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Domestic Discipline

The Ghost of Nanny Mitchel

For some unknown reason, Nanny Mitchel resented being called Granny or Grandmother.

It is possible that having the latter titles made her feel old.

However having been born in nineteen seventeen, by the time her only grandson Peter was born, she was, indeed already old.

Back in those days, we are talking about the late 1960s early 1970s,  most adults already looked old once they had reached a certain age.

For sons dressed like their fathers, Daughters dressed like their mothers, and in Peters’s case, grandsons dressed like their grandmothers.

However, the dress-up games were to come at a later stage, for before the dress-up games came the spanking games.


I can never remember a time when I did not have an interest in spanking.

Thus, it is safe to say that all the events recalled here happened very early on in my formative years.

It is also safe to say that all the events recalled here are true.

As much as it would be nice for the listener for this account to use poetic license, and glam the story up, it would be doing the ghost of Nanny Mitchel a huge disservice.




Everything about Nanny Mitchel was old fashioned

She lived in a house in surrey which always appeared to be ancient.

The house itself was adjacent to a railway track, which would make it shake as trains passed by.

This was especially noticeable if you stayed over for the night.


The furniture within the house appeared to be that of the wartime utility type.

Just plain, basic, and dependable with no thrills whatsoever.


As for Nanny Mitchel’s dress sense, fashionable items of the modern times were definitely not ever worn.

Normal attire would consist of a pink gingham housecoat, a regular skirt of some kind, tights, and of course slippers.

It goes without saying that these slippers she wore would have other uses than keeping her feet warm.


Under Nanny Mitchel’s staircase, which creaked when you walked up them, was a cupboard.

On reflection, this cupboard and the contents in it must have held some magic to me in my formative years.

For inside the cupboard was a toy box with all kinds of goodies to keep me occupied when visiting.

However, it was one book, within this cupboard that was to change my life forever.


The book itself must have been printed sometime in the nineteen thirties.

This was a time when the majority of children’s books were full of moral guidelines for people in their formative years to follow.

The book consisted of a dozen or so stories about a family of bears, who lived in a treehouse in the woods.

Naturally, there was a Daddy Bear, a Mummy Bear, and four younger bears, which included a baby bear.


As it was in those times Daddy Bear went out to work all-day whilst Mummy bear looked after the younger bears.

Because Mummy bear was preoccupied with looking after the baby bear, the other three younger bears were normally left to their own devices.

In one of these stories, this led the younger bears into trouble.


One afternoon the three younger bears came back into their house after playing in the woods.

It was a few hours before tea time and they were all a little hungry.

The eldest bear, we will call him billy bear, was nominated to ask mummy bear if they could all have some honey to tide them over until tea time.

To the younger bear’s disappointment, the request for honey was rebuffed by Mummy Bear with a very firm “No”.

They were told in no uncertain terms to stop getting under her feet and to go out and play.


However, unfortunately for the younger bears, their greed got the better of them.

A plan was hatched for them to steal the honey pot from the food cupboard, with Billy bear being the instigator.

As I am sure everyone listening will know, back in those days, stealing anything at all, was met with very severe retribution.

This case would be no exception to that rule.


Whilst Mummy bear was busy attending to Baby Bear, the three younger bears sneaked into the kitchen, with the full intention of raiding the food cupboard.

Quietly they entered the Kitchen and with as little noise as possible, they opened the door to the food cupboard.


On the very top shelf was a huge big pot with the label honey written on it.

Unfortunately, as this pot was on the top shelf none of the younger bears could reach it.

However, this did not deter Billy Bear.

A plan was hatched to retrieve the pot of honey from the top shelf.


It was decided that because billy bear was the strongest out of the three, the second eldest bear would stand on his shoulders to reach the honey pot.

Unfortunately, this plan did not work either as the pot could still not be reached.

However, once again the three bears’ hunger and greed took over from common sense.

It was decided that the younger of the three would climb up on the second eldest shoulder to retrieve the pot of honey.


At long last, the pot of honey was within reach.

But Alas, disaster struck.

The huge pot of honey came crashing down on the floor along with the three bears.

Mummy Bear was in another room knitting, having put the baby bear to bed for her afternoon sleep.

Naturally, though, her peaceful afternoon was disturbed by the noise of the crashing honey pot coming from the kitchen.


Furious by having her peace disturbed, Mummy bear wasted no time in rushing to the kitchen to see what all the dreadful noise was about.

Mummy bear was even angrier when she saw the smashed honey pot, sticky honey, all over the kitchen floor, and the three younger bears covered in the liquid.

Mummy bear wasted no time in demanding an explanation, though it was obvious the three bears had been pilfering.

All of the three younger bears were now crying as they knew they were in  big trouble.

The youngest of the three blurted out,

“Mummy we were only trying to get a taste of the honey.”

To this and angry Mummy bear replied,

“All three of you will be getting a taste of my slipper on your backsides before the day is through”.

With this, she sent the three of them upstairs to get washed and to get ready for bed, informing them that she would be up to deal with them presently.


And dealt with they were.

All three bears were draped over Mummy bears knee and given six of the best with her slipper.

Furthermore, they were then sent to bed early without any tea.

After this episode, the bears were all far better behaved and they never wanted to be smacked with mummy bears slipper again.


This is more than can be said for me.

For in my formative years, whilst staying with Nanny Mitchel I requested that she and I re-enact this story.

Suffice to say Nanny Mitchel was somewhat more than obliging.


Many times throughout my younger years, I was to find myself over Nanny Mitchel’s aproned lap having my bottom soundly smacked with the rubber sole of her carpet slipper.

The slipperings I received were always done over clothing,  and to say I was soundly smacked may be a little bit of an exaggeration.

However, they certainly were felt and they awoke something in me that still carries on to this day.

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