Picture from the Winter Ball of someone holding six helium filled ballons.
  • "Will six balloons be enough?" Find out on p.6
  • What other Mensans did in Nottingham. See pp.6-7
  • Learn what Nick thinks (p.5) and Andy plans (p.7)

Regional News

It was lovely to see so many members from around the country at our charity winter ball in February and I'm delighted to say we raised nearly £300 for Cancer Research UK from this event. Many people stayed in Nottingham and the fine weather boosted attendance at all the other events that weekend. You can read a review in this issue of Empress.

Continuing to be charitable, East Midlands Mensa will be holding a "Blood Donor Week" 11th-17th June 2007. A list of venues and session times are already listed on our web site at www.mensa.org.uk/eastmids and will be printed in the June issue of Empress. Each member donating blood that week will receive a small thank you gift and chance to go into a draw for one of the new Mensa ambigram T-shirts - in blood red colour, of course! Thanks to Ian Sargent for suggesting the idea of a "Blood Donor Week". If you have a favourite charity or good cause, why not let us know for possible future projects?

Prior to the winter ball, East Midlands Mensa officers held their annual committee meeting. Among items discussed were the possibility of a regional weekend in 2008, improved features in Empress, how best to spend our budget in 2007 to the benefit of all members and incentives to get new members active. Watch this space as these things are implemented!

After several years as Luton LocSec, Tara Morgan resigned from the post in March and it was decided to present her with £20 worth of Leisure Vouchers as a thank you for all her efforts. Best wishes for the future Tara! The role of Luton LocSec is now vacant and if anyone would like to take over please do contact me on [Phone Number] or [Email] for further details. The role is not difficult and can be very rewarding.

Many members think that our social calendar only includes pub evenings so this month we are trying to prove differently with several "T@3" events across the country. If you cannot join us for a cup of tea at 3.00pm on Saturday 21st April at one of our listed events then why not enjoy a cuppa elsewhere and tell us where you were? Maybe you'll be visiting one of the East Midlands famous landmarks that afternoon and be able to send us a photo too? The tea can be anything from Typhoo in a thermos flask up a scenic hill to Darjeeling as part of afternoon tea in a posh hotel! We hope you like this fun idea for a national event.

Happy Easter to everyone!

Maxine Bates

Regional Officer

Events and Meetings

In the current circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 coronavirus, the expectation is that all events listed here are likely to be cancelled, if not already marked as such. If you intend participating in any event listed here, please contact the event organiser beforehand to confirm that the event is still on.

High Wycombe & Amersham

On Thu 19th Apr at 8.00pm - Scrabble

April sees a change this month as a pair of local Mensans has offered to host a Scrabble evening at their house. Please ring Peter or Val on [Phone Number] for encouragement/directions. (Tea & coffee will be provided.)

I shall be taking a month off from hosting meetings in April but am pleased that Peter and Val have suggested something different and offered to host the event. All standards are welcome though whilst the game will no doubt be keenly contested. I expect that the accent will be on the social side of things.

In any event I plan to be along and I consider myself to be very much a novice.

Hope to see you at Peter and Val's, which is not far from the centre of High Wycombe.

Alistair Blackett

photo of Jo Sidebottom

Milton Keynes & Bedford

On Thu 5th Apr at 8.00pm - FTh: Moveable Feast

Join us at the Thai Village on the A422 near Deanshanger (just north west of Stony Stratford). Booking essential by Tuesday 3rd - contact me for directions/encouragement. Buckingham area members especially welcome!

On Wed 18th Apr at 8.00pm - 3WOTM

Continuing at our 3WOTM venue, the Suffolk Punch at Heelands. Saxon Street just below H3 (beside Novotel) - drive into Heelands and approach from back. Real ales/good value food - look for Mblem in lounge bar on right. Contact me for directions/encouragement.

On Sat 21st Apr at 3.00pm - T@3

T@3 It will take place in Frost's Garden Centre restaurant in Woburn Sands, at... 3pm, naturally! As the restaurant is quite large and often busy (espcially in good weather), I will endeavour to have both the Mblem and a T@3 logo on display. If you can let me know in advance, I will have an idea how big a table to grab, but don't let that stop you turning up on the spur of the moment if you feel like it. I'll be there for about 30 minutes if no-one else turns up - otherwise we'll stay for as long as we feel like it. If you have a sweet tooth, they usually have a good selection of cakes :-)) Afterwards we can have a wander round the garden centre, which is one of the biggest and best in the area.

