Farmers don’t knock old buildings down. If a farmer builds a new family home on top of the hill, then the old house near the road is used for travelling workers like shearing gangs and fruit pickers. It’ll stay there until the floor caves in and the roof sags, and the younger son starts cannibalising it for wood and corrugated iron.
So on my uncle’s farm there was a newish shearing shed, and a little further off there was the skeleton structure of the old shed, which was so ancient there were no electrical fittings for the clippers. There were manual, non-powered clippers on the bench, with other antique equipment that was probably worth a fortune, even then.
And there was about half an upper floor, where there was a press like a giant vice, with handles for two men, that compressed the wool into bales. They stored the bales up on that platform until they were taken away for auction.
Greg and Samantha were off riding somewhere. I didn’t want to think about that. The climb to the upper floor looked dangerous. Good. I’d been disappointed in lust, and I didn’t care if I was dead. And so forth.
Anyway, up on that rickety platform there was half a bale of wool still left in the press, some fleeces, a pile of woolsacks and some hay bales, stored and forgotten. So I went over to the hay bales, and found that they concealed a sort of nest. For shirkers and lovers.
And, as it turned out, wankers, because when I climbed down into this hiding place I discovered, under a sack, a small but select pile of ancient magazines, some Playboys, a few issues from the original British run of Penthouse, and some issues of something called Mayfair, which I’d never seen or heard of before.
The Penthouses were so old that the models didn’t show their pink bits, and often had a carefully placed hand or prop to cover their nipples. They made up for that with a Penthouse Forum section that seemed more explicit than in the later, more gynaecological issues. (I have no idea what Penthouse is like now. I haven’t seen one, or a Playboy, in the last twenty-odd years.)
So people claiming to be office girls wrote to Penthouse to share their experience with being spanked in the office, which they agreed to because the pay was good. Eventually, after some terrible mistake, they’d have to strip quite naked before going over the boss’s knee, and as the spanking wore on they’d have an intense, screaming orgasm. After which, as it did in Penthouse Forum letters, “one thing led to another”.
I read the best of those letters so often I memorised them. Then I moved on to the Mayfairs. It was more cheaply produced, and so the girls in the pictorials looked like girls next door who might take their clothes off because they fancied you, rather than looking like models. They were still pretty, and there was something endearing about their tiny imperfections.
The Mayfairs were twenty or thirty years old when I discovered them. The newer ones had only pictures, and headings like “Thirty tits-out, daks-down bathing babes – AND THEY’RE STARKERS!” So something had gone badly wrong with Mayfair. The older issues were more up-market, with fiction, and articles on serious topics, competing with Playboy.
There was a story in one of the older issues, called “The Inner Room”, or “The Saddle”, or something. It contained two sentences I still remember. The heroine and narrator, a devastatingly heartless and aristocratic submissive woman, puts on her gloves, and reflects ruefully about her unsatisfactory husband:
“But Henry never understood about gloves. He’ll give a swift beating followed by sex, but nothing kinky.”