Regional Day Out In Lincoln

By Jo Sidebottom

Five members pose in headgear from the Museum of Lincolnshire Life.
The group climb the 30+ steps up to the Lucy Tower at the castle.
A posed group photograph.

Our day actually started the night before, when we enjoyed dinner with my brother and sister-in-law and a very comfortable night at the splendid White Hart Hotel next to the cathedral (Laterooms prices!). This meant we had a leisurely start on the Monday morning, when we caught up with the party of around 30 Mensans, mostly East Midlands members but a few from further afield, just outside the castle. We were treated to a very informative guided tour of the castle grounds, including details of several gruesome hangings. We also had a wonderful view over the city and cathedral from the castle walls.

After the castle tour, we adjourned for lunch at the Magna Carta pub nearby, where we had the upstairs room to ourselves. Then it was off at a brisk pace so as not to be late for our tour of Ellis Mill. Unfortunately some of us were indeed late, owing to urgent business at the Ice Cream Parlour that we had been sizing up from the pub window. The poor guides at the mill showed great forbearance and did some ad hoc rearranging so that we still all managed to see everything! Having been owned by the Ellis family, the mill is now managed by the county council and is operated by volunteers when there is enough wind to drive it. It has recently had two of its sails renovated so is now back up to full power.

Our final event was a wander round the Museum of Lincolnshire Life, housed in a former army barracks round the corner from Ellis Mill. As well as domestic memorabilia, there was a display of agricultural machinery and military vehicles. As this was self-guided, we wandered back in dribs and drabs to the Queen Victoria pub, where we sat outside enjoying the sun, a few more drinks, and conversation with friends old and new. We all said our goodbyes around 5pm, having enjoyed a thoroughly excellent and instructive day for just the cost of lunch (and ice creams!).

Regional News

This month I would like to introduce not one but two new Local Secretaries. Having now enjoyed hosting several events Paul Coulson takes over as Leicester LocSec. Many thanks to Sue Watford who stepped into the role temporarily some time ago. Paul plans to host different types of events around the county and Sue tells me she will continue to host her last Saturday eating meeting. So hopefully there will be something for everyone and we’ll see lots of new faces over the coming months. Many thanks also to long standing Lincoln LocSec Jacquie Harrison. Christine Howells takes over that role saying it’s time someone else did their stint. Christine already hosts a regular second Saturday lunchtime event in Lincoln city centre and Jacquie intends to still be seen at events. If you live in Leicestershire or Lincolnshire do support Paul and Christine if you can.

Thanks to those members who attended our last regional event which was a day out in Lincoln on the late May bank holiday. It was good to meet so many members from Herts, Beds, Notts and Derbys as well as a few locals. You can find a few photos and a review of the event in this issue of Empress. If you would like to suggest future locations for a similar event please get in touch with me on [Phone Number] or [Email]

We have two weekend events taking place in the East Midlands this month. David Dreebin is once again organising a music weekend at Hertfordshire University in Hatfield 5th-8th August. Most participants should have registered by now but more would be welcome, especially singers and those who can play the cello, other stringed instrument, oboe or bassoon. Please contact David for further information on [Phone Number] or [Email]. Also look in the event listings in Mensa Magazine if you would like to attend a meal on the Saturday evening or listen to a recital on the Sunday afternoon.

From 10.00 am on Saturday 14th to 10.00 am on Sunday 15th August a group of Mensans will be taking part in Relay For Life at Swanwick Hall School in Derbyshire. This is a 24 hour walking event in aid of Cancer Research UK and you are welcome to pop along throughout the Saturday to say hello, partake of some of our refreshments, buy a charity rag mag, take part in our grand balloon race, listen to the live music, enjoy a variety of entertainment, stalls and attractions. Just look for the ‘Cocktail Crew’ marquee. Donations to our fundraising, however large or small, are most grateful received at

Finally I would like to wish good luck to all our younger members who might currently be awaiting exam results. Enjoy the rest of the summer break!

