A Picnic by the River

I was born in March 1966 and my parents called me Sophie. My sister was born almost exactly a year later and they named her Alice. My mother was a fashion model before she got married and my father was a professional footballer. We were born just after a move to the west country, but within two years of the move he and my mother had parted company. Shortly afterwards he went into football management with his new girlfriend. They eventually married and had two children together; a boy and a girl.

I hardly saw my father after he left home, although my mother would always say in his favour that he supported us well financially. My mother, though, was left with the responsibility of bringing us up. She dedicated herself to the task and made sure that Alice and I had a good education and knew how to behave in all sorts of situations.

Unfortunately neither Alice nor I were good academically. We had inherited our mother's good looks but we both struggled with our exams and left school at the earliest opportunity. I went to college to get my hairdressing qualifications and Sophie, a year later, went into sports management. We both ended up with good jobs but still lived with my mother in a small village that we moved into all those years ago 8 miles out of a large city.

Life for us was good and uncomplicated. Alice and I had a succession of boyfriends who we were serious about at the time, but tended not to last very long. We had money coming in every week and we lived at home, which meant that we had few bills to pay. Life was good.

Alice and I are very obviously sisters and as we grew older some people would actually think we were twins. I suppose we were pretty girls with long legs and trim figures. We were dark in complexion with long black hair and the type of skin colour that made others think we were always just back from holiday. We had outgoing personalities and we were confident about meeting people and taking chances when we could see the possibility of a bit of fun or a good outcome. Our house, when we were all home, was invariably filled with chatter and laughter. However my mum always remained in charge and was never slow to criticise us if she felt it was necessary.

By the summer of 1985 I was in the second year of my job at one of the top hair salons in the nearby city and Alice had just started as the assistant manager at a large sports centre on the edge of town. We had also both acquired rather nice boyfriends in the spring of that year and even my mother, who had high standards in that department, had given them the seal of approval. Mine was called Robbie and Alice's was called John. They were good looking boys and very polite. Robbie was a farmer's son and lived about 5 miles away from our house. John worked in an accountants’ office in the city. We saw as much of them as possible during that summer, sometimes as a group of four friends and sometimes just as couples. We felt like we were properly in love for the first time!

One Sunday early in August of that year we arranged for Robbie and John to come to our house. We had checked the weather forecast and it was supposed to be hot and sunny all day. Mum had made up a picnic lunch for us and the boys had brought with them a couple of bottles of white wine. Our plan was to walk a few miles over the fields to the west of our house where there was a small wood that straddled a river. We knew of an idyllic spot where the river flowed by gently and there was a clearing that allowed the sun to shine in without interruption. It was one of our favourite spots and we were sure that Robbie and John would like it too.

Alice and I got out our best summer frocks and we were delighted when the boys turned up and it was obvious that they had made a bit of an effort with their clothes too. No baggy track suit trousers or tatty jeans. They had come in what can only be described as ‘New Romantic’ style clothing; very 1980s with colourful trousers and big shoulder jackets.

We set off just after 11 o'clock in high spirits and we were soon dropping down to the river through the woods. We knew exactly where to go and soon we were spreading out our rug on the soft grass which covered the river bank. The boys had brought a frisbee with them and my sister and I had brought along my cassette player with various tapes. We were soon all happily relaxing in the warm sunshine with the boys playing frisbee while I chatted to Alice while we listened to pop songs on the tape recorder. About 2 o'clock we had our lunch and the boys served us the white wine. By 3 o'clock we were full and all four of us lay on the rug snoozing in the sun.

It was one of those days where the temperature seemed to build right into the late afternoon. By 4.30 we were really feeling the heat.

“Sophie?” Said Alice.

“Yes,” I replied.

“Do you fancy a swim in the river?”

“We haven't brought swimming costumes or towels, Alice.” I replied.

There was a pause.

“Shall we go in naked?” Alice ventured.

Another pause.

“OK,” I replied and immediately stood up. I was daring her to go first. The boys both raised their heads and were now reclined on their elbows. They were wondering what was going to happen next. So was I!

I don't know whether it was the wine, the heat of the sun, or just that Alice seized the moment, but she got up and in a single movement she removed her sun dress and let it fall to the floor. She then put her hands behind her back and released her bra, allowing it to fall to the ground also. With no hesitation she slipped her panties down over her thighs and was soon stepping out of them. She was totally naked and the rest of the party could hardly believe what had just happened. She turned away from us and walked down to the water's edge. Even I could see that she looked magnificent with her beautiful legs, tight rounded bottom and long back hair cascading down her slim back. Soon she was in the middle of the river and she turned to face us.

“Come on, Soph, it's lovely!' She shouted. “Are you and the boys coming in?”

