Farewell to Richard

Those who know Richard will know that he retired as Local Officer for Hertfordshire back in May, after 15 years’ service. As a token of appreciation for his hard work, he was presented with a book token from Maxine on behalf of the East Midlands region, as well as a book token and an amount of cash from the Hertfordshire regulars, who had expressed a wish to present him with a leaving gift. The presentation took place at the First Thursday event at the Three Magnets on the 6th of June. Richard’s passion is railways, and he intends to use the tokens and money to gather research material on railway history.


Regional News

Although many of our get togethers are centred around pubs, did you realise there are a great variety? Some have the option of food, some include a quiz, some offer real ale from the adjacent brewery, some are based around a debate on a specific subject, some are easily accessible by public transport, some are more rural and scenic. If you can recommend a hostelry local to yourself for a one-off event please do contact your Local Officer or myself.

Our “eat & greet” events continue based in an assortment of locations from member homes to pubs to restaurants to tea rooms. It has been lovely seeing new faces enticed out to these events and we hope to see you again. I think Jacquie, the Lincoln Local Officer, summed it up nicely following her event in June. “What the meeting did prove again was the wide range of people in Mensa covering several different groups. From my point of view, it was lovely to meet new people.” Why not come along if there’s an event near you?

By the time you read this, bookings should be open and events filling fast for the British Mensa Annual Gathering taking place in Reading 13th-16th September. For full details see www.mensa.org.uk. Hope to see lots of you there!

I’m on [Phone Number] or maxine@marubaevents.com

Maxine Bates

Regional Officer


Welcome to the August edition of Empress. At time of writing the mercury is on the rise. Hopefully it’s still lovely and warm as you read this, halfway through the summer. With Brexit still unresolved, many people are choosing to stay in Old Blighty rather than venture abroad. If you’re sticking around then why not try out one of the outdoor events taking place this month. Like the walk in Northants on Saturday the 10th or the picnic at Castle Ashby Gardens on Saturday the 24th. See the meetings section for further details.

Mark Sloan

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.

In Leicestershire

On Mon 19th Aug at 8:00pm - Pub Social

Join me for a drink and a natter at the Cradock Arms, 201 Knighton Road, Leicester, LE2 3TT. We usually gather in the lower part towards the rear of the bar. New faces are always welcome. Look out for the magazine or Mblem. For directions or encouragement, please contact me on [Phone Number] or by email at [Email].

Lively Lincs

On Sat 10th Aug at 12:00pm - Pub discussion

Our Second Saturday meeting at the Adam & Eve Tavern, 25 Lindum Road, LN2 1RT (opposite Pottergate arch). Join us for a not-too-serious chat about “People, living or dead, who would be on your dream coach trip – and why”. Pub food (optional!), decent beer (also optional!), car park. All welcome. Find us in the alcove, Magazine on the table, or contact Jacquie beforehand on [Phone Number] or [Email] .

On Sat 24th Aug at 10:30am - Eat and Greet

This meeting is aimed at the Mensans who have not been to meetings before but all members are welcome. Please join us for a free drink, bacon sandwich or cake at The Ivy Farm Shop Restaurant, A17, Swineshead, PE20 3NG – signposted on A17. Please contact Jacquie on [Phone Number] or [Email] for details/encouragement and so that she can book a table. Or just turn up and we’ll squeeze you in.

On Wed 28th Aug at 7:00pm - Thai restaurant

By popular request we are returning to the Thailand No.1 restaurant at 80-81 Bailgate, LN1 3AR (almost opposite Gordon Road, where there is a car park). Great food - menus on the website, various diets accommodated. All welcome, and of course you can bring a guest. It's essential to book with Jacquie no later than Saturday morning, 24th Aug, on [Phone Number] or [Email]. Hope to see you there.

Jacquie Harrison

Contact [Email] or [Phone Number] / [Mobile Number] for details

photo of Maxine Bates

Notts News

On Mon 5th Aug at 7:30pm - 5OTM

Join us for a drink (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) and chat (silly or serious) at the Vat & Fiddle pub on Queensbridge Road near Nottingham railway station. Free parking outside from 7.30pm and food served until 8pm. Look for yellow Mblem on table, most likely in Goldings Room to left of bar. New faces always welcome! Directions/encouragement from Maxine on [Phone Number] or [Email]

On Thu 8th Aug at 7:30pm - Natter & Nosh

We have tables reserved at The Cadland on High Road in Chilwell at the far side of the bar. Come along from 7.30pm for a meal or just a drink. Menu at www.emberinns.co.uk. Lovely food and great company! Further info from Maxine on [Phone Number] or [Email] or just turn up on the night. A popular event but we'll squeeze you in!

