Best Of British Party

Saturday 16th June 2012

East Midlands Mensa decided to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee and Olympics by holding a party midway between the two events. The venue was the church hall in the pretty town of Uppingham in England’s smallest county of Rutland. Beforehand some of us spent the afternoon at nearby Rutland Water enjoying lunch in their café and a cruise around the water on the “Rutland Belle” boat.

With many of the guests heading straight to Uppingham from Rutland Water there was an instant party atmosphere. Half the fun of the event was setting up our “street party” and the room was soon a sea of red, white and blue with union flag table coverings, bunting, flags and even a cake stand. As more guests arrived laden with buffet contributions the table was soon full of everything from homemade bread to cakes with red and blue fillings.

There was a short icebreaker game where everyone was given a couple of pieces of a jigsaw puzzle and had to find the matching pieces amongst their fellow partygoers in order to reveal famous landmarks of Great Britain. And with everyone there by the official start time the “street party” began accompanied by traditional British music.

After we had finished eating – although with so much food nibbling continued throughout the evening – it was time for a geography lesson, AKA quiz time! Each person/team was given a map of Great Britain with 60 numbers on it. There were 60 place names stuck on the walls. Guests simply had to say which number corresponded with which place name. Not as easy as it sounds! The winning team of Paul, Lesley and Angela each won a mug with a union flag design. The next game was a variation of pass the parcel but we passed an inflatable Olympic torch and it all got quite competitive!

Throughout the evening guests had been perusing the raffle table and buying tickets. This raised funds for Cancer Research UK and was drawn around 9.00pm with most people winning something to take home. After some more chatting and drinking and a bit of dancing there were demands for more games so we played musical chairs and musical statues, then danced to the ever popular Saturday Night and Macarena before rounding off the evening with a little karaoke.

Thank you to everyone who attended – from Notts and Derbys in the north to Milton Keynes in the south although unfortunately no local members – and who entered into the party spirit by all wearing red, white or blue. Also for helping to clear up to the degree the church warden emailed us afterwards thanking us for leaving their hall so spick and span. Big thanks should also go to Paul Coulson for co-organising the event and providing the DJ services despite having just returned from holiday and being full of cold. What a trooper.

by Maxine Bates

Regional News

Thanks to those who ventured out in the rain to Rutland Water and then onwards to Uppingham for our “Best Of British” party in June. You can find a review and photos of the event in this issue of Empress. As the Mensa Magazine Editor commented, it was a very colourful party!

There are lots of weekend gatherings taking place over the coming weeks. If you are a musician or singer you may be interested in the Mensa Music Weekend taking place at Giggleswick School, Settle, North Yorkshire 16th-19th August. If you’re looking for somewhere to go over the August bank holiday then head to Renfrew for the Scottish Mensa Annual Gathering 24th-27th August. And don’t forget the British Mensa Annual Gathering, including AGM, taking place in Belfast 21st-24th September. For full details on all these events go to or contact Diane at the Mensa office.

Enjoy the summer. (I’m assuming we’ll get some summer weather at some point!)

Maxine Bates

Regional Officer

Lakes Party Weekend

9th-12th November 2012

A weekend of partying, walking, swimming, activities or just relaxationbased 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 eventsincluding walks, chocolate tasting, liqueur tasting, quiz, and much more.

Cost £145 per person.

See or contact Maxine on [Phone Number].

Events and Meetings

In the current circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 coronavirus, the expectation is that all non-online events listed here are susceptible to being 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

On Sat 11th Aug at 12:05pm - 2SaOTM

Do join us for the usual 2SaOTM pub discussion at the Adam & Eve on Lindum Hill for lunch or just a drink. People roll up from 12ish, at 12.30 we will start a discussion on ‘Is the love of money the root of all evil?’, before rambling onto other subjects and more general chat. For encouragement: [Email]

On Sun 26th Aug at 3:00pm - At home

A rather more academic discussion is to be had over tea and cakes at my house near Alford, Sunday 26th August, 3-5. We are ambling through ideas of the main philosophers but no previous knowledge required, anyone can join in. This month: Heidegger: what is it to exist? For directions: [Email]

On Sun 26th Aug at 5:45pm - Indian meal

After all that thinking we are going to try out the Charm Spice Indian restaurant in Spilsby for an early evening eating meeting, 5.45 on Sunday 26th August. Everyone welcome to join either or both of these events but I would be grateful if you would please book with me for the meal by Friday 14th, thanks."[Email]

Christine Howells

Notts News

We have two regular events and two different events this month.

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

Join us from 8.00pm on Sunday 5th for a drink and chat at the Vat & Fiddle pub on Queensbridge Road on the outskirts of Nottingham city centre. We’ll be in the Golding’s Room to the left of the bar. When you order note the “Mensa meet here” plaque near the whisky bottles!

On Thu 9th Aug at 7:30pm - Natter and nosh

From 7.30pm on Thursday 9th find us at the Beekeeper pub on Meadow Lane in Beeston for food or just a drink. This is proving a popular event in terms of both location and value for money. Some people pop in briefly and others stay all evening. So feel free to join us whenever convenient. We’ll be on the table near the food order point at the end of the bar. There is ample free parking at the pub.

