Hopefully we will have a white Christmas this year. If not, here we have a few pictures from my previous white Christmas in England. Don’t you just love the snow?

East Midlands Mensa online

Join our Facebook group by searching for "East Midlands Mensa" or subscribe to our Yahoo email group by sending a blank email to m-eastmidlandssubscribe@yahoogroups.com Also see our frequently updated web site.

Regional News

As the year draws to a close it’s fair to say that 2015 has been my 'annus horribilis'. Thank you to all those members who have offered me support or sent me words of kindness. It’s very much appreciated.

I’m aware that things have been quieter than usual in East Midlands Mensa due to me having other priorities but hopefully normal service will be resumed next year. However, if you feel I have let you down and would like to volunteer to take over as Regional Officer please contact either myself or John Stevenage at the Mensa office for further information on what is involved or to request the job description.

If there are candidates there will be an election ahead of our next committee meeting in February/March 2016.

As always, thanks go to all officers in our region for volunteering their time and effort hosting events, editing this newsletter or doing behind the scenes admin to hopefully give you a better experience of Mensa. We are still seeking people to fill the roles of Empress Editor, Derby LocSec and Northampton LocSec.

With a new year fast approaching what better time to volunteer! Please contact myself for further information or an informal chat on what’s involved in these roles.

Wishing you all the best for the festive season and I look forward to meeting many more of you in 2016.

Maxine Bates

Regional Officer


Ho, Ho, Ho. Welcome to the December edition of Empress.

Not much going on this month, apart from the fact that everybody is attending Christmas events. We would love to have some nice piccies of them with the odd comment attached. I have added some of my previous white Christmas to cheer you up, just in case we end with just freezing wintery showers. As in the magazine they are printed quite tiny you better visit our website (www.eastmidsmensa.org.uk ) to fully appreciate the pictures in colour.

Maria Falces

Member’s profile

Photo of Alistair with a bird on his gloved hand
1.-What's your name?
Alistair Blackett.
2.-Where do you live?
I moved to Derbyshire from Buckinghamshire a few years back to get married. My best man was a Mensan and she is a woman! (Hello Kate if you are reading this). That's Mensa for you!
3.-When did you join Mensa?
I joined Mensa around 1986/87. I can't really remember why. I did a test in a paper, was sent a rather more involved home test which I passed (I didn't cheat!) and was invited to Birckbeck College in London to do a supervised exam. It gave me an excuse for a trip into central London (I was living in the suburbs). I probably arranged to meet some friends afterwards. I probably viewed it as a way of extending my social network. In this respect it has been very successful.
4.-Have you attended any Mensa events?
I have attended many events over the years ranging from weekend gatherings to board game nights at home plus the usual pub, restaurant and walking meetings. Probably the most unusual thing that I have done through Mensa was swimming with sharks at a large aquarium in Ellesmere Port around 10 years ago. This event was for the Anthony Nolan Trust and was organised by Mensan pal Juliette Cowen who I was pleased to see recently on her birthday after a gap of a few years. [Note from RO: Alistair is former High Wycombe LocSec.]
5.-Do you belong to any SIGs?
Over the years I have been a member of many SIGs. Perhaps my favourites were the active ones including Party, Singles, LASERS (the London area Singles SIG), Badminton, Travel, Football, Transport, etc.
6.-What's your occupation?
These days I am semiretired after a long career in the Civil Service. I do work part time for Derbyshire County Council in an administrative capacity. This largely entails storing, retrieving and issuing documents. I don't miss management and am now happy to let others make decisions and take responsibility.
7.-Any hobbies/interests?
My interests largely revolve around home, my wife and our animals - 5 cats and 2 cocker spaniels. However I do enjoy attending sports events including football, cricket, athletics, etc. I enjoy food and a beer with friends. I love travel and continue to take an interest in broadcasting especially radio (I was involved with local community radio station called Erewash Sound until a few months back). I keep promising myself that I will take a greater interest in local Mensa matters. I seem to have got out of the habit of late.

Regional Events

Please send your meeting announcements to Mark Sloan to arrive no later than three days before the press date stated on last page of the magazine.

By e-mail to [Email]

By snail-mail to: Mark Sloan 7, The Hollow, Castle Donington, Derby, DE74 2PA

Join our Facebook group by searching for "East Midlands Mensa" or subscribe to our Yahoo email group by sending a blank email to: m-eastmidlands-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Also see our web site: www.eastmidsmensa.org.uk

See the main magazine for further details.

