A doughty band of Mensans and their families brave the rain to enjoy Family Fun day at Drayton Manor Park.
For a review of the day, see below.

Regional News

Hope you are enjoying the summer. Although at the time of writing we seem to have had much better weather at Easter than what is officially classed as our British summer. Luckily our two regional events – Buxton in May and Drayton Manor Park in June – were a success despite the constant rain on both those days. Thanks to everyone who braved the soggy weather to join us. Perhaps I should stick to organising indoor events as I appear to be a rain goddess!

Plans are now well under way to help Mensa celebrate our 65th anniversary. If you read the June issue of Mensa Magazine you will see that Watford LocSec, David Seddon, has instigated a nationwide geocaching competition with prizes to be won. Have you joined the hunt yet? If so, what did you find? This is a great activity for the whole family. Contact Bobby Raikhy at the Mensa office on 01902 772 711 or [Email] for info on how to register to take part.

Milton Keynes LocSec, Jo Sidebottom, is also organising an "IT Without Tears" event at Herald Sporting Club in Milton Keynes at 2.00 pm on Saturday 1st October which is Mensa’s actual birthday. The event will be free of charge and attendees will be able to learn how to create newsletters using MS Word, and how to analyse and present data using Excel pivot tables and charts, amongst other things. If you would like further details please contact Jo on [Phone Number] or [Email]

Thinking ahead to our annual regional winter event that is pencilled in for the end of February 2012, please let us know what type of event you would like to see, i.e. dinner dance with sit down three course meal, disco with finger buffet, barn dance/ceilidh with hot supper, or something else? The location could be anywhere in the East Midlands region. If there are more responses from a certain area that is likely to be the venue. So please contact me on [Phone Number] or [Email] with your preference.

If you work in education then enjoy your school-free month!

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.

Northants NNotes

On Thu 4th Aug at 8:00pm - FThOTM

Our Northampton meeting is on Thursday 4th August at 8pm, and the theme is “Fish & Frogs”. We are going to The Old Black Lion in Marefair to indulge in a fish supper from the only pub in town with its own chip shop (hence the earlier than normal start). So where do the frogs fit in? Well, the pub usually has one or two beers from the nearby Frog island Brewery on tap!

On Thu 18th Aug at 8:00pm - Roadshow

Two weeks later, on Thursday 18th August at 8pm, our intrepid travellers take the Roadshow to South West Northants. If you want to join us we will be in the Green Man at Brackley Hatch, which is on the A43 between Silverstone and Brackley (NN13 5TX for SatNav). I don’t think that we have been to that area for a long time, if ever, so if you live in that part of the county put it in your diary.

On Sat 20th Aug at 11:00am - Walk and Lunch

Two days later there is another chance to explore the local countryside. Meet outside the Stag’s Head at Great Doddington at 11am on Saturday 20th August for a 3 mile walk across the Nene Valley. The village is close to Wellingborough and is accessible from the A45. If you can’t make the walk then meet us back at the pub for lunch around 1pm. As with all of our walks this is weather permitting, so you might want to give me a phone call just before 10am to confirm if it’s taking place (and so that I know to expect you if you’re a few minutes late).

For both of the evening meets look for a copy of the Mensa magazine on a table to find us.

Ian Sargent

Lively Lincs

On Sat 13th Aug at 12:00pm - Conversations over lunch/drinks

A quiet month this month, just the usual 2SaOTM on 13th at The Collection, Lincoln. We meet 12-2 for snack/lunch, or you’re welcome just to drop in for a quick coffee with us. If the weather is fine, we’ll be outside, if not, we’re usually at the far end of the room, spot the yellow MBlem. June’s discussion was wide-ranging: from education to electric bikes, come and join us to add your favourite topic. For info., etc, [Email]

Christine Howells

Notts News

Do you enjoy the theatre, pub, restaurant, cinema, greyhound racing or quizzing? If so, we have something for you this month.

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

As usual we’ll be getting together at the Vat & Fiddle from 8.00pm on Friday 5th and can usually be found to the left of the bar. If our regular table is occupied there is only one bar so just scan the tables for a yellow Mblem on display. Phone or email in advance if you need directions. The pub is on Queensbridge Road and adjacent to Castle Rock Brewery that is usually illuminated at night. New faces are always welcome, especially females.

On Wed 10th Aug at 7:00pm - Chicks and Flicks

Join us at 7.00pm prompt inside the doors to the Cornerhouse in the city centre on Wednesday 10th for our “chicks & flicks” event. I realise the prompt wording makes this event sound quite formal but it’s only so there is plenty of time to enjoy dinner at Nando’s before watching a film at Cineworld and still make it home well before midnight. We’ll wait if we know you are coming, especially if you are new, as we did for two members who joined us from Coventry recently.

