Jane Rossington

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The friends of Jane Rossington and her husband, David, never know what antics the fun-loving pair will get up to next.  Their latest brain-wave saw some hilarious scenes near their Lichfield home.
"We decided to throw a party," said Jane.  "But not an ordinary party.  We sent the invites out in code!  Part of the invite had to be held up to a mirror in order to read it as the writing was reversed.  We didn't say who the invitation was from, or where the party was being held.  We just said that if they were free on the night of the party they should send their acceptance to a box number!
"That way no-one could guess it was us from the address.  Once all the replies were in, we divided those who'd accepted into three groups with the code names Moriarty, Geronimo and Eureka.  We then sent another note, telling each group to go to a particular pub on the night of the party, where they'd receive further instructions.
"There was another rule - everyone had to wear full evening dress and sport a red carnation.  We used three different pubs so that the whole group wouldn't meet up in one place.  We asked the pub landlords to help, and gave them our party-goers next set of instructions. 
"So they all duly turned up at the pubs where they learned it was us who'd arranged the whole thing.  But before they could come to the party, we told them they had to collect several items.  They required a pickled onion, a popadom and a bus ticket.
"Chaos followed!" said Jane, laughing gleefully.  "Some people decided to buy their pickled onions from fish and chip shops - and went in to buy one pickled onion!  The same thing happened in various Indian restaurants.  Puzzled waiters wondered why anyone should want to buy one popadom. 
"But the result of all this was that by the time everyone reached our house, they were really in a party mood.  Everyone had a tale to tell of their escapades and the party got into full-swing immediately."
Jane and David's home is a beautiful 100,000 Queen Anne manor house overlooking open countryside.  It's very historic and Jane is currently helping researchers dig into its past for a book they're hoping to write.
Because of its history, any construction work carried on at the house is strictly controlled.  "We can only dig to a depth of about one-and-a-half feet," Jane said.  "More than that and we have to contact the Historic Buildings Trust.  We've recently had a garage built, so foundations had to be dug out.
"When this was done, we called in Trust members to take a look.  They came and studied the hole - and seemed delighted, pointing and chattering away very excitedly.  Then they told me that they'd found a Roman fort!  They were even able to say that it had been burnt down.  I looked long and hard - but it just looked like a hole in the ground to me," laughed Jane.