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.

Lively Lincs

I am sure you will all be pleased to hear that Christine has agreed to take over as the Lincolnshire LocSec. She is an excellent host. May I take this opportunity to say thank you to her but also to everyone who has turned up to meetings over the years I’ve been LocSec and especially those who came back for more. Also to Maxine for all her patience and determination.

On Sat 14th Aug at 12:00pm - 2SaOTM

To cause confusion, I’m actually hosting the regular second Saturday this month so please join us in the coffee bar at The Collection, Danes Terrace on 14th 12-2pm. Some have lunch/snack, others just partake of drinks. Usually we’re at the far end of the room or outside if weather suitable, spot the magazine. All very welcome, for more details/encouragement please contact me on [Phone Number] or [Email].

On Sat 21st Aug at 7:00pm - Eating meeting

Then we are making another trip to sample the good food at the Beijing Dragon, Spilsby, 7pm Saturday 21st. This is always a popular meeting, everyone welcome. As with all Christine’s venues, this is wheelchair friendly. If possible, please could you contact her beforehand so that she can book an appropriate table, [Email], or [Phone Number].

Jacquie Harrison

Notts News

Just our three regular events this month as it’s holiday season when people are often away and I’ll be preparing for (then recovering from!) my 24 hour Relay For Life charity event mid-month.

On Thu 5th Aug at 8:00pm - 5OTM

We’ll be at the Vat & Fiddle pub on Queensbridge Road in Nottingham from 8.00 pm on Thursday 5th and new faces are always welcome. The pub is adjacent to the Castle Rock Brewery so serves a good selection of real ales. Also good value soft drinks for the drivers and the usual array of tipples for the non-drivers. Look for the yellow Mblem usually to the left of the bar.

On Wed 11th Aug at 7:00pm - Chicks and Flicks

Our ‘chicks & flicks’ event takes place at 7.00 pm on Wednesday 11th when we meet inside the doors to the Cornerhouse in the city centre. From there we’ll wander around the corner to dine at Nando’s before watching a film at Cineworld. With offers and discounts at both venues this is a cheap night out. Why not join us?

On Tue 31st Aug at 7:30pm - Eating meeting

Our monthly ‘eating meeting’ will be at 7.30 pm on Tuesday 31st at the Hemlock Stone & Dragon on Bramcote Lane in Wollaton. The venue has a Thai restaurant and the menu can be found at Please let me know by 27th August latest if you would like to join us so a table can be reserved.

Ciao for now!

Maxine Bates

Leicestershire Letter

On Thu 19th Aug at 8:00pm - 3ThOTM

Our first “third-Thursday of the month” pub social will be taking place on Aug 19th (20:00) at The Old Horse on London Road, Leicester as it’s pretty central, but still has car parking. There’s food available and also - it seems - resident Barn Owls (I don’t think these two things are connected).

On Wed 4th Aug at 8:00pm - Eating Meeting

We’ll also start off a rolling roadshow of eating-meetings around the city and county to give us the chance to finding new places to eat! The first of these will be on 4th August (20:00) at The Elms in Lutterworth, just off Junction 20 of the M1. (If you have suggestions for other places to try around Leicester & Leicestershire, please let me know!). Please feel free to drop me a line at [Email], or give me a call on [Phone Number] if you need directions, or just want to say “hi!”. I look forward to seeing you soon,

Paul Coulson

Northants NNotes

On Mon 9th Aug at 9:00pm - FMOTM

Monday 2nd August at 9pm is the date and time for our 1MOTM meeting in Northampton but where will it be? That’s up to you to decide as the venue will be the favourite pub of the first person to phone or e-mail me by 31st July. Two rules apply: the person making the nomination must not have been to a Northants Mensa meeting so far in 2010 and the pub must be within the NN1 to NN5 postcode areas. Once the venue has been nominated I will send a message out to all those members for whom I have a current e-mail address.

