Regional News

As advertised in last month’s Empress, our next regional event takes place in Nottinghamshire on Saturday 7th February and is a party night with free bar, free buffet and free disco provided from our regional funds – all you have to do is get yourself to the party venue. I will also be using the occasion to celebrate a significant birthday (the one starting with 4 and ending with 0!) so please come along as I would like to party with as many Mensa friends as possible.

The venue is Greasley Parish Hall which has special meaning to me; I attended play group there as a toddler, then Girl Guides as a teenager, my best friend from school held her wedding reception there, and I now attend a weekly aerobics class at the hall. Please note that although the event is totally free you must add your name to the guest list to help catering and ensure we don’t exceed the room capacity of 120, which is looking likely at the time of writing. Directions, accommodation options and local sightseeing ideas can be found at

Contact me on [Phone Number] or [Email] to book your place.

If you’ve never attended a Mensa social event before then hopefully the voucher included on the front page of this issue of Empress will tempt you out. As a Valentine gift we would love to offer you and a guest a pint of beer, glass of wine or soft drink if attending one of our events in February. Simply take the voucher along, present to the event host and have a fun night out making new friends.

If the offer of free drinks isn’t enticing and you would prefer something to expand your mind watch we have another Forensic Science Day at Huddersfield University. The first event in November was so popular and received such positive feedback it is being staged again on Saturday 21st February. See our web site at for full details and to book please contact Diane Salter at the Mensa office. Once again places are limited to 50 due to the nature of the hands-on activities so it’s first come first served. Families and non-member guests are welcome.

Maxine Bates

Regional Officer


Rosie is away on business this month, so for one month only, I’m attending to the Empress. We’ve got a great opportunity for you to get a little extra from Mensa this month. All you have to do is bring yourself and, optionally, a guest to any one of the meetings advertised this month, present the voucher and get yourself not only a free drink but some welcoming and convivial company for the evening.

This issue also includes information on a new book by Roddy Cordon and an excellent Think Tank by Emma Hulls, along with the regular event listings, 20 Questions and Regional News.

I will be back as editor for a longer stint in May. In the meantime, enjoy.

Nick Stimpson

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.

Notts News

Publicity photo of Calendar Girls cast
See “Calendar Girls” at the Theatre Royal Nottingham on Tuesday 10th.

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

Our regular get together at the Vat & Fiddle pub on Queensbridge Road falls on Thursday 5th. Join us from 8.00 pm for a drink and a chat. We can usually be found to the left of the bar displaying a yellow Mblem. New faces always welcome! The venue is adjacent to Castle Rock Brewery so serves a range of real ales and soft drinks are reasonably priced.

On Tue 10th Feb at 7:30pm - Theatre

Calendar Girls is a comedy film based on a true story of WI ladies posing nude for a calendar as a charity fundraiser. It has been turned into a play starring Lynda Bellingham, Gaynor Faye and others and will be staged at the Theatre Royal. We’ll be going to the 7.30 pm performance on Tuesday 10th. Dress circle tickets cost £23 but there’s 10% discount for groups of 10+. Please let me know soonest if you’d like a ticket.

There are quite a few good shows coming to the Royal Centre in the coming months. If you are interested in seeing Abba tribute band Bjorn Again on Monday 30th March (£18), Little Shop of Horrors musical on Monday 20th April (£13 to £27.50) or Evita musical on Monday 18th May (£15 to £33) please let me know, stating seating preference, so I can try to co-ordinate a group booking and get discount.

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

On Wednesday 11th we’ll be meeting at 7.00 pm, this time opposite the theatre, inside the doors to the Cornerhouse. From there we’ll dine at Nando’s chicken restaurant whilst discussing which film to see at Cineworld later. It’s possible to join us for less than a tenner for the whole evening. For discount offers, film choices and to help table reservation please contact Paul on [Phone Number] or [Email].

The last Tuesday eating meeting is taking place in Derby this month so please see Derby Diary below for full details.

Don’t forget our next regional event will be in Newthorpe on Saturday 7th February and a dozen of us go ballroom/latin American dancing every Thursday in Chilwell and beginners are welcome. Contact me on [Phone Number] or [Email] if you would like a dance partner and I’ll do my best to help.

Ciao for now!

Maxine Bates

Derby Diary

On Wed 18th Feb at 7:30pm - 3WOTM

Our regular 3rd Wednesday of the month meeting at the Standing Order in Derby falls on the 18th. Join us for a meal or just a drink and some great conversation from 7.30 pm. Look out for the yellow Mblem on a long table in the area just beyond the bar. Please feel free to contact me, for more details/directions or even if you just want some encouragement.

On Tue 24th Feb at 7:30pm - Eating Meeting

It’s some time since the local Mensa group enjoyed a curry at Jee-Ja-Jee’s Indian restaurant in Heatherton near Littleover so we are returning at 7.30 pm on Tuesday 24th. Please book your place with Maxine on [Phone Number] or [Email] by 20th. They promise free poppadoms for groups!

