush. At least that is solid and thuddy. But that thin olive wood spatula literally burns. I hate it with all my might. When the last one split down the middle, I was delighted. I thought "Ha! That's the end of that!" But then he bought this new one in Rhodes and believe me, they know how to make spatulas over there. There is no way this one is going to break in a hurry. My bottom is wincing just thinking about it.
But do I need to be spanked?
Should I lie?
I need to be spanked for so many reasons.
Not just because I am beginning to act in a disrespectful manner, but because I need to feel he cares enough to pick up an implement and lambast me with it. I need to know he cares enough to want to renew the connection. I need to know he cares enough to put aside his concerns for my physical welfare, and attend to my mental welfare. I need to know that he has the courage of "my convictions".
But I am still scared.
As much as I love to be spanked, I hate the pain of it as it is happening. Especially that moment when you feel frantic because you think they are never going to stop. They have you anchored down with a leg over your legs, and they have a hand on your back keeping you in place so that you are unable to 'swim' forwards.
How is it that I enjoy 'sexy' spankings so much that I nearly orgasm at the thought, yet I am so afraid of the 'real' ones?
How can a break of a few weeks feel like the road has disappeared in front, and I am hanging on by my fingernails and not even wanting to turn my head to see if there could be a wonderful restaurant mascarading as a 'down at heel joint' under that brightly lit neon sign, just a little way further on?
I am scared that even if I take a chance and walk in the door of that restaurant, I won't like the menu, and that the dish I choose will give me heartburn.