On Fri 17th Aug at 7:00pm - Greyhound racing

On Friday 17th we’re making a return trip to Nottingham Greyhound Stadium. This event usually attracts 30-50 people and is a fun, and sometimes profitable, night out. The stadium have donated tickets and I’m selling them for £5 each. Normal price for admission and race card is £6. So not only do you get a bargain but you’ll also help charity as all the £5s go to Cancer Research UK. Gates open at 6.00pm with the first race at 6.28pm and the last race finished by 10.30pm. Arrive/leave when you like. Food and drink is available at the venue as well as free parking. Follow the signs to Colwick race course/park and ride. Under 18s are welcome and admitted free of charge with a paying adult but obviously can’t buy alcohol or place bets. Contact me to buy your tickets.

On Tue 21st Aug at 7:30pm - Starlight Express

Starlight Express, the long-running musical set on rollerskates, comes to the Royal Concert Hall at 7.30pm on Tuesday 21st. Tickets are priced from £16. If anyone is interested please contact me and I’ll try to arrange a group booking.

Ciao for now!

Maxine Bates

Derby Diary

Two events this month involving food and drink.

On Wed 15th Aug at 7:30pm - 3WOTM

Join us from 7.30pm on Wednesday 15th at the Standing Order on Irongate in the city centre for food or just a drink. Find us in the low ceiling area at the rear of the pub. Remember to bring your Cathedral Quarter card if you have one as that gives 20% discount on already low Wetherspoon food prices. Contact me in advance for directions/parking suggestions or just turn up on the night and look for a yellow Mblem on a long table. There are usually 15-20 of us of all ages and nationalities. Everyone welcome!

On Tue 28th Aug at 7:30pm - Eating meeting

This month’s “eating meeting” takes place at Valentino’s which is an Italian restaurant on High Street in Ripley. I’ve never eaten there previously but the venue gets excellent reviews on the internet. As it’s only a small restaurant I’ll need to reserve a table so please let me know by 23rd at the very latest if you’d like to join us at 7.30pm on Tuesday 28th.

Maxine Bates

Northants NNotes

On Thu 2nd Aug at 9:00pm - FThOTM

And our first meeting of the month is on Thursday 2nd August at 9pm, when we will congregate at The Spinney Hill, Kettering Road, Northampton, NN3 6LR.

Enter the building from doorway on the right-hand side to get to the Lounge at the rear of the pub. We will either be close to the entrance there or, if it’s a warm evening, out on the veranda.

On Thu 16th Aug at 8:00pm - Roadshow

The Roadshow sets out two weeks later, on Thursday 16th August at 8pm. This month it pays a visit to the village of Piddington; to The Spread Eagle in Forest Road, NN7 2DA. As the road through the village doesn’t lead anywhere you many not have ventured there before. Take the B526 Northampton-Newport Pagnell road and turn off when you get to Hackleton. We’ll be in the Lounge.

There is a possibility of a third Northants meeting in August, on a Saturday lunchtime down at Hinton-in-the-Hedges near the Oxfordshire border. If we can sort out a suitable date I will send out an invite via e-mail.

As always, a copy of the Mensa magazine, or another Mensa symbol, will show you who we are. If you need any further information contact me on [Phone Number] or e-mail [Email].

Ian Sargent

More or Leicester

On Thu 23rd Aug at 8:00pm - 3ThOTM

As Summer lazily passes by in comforting warmth / freezing cold deluge (delete as appropriate), thoughts turn to barbeques and garden parties. This month, such thoughts will be taking place in The Craddock ( where our regular Third Thursday of the Month gethering will be taking place on the fourth Thursday due to the fact I’m on holiday sunning myself on a Devonshire beach / sheltering from the rain in a doorway (delete as appropriate). We’ll be meeting up at 20:00pm on the 23rd and there’s a nice outside area there, just in case.... y’know.... well the sun MIGHT be out..! Give me a call on [Phone Number], or email me at [Email] for info / a chat / to offer use of a free villa in Spain (delete as appropriate).

Paul Coulson

Mensans In MK and Bedford

On Thu 2nd Aug at 8:00pm - FThOTM

Please join us on the 2nd from 8pm for informal First Thursday chat at The Old Beams at Shenley Lodge. Feel free to join us for a meal or just a drink - look out for the Mblem or mag. See for location, menu etc.

On Sun 12th Aug at 10:15am - Sunday breakfast

Sunday breakfast will be at 10.15 am on Sunday 12th, at Carluccio’s in the Centre:MK. Feel free to come for a full breakfast, a snack, or just a drink - we will probably be in one of the red booths just outside the restaurant.

On Sat 25th Aug at 2:00pm - Geocaching

Our final August event is a first for us – geocaching in the pretty market town of Olney. New member Carla has more geocaching experience than most of us (which is none at all) so we hope it will be successful and we’ll all get the bug! We’ll meet at 2pm on Saturday 25th on Olney Market Square, opposite the Cowper & Newton Museum. If we find the geocache quickly enough we’ll do a self-guided walk around the town, with leaflets, finishing up at a tea shop.