Note: if you're looking for familiar faces, I'll be on my own as Chris has to be elsewhere, so no point in looking out for him.

Venue details at http://www.frostsgardencentres.co.uk/Centres/Woburn_Sands or put MK17 8UE into Satnav/Streetmap to find exact location.

Hope to see you there! Call me on [Phone Number] if you need encouragement/directions, or you get there and can't find me.

Jo Sidebottom

photo of Ian Sargent

Northants NNotes

On Thu 12th Apr at 9.00pm - 2ThOTM: Pub

A quarter of the year gone and how many are sticking to their New Year resolutions? Find out whether the regulars are sticking to theirs at the Rover on Weedon Road, Northampton.

Please note the change of venue.

On Thu 26th Apr at 8.00pm - Roadshow - Paulerspury

The Barley Mow is getting established as a regular venue now, especially as we are joined by some of the Milton Keynes crowd. We haven't seen the pub's ghost yet, but perhaps it's third time lucky. If you're a town dweller, look up at the night sky from the car park when you leave. With very little light pollution in the village it's quite a sight.

To find us at both venues look for the Mensa mag on one of the tables. Details from [Phone Number] or [Email].

Ian Sargent


On Sat 21st Apr at 3.00pm - T@3

T@3 As people around the region join in having T@3 come along to the tea room at Wyevale garden centre in Rothley. Car parking available. We will meet inside the garden centre by the entrance to the tea room. Please let me know by Thursday 19th if you are coming on [Email], [Phone Number]. All welcome!

On Fri 27th Apr at 8.00pm - Comedy Night

Join us at Melton Mowbray Theatre for an evening of fun and laughter. Tickets £5 for adults and £3 for concessions. Meet outside the theatre entrance. Ample car parking is available behind the theatre. Good bus links from Leicester. Please let me know by Wednesday 25th if you are coming. New members welcome!

Rebecca Mawby

photo of Maxine Bates

Notts News

On Thu 5th Apr at From 8.00pm - 5OTM

Start the Easter break early by joining us for a drink and chat at the Vat & Fiddle. Look for the yellow Mblem to the left of the bar. The pub has free parking outside and is close to the railway station and Broad Marsh bus station. It serves real ale from the adjacent Castle Rock Brewery and good value soft drinks. New faces are always welcome.

On Wed 11th Apr at 7.00pm - "Chicks & Flicks"

An informal meal at Nando's chicken restaurant (veggie options available) followed by a film at Cineworld. We meet promptly inside the doors to the Cornerhouse complex. An idea of numbers would be appreciated so we can reserve tables for the meal and avoid any waiting. Contact Paul on [Phone Number] or [Email]

On Sat 21st Apr at 12noon - Circular Walk

We have three events on Saturday 21st April. Meet in Greasley Church car park on B600 in Moorgreen (not far from M1 J26) at midday for an easy circular walk of approx. four miles. This will include a short stop for a drink or light lunch at Wetherspoons in Hucknall. The walk will return in time for our "T@3" event.

On Sat 21st Apr at 3.00pm - T@3

T@3 Join us for Twinings, earl grey or fruit flavoured tea, just £1.10, and maybe a piece of delicious cake at the award-winning Mintons Tea Room next to Greasley Church. Full menu at www.mintonstearoom.co.uk. Children are welcome and toys are available for them.

On Sat 21st Apr at from 8.00pm - Whisky Appreciation

If Minton's isn't your cup of tea (sorry for the pun!) how about some whisky appreciation at our home in Langley Mill? Bring your favourite tipple to share or taste a wee dram from our whisky cabinet. Non-whisky drinkers are welcome too for conversation or a dip in the hot tub in our garden. Contact [Phone Number] or [Email] for further details on any of these events.

On Tue 24th Apr at 7.30pm - Postcode Pubcrawl

Sheep racing, last seen at the Diamond celebrations, is back by popular demand! This will take place in the private function room at the Bull Inn, Market Street, Bottesford, with an optional fish and chip supper followed by the hilarious sheep racing. A suggested donation of £3 will get you a wad of 'sheepy money' to join in the fun and also help Cancer Research UK. Stan Laurel's sister was once licensee of the pub and we can enjoy last orders in the main lounge where the walls are adorned with Laurel and Hardy memorabilia. A unique venue for a unique night out!