On Tue 20th Aug at 7:00pm - 3TuOTM

Food and/or drink plus interesting conversation available at The Prince Rupert, Stodman Street, Newark. Call in briefly or stay all evening. We're usually in the small room to the right as you enter this historic pub. Contact Pete on [Phone Number] or [Email] if needing directions/parking suggestions/encouragement to come along. All welcome!

On Tue 27th Aug at 7:30pm - Eating Meeting

We're dining at the popular Nando's Portuguese peri-peri chicken restaurant on Redfield Way, Lenton, NG7 2UW. New menu at www.nandos.co.uk including vegetarian options. Reserve your place with Maxine on [Phone Number] or [Email] by 22nd. All welcome for this cheap and cheerful meal.

On Sat 31st Aug at 5:30pm - Theatre

Frank, Magenta, Riff Raff and co return to the Royal Concert Hall. We have a block booking in the stalls for the Rocky Horror Show. Discounted tickets £34.50 each. Contact Maxine on [Phone Number] or [Email] to check availability. Don't dream it, be it!

Ciao for now!

Maxine Bates

Contact [Email] or [Phone Number] for details

News from Northampton

On Sat 11th Aug at 10:30am - Pub Walk

Lovely mixed walk through farmland, canal, bridle way, Honey Hill. Meet at phone box, on ‘No through road’ at Winwick. NN6 7PD (627 737) OS map 223 10km (3 hrs ) Drink afterwards at 'The Wheatsheaf' 15 Main Road Crick, N'hants NN6 7TU (01788 823824). For help or encouragement [Phone Number] or [Email]

On Sun 11th Aug at 10:30am - Brunch

Our usual breakfast/brunch meeting will take place at the Rendezvous Coffee Shop in Market Walk, Northampton Town Centre. After the customary quiz from Pete, we'll reveal what quality we most desire for ourselves and which we absolutely hate in others (coz we don't have any nasty ones, of course). Contact Marianne on [Phone Number] or email: [Email] for inspiration or advice.

On Sat 24th Aug at 11:00am - Picnic

Explore Castle Ashby Gardens at NN7 1LQ. There's lots to see and do for the whole family: formal and informal gardens, of course, plus menagerie (the meerkats are gorgeous!), an exquisite 13th century church, play area, lake and arboretum. Meet at the tea room at 11:00 to plan single or group activities. £8.50 entrance fee, concessions £7.50 Contact Marianne as above.

photo of Steve Thomas

Hertfordshire Happenings

On Thu 1st Aug at 8:00pm - FThOTM

Once again, we are at the Three Magnets, Leys Avenue, Letchworth. Thursday is traditionally curry night, but other food is also available (standard Wetherspoons fare). Leys Avenue is the main shopping street in Letchworth and is just a few minutes' walk from the rail station (Kings Cross to Cambridge line). Call me on [Phone Number], or email [Email] for further details and encouragement.

On Fri 30th Aug at 8:00pm - LFOTM

As ever, we are at the Cowper Arms, Digswell. The pub is next to Welwyn North station and is served by stopping trains from Kings Cross to Peterborough and Cambridge. Good food, beer and conversation guaranteed! Please call me on [Phone Number] for more details and a spot of encouragement to come and join us.

Steve Thomas

Contact [Email] or [Mobile Number] for details

photo of Jo Sidebottom

Mensans in MK & Bedford

On Wed 14th Aug at 7:00pm - Oriental buffet

Join us at Zen Garden restaurant on Midsummer Boulevard. Cost £15.95 + drinks. Please confirm by Sun 11th latest so I can book a table - [Email], or [Phone Number] / [Phone Number].

On Mon 19th Aug at 7:45pm - 3MOTM Quiz

The Barge is no longer doing a regular quiz so we're trying the one at the Plough at Simpson instead. Same date, third Monday of the month. Slightly earlier start time, so meet at 7:45 for an 8:00pm start of the quiz. Please check social media or contact me to confirm event and please let me know if you're joining us - [Email], or [Phone Number] / [Phone Number].

On Sun 25th Aug at 10:00am - Breakfast

Join Christine and others at Carluccio's in the Centre:MK from 10am for a full breakfast, a snack, or just a drink. You can still contact Jo at [Email], or [Phone Number] / [Phone Number] for directions/encouragement.