It would also be good hear from you if you have any suggestions for future meetings or events, or if you would like to advertise one of your own.

Matthew Smith

Leicestershire Letter

Picture of a 04 Class Locomotive steaming out of a station.
Take a trip on the Great Central Railway on Saturday 28th

On Sat 28th Feb at 11:45am - Great Central Railway

On Saturday 28th February we’re taking a return trip on the Great Central Railway, from Loughborough to North Leicester, meeting at the Loughborough station on Great Central Road (LE11 1RW) just before midday. Although no timetable is out yet for 2009, I am assured that the times will not be dissimilar to this year’s - 11.45 am from Loughborough, arriving Leicester North at 12.13, departing again 12.30 pm and arriving back at Loughborough 12.56 pm. We may break the journey somewhere along the line and maybe call for a meal if there is anywhere convenient, arriving back in Loughborough on a later train. Cost for “All Line Day Runabout” is £12.00 (£10 concessions, £7 children, £20/£30 family, depending on size!). More details at Please email or ‘phone to let me know you’re interested, and if there are enough of us, I’ll make a group booking.

Sue Watford

On Thu 5th Feb at 9:00pm - FThOTM

Our First Thursday meeting will be in its usual place: The Fox & Hounds at Harlestone. If you don’t know where the village is, you can find it on the A428 a couple of miles north of Northampton. So put Thursday 5th February in your diary if you want to meet up with the rest of the local members. We’ll be there from 9pm.

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

The Roadshow meeting is on Thursday 19th February at 8pm and, for the first time in over a year, we’ll be visiting Wellingborough. If any of you East Northants people want to come along, the venue is the Locomotive in Finedon Road. There’s a train set to grab your attention, but don’t play with the sarcophagus!

For both meetings a copy of the Mensa Mag will show you who we are.

Ian Sargent

Mensans In MK and Bedford

On Thu 5th Feb at 8:00pm - FThOTM

Our regular Jury’s Inn meeting is on Thursday 5th February. Jury’s Inn is on Midsummer Boulevard (West), and we meet from 8 pm, usually in the foyer as it’s quieter than the bar. Look out for the Mblem. 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.

Our Third Wednesday meeting at the Old Beams in Shenley Lodge is on 18th February. If you’re definitely planning to come, please let me know as it will help us to grab the right sized table, but don’t let that put you off deciding on the spur of the moment – you’ll still be welcome. See for location and menu details. You can eat or not, as you wish – their food is quite good and reasonably priced. Look around for the Mblem as we don’t always get the same table each time.

Hope to see you there,

Jo Sidebottom

Lively Lincs

On Sat 7th Feb at 12:00pm - Lunch

Join us in the Armoury Cafe at the Drill Hall, Free School Lane, for lively conversation and lunch, or just a drink with gentle live blues in the background. All very welcome. For encouragement or directions please contact Christine at [Email] or ring Jacquie Harrison on [Phone Number].

Jacquie Harrison

Mid Bucks

On Thu 12th Feb at 7:30pm - Italian Meal

An Italian meal at the Mona Lisa restaurant in Frogmoor. Please ring me on [Phone Number] or e-mail me at [Email] by Monday 9th February so that I can book us a table.

Val Hinkins


On Wed 25th Feb at 7:45pm - Pub

We will meet at the White Horse at Bourne End, half way between Hemel Hempstead and Berkhamsted, on the London Road, Car parking is in the front and the back, which usually has plenty of spaces.

Do come and join us for a drink, or to eat or just for a chat. All members welcome, come if you can.

Jenny Habib

Herts Happenings

Picture of the front of the White Horse in Hertford.
Richard’s first eating meeting is on Tuesday 10th

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

The regular first Thursday of the month meeting is, as always, 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 Tue 10th Feb at 7:30pm - Eating Meeting

This is the first of our eating meetings. Meet at the White Horse (left-hand bar as you go in) on Castle Street, Hertford between 7.30 and 8 and we’ll then go for an Indian meal in the town. Contact me on [Phone Number] for further details and encouragement. Hertford town centre is well served by public transport; the pub is about 10 minutes’ walk from the bus station and Hertford East and 15 minutes’ walk from Hertford North.

Advance Notice: Our next eating meeting will be in Ware in March. This will be on a Saturday evening.

Richard Allen

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

Join us at the White Horse, Hertingfordbury village (about one mile west of Hertford town centre, just off the A414). A warm welcome and stimulating conversation guaranteed! Look for the Mag/Mblem. Hertingfordbury is about 20 minutes’ walk from Hertford North station. Contact me on [Phone Number] or Gwen on [Phone Number] for further details and encouragement.

Richard Allen/Gwen Jones

Members get together in Nottingham to celebrate Christmas.
The Nottingham Christmas meal

Animal Anecdotes

Image from front cover of book

Long time Mensa member Roddy Cordon has released her new book, Animal Anecdotes. Below are a few extracts from reviews:

“ elegantly produced little book, lavishly illustrated with original photographs. Modestly priced, [at £7.50 P&P £1] would make a lovely small present or a stocking-filler at Christmas.”

