Do you remember when you were a kid, how you used to leave the house at eight in the morning and not come back until five - just in time for dinner?
How did our parents keep track of us in the days before mobiles and pagers? Easy - they walked to the bottom of the garden and shouted over the back fence until they were heard, knowing that they'd set our boundaries and that we had too much respect and, dare I say it - fear to exceed them.
They knew that if we weren't in one friend's house, we were in another's. That we would never dare be late, because it would mean no pudding. That if we needed a drink, we were probably getting it from someone's garden hose as they sprayed us. And if we were hungry we'd go black berry picking over the field and bring back the remants of our lunch all over our shirts.
No one worried that we had clean underwear on, that we'd had all our shots, that we musn't drink water that hasn't been boiled seventeen ways to sunday before hand, that we couldn't possibly play in the dirt without a packet of antibacterial wipes surgically attached to our asses.
It was a time of freedom, and joy. Of days out at the beach, soggy cheese sandwiches and bottles of shared lemonade, followed by candy floss (cotton candy) on the way home. It was a time of Friday evenings waiting to hear the tinkle of the ice cream van and praying Dad would buy you a jambouree bag full of sweets, stickers and a surprise toy.
It was a time of hope, and when being a kid meant just that, you were a kid.