We hope to see as many of you as possible at one or other of our events in August. Do remember that you’re welcome to bring a guest with you, so if you’ve never been to a Mensa event and are a little nervous about coming along on your own, just bring a friend!

Jo Sidebottom

Milton Keynes & Bedford Mensa @ Facebook

There is now a thriving Facebook group for Milton Keynes & Bedford area Mensans, where we chat, discuss events, publicise any short-notice events, and so on. So far we have 35 members, but more are always welcome. It’s a closed group, and I’ve discovered that closed group admins can only invite their own Facebook friends (I assume to prevent random spamming of unknown people) so if you would like to join, please search on Facebook for the M-MK & Bedford group and request to join (I haven’t included Mensa in the name as some people are reticent about their membership and wouldn’t want a Mensa group showing on their wall). Alternatively please send me a Facebook Friend request (preferably with a note telling me you’re a local Mensan) and then I can invite you.

Jo Sidebottom

WATever . . .

On Sun 12th Aug at 2:00pm - Picnic and walk at Wendover woods.

Picnic and walk at Wendover woods. Hoping the weather will be fine for this one!

We usually meet up near to the Cafe/visitor area and then find a nice spot for the picnic.followed by a leisurely walk along one of the numerous woodland paths.

Please try and email me to let me know if you plan on attending.

On Mon 27th Aug at 8:00pm - Pub meeting

Pub meeting at the King’s Head, Bridge Road, Hunton Bridge WD4 8RE"

Please look for a Mensa group in the garden! and the Magazine on the bench. We get a good turn out to the pub meets and have a wide age range - come and say hi!

New members always warmly welcomed.

David Seddon

Mid Bucks

On Sat 4th Aug at 7:00pm - Much Ado About Nothing

Join me for an open-air performance of Much Ado About Nothing at Hughenden Manor on Saturday 4th August at 7pm. Tickets (£16 / £12) are available from the National Trust on 0844 2491895. Buy your own tickets, but let me know you are coming so that I can look out for you."

If you would like to join me for an informal meal in High Wycombe before the performance, please contact me a week or so in advance and we will arrange to meet.

For further directions or encouragement please ring me on [Phone Number] or e-mail me at [Email]

Val Hinkins

Herts Happenings

Note that I’m unavailable between mid August and early September as I’m working at the Paralympics doing strange shifts, so Steve Hemingway will be standing in for me at Last Friday. I’m sure there’ll be an Empress article about it afterwards! I’m also about to go on my hols, so catch up with you all in due course!

On Thu 2nd 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. 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..

Richard Allen

Richard’s not available for this meeting so I shall be standing in. Otherwise, there’s no change and we’re still at the Cowper Arms, Digswell, Herts (by Welwyn North station). Call me on 07712 176618 for more details and encouragement. The pub is next to the railway station, which is served by stopping trains from Kings Cross to Cambridge and Peterborough. If the weather’s fine, we might be outside for a bit!

Steve Hemingway


On Wed 29th Aug at 7:45pm - LWOTM

We will meet as usual at the Old Mill at 7.45-ish., the pub set back from the London road, next door to the Esso petrol station. if it is fine we will sit in the garden.

Come and chat / drink/ eat and see what happens.

Jenny Habib

‘20 Questions (No. 131)’

The answers to our Queen quiz from July were 8, 20th November 1947, great great granddaughter, Susan, Helen Mirren, Kenya, Winston Churchill, Edinburgh, Alexandra Mary, $20, Dartmouth Naval College, Sandringham House, French, Norman Hartnell, Bruton Street, Westminster Abbey, George and Mary, Windsor Castle, Clarence House and Lilibet..

Entries were received from Pamela Covey of Woburn, Rita Beeson of Kempston, Chris Impey of Tring, Philip Abbott of Watford, D W Dell of Leighton Buzzard, Carol Wheatcroft of Derby and Helene Parry of Brentford with Helene being drawn at random from all the correct entries and winning the £10 book token.

With thanks to Mark Sloan for compiling this month’s quiz. Can you name the films containing these quotes? Send your answers to arrive by 20th August to ‘20 Questions (No. 131)’, 80 Milnhay Road, Langley Mill, Nottingham, NG16 4AW.

1. “You had me at ‘hello.’”

2. “One morning I shot an elephant in my pyjamas.”

3. “There’s no crying in baseball!”

4. “La-dee-da, la-dee-da.”

5. “A boy’s best friend is his mother.”

6. “Greed, for lack of a better word, is good.”

7. “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.”

8. “As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again.”

9. “Open the pod bay doors, HAL.”

10. “Well, here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into!”

11. “Say ‘hello’ to my little friend!”

12. “What a dump.”

13. “Mrs. Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me. Aren’t you?”

14. “Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the War Room!”

15. “Elementary, my dear Watson.”

16. “Get your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape.”

17. “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.”

18. “Here’s Johnny!”

19. “They’re here!”

20. “Is it safe?”