Just a reminder about our M-MK & Bedford Facebook group – if you would like to join please search for the group and send me a request. I also keep an email distribution list for meeting reminders and any last-minute changes, so if you would like to be added to this please let me know.

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

Contact [Email] or [Phone Number] / [Mobile Number] for details

photo of Val Hinkins

Mid Bucks

On Sun 4th Aug at 2:00pm - Indoor Games

Join Dave and Alison at their home in Flackwell Heath, near High Wycombe, for an afternoon of indoor board games. All members and friends welcome. Space is limited, so please contact Dave for directions and to discuss what games you would like to play on [Phone Number] or by e-mail at [Email]

On Fri 23rd Aug at 10:30am - Robots, Coffee & Chat

We are returning to Bucks County Museum in Aylesbury to catch their “Robot: A Collection of Robots, Cyborgs & Androids” exhibition before it closes. We’ll also enjoy relaxed conversation, cake and coffee. See https://www.buckscountymuseum.org/museum/events/robot-a-collection-of-robots-cyborgs-and-androids/ for further details. Small admission charge. No need to book, but if you want me to look out for you, let me know you are coming on [Phone Number] or e-mail me at [Email]

On Sun 25th Aug at 3:00pm - Tea @ 3

Join me at Church House, Hughenden, HP14 4LA for one of their famous afternoon teas. A good variety of home-made cakes & local ice cream! Meet me there at 3pm. See https://www.hughendenparishchurch.org.uk/ChurchHouseTeas for full details. Please ring me on [Phone Number] or e-mail me at [Email] for further information or encouragement.

For further details or encouragement contact me on [Phone Number] or e-mail me at [Email]

Val Hinkins

Contact [Email] or [Phone Number] for details

photo of Susan Graves

Derby Diary

On Thu 15th Aug at 7:30pm - Meal

Join us for a Tapas meal at The White Swan, Church Street, Ockbrook, Derby DE72 3RB. Typical Spanish tapas that you would find in any local bodega in Spain, but in a village pub. Free car parking. Please contact me on [Phone Number] or [Email] by Sunday 11th August to book

On Wed 21st Aug at 7:30pm - 3WOTM

We'll be on a group of tables in the rear section (beyond the bar) of the Standing Order (Wetherspoon) pub on Iron Gate in the centre of Derby. Look for the yellow Mblem. Drop in briefly or stay all evening for food and/or drink and chat. New faces especially welcome. Contact Pen on [Phone Number] or at [Email] for directions and encouragement

Susan Graves

Contact [Email] or [Phone Number] / [Mobile Number] for details

A Tale Of Two SIGS (not by Charles Dickens)

Cover of Paws for Thought, the newsletter of the Dog SIG

When Derek Sellar (then Regional Officer for Scotland) made his tour of Scotland, on Saturday 1st October 2016, to mark the 70th anniversary of Mensa, I was inspired by his example to join, and try to revive, Dog SIG, which had had no SIGSec since 2013. I wasn't previously a Dog SIG member, but have owned (or been owned by) a series of dogs over the past 30 years, so it seemed the best choice of vacant SIG to revive in light of that past experience. Ironically I had no sooner taken on that role than the only other SIG I am a member of, Transport SIG, lost its SIGSec who stepped down voluntarily. I joined Mensa in 1991 and was already a member of Transport SIG, I had written a few articles for that in the past, but I'm neither a journalist nor a professional writer, just a retired civil servant, although I was once paid £20 for a hobby magazine article which I suppose means I was once a paid writer!

Dog SIG has around 70 members, and since I became SIGSec, and sent out a 'restart' letter, I've heard from about ten percent of the membership. Active SIGS are required to produce at least two magazines per year, with a minimum of 8 pages per magazine, so a certain amount of word processing is required, plus either an ability to create enough material to fill 8 pages, or a SIG membership willing to share their own experiences and observations on the SIG's topic of the interest. Luckily for me, my own introduction to the SIG took a few pages, and I managed to fill 3 pages with photographs, plus a couple of SIG members sent in material which filled out the magazine neatly. The Winter 2016 issue of Paws For Thought, the Dog SIG magazine, went out just before Christmas that year, and I've had enough content sent in since then to produce a magazine every three months. Unfortunately I lost my last collie in June this year, and for various reasons will not be replacing her, but I will continue to run the SIG, as long as members are willing to send in material.

