In her cosy Kilburn apartment, Darina Poole shakes her head sadly as she watches the Chris Huhne case unfold on Sky News. “If only he'd come to me”, she says.
For 51-year-old Darina, known since her phonebox-sticker days as Miss Smackmee, has called it a day with her trademark service of being spanked by middle-aged clients in favour of a less onerous punishment. “I'm no longer up to it”, she admits, “what with my osteoarthritis and everything”. She also concedes that her bare buttocks do not look as enticing as they did twenty years ago.
Her interest in current affairs has inspired her to switch from physical to legal punishment as she signs papers admitting to be the driver of the client's car at the time of a traffic offense. “There's still that sense of guilty excitement for many clients”, she says. Some are businesslike about the discreet transaction, while others get into the spirit of the thing and grunt “you know you want these points, naughty girl”, as they get her to sign the papers. “But all of them agree that it's much better with me than getting their wives to do it”.
She admits there has been a huge surge in business since the Vicky Pryce trial, and is forever grateful to Mr Huhne for the rush to her door of nervous professional men with penalty points approaching the maximum and complicated sex lives. Though a lifelong Tory voter in deference to the affiliations of her former whipping clientele, she is thinking of switching to the Liberal Democrats at the next election.