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.

Derby Diary

On Wed 16th Dec at 7.30pm - Christmas meal

Christmas meal

Just the one event this month and our regular get together at the Standing Order on Irongate on Wednesday 16th becomes the Derby Mensa Christmas meal. A table has been reserved for 7.30pm. Choose from 1, 2 or 3 courses costing from only £7.99. All meals include a choice of drink too. For menu choices and/or to book please contact Pen on [Email]

Maxine Bates

Contact [Email] or [Phone Number] for details

photo of Richard Allen

Hertfordshire Happenings

On Thu 3rd Dec at 8:00pm - FThOTM

We are now at the Three Magnets, Leys Avenue, Letchworth. Thursday nights are curry nights but other food (standard Wetherspoons' fare) is available as well. Leys Avenue is the main shopping street in Letchworth and is a few minutes' walk from the station (Kings Cross to Cambridge line). Call me for more details and encouragement.

No Last Friday this month!

On Thu 31st Dec at 7:30pm - Viennese New Year's Eve concert

Viennese New Year's Eve concert Richard Allen Time to see out the old year - and what better way than with music? Join us once again at the annual Viennese New Year's Eve concert at the Barbican, starting at 7.30 pm. We usually meet at the Wetherspoons near Farringdon Underground from 5.30 for a meal and drink. Please call me for details and encouragement.

Richard Allen

Contact [Email] or [Phone Number] for details

photo of Christine Howells

Lively Lincs

On Sat 12th Dec at 12:05pm - Pub discussion

We will be at our usual venue, 'Adam and Eve' on Lindum Hill, probably in the alcove, look for MBlem. This month's topic to be decided from suggestions at the meeting.

On Thu 31st Dec at 7:00pm - Eating meeting

By popular request, a return to L'Italiano on Silver Street. All welcome but please book with me by 22nd if possible, thanks.

Christine Howells

Contact [Email] for details

photo of Bob Ford

Luton Leisure

On Tue 1st Dec at 7:30pm - FTuOTM

We will have the usual first Tuesday of the month meeting at the Brache Beefeater, Osborne Road, opposite the Vauxhall Design Building. There is parking on site. Come along for a drink and a chat, or just the chat. Food is available at the bar or in the restaurant from the same menu. New faces will be welcome to join our group. Contact Bob for directions or more details.

Bob Ford

Contact [Email] or [Mobile Number] for details

More or Leicester

On Thu 17th Dec at 7:30pm - Christmas meal

Christmas meal

Ah, Christmas! A time for bad jumpers, perpetual shopping and the erection of a small tree in the corner of the living room! The flipside, though, is that it’s also time for the traditional Leicester Mensa Christmas Curry! Ta dah!! This year, we’re off to Mem Saab in Highcross Leicester (http://www.mem-saableics.com/) on Thursday 17th December from 19:30. Obviously at this time of year booking is essential, so please let me know straight away if you’re planning to come so you don’t miss out. The wearing of a Christmas jumper, however, is optional....

If you can’t make it, then have a great holiday period, and I look forward to seeing you in the New Year.

Paul Coulson

photo of Val Hinkins

Mid Bucks

On Sun 13th Dec at 12:30pm - Sunday lunch

Sunday lunch and a chance to buy Christmas presents at Flowerland in Bourne End. See http://www.flowerland.co.uk/location/flowerland-bourne for location and further details. There is an extensive aquarium area selling fish and equipment. To help me ensure we reserve a suitable table, please let me know you are coming on [Phone Number] or e-mail me at [Email] by Saturday 5th December.

Val Hinkins

Contact [Email] or [Phone Number] for details

photo of Jo Sidebottom

Mensans in MK & Bedford

On Sat 12th Dec at 3:00pm - T@3

T@3 has come round again, so we’ll meet in the restaurant at Dobbie’s Garden Centre in Fenny Stratford on Saturday 12th. We’ll probably in the conservatory area at the back, from 3pm – there’ll be a yellow Mblem on the table. Contact me for directions and/or encouragement.

On Mon 21st Dec at 8.30pm - 3MOTM

Our monthly visit to the Barge in Woolstone for the quiz is on Monday 21st. Meet from 8.30 - the quiz starts at 9pm and costs £1 per person. Look out for the Mblem on a table. Please check with me beforehand to ensure the quiz is going ahead so close to Christmas – we’ve been assured it will, but I seem to remember it was cancelled last year.