Like most SIGs, the main activity is sharing information about our common interest, in this case the health, well-being, and activities of our furry friends, with pictures subject to technical limits (magazines can have a maximum 4 pages of colour photos, on the covers, and dog photos tend to be large and full of colour). Facebook would be an ideal medium for this sort of thing, it's ideal for sharing photos and comments, but not everyone has, or likes using, a computer, and Facebook is prone to privacy issues, unwanted adverts and other nuisances, so the magazine remains the point of contact for members. Luckily I can use a word processor, and have a comfy computer chair!

Dog owners usually tend to stop and chat in the street (or park) when they meet, usually about their pets, so Dog SIG is ideal for extending that 'chat' among fellow dog owners in Mensa, who are mostly scattered around the UK snd unlikely to meet as a group due to the distances involved. Dogs, like their wolf ancestors, are generally social creatures, and tend to have the same effect on their owners, so I would encourage anyone who has a dog, or just likes dogs, to join and share in the “chat”.

Cover of TransMag, the newsletter of the Transport SIG

I mentioned above that the SIGSec of Transport SIG stepped down voluntarily late in 2016 : having been a member of that SIG for several years, and with nobody else showing any interest, I decided to take that on as well, rather than see it go under. Transport SIG looks at all facets of transport, really depending on what particular mode of transport interests members enough to write about it : we currently have one member involved in building monorail systems in Thailand ; a junior member who was recently on a flight from a local air training school and wrote about it ; someone who had a boating holiday in France ; and an ongoing debate about diesel cars and road vehicle emissions in general. In the past we have had a lot of articles about railways and steam traction, because a number of older members remember the steam age or are rail enthusiasts for one reason or another: one previous SIGSec was a railway signalman in the steam era. My own interest stemmed from a lifelong involvement with railway modelling, plus many years spent commuting by train to work, but as the owner of a diesel car I recently found myself starting a debate on official attitudes to diesel vehicles, which has drawn a number of responses so far!

Pat Mason, SIGSec, Dog SIG and Transport SIG

Lakes Party Weekend

Whinfell Forest CenterParcs

8th-11th November 2019

A weekend based in the beautiful Lake District. Friends and family welcome.

Package includes 3 nights in a twin/double room in a well-equipped forest lodge, 3 parties (2 with optional fancy dress theme), some buffet meals, help-yourself bar, cocktail of the day, unlimited access to the subtropical swimming paradise, walks in the Lake District and around the village resort, escape room challenge, tastings, quiz, boardgames, bingo, firework display and much more.

Cost from only £150 per person. A limited number of en suite rooms, executive lodges or sole occupancy rooms available for a supplement.

See www.maruba-events.com for full details.

20 Questions (No. 214)

It took zero time to mark the entries to the June quiz as there were none at all! Well done to Kevin Fisher who compiled that quiz for defeating everyone! The answers were red, iron, straw, Monaco, Saturday, Bengal, North East, triangular, wallpaper, Frida Kahlo, brass, Russia, Crete, London, brick, goat, female, Arabic, bathroom and red.

This month’s quiz is set by Nigel Bryant and the answers are connections. Send your answers to arrive by 20th August to ‘20 Questions (No. 214)’, 80 Milnhay Road, Langley Mill, Nottingham, NG16 4AW or [Email] remembering to include your name and address. [Address]

1. What is the maiden name of “Posh Spice”?

2. What is the name of Bruce Wayne’s butler?

3. What is the name of the film released in 1981 starring Dudley Moore and Liza Minelli?

4. Where is the setting for EastEnders?

5. Which Princess was 21 on the 8th August 2009?

6. Who was the conductor and also starred in Fantasia?

7. What is the name of the verger in The Vicar Of Dibley?

8. Who played Bellatrix Lestrange in Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix?

9. Which member of Eternal married an English footballer?

10. What is the connection between answers 1 to 9?

11. What is the home town of Banksy the graffiti artist?

12. Where did Martin Luther King make his “I have a dream” speech on 28th August 1963?

13. Who was the inventor of the negative/positive photographic process, the precursor to most photographic processes of the 19th and 20th centuries?

14. Upon Richard Nixon's resignation on 9th August 1974, who became the only President of the United States who was elected neither President nor Vice President?

15. Which building opened on 27th May 1930 and was the tallest building in the world for 11 months?

16. Who was the infamous first lady of the Philippines with a shoe size 8.5?

17. Which London bridge has statues by Promeroy – Pottery, Agriculture, Architecture, Engineering?

18. The Pilgrim Fathers set sail from which port in 1620?

19. Who was hanged on 28th January 1953?

20. What is the connection between answers 11 to 20?