If the venues we’ve previously used in Northampton have been inconvenient to get to you have no excuse this month.

On Thu 19th Aug at 8:00pm - Roadshow

Our second meeting is at 8pm on Thursday 19th August and it’s the Roadshow. This month we go over to Litchborough to have a look at then recently re-opened Old Red Lion. The village is few miles west of the A5 and the turnoff is between Pattishall and Weedon. As it’s our first visit to the pub you’ll have to seek us out - the Mensa magazine on a table will point to us.

Ian Sargent

Mensans In MK and Bedford

On Thu 12th Aug at 8:00pm - 2ThOTM

We’re away the first week in August, so First Thursday is delayed for a week to Second Thursday. Meet at our regular venue of Jurys Inn Hotel on Midsummer Boulevard, on 12th August, from 8 pm. Look out for the Mblem on one of the tables to the right in the foyer. Parking is a bit busy around Jury’s and The Hub, so we usually try and get in across the road and then walk through the underpass.

On Sat 28th Aug at 10:50am - Bletchley to Bedford railway

This month we’re doing something I’ve wanted to do for ages, which is the Bletchley to Bedford railway. It’s a little shuttle service that goes through some of the villages along the way. It doesn’t run on Sundays, so we’ve gone for Saturday 28th August – meet at 10.50am outside the ticket office at Bletchley station to catch the 11.01 service, which arrives in Bedford around 11.40.

On Sat 28th Aug at 12:00pm - Lunch

If you prefer to make your way to Bedford independently, meet us outside Nando’s at the end of the High St at 12 noon. We’ll have lunch and then either take a stroll beside the river, or visit the museum and gallery, depending on the weather, before catching the train back to Bletchley late afternoon.

Hope to see you there!

Jo Sidebottom

Herts Happenings

On Thu 5th Aug at 8:15pm - FThOTM

Regular first Thursday of the month meeting. We’ll be around for our usual mix of lively conversation and a good atmosphere. As always, we’re at the Millstream, Cambridge Road, Hitchin. Good food and good beer both available! Call me on [Phone Number] for more details and encouragement. The pub is about ten minutes walk from the railway station.

On Sat 14th Aug at 3:00pm - T@3

T@3 at Wyevale Garden Centre cafe, between Letchworth and Hitchin Meet in the tea room at the back for tea and akes; if it’s fine we’ll be sitting outside. The centre is on the A505 about mid-way between Letchworth and Hitchin and I can arange lifts from either station if need be. Contact me on [Phone Number] for further details and encouragement.

On Fri 27th Aug at 8:00pm - LFOTM

Join us at the Cowper Arms, Digswell (near Welwyn village) for Last Friday. Good food and good beer available to suit all tastes! The venue is next to Welwyn North railway station (Kings Cross - Cambridge and Peterborough line with trains every 30 minutes). Contact me on [Phone Number] for further details and encouragement.

Richard Allen

Mid Bucks

On Thu 26th Aug at 7:30pm - Eating meeting

Start to wind down for the bank holiday weekend by joining us for a relaxing Italian meal at ASK at 17 High Street, High Wycombe at 7:30pm on Thursday 26th August.

I will need to book a table at the restaurant, so please ring me on [Phone Number] or e-mail me at [Email] by Monday 23rd August to let me know you are coming.

Looking ahead, the new Waterside Theatre at Aylesbury is due to open in mid-October 2010. The full autumn programme for the new venue is available at Before it opens to the public there is a charity gala performance, cost £5.00 per person, to be held on Saturday 9th October. No details of the programme as yet.

This is a one-off opportunity to be amongst the first people to enjoy a performance at this theatre, which is already attracting much praise for its construction and design from the arts and cultural trade and press. Tickets are limited and I will need to apply for them well in advance! If you are interested in coming, please let me know as soon as possible.