On Sun 27th Dec at 10:00am - Sunday breakfast

Sunday breakfast will be on 27th at 10am at Carluccio’s in the Centre:MK. We thought that after two days at home, people might be Christmassed out enough to come out for a “normal” breakfast! You will probably find us in one of the red booths just in front of the restaurant – look for the Mblem on a table. Come for a full breakfast, a snack, or just a drink. Probably also a good idea to check with me beforehand to ensure Carluccio’s is open.

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 in December. 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

December Mensa Test

If you know of someone who you may think would pass the Mensa test, there is test session currently available in Milton Keynes. Please note: you must pre-book with the office before attending a test session on 5th December 2015 at 11:00hrs.

The address: The Quaker Centre, 1 Oakley Gardens, Downhead Park, Milton Keynes, MK15 9BH

photo of Maxine Bates

Notts News

Two of our most popular events this month – eating and drinking!

On Sat 5th Dec at 8.00pm - 5OTM

Join me from 8.00pm on Saturday 5th for a pint of beer/glass of wine/soft drink/coffee at the Vat & Fiddle pub on Queensbridge Road near Nottingham railway station and adjacent to Castle Rock Brewery. We should be in the Goldings Room to the left of the bar. A yellow Mblem will be on the table. Do you enjoy the festive season or are you ‘bah humbug’? Come and tell us! New faces are very welcome and you may bring a non-member guest.

On Thu 10th Dec at 7.30pm - Christmas meal

Christmas meal

At 7.30pm on Thursday 10th it’s the Nottingham Mensa Christmas meal at the Beekeeper in Beeston. Two courses for £9.99 or three courses for £12.99. Please contact me if interested in being added to our booking and I’ll check availability.

No eating meeting this month as everyone will be too busy enjoying the festive season. Normal service resumes in 2016. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Advance notice: Mon 25 Apr 8:00pm - The Rocky Horror Show returns to Nottingham Theatre Royal. I've already bought a block booking of seats near front of stalls for £29.50 each. Check availability with Maxine on [Phone Number] or [Email]. Don't dream it, be it!

Advance notice: Sat 14 May 7:00pm. It's my annual Eurovision party at my home in Langley Mill! Watch the contest on TV, heckle the acts, eat, drink, wear something and/or bring a buffet contribution relating to a European country. Contact Maxine on [Phone Number] or [Email] for directions and to say you'll be there. Some beds/floorspace available for overnight guests.

Ciao for now!

Maxine Bates

Contact [Email] or [Phone Number] for details

20 Questions (No. 161)

The October answers were: Blue John, Tom Brown, prediction, credo, pink (Rosada), greenstick, sea green, magenta, cyanide, orange, silver, (royal) purple, pink gin, reddle, white rabbit, Teredo, pea green, auric, Verdant Green and Blue Riband.

Well done to Roger Plant of Nottingham who wins the £10 book token.

We have a Christmas quiz for this issue. Send your answers to arrive by 10th December (note earlier closing date!) either by email to [Email] or by post to ‘20 Questions (No. 161)’, [Address]. Remember to include your name and address however you enter.

1. Who was the first British monarch to broadcast a Christmas message to the nation?

2. Christmas Island is a territory of which country?

3. Which spacecraft was lost on Mars on Christmas Day 2003?

4. What colour are the berries of the mistletoe plant?

5. Who banned Christmas in England between 1647 and 1660?

6. “Driving Home For Christmas” was a hit song for whom in 1988?

7. What Christmas item was invented by Tom Smith in 1847?

8. In Italy ‘presepe’ is what Christmas tradition?

9. Who wrote the songs for the film “White Christmas”?

10. Which wise man was said to have brought the gift of gold for baby Jesus?

11. In which year was Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas” first released?

12. How many gifts are given in total in the song “The Twelve Days Of Christmas”?

13. What is the family’s name in the film “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”?

14. How many courses are traditionally in a Ukrainian Christmas Eve supper?

15. In the novel “A Christmas Carol” who was Scrooge’s dead business partner?

16. What was the name of the cyclone that hit Darwin Australia over Christmas 1974?

17. In 1907 which US state was the last to declare Christmas a legal holiday?

18. Who wrote “How The Grinch Stole Christmas”?

19. Which Christmas foodstuff is made from marshworts?

20. ‘Nadolig Llawen’ means Merry Christmas in which language?