The loosening of the rules around lockdown was celebrated in our house by the first “sleepover“ since the siren went off back in March. Reggie had a friend over for the night.

It’s not that I never stayed around anyone else’s house when I was a teenager. But it was once or twice a year maybe. Usually in Jon Bentley‘s garden shed.

Nowadays the weekend sleepover is de riguer. It’s become the new normal. Anyone with any young teenagers in the family will know this.

On Friday afternoons you either pack a weekend bag for your child and say goodbye to them for the weekend or open up your hotel for incoming guests.

Things change. It’s like party bags.

Whereas we used to come home with a slice of the birthday cake in a serviette (if we were lucky), it is now considered essential that you hand out party bags that contain not just the obligatory sugar coated sponge cake but all manner of other goodies that serve briefly for entertainment before doubtless being binned two days later.

I can’t help but think that with the frequency of sleepovers, the magic of the occasion loses its currency.

I can tell you, those nights in Jon Bentley‘s shed where unforgettable.

Given it was the shed and not the house this was of course the ideal opportunity for us to experiment by drinking cider which we obtained by hanging around the off-licence and asking grown-ups to go in and buy it for us.

Which proved very easy. Grown ups would almost volunteer themselves before we asked. They were very keen.

In that age cider was the socially acceptable drink for teenage children. Since the alcohol content in a brown bottle of Bulmer’s finest was astonishingly high I’m not quite sure why this was.

Maybe it was considered that a sickly sweet apple flavour somehow excused the fact that a couple of pints of cider would render any adult let alone a teenage child completely bladdered.

The problem with Jon Bentley’s shed was that the toilet was in the house, which meant a long stomp up the garden and a polite hello to Mrs Bentley before using the upstairs loo.

The workaround solution our tennage minds came up with to get around this problem was ingenious.

I mean you have to be fair here, once faced with a challenge, we were able to problem solve with great creativity and flair.

We grabbed an old washing up bowl, left it outside the door, and pissed in that instead. As I said, genius.

I remember vividly waking up in the night, fuddled and still lightheaded from our appley alcoholic addition to the blood stream, stumbling outside and stepping straight into it. Ankle-deep in teenage urine.

Lying, shivering in a garden shed, with your foot sodden with someone else’s piss, is a far cry from the modern day sleepover.

But we can measure human progress in many ways.

The moon landing, Dr Martin Luther King, the discovery of DNA.

All part of my generations journey.

And from shivery shed to en suite warmth the journey goes on.

Nowadays, when I pass the bedroom door on the landing I occasionally over hear them happily creating their little video clips for Tik Tok or watching You Tube clips.

It’s almost with a sense of nostalgia I’m tempted to leave an old washing bowl just outside the door.