Val Hinkins


On Mon 9th Aug at 8:00pm - Pub meeting

There are two pub meetings this month at the Essex Arms, Langley Way, Watford.

On Mon 30th Aug at 8:00pm - Pub meeting

We have now decided to hold a regular pub meeting every month as well as the ‘themed’ events.

So as from August onwards there will be a regular meeting at the Essex Arms last Monday of every month.

So you are all cordially invited to attend - look for the Magazine on the table.

e-mail addresses!

Another reminder about email addresses.

If you’re not receiving regular email from me and would like to be included then please let me have a current email address and I will add you to the list.

David Seddon


On Wed 25th Aug at 7:45pm - LWOTM

We will meet at the Three Horseshoes at Winkwell, where we can sit beside the canal and enjoy the view, or be inside if it is too cold. All are welcome. Turn down the lane next to the Texaco Petrol station at Bourne End, half way between Berkhamsted and Hemel Hempstead, on the London Road.[The old A41]. I am looking forward to seeing you all.

Jenny Habib


On Sat 7th Aug at 8:00pm - Eating meeting

Join our lively group of music weekend participants at (probably) the Bella Italia restaurant, The Galleria, Hatfield, Herts. In easy reach of the A1(M) and Hatfield Station. Booking essential. Contact David by Wednesday 4th latest at [Email] or by Thu 5th on [Phone Number] with a return contact number.

On Sun 8th Aug at 1:45pm - Informal Concert

Come and listen to some exciting music that music weekenders have been rehearsing throughout the weekend since Thursday. Free admission. In the John Lill Centre , College Lane campus. Need to let David know so he can register your name with security. Contact David on [Phone Number] if interested.

David Dreebin

Meet Paul...

New Leicester LocSec, Paul Coulson, introduces himself.

Where do you live?
Born and bred in Leicester (midduck!).
When and why did you join Mensa?
I’ve been a member of Mensa since the early 1980s. I initially joined “to see if I could”, but never really made the most of my membership until recently. Having been to (and thoroughly enjoyed) local events in the past, I’m really looking forward to dipping my toe into regional and national event waters this year.
Do you belong to any SIGs?
I’m a member of a number of SIGs including the Rock, Photography, Humour and Computing SIGs as well as others.
What’s your occupation?
I’m a service manager for a scientific instrumentation company by day, and in my spare time - as well as being a musician (CD released last October!) - I also go yachting with my wife, enjoy hiking, photography and reading and have nearly completed an Open University Honours BSc “for fun”, after which I’m intending to start on a BA, just to get he matching set.
What are your plans for Leicester Mensa?
I’m planning a regular “third-Thursday (“Thirdsday”??) of the month” pub social in a regular venue - we’ll start off on Aug 19th (20:00) at The Old Horse on London Road as it’s pretty central, but still has car parking - as well as a rolling roadshow of eating meetings around the city and county to give us the chance to find new places to eat! The first of these will be on 4th August (20:00) at The Elms in Lutterworth, just off Junction 20 of the M1. (If you have suggestions for other places to try around Leicester and Leicestershire, please let me know!). There’ll also be other events as well, so please keep your eye on the newsletter!
And finally?
I really look forward to meeting you soon, but please feel free to drop me a line or give me a call to say “Hi!” in the meantime as it would be great to hear from you!

Member Moments

Congratulations to Peter Gumley and Lizzie Elliott of Nottinghamshire on their wedding on Saturday 21st August.

Think Tank

This month’s think tank is courtesy of Ben Stocker of Shalstone.