On Fri 12th Aug at 7:00pm - Greyhound racing

Our trips to Nottingham Greyhound Stadium at Colwick are proving popular so there’s another opportunity for this fun night out on Friday 12th. Tickets cost £5 each and include admission and race card. Food and drink is available on a pay-as-you-go basis. Because this is another charity night all money from sale of tickets will go to Cancer Research UK and we’ll be allocated a trap number so we can cheer on that dog and hopefully get to compete in the final later in the year. Under 18s are admitted free of charge if accompanied by an adult but can’t bet or buy alcohol. Please contact me to purchase tickets. Why not make it a night out with family or work colleagues?

On Tue 30th Aug at 7:30pm - Eating Meeting

Finally at 7.30pm on Tuesday 30th we’re going for dinner at Sherwood Manor which is a Hungry Horse venue on Mansfield Road in Sherwood. As well as reasonably priced food and drink, we have vouchers for free bottles of wine (so have a glass on us if you’re not driving) and there’s a quiz later. Please let me know if you’d like to join us by 25th so a table can be reserved.

I’m on [Email] or [Phone Number] for enquiries, directions, reservations and to buy tickets.

Ciao for now!

Maxine Bates

Derby Diary

On Wed 17th Aug at 7:30pm - 3WOTM

Join Alistair and Maxine for the regular well attended Derby pub meet in the Standing Order; a Wetherspoon's pub in Irongate. Call Alistair on [Phone Number] or [Email] or Maxine on [Phone Number] for info/encouragement. No need to pre book.

On Fri 19th Aug at 7:00pm - At Home

From 7.00pm on Friday 19th Susan and Mark invite you to their home in Ilkeston for an evening of chilling out and chatting. Take-away can be ordered for anyone who wishes to eat, pizza or Chinese being the nearest options. BYOB. Please phone 0115 944 2025 for directions and to say you’ll be there.

On Sat 20th Aug at 10:00am - Golf Range

Join Alistair at Morley Hayes golf course for some practice on the driving range. We will visit the bar afterwards for some lunch and a drink. To book contact Alistair on [Email] or [Phone Number]. Prebooking essential. If raining please call on the day.

I always welcome feedback on events and suggestions for future Mensa events so please don’t be shy.


Alistair Blackett

Leicestershire Letter

On Sun 21st Aug at 11:00am - Sunday Walk and Tea

First up for August, we’ll try something different as as we meet in Bradgate Park Car Park in Newtown Linford at 11:00 in the morning for an hours’ stroll around the park followed by tea and cakes at the tea house in Newtown Linford. There’s the chance of some bird-watching (“There’s one! There’s another one!”), deer spotting (the wardens have asked us not to do this as the paint runs), or just enjoying the lovely scenery. I will have to book the tea in advance, so please drop me a line or call me by the 7th August to let me know you’re coming, otherwise we’ll eat your cakes!

On Thu 18th Aug at 8:00pm - 3ThOTM

Next up is our usual Third Thursday of the Month get together at The Craddock in Leicester. There’s sometimes a live band playing at the bottom of the pub, giving you the opportunity to go and heckle.

All the details you should need are at www.everards.co.uk/pubs/cradock_arms_42/, but you should look out for the Mensa magazine or yellow mBlem.

Feel free to get in touch at [Email] or call me on [Phone Number] to let me know you’re on the way.

Paul Coulson

Herts Happenings

On Thu 4th Aug at 8:15pm - FThOTM

Regular first Thursday of the month meeting. Come and join us! We’ll be around for our usual mix of lively conversation and a good atmosphere. I’ll try not to bore you with holiday anecdotes! 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 Fri 26th Aug at 8:00pm - LFOTM

Join us at the Cowper Arms, Digswell (near Welwyn village). 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). There is also a pleasant outdoor seating area if the weather is fine. Contact me on [Phone Number] for further details and encouragement.

Richard Allen

Mensans In MK and Bedford

On Thu 4th Aug at 8:00pm - FThOTM

Our regular First Thursday meeting is at 8pm on 4th August at Jurys Inn Hotel on Midsummer Boulevard. Look out for the Mblem on one of the tables to the right in the foyer. Parking is a bit busy around Jurys and The Hub, so we usually try and get in across the road and then walk through the underpass.