(Pat Yaxley, Vanuatu , Solomons)

“.an understanding between animals and humans that defies logic.”

(Gerald Gibbs, Repton).

“A kaleidoscopic romp through the antics of all sorts of creatures and frolic and more serious moments re the almost uncanny mental links between mankind and the natural world.”

(Stella Freegard, Norwich )

“..a book of gentle tales .to make us aware that animals have minds too ..and should not be dismissed as without any feelings of their own.”

(Edna Norton, Lincs)

To order, contact Roddy Cordon at 53, High Street, Eagle, Lincs., LN6 9DG Tel. 01522 869965 Cheques to F. E. Cordon, please.

Think Tank

This month’s think tank is courtesy of Emma Hulls from Northampton.

What law would you introduce if you could?
To banish square or rectangular buildings. They don’t lend themselves well to surrounding nature, they don’t challenge anyone in design, engineering or building skills, and most importantly, they’re boring.
... and which would you repeal?
The law about pregnant women being allowed to urinate in policemen’s helmets. I can see there being a lot of accidents!
Which charity do you most like to support?
Northamptonshire and Warwickshire air ambulance. They do invaluable work saving lives. Unfortunately, they have phenomenal running costs, and are completely run on voluntary donations.
Name a place local to you that you’d recommend people visit
Salcey forest. Get back to nature. No TV here! Quality time to be had by one and all.
Whose picture would you like to see on a bank note?

Stephen Hawking.

An incredibly intelligent man, and an inspiration.

What device would you like to see invented?
An artificial gravity creator. Its the only thing I know of that needs inventing! Firstly we have to actually find out what gravity is!.
Who would you like to see in the Big Brother house?
“Big brother is watching me, but I’m not watching big brother” Need I say more?
How would you reform parliament?
Take out all of the politicians. Put in people that represent different groups of people. Different age groups, races, cultural backgrounds, locations, financial backgrounds, careers. Basically have union representatives. So as a whole, parliament would represent who our country is.
How can we save the planet?
We can’t, we’re just a small part of a very, very large story.
Name an event at which the British could win an Olympic gold medal.
British Humour! Nobody else seems to understand it!
What song would make a good national anthem for England?
Adiemus-Enya. The lyrics are made up words. So footballers won’t look stupid when they don’t know the words. And on a more romantic note, it can mean whatever each individual wants it to mean.
Who would you like see entered into room 101?
George Bush.
Suggest a new question for this page.
A fly is heading east and a train is heading west. The fly hits the windscreen. For the fly to change direction and travel with the train there must be a moment when the fly is not moving towards the train nor travelling with the train, It will be at 0 Mph. Therefore is there a moment when the train isn’t moving?

20 Questions (No. 89)

The answers to our pantomime quiz were Lord Mayor of London, trap door, Wendy, Dandini, China, Babes In The Wood, a goose, Snow White, Robinson Crusoe, Great Ormond Street hospital, Daisy, Boxing Day, stage right, the ugly sisters, Columbine, gold, Charles Perrault, Aladdin, Jack And The Beanstalk and Cinderella. We received entries – oh yes we did! - from Geraldine Ellis of Nottingham, Geoff Ward of Lincoln, Pamela Covey of Woburn, Steve Percy of Leicester, Mary Thone of Nottingham, Alex Foster of Derby and Lynn Cooper of Hertfordshire. The winner once again was Steve. Can he make it three in a row!?

This month’s quiz is compiled by Mark Sloan and the theme is music videos. Please send your answers to arrive by 20th February to ‘20 Questions (No. 89)’, 80 Milnhay Road, Langley Mill, Nottingham, NG16 4AW, stating whether you would prefer to win a £10 Leisure Voucher or £10 National Book Token.

1. The Verve’s video for Bitter Sweet Symphony was parodied by whom?

2. Whose controversial video caused a TV ad campaign to be cancelled?

3. Who directed the video for Michael Jackson’s Thriller?

4. Which video featured Christopher Walken flying through the air?

5. Duran Duran upset the censors with the video for what song?

6. Diana Dors appeared in which Adam And The Ants video?

7. The video for what song links Tracey Ullman and Neil Kinnock?

8. What was the first video to appear on MTV?

9. What do Peter Gabriel and Wallace & Gromit have in common?

10. The video for Money For Nothing was one of the first to contain what?

11. Who did Christina Aguilera pay tribute to in her video for Candyman?

12. What links Ray Parker Jr, Puff Daddy, Billy Ocean and Phil Collins?

13. Which group appear in all their videos as cartoon characters?

14. The video for which song featured men dancing on treadmills?

15. In which city was the Abba video “The Day Before You Came” filmed?

16. In whose video was there seen a pair of FONY headphones?

17. Where was the Scopitone (a visual jukebox) invented?

18. Who was a litterbug in the video for “Subterranean Homesick Blues”?

19. Who made a video out of Lego bricks?

20. Ronnie Corbett took a tumble in whose video for Amarillo?