A padlock

Can you crack the code and escape?

If you’re around Milton Keynes on the 23rd of February then why not get in touch with Jo and join her attempting to break out of an Escape Room. For more details see the Mensans in MK & Bedford section


Regional News

Thanks, as always, to all the members who are hosting events this month. Choose from breakfast, lunch or dinner, a drink and/or quiz in the pub, heritage train ride, escape room challenge and more. If there’s nothing that appeals to your interests or budget you are more than welcome to host your own event. It’s very easy to arrange. Just contact myself or any Local Officer for support. The more the merrier!

If you would like to contribute an article to Empress such as a member profile, 20 questions quiz, feature on your home town, article about your occupation or hobby, they are most gratefully received by the Empress editors. This is YOUR newsletter and only as good as the contributions YOU supply. Thanks in advance!

At the time of writing we are trying to arrange a regional event for March. Date, location and format to be decided so keep an eye on the website, Facebook group, Yahoo email group and your inbox as details are finalised.

I’m on [Phone Number] or [Email] if you’d like to get in touch.

Maxine Bates

Regional Officer


Welcome to the February edition of Empress. February may be the shortest month of the year but there is certainly no shortage of events this month. Plenty for you to choose from. A great month to take the plunge if you’ve never been to any events before. As always, I’m on the lookout for articles to put into this newsletter. So, if you have something interesting to say, feel free to write it down and send it in.

Mark Sloan

Member Profile - Marianne Croll

I am originally from South Yorkshire, was brought up in Nottinghamshire, and for the last 52 years have lived in Derby. I live with my husband Neil and have three sons in their fifties and two grandchildren.
I joined Mensa 15 years ago at the age of 66. I had considered applying for some 40 years but felt it sounded too elitist. And from some of the letters which have appeared in Feedback it still is. Too many Mensans seem to consider that they are cleverer than everyone else just because they have a high IQ, and many letters I’ve read in the Mensa magazine over the years suggest their authors are entitled to the highest jobs because of their IQ. But the people I have met on East Midlands outings are all very friendly and not like that. I belong to two SIGs: Lingua Sig and Deutsch SIG.
I haven’t been on many of the outings (we don’t like going out in the evenings much); in fact I’ve been on only three in fifteen years, partly because we’re often on holiday or with family.
I enjoyed all the meetings I went to and intend to go more regularly.
After Nottingham Girls’ High I did a maths degree at Aberdeen University.
I did a couple of research jobs (in Aberdeen and Nottingham), but my main work was 35 years of private tutoring in A-level maths, which I loved and found very rewarding. My hobbies are puzzles and quizzes of all kinds, hill walking, twice weekly visits to the gym, reading, cooking and gardening. I also occasionally download old A-level maths papers to keep my brain going. I belong to a local U3A book group.
I also recently became a volunteer patient at the Royal Derby Hospital for medical students to practise on, which I am enjoying

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 18th Feb 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].

On Sat 23rd Feb at 7:00pm - Pub meal

We hope you will join us this month at the Britannia Inn, 47 Main Street, Queniborough LE7 3DB. There are a few parking spaces in front of the inn, otherwise there is street parking. Please let me know by 18th February if you are coming along, as booking is essential. Contact Sue on [Phone Number] or [Email]

Lively Lincs

On Sat 9th Feb at 12:00pm - Pub discussion

Our regular Second Saturday meeting at the Adam & Eve Tavern, 25 Lindum Road, LN2 1NT. The discussion topic this month, since it will soon be St Valentine's Day, is: “Does Romance still exist in the Age of the Internet?” Car park, pub food, hot drinks available. Look for the Magazine on the table, usually in the alcove. Contact Jacquie on [Phone Number] or [Email] for encouragement or more details

On Tue 26th Feb at 7:15pm - Pub restaurant

Join us for a meal at The Carpenters Arms, High Street, Fiskerton, LN3 4HF. Lots of traditional favourites on the menu plus vegetarian options, real ales, etc. All welcome. Please let Jacquie know by 22nd February, so she can book a table rather than trying to squeeze us in somewhere - on [Phone Number] or [Email]

Jacquie Harrison

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

photo of Maxine Bates

Notts News

On Tue 5th Feb at 7:30pm - 5OTM

Join Linda and co for this month's get together at the Vat & Fiddle, Queensbridge Road, NG2 1NB. Note the earlier start time for anyone wishing to dine at the pub as food service ends at 8pm. Menu at www.castlerockbrewery.co.uk/pubs/vat-and-fiddle and Tuesday is curry and a drink for £8.25. Contact Linda on 07506 863227 or just turn up on the night and look for Mensa sign on table.

On Thu 14th Feb at 7:30pm - Natter & Nosh

Roses are red, violets are blue, we're going for dinner, please come too! Singles and couples all welcome to join us for food or later for a drink at the Cadland, High Road, Chilwell, NG9 5EG. Look for yellow Mblem on a large table at the far side of the bar. Directions/encouragement from Maxine on [Phone Number] or [Email] or just turn up on the night.

On Tue 19th Feb at 7:00pm - 3TuOTM

Food, drink and chatter available at the Prince Rupert, Stodman Street, Newark, NG24 1AW. Find our friendly group in the room to the right as you enter with a yellow Mblem on display. Just turn up on the night or contact Pete in advance on [Phone Number] or [Email] for directions or encouragement. New faces always welcome!