The boys didn't look keen but I wasn't going to be outshone by my younger sister. I too had a lovely body and if my boyfriend was going to see hers then I was also going to show mine off to both of them. So I followed the same routine and soon I was walking down to the water's edge totally naked. We must have been in the water for almost half an hour. The water was deep enough in the middle of the river to swim properly but at times we played with the frisbee in the shallower parts. The boys pretended not to be looking at us but I suspect they had their eyes glued to what was happening in front of them. Certainly Robbie had never seen me completely naked and I suspect that was the case with Alice's John as well.

It must have been about 5 o'clock when we got out. The temperature was beginning to drop a little and I noticed that Robbie and John had put their jackets back on. Alice and I had no towels, so we decided that we would have to sit on the rug for 10 minutes whilst the remaining heat from the sun helped to dry us off. The sun streamed in from the west and we sat on the rug between the boys with our knees clasped up to our chests. This was partly to keep warm and also partly to retain some degree of modesty in front of the boys.

And that was it really. I knew that our nudity had created a truly erotic scenario for all of us and I ached for Robbie to take me away into the woods to satisfy my inner desires. But I was with my sister, and realistically I had only been going out with Robbie for a few months. That would have to wait. Alice and I got dressed when we had dried off and we gathered up everything that we had brought with us. Half an hour later we were back at our house telling my mum what a fantastic day we had enjoyed by the river. Needless to say, we didn't tell her about the swimming.

Life then returned to normal. For several days, the events of that Sunday stuck in my mind, but by the beginning of September life had moved on and other matters had taken centre stage. However, one Thursday I got home from work at about 5.30 pm. My mum was in the kitchen preparing supper as usual and I called out my normal cheery greeting. As soon as she answered I could tell there was a problem.

“I need to see you and Alice when she gets back from work. I've got something that I need to discuss with both of you.”

I genuinely couldn't think what the problem could possibly be but I knew that mum was not happy. I went up to my room and busied myself until I heard the front door and I knew that Alice was back home. I waited, and then the inevitable call came up the stairs.

“Sophie, can you come down here please?”

“Yes, mum, coming.” I called back in as light a voice as I could manage.

My sister and I were ushered into the dining room. We followed my mum in and the only item in the room that was not normal was a brown A4 sized envelope on the table. At a glance I could see that it was addressed to my mother in bold capital letters with several stamps stuck to the upper right corner. When we were in the room my mother picked up the envelope.

“I want to show you something,” she said.

From the envelope she removed a large glossy photograph and placed it on the table. My heart sank. I could see the four of us sitting on the rug during our picnic the previous month. The river was in the background and in the foreground, there we were. The boys were fully clothed and the two of us were obviously totally naked sitting on the rug while we were drying off. The picture had been taken so that only Alice's and my backs could be seen but there was no doubt that we had nothing on.

Mum went ballistic. She told us that she had not brought us up to conduct ourselves in this way and that we had totally let her down. She said that she had no idea who had sent her the picture and that this made it worse. Potentially anyone in the village might know that she had daughters who didn't know how to behave. She also exonerated Robbie and John of any blame, given that they were clearly sitting there fully clothed. She went on and on getting more and more agitated. Eventually she asked us if we had anything to say for ourselves. Clearly this was not the time to be mounting any sort of defence.

“I'm sorry, mum,” was all I could manage.

“Yes, I'm sorry too, mum,” said Alice. “We'd been for a swim and nothing else happened between us and the boys.”

“I don't care,” replied my mother. “You have disgraced me and let yourselves down badly. You are both going to get the slipper.”

I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I was 19 and hadn't been slippered by my mum since I was 14. Five years ago!

I spoke first. “No, no mum, you can't do that. That's simply not right. We're adults now and you can't expect to be able to slipper us. We're too old for that. I'm sorry but I'm not going to let you slipper me.”

I think Alice was already resigned to her fate. She said nothing.

“This is my house and my rules apply, young lady. If you want to live here then I decide on the punishments and when they are necessary. If you don't like it, then find a place of your own to stay. At 19 you are old enough not to be living here.” She was getting seriously mad by this stage. “Your choice, but I suggest you go to my bedroom and fetch my shoe. I shall deal with your sister first.”

I knew there was no more point in arguing. I also knew exactly what she meant by 'fetching her shoe'. It might have been 5 years since I had felt it on my bottom but I could still well remember the routine. Mum always administered a slippering in the dining room and either my sister or I had to fetch the shoe. The shoe in fact was a heavy-ish slipper with an open back and a smooth, hard plastic sole, and I'd had a few horrible experiences on the wrong end of it. It left nasty dark bruising and the sting from it was unimaginably painful.