Ciao for now!

Maxine Bates

Derby Doings

On Wed 18th Apr at 7.30pm - 3WOTM

A warm welcome to all members and friends at our regular monthly meeting in the non-smoking area of the Standing Order on Irongate. Hot and cold food. Cheap drinks behind the bar. Good company and conversation this side. More info on [Phone Number] or [Email]


Bernie Briggs

T@3 "Stands the church clock at ten to three? And is there honey still for tea?"

When Rupert Brooke wrote these lines in Berlin in 1912 he apparently longed to return to England. You're here already - enjoy T@3 (with honey?) on April 21st.

photo of Richard Allen

Herts & South Beds

On Thu 5th Apr at 8.00pm - FThOTM

Our revised First Thursday meeting, now at the Millstream, Cambridge Road, Hitchin, is about ten minutes' walk from the station (away from the town centre) and also served by buses between Hitchin and Letchworth. Food is available. See you there! Call me for details and encouragement.

On Tue 17th Apr at 7.30pm - Monthly Meal

We're at the Waggon and Horses, Graveley, this month. The pub is on the B197 between Stevenage and Letchworth; bus 55 runs every two-hours between these two stations. Ring Helen on [Phone Number] for details and encouragement. Bring a board game or two if you can.

On Wed 18th Apr at 8.00pm - Pub Quiz

We've settled on the Millstream, Cambridge Road, Hitchin, for our regular quiz do. Next one is on 18 April and then every two weeks thereafter. We'll be there from about 8.00 pm on the 18th; food is available and the beer's pretty good as well. The pub is about five minutes' walk from the station. And we won last month, so we need to keep up the good work!

Ring me on [Phone Number] for further details and encouragement!

On Sun 22nd Apr at 3.00pm - T@3/Boardgames

T@3 Meet at my place for tea and board games; stronger refreshments available! Children welcome. I am ten minutes' walk from Letchworth station. Ring me for details.

On Fri 27th Apr at 8.00pm - LFOTM

Join us in the lounge of the White Horse, Hertingfordbury to chill out at month end. Ring Gwen on [Phone Number] or me for details. The hotel is 20 minutes' walk from Hertford North station. No evening bus service. Meals available.

On Sun 29th Apr at Ring for details - Country Walk

Springtime's here, so time to dust off those walking boots and join us for a 6-8 mile walk in the Bedfordshire countryside, including a pub lunch. Ring me on [Phone Number] for details, including starting point and time.

On Every Fri evening - Cinema - Stevenage

Join Helen at the cinema in Stevenage on Friday evenings. Cineworld's screens give plenty of choice! Call Helen for details.

Richard Allen

Think Tank

Think Tank

Message from Nick, Empress editor (May-August):

I am planning to start a new feature in Empress to replace "Meet..." currently with the working title of "Think Tank". I know that being Mensans, we all have wizard ideas as to how to make the world better, more interesting or more amusing, and I want to hear yours. This is your chance to make your ideas known to a wider audience.

Below are some questions. Answers can be serious, humorous, flippant, surreal or in any other manner that takes your fancy. Pick as many or as few of the questions as you like, and send your answers directly either to me at [Email] or to Rosie at [Email]

  • What law would you introduce if you could?
  • ... and which would you repeal?
  • Which charity do you most like to support?
  • Name a place local to you that you'd recommend people visit.
  • Whose picture would you like to see on a bank note?
  • What device would you like to see invented?
  • How would you reform parliament?
  • Who would you like to see in the Big Brother house?
  • How can we save the planet?
  • Name an event at which the British could win an Olympic gold medal.
  • What song would make a good national anthem for England?
  • What would you like see go into room 101?
  • Suggest a new question for this page.
Pictures from the Winter Ball.

East Midlands Charity Winter Ball

Maxine Bates reviews this fund-raising event

Fifty-five guests of all ages, both members and non-members, attended our winter ball at the Rutland Square Hotel in Nottingham on Saturday 17th February. Having paid for the entertainment from regional funds we were able to donate £5 from each ticket sale to charity, thus raising nearly £300 for Cancer Research UK. We had chosen this particular charity as one of our popular members, Charles Vermes, had died of the disease on this date last year. We were honoured that Charles' son and daughter-in-law travelled from Manchester to support the event.