On Wed 17th Aug at 8:00pm - Mongolian meal

On Wednesday 17th August we visit Bedford for an all-you-can eat Mongolian meal at The Sizzling Wok in the Broadway. Our previous visits have been very successful – if you haven’t been before a Mongolian barbecue consists of selecting your own choice of meat, vegetables, noodles, herbs, spices and marinades, which are then stir-fried for you by the chefs. You can go back as many times as you like, choosing new combinations each time.

On Sun 21st Aug at 10:15am - Sunday Breakfast

Finally, please join us for Sunday breakfast at 10.15 am on Sunday 21st August at Carluccio’s in the Centre:MK (Destination Dining). Feel free to come for a full breakfast, a snack, or just a drink, but if possible please let me know by Saturday 20th so we have an idea what size table to grab when we arrive.

We hope to see as many of you as possible at one or other of our events in August.

Jo Sidebottom


On Thu 25th Aug at 10:30am - School Tour

Berkhamsted MENSA invites you to join them on a special tour of Tring Park School for the Performing Arts. Which is in “The Mansion”, Tring Park, said to have been the place where Nell Gwyn and King Charles II met, and now the home of the Tring Park School of the Performing Arts. It is one of a tiny handful of schools in the UK that stand at the forefront of specialist artistic education. Talented young people are able to specialise in Dance, Drama, Musical Theatre or Music, whilst gaining excellent academic qualifications. Many of the young people on the West End stage have trained here, including Caroline Quentin, Jane Seymour, Golden Globe and Grammy winning Julie Andrews and BAFTA winning Thandie Newton (also a Cambridge graduate). The school is housed in a former Rothschild mansion and set in beautiful grounds . Please join us for a rare chance to hear the history of the mansion, learn more about the school vision and tour the house.

We meet on 25th August at 10.30am at the school for a guided tour by Sarah Bell, one of our members and a teacher at the school. The visit will be over by about 12.00 noon. There will be a small charge of £5.00 to cover the costs including light refreshment. I do hope you will all come. The Mansion, Tring Park, Tring, Hertfordshire. Web site -- www.tringpark.com

Jenny Habib


On Sun 14th Aug at 1:30pm - Picnic

Let’s hope the sun shines for our annual picnic event at Wendover woods. We will meet near the log cabin cafe at 1.30 pm and then find a suitable place for a picnic. Following this we can take any number of walks through Wendover woods. If there is sufficient interest then we can book a BBQ area for ourselves. Will advise nearer the time. Look forward to seeing you there.

On Mon 29th Aug at 8:00pm - Pub Meeting

Our regular pub meeting is at the Essex Arms, Langley Way, Watford. WD17 3EG. Please look for the Magazine on the table.

If you haven’t ever been to one of our pub meetings, please do try and come along.

You will receive a very warm welcome from a friendly group.

David Seddon

Mid Bucks

On Sun 21st Aug at 3:00pm - Martyrs' Walk

Forget the diet and join us at Church House, Hughenden at 3pm on Sunday 21st August for one of their famous teas. A good choice of home made cakes, full cream teas, toasted tea cakes or delicious local ice cream is available.

Church House is easy to find – just take the turn for Hughenden Manor (NT), park at the bottom of the hill and walk up through the churchyard and past the church. The tea rooms are in Church House which is just outside the gate at the top of the churchyard. Look for me inside at 3pm.

Please ring me on [Phone Number] or e-mail me at [Email] to let me know to look out for you.

Val Hinkins

Lakes Party Weekend

11th-14th November 2011

A weekend of partying, walking, swimming or just relaxation based at Whinfell Forest CenterParcs in the beautiful Lake District.

Package includes three nights accommodation in twin/double room, three parties, buffet meals, help-yourself bar throughout the weekend, cocktail of the day, unlimited access to the subtropical swimming paradise, programme of events including walks, cheese tasting, quiz, outdoor pursuits and much more.

Cost £125 per place. Supplement for sole occupancy and en suite rooms.

See www.maruba-events.com or contact Maxine on [Phone Number].


Would you like to edit Empress for four issues a year? I’ve been one of the editors for a number of years now, and have enjoyed the challenge of putting together a monthly newsletter for the Mensans of the East Midlands. But I think it is time to give someone else a chance to have a go.

It’s not very difficult providing you have access to a computer and a copy of MS Word or Open Office Writer. Maxine and the Locsecs do a fantastic job of providing much of the copy each month, for which I thank them, yet there is every opportunity for you to stamp your own personality on these pages.

If you’re interested, please contact Maxine or me, as per the details on the back page.