My heart thumped as I rummaged round in the bottom drawer of my mum's wardrobe, searching for the dreaded shoe. It hadn't been used for a bit but unfortunately it was still there.

I was soon downstairs again and entering into the dining room. I should have anticipated it, but the sight that greeted me was still a bit of a shock. My mother was standing to the side of the dining room table. The table was rectangular, normally with a chair at each end and two chairs down each side. The chair at the door end of the table had been moved to one side and Alice was now bent over the vacant end of the table with her arms stretched out gripping each side edge. I could see that her knuckles were white. She was still wearing her PE kit from the Sports Centre and the back of her skirt had been raised and laid up her back. Her white panties were down around her ankles. She was utterly defenceless with her little bottom bared, just waiting for the punishment to start.

“Thank you, Sophie,” said mum in a much calmer voice. “Wait outside and I'll deal with you after Alice.”

I went back out of the dining room and closed the door. I could here a short interchange between mum and Alice followed by a brief period of silence. Then I heard the crack of the first blow of the shoe onto Alice's bottom. This was followed shortly afterwards by the second one. By the time the third one landed, I could hear Alice beginning to whimper.

I heard a cry of, “Please mum!” after the fourth one but the slippering just went on regardless. When I had counted the sixth one, I was praying that it would be the last as I knew this would be an indication of what I was likely to be in for. It was. All I could hear was Alice gently sobbing and my mother telling her that she didn't ever want a repeat of her poor behaviour and to go up to her room straight away.

The door opened and a tearful Alice walked past me clutching her panties in her hand on her way upstairs. I went in to the dining room and my mother was standing by the table still clutching the shoe.

“I'll give you the same choice as Alice. You can bend over the end of the dining table or you can touch your toes. Your choice, Sophie.”

I had already decided I would touch my toes if I was given the choice. It sounds ridiculous but in my own mind I was weighing up the downside of being bent over an unyielding table against the disadvantage of the undoubtedly tighter skin which is inevitable when you are bent almost double touching your toes. It was going to be sore either way.

“I don't want to go over the table, thanks mum,” I replied.

“OK, get yourself prepared then, Sophie,” mum instructed.

Unlike Alice, I wore tight-fitting jeans and a tee shirt for work. Ever since we were little, mum had always spanked us on our bare bottoms so I knew what was required without being told. I unfastened the button on the waistband on my jeans and lowered the zip. In a single motion I then took both my jeans and my panties down to my knees. I then bent over and grabbed my ankles.

“Please go easy, mum,” I pleaded as she lined up to start my punishment.

“You'll get the same as Alice. You are both equally guilty and I am not showing any favouritism between the two of you. Are you ready?”

19 and bent over for a slippering from my mum. I couldn't believe it!

“Yes, mum.”

I had forgotten just how sore the slipper was. As the older sister, I was trying to take it better than Alice, but actually I fear that I took it worse. After two blows I was in floods of tears begging my mother to stop. After four strokes of the shoe, both my hands were round trying to protect my bottom from further punishment. I couldn't help it. The pain was unbearable.

Mum was getting irritated. “Sophie, you've got two more to take and if you don't move your hands now I'll be adding extras on. Alice didn't try to interrupt her punishment in this way. Hands away now!” She commanded.

Six was plenty, so I quickly took my hands away and gave her a clear target once again. Two more loud cracks of the slipper and it was all over. I collapsed onto my hands and knees while I took in several deep gulps of air. After a few moments, I struggled to my feet and pulled up my jeans and panties. I pulled my jeans zip up and refastened the button.

“I'm sorry, mum,” was my parting shot as I also left the room to go to my bedroom.

“OK, Sophie,” mum replied. “You've taken your punishment, but please don't let me and yourself down like that again. Set high standards of behaviour and stick to them. Being naked in front of your boyfriend in a public place is not what I expect from you. Now go upstairs and compose yourself. Supper will be in half an hour.”

When I was in my room I immediately took my jeans down to look at the state of my bottom. Bright red, and I knew that I would be heavily bruised for the next few days. There was a gentle knock at the door and in walked Alice.

“How awful was that, Soph?” She asked, not expecting an answer. “Christ! Yours looks really sore.”

“This has been such bad luck, Alice. We were only naked for about 10 minutes when we were out of the water and obviously someone has spotted us. Can I see what your bum's like?”

She raised her skirt once again and lowered her panties to the top of her thighs. It was a carbon copy of mine.

“You're going to feel that for a few days every time you sit down!” I ventured.

We repositioned our clothes again and gingerly sat, side by side, on the edge of my bed.

“Did you notice something familiar about that photograph, Alice?” I asked my sister.

“Only that it was us on our picnic last month,” replied a somewhat puzzled Alice.