We were also delighted that Iain Benson from Chapel-en-le-Frith had chosen to celebrate his 30th birthday with us. His girlfriend Elisa and I had arranged a surprise birthday cake which was presented to Iain after the meal. hough, as nobody had room for more food after an excellent dinner, the cake was not actually eaten until Sunday afternoon. Warming drinks accompanied by chocolate cake were most welcome after the guided walk.

Entertainment at the winter ball was provided by Mensan DJ Paul Davis and included some Ballroom, Latin American and Salsa dancing. This gave the growing group of Nottingham members who regularly attend dance lessons chance to show off!

After midnight the music turned to disco with those well-loved tunes of the Time Warp, Macarena and Saturday Night as well as a Locomotion around the function suite.

Some fun events were thrown into the evening with Iain and Elisa both winning designer sunglasses for best male and best female limbo dancer and Ann Tarper from Kent winning a digital camera for the best twister, though it was very close competition between Ann and Helen Krasner of Derbyshire. There was also a ticket draw for a bottle of champagne and this was won by Derby member John Whiteman.

More pictures from the Winter Ball.

Coupled with two days of events such as visits to Nottingham tourist attractions, an entertaining Blue Badge guided walk, a pub crawl and a treasure hunt the weekend was huge fun. Thanks must go to all the staff at the Rutland Square Hotel for their excellent service and to everyone who was able to attend the winter ball, especially those who travelled from beyond our region such as Southend, Hull, London and Ireland.

Keswick weekend June 8th - 10th

"Join our exploits in the mountain capital of England as we explore the delights of (arguably) the best national park in the world. Mensa in Keswick is open to all, though primarily a walking weekend, with a programme of easy and challenging options each day as well as some non-walking choices. In the evenings it is time to socialise and enjoy the wide range of restaurants and pubs in this charming holiday town.

Get to know the Wainwrights - visit Wordsworth's home - learn about the Lake District Osprey Project. And meet some new friends too. You're guaranteed a stimulating weekend!"

For a programme and more information contact Andy Farrell on [Email]

20 Questions (No. 67)

The East Midlands places in the February quiz were Luton, Loughborough, Sherwood Forest, Chilterns, Chesham, Silverstone, Derbyshire, Leicester, Lincoln, Crich, Northampton Town, Bedford, Nottingham, High Wycombe, Milton Keynes, Letchworth, Rutland, Sandy, St Albans and River Trent. Thanks to Mike Hadley of Lutterworth, Judith Meller of Derby, Chris Impey of Tring, Andy Cole of Cleethorpes, Bob Stott of Milton Keynes, Roger Lord of Aylesbury, D W Dell of Leighton Buzzard, Maggie Petch of Northampton, Elaine Yates of Watford, Pat Wallis of Herts, Jocelyn Binks of Bedford, Melvyn Sheridan of Wellingborough, Margaret Hawkins of Northampton, David Ribbans of Luton, and Una Adams of Corby for entering. The winner of a Mensa mug was Roger. Well done!

As we celebrate Easter this month we have a chocolate themed quiz. Please send your answers to '20 Questions (No. 67)', [Address] to arrive by 20th April. The prize on offer is a cuddly bunny filled with chocolates.

1. What is the scientific name for the cacao tree?

2. Which company's products make up 28% of the chocolate market?

3. In which US city was the Ghirardelli chocolate company founded?

4. Mayan Indians originally used cacao beans as what?

5. From which country do the UK and Ireland get most of their cocoa?

6. What type of leaf are cocoa beans wrapped in when fermenting?

7. What was the first name of Mr Nestle?

8. Who played the leading male role in the film Chocolat?

9. Thorntons first shop opened in which British city?

10. At what temperature (°C) does chocolate start to melt?

11. Who wrote Charlie And The Chocolate Factory?

12. The Hershey headquarters are in which US state?

13. Which mountain is shown on Toblerone packaging?

14. Which chemical boosts blood-sugar levels in humans but is toxic to cats and dogs?

15. In which year was Thorntons founded?

16. What percentage is import tax for chocolate set by the EU?

17. How many times each year are cocoa beans harvested?

18. Which British theme park has a Charlie And The Chocolate Factory ride?

19. Cadburys sponsor which TV soap opera?

20. What is the best selling chocolate bar in the UK and Ireland?