What law would you introduce if you could?
That if the temperature is over 27 degrees celsius then everyone could choose go home from work if they liked at lunchtime-sitting down in a stuffy room with lots of other people is like impossible.
. and which would you repeal?
I think that the age that you can enter Parliment to 16 and the age you can vote to 16. It affects us younger generations as well-so we should have a say.
Which charity do you most like to support?
Dogs for the Disabled
Name a place local to you that you’d recommend people visit
Pub - The Reindeer Inn, Westbury Park - Chandos Road park, Buckingham Restaurant - Prego, Buckingham
Whose picture would you like to see on a bank note?
Douglas Adams
What device would you like to see invented?
A device that makes healthy chocolate.
How would you reform parliament?
When a new law is passed, the entire country should vote on it, and there are no parties, just one group of people, deciding what to do with the country.
Who would you like to see in the Big Brother house?
Um, i don’t really like Big Brother, but Gordon Brown would be funny
How can we save the planet?
There is no point in trying. Studies show we’ve survived global warming before-we can do it again. Or, alternitively, we could make a gigantic rocket and pull the earth away from the sun.
Name an event at which the British could win an Olympic gold medal.
What song would make a good national anthem for England?
Classico by Tenacious D- a song to show the lack of care for everything in our country.
Who would you like see entered into room 101?
My little sister.
Suggest a new question for this page.
If you could have one thing totally removed from the world, what would it be?

‘20 Questions (No. 107)’

This month’s quiz also has a sun theme with all questions relating to the solar system. Thanks to Nick Stimpson for compiling it. Please send your entries to arrive by 20th August to ‘20 Questions (No. 107), [Address] for your chance to win the prize..

1. Which planet is named after the Roman god of war?

2. Where are the planets traditionally in this order: Mars, Venus, Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune?

3. In what year was Pluto discovered?

4. What is the largest body in the asteroid belt?

5. Which planet is regarded as Earth’s twin?

6. In which English town is Mars Limited based?

7. The “asteroid” J002E3 was originally what?

8. Who discovered Uranus?

9. What was Mickey Mouse’s dog called?

10. “Phaeton” was predicted by the Titius-Bode law to exist between which two planets?

11. From which Shakespeare play are the names of Uranus’s moons “Oberon” and “Titania” taken?

12. While “Ariel”, “Belinda” and “Umbriel” come from the poem “The Rape of the Lock” by whom?

13. Which body orbits the solar system every 75-76 years?

14. Which of the planets has more than twice the mass of all the others put together?

15. Which Scottish band were the first winners of the Mercury Music Prize?

16. In which museum is the Venus de Milo kept on display?

17. The Cassini division encircles which planet?

18. The perihelion procession of Mercury was used to demonstrate the correctness of what theory?

19. Which two elements comprise over 98% of the sun?

20. The dwarf planet “Haumea” and its moons Hi̒iaka and Namaka are named after goddesses in which mythology?

Did you guess the songs with sun in their lyrics but not in their title in the June issue? The answers were I Can See Clearly Now by Johnny Nash/Jimmy Cliff, Super Trouper by Abba, Umbrella by Rihanna, My Girl by The Temptations, Maggie May by Rod Stewart, Rhythm Of The Rain by Johnny Tillotson/The Cascades/Jason Donovan, Born To Run by Bruce Springsteen, You’re My World by Cilla Black, One Night In Bangkok by Murray Head, New Sensation by INXS, Eternal Flame by The Bangles, Wake Me Up Before You Go Go by Wham, Top Of The World by The Carpenters, Could It Be Magic by Barry Manilow/Take That, Chiquitita by Abba, The Tower by Bruce Dickinson, Black Or White by Michael Jackson, I Wanna Dance With Somebody by Whitney Houston, Candle In The Wind by Elton John and Where The Streets Have No Name by U2.

Several entries this month from Patrick Cavanagh of Dublin, Roger Plant of Nottingham, Rita Beeson of Kempston, Alex Foster of Derby, Pamela Covey of Woburn, Geraldine Ellis of Nottingham, Tony Dodd of Belvoir, Chris Impey of Tring, Philip Abbott of Watford, Michael Warren of Derby, Sue Barker of Bury and Chris Benger of Bedfordshire. Congratulations to Alex who was first ‘out of the hat’ and wins a £10 book token.