“Didn't you think we looked just like the picture on the front of that EP I bought?” I replied.

This was one of my favourite records from 1982 when I was 16. I loved one song in particular with its sexy video set on a beach, and I was captivated by the photograph on the album cover which showed a young naked girl sitting with two fully clothed blokes having a picnic by a lake. She looked quite exotic but the scene seemed both exciting and somewhat naughty to an impressionable 16-year-old. It left you wondering what circumstances could have led to this unusual grouping of people. I went to my record case, got it out and handed it to my sister.

“That's amazing!” Said Alice. “It's a very similar scene except that there were two of us girls rather than only one!”

We chatted on and half an hour later we were called down for our supper. The whole atmosphere in the house had changed and mum was back to her normal cheery self. The episode of the picnic by the river was never ever mentioned again by her to Alice or me.

Last year my mum died. She was 74 and was still living in that same house in the west country.

Alice had split with John soon after the summer of '85 and shortly afterwards started going out with the manager of the sports centre where she worked. He was 8 years older than her but after a year they were engaged and she married him when she was just 20. They are still together, live locally and now have three children. She has never told her husband the story of the picnic by the river. I went on to marry Robbie and we have been living in the family farm house whilst managing the farm for the last 14 years. We have two children.

It was a very sad day when Alice and I had to go to our old family home to sort out our mum's things before the house was sold. We set aside a whole weekend for the task and we separated out her possessions into those that we would keep, those that were to be auctioned, those that could go to a charity shop and those that we would take to the local tip. As we worked through the rooms there were endless reminders of our happy childhoods and we were sometimes laughing and sometimes crying over what we found. It was a real emotional roller coaster.

We both knew that the toughest task would be sorting through our mother's clothes in her bedroom, so we decided to tackle this task together on the Saturday before we ventured into the rest of the house. There were a few tears as we put clothes that still smelt of mum into bin bags for the charity shop. Then suddenly Alice burst out laughing. She was sorting through the bottom drawer of the wardrobe and had made a discovery.

“Look what I've found, Soph,” she shrieked. “Mum's shoe that she used to slipper us with!”

Sure enough, it was the very shoe that must have lain in the drawer unused for the last thirty years.

“Do you remember the last time we got slippered, Alice, over that photograph of us naked with the boys?”

“How could I forget, Sophie. It was ridiculous. I was 18 and you were 19. I can't imagine what she was thinking about! There was nothing we could do about it at the time though. She was adamant. That was just about the worst slippering I got off her. It really stung!”

“Yes, it was horrible,” I agreed. “What are we going to do with it? I think you got on the wrong end of it more often than me, so you can decide.”

“Well, it's only a single shoe, so I guess we should put it in the bag that's going to the tip,” replied Alice.

“Actually, I think I'll take it back to show Robbie,” I said. “He loves it when I tell him the story of what happened to us that day.”

So that is what I did, and the rest of the first day passed in a flurry of activity which saw most of the main rooms cleared.

As I did our farm accounts, it was decided that I might be marginally better at sorting out my mum's paperwork than Alice, so on the Sunday I had the job of sorting through her files while Alice completed the remaining room clearances. Much of the paperwork was so out of date that it could be safely confined to the mounting pile of things to be thrown out.

And then I saw the brown envelope with the neat handwriting on the front, and I knew immediately what I had stumbled across.

“Hey, Alice, come and have a look at what I've found!” I shouted up the stairs to my sister. Soon she was by my side and we slipped out the photograph of the picnic by the river, looking at it for the first time in over thirty years.

“Wow! Look at us, Soph,” said Alice in hushed tones. “Tell you what, though; we were pretty girls with great bodies!”

“I know,” I replied. “What a great day that was, but we did have to pay a heavy price for it.”

We both laughed.

“I've got a feeling that part of mum quite admired our spirit though. I think she just didn't like the fact that she never knew who took the photo. I think she was actually quite proud of us. She didn't destroy the evidence, did she?”

The question was left hanging. We will never know whether she ever looked at it again, but I know that what made her most proud was how her two daughters had turned out and the happy family homes we made for her grandchildren. Alice let me keep the photo on the condition that only Robbie and I would ever see it.

As for the photograph, I decided, a few months after my mother passed away, to look up the history of the picture on the cover of that EP from 1982. There was quite an interesting story behind the people on the album cover, given that the girl featured was only 15 at the time. They were attempting to recreate the scene from a 1863 painting, so inadvertently we had recreated a scene from a record sleeve from 1982 which in turn was a recreation of a 19th century oil painting.

We now have all three pictures side by side in our dressing room. The frustration is that only Robbie, Alice and I can view them and know the story behind how they came to be there.

The End

© Julie Baker 2017