Nick Stimpson

Family Fun Day Review

The intrepid ride the Ben 10 rollercoaster
The group look rather begraggled from the combination of the rain and Stormforce 10

Sunday 12th June

Well, what can I say? This was our second regional event within a fortnight and also the second time it rained non-stop throughout the day. Maybe we should hold winter events in future in the hope that our topsy turvy weather will be sunny then!?

Despite the weather a full quota of Mensans and their families turned up at Drayton Manor Park. The day started in the Hamilton Suite where a board welcomed our group and tea, coffee, squash and biscuits were available. Once everyone had arrived we set off into the park as a big group taking over one ride at a time. I was quite impressed some people followed not knowing what the ride entailed! We spun on the Drunken Barrels, shot targets on the Wild West Shootout, sat on the haunted swing in The Haunted, and rode the new Ben 10 rollercoaster. The group then split into two with the adrenalin junkies riding Pandemonium, a pirate ship style ride that goes all the way over, whilst others rode the neighbouring tamer Flying Dutchman boats.

It was soon time for lunch and a welcome respite from the rain. Drayton Manor have installed the new super efficient Dyson hand dryers. Unfortunately no good for drying wet hair and jeans though! After a tasty basket meal lunch accompanied with free hot drinks or squash, or something a little more alcoholic for those who wished to make a purchase from our private bar, we headed back onto the park.

Again we remained as a group heading to the Pirate Adventure suitable for all ages then Thomas Land designed especially for children. But that didn’t stop us all riding their Troublesome Trucks rollercoaster! By this time the white-knuckle riders were chomping at the bit to get on the big stuff so a dozen of us headed to the Maelstrom giant gyro-swing, Shockwave stand-up rollercoaster and G-Force rollercoaster (the name says it all!) where there were hardly any queues. Because we were already wet we even went on the water rides. Others went on the smaller rides or visited the zoo, where unfortunately many of the animals were hiding from the rain, although I assume the penguins were loving the weather.

Visiting this theme park as a group worked out perfectly. Adults who don’t enjoy the white-knuckle rides were able to keep children company who weren’t tall enough to ride. And children whose parents are wimps (!) were able to go on the bigger rides with other adults. It was great to see so many new faces and families with children of all ages at this event. Because of the continuous rain just eight stalwarts remained for the last ride on the vintage carousel before the park closed.

Drayton Manor Park is a family owned attraction and everyone I met from car park attendants to catering staff to ride operators were friendly and helpful. I’m sure their hotel due to open this summer will be a huge success.

Thanks to everyone for braving the weather and joining us. Rain doesn’t stop play where Mensa fun is concerned!

by Maxine Bates

‘20 Questions (No. 119)’

Did you guess the river names in the June competition? They were Kerr Avon, Clyde Barrow, Colorado, Jackie Trent, Yellow Fever, Ferry Cross The Mersey, Kate Hudson, Mississippi, Murray Head, Po, Orinoco, Thames Television, Lena Zavaroni, Obi, Humber, Bridge On The River Kwai, Democratic Republic Of The Congo, Zambezi, Fog On The Tyne and Potomac

Thanks to Alex Foster of Derby, Andy Cole of Cleethorpes, Pat Naylor of Nottingham, Pamela Covey of Woburn, Michael Warren of Derby, Chris Newbold of Quorn, Philip Abbott of Watford, Rita Beeson of Kempston, T Hamilton of Sleaford, Chris Benger of Bedfordshire, Sue Barker of Bury, D W Dell of Leighton Buzzard and Tony Dodd of Belvoir for entering. Lots of correct entries but Andy was first out of the hat and wins the £10 book token.

Below are song lyrics. Can you name the song (they all have the word dancing in the title) and the original singer/group? Answers to ‘20 Questions (No. 119)’, 80 Milnhay Road, Langley Mill, Nottingham, NG16 4AW, to arrive by 20th August for your chance to win.

1. Once he glanced at the jackets of some paperbacks

2. Feel the beat from the tambourine

3. The silver lining is on it’s way

4. So let’s sink another drink ‘cause it will give me time to think

5. It’s five and I’m driving home again

6. Cities come and cities go just like the old empires

7. My baby moves at midnight

8. I’m just tired and bored with myself

9. So get on up and let your body sway

10. He’d end up blowing all his wages for the week

11. I don’t need a doctor, I don’t need a priest

12. Just snap your fingers and I’m walking like a dog hanging on your lead

13. But now I know you play a different game

14. How life is a waving feather

15. It doesn’t matter what you wear just as long as you are there

16. The broadcast was spreading station to station

17. With the recipe for a lovely day sticking out my back pocket

18. It’s a supernatural delight

19. Our hero sits with head in hands and heart upon his sleeve

20. Everybody start to lose control