Within seconds she had offered up all the details of 'a secret mission,' though I have been sworn to secrecy, and am not at liberty to divulge the details here. I can however reveal some of the preparations.
Last night Betty packed three rucksacks full of provisions. I witnessed ice blocks being removed from the freezer. Biscuits, chocolate mousse, waterproofs, a sleeping bag, slippers, a toothbrush, a towel, a head torch, toilet roll, sunglasses, four pairs of socks, and an umbrella were all packed. And a couple of her teddies.
At one point she asked me for Sam’s phone number - she wanted to remind him to bring his head torch.
While I was putting her to bed, she casually asked me if I thought she would be able to unlock the front door by herself in the middle of the night. Noting my worried look, she kept saying to me: ‘Don't worry mummy, it’s fine, it's all planned.’ But not taking any chances, when I locked the door later that night, I hid the key.
It took quite a long time to persuade Betty that I really didn't think Sam would be waiting for her at the school gate at midnight, and that they had to come up with an alternative. I’m wondering what Betty and Sam’s plan will be when she gets home from school today.
The whole episode has reminded me of the time when, aged about eight years old, I got cross with my mum and set off for London, Dick Whittington style, with some provisions tied up in a spotty handkerchief on a stick. I made it to the end of the garden - my mum took a photo of me sitting on the wall, eating a biscuit, and looking sulky.
Update: when Betty returned home from school that afternoon, she told me defiantly that her and Sam were sticking to the original plan, and that it was 'really really in real life' this time.