On Fri 22nd Feb at 7:00pm - Boardgames

An evening of traditional, silly and strategic boardgames at my home in Langley Mill. Feel free to bring your own. Hot/soft drinks and nibbles provided. Please phone [Phone Number] or email [Email] for directions and to confirm attendance.

On Tue 26th Feb at 7:30pm - Eating Meeting

We're going to Arunothai, Farleys Lane, Hucknall, NG15 6DY, to sample authentic Thai cuisine. Menu at arunothai.co.uk. Please contact Maxine on [Phone Number] or [Email] by 22nd if you would like to come along so a table can be reserved.

Ciao for now!

Maxine Bates

Contact [Email] or [Phone Number] for details

News from Northampton

On Sat 9th Feb at 10:30am - Pub Walk

An all-weather walk round this famous reservoir. Meet at The Travel Lodge/McDonalds A45 Dunchurch. Rugby. CV23 9LG OS 222 (450720) 9km (2 hrs 30 mins) Drink afterwards at 1.00. At ‘The Friendly Inn’, Frankton, CV23 9NY. For help or encouragement [Phone Number][Email]

On Sun 10th Feb at 10:30am - Brunch

Our usual breakfast/brunch meet-up is at the Rendezvous Coffee Shop, Marke Walk, Northampton Town Centre. The topic of conversation will be advertising: Do we need it? Is there too much? Is it honest? Who are the targets? etc. And maybe Pete will have another quiz. Contact Marianne for encouragement: [Phone Number] or email: [Email]

On Sat 23rd Feb at 11:00am - Town visit

We're visiting Earls Barton to see two museums both with free entry: Jeyes of Earls Barton, 26-28 The Square NN6 0NA and, above it, the Earls Barton Museum. Maybe an afternoon stroll round the town as well. If we want lunch or afternoon tea (with some celebrity bears!) we need to let the café know in advance so please get in touch with me a few days beforehand. Contact details as above.

photo of Richard Allen

Hertfordshire Happenings

On Thu 7th Feb at 8:00pm - FThOTM

Time to get over the post-Christmas blues! As ever, we are 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 on [Phone Number] for more details and encouragement.

On Fri 22nd Feb 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 encouragement

On Sat 23rd Feb at 3:00pm - Eat and greet

I will be hosting an "eat and greet" meeting for new members, or members who have not been to an event before, at my home in Letchworth. A light buffet and drinks will be provided and I also have some board games! If you wish to come, please advise me on [Phone Number] or by email at [Email] by Sun 17th and I will give you directions.

Richard Allen

Contact [Email] or [Phone Number] for details

photo of Jo Sidebottom

Mensans in MK & Bedford

On Sun 3rd Feb at 10:00am - Breakfast

Join us at Brown's on Midsummer Blvd (next to Jury's Inn) from 10am for a full breakfast, a snack, or just a drink. Look out for the Mblem on a table. Contact Jo at [Email], or [Phone Number] / [Phone Number] for directions/encouragement.

On Mon 18th Feb at 8:15pm - 3MOTM Quiz

Our monthly quiz outing to The Barge at Woolstone. Meet from 8.15 for a 8.30pm start - cost is £1 per person. Please let me know if you are coming so I know if we will be one team or two. Contact Jo at [Email], or [Phone Number] / [Phone Number] for directions/encouragement

On Sat 23rd Feb at 2:00pm - Escape Room

Join us for an Escape Room challenge in CMK. £20 per person, payable in advance. Contact Jo at [Email], or [Phone Number] / [Phone Number] for further info/to book.

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 Sat 9th Feb at 2:00pm - Glorious Glass

Join me at Bucks County Museum, Church Street, Aylesbury HP20 2QP to see an exhibition celebrating 20 years of the Contemporary Glass Society. Admission by donation. Partners/friends welcome. More details at https://www.buckscountymuseum.org/museum/events/705/glorious-glass/ For further information or encouragement contact me on [Phone Number] or [Email]

On Mon 11th Feb at 8:00pm - Indoor Games

Join Dave and Alison at their home in Flackwell Heath, near High Wycombe, for a relaxed evening 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 15th Feb at 10:30am - Coffee & Chat

Coffee at the Vanilla Pod, 17 White Hart Street, High Wycombe, Bucks, HP11 2HL. I will get a table upstairs where it is quieter. Hope to see you there! 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]

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 Sat 9th Feb at 10:45am - Midland Railway

Join us for a “Winter Warmer” at the Midland Railway – Butterley (DE5 3QZ). Travel on a heritage diesel multiple unit. Hot drink in Butterley Tea Room included. Ticket price £10 / £9 over 60, child 5-16 £5. Travel on the 11:00 from Butterley, return on the 12:25 or 1:15. Meet us at 10:45am at Butterley ticket office Let me know to look out for you - [Email] or [Phone Number]

On Wed 20th Feb at 7:30pm - 3WOTM

We'll be on a group of tables in the rear section of the Standing Order (Wetherspoon) pub on Iron Gate. Look for the yellow Mblem. Drop in briefly or stay all evening for food and/or drink and chat. New faces especially welcome. Contact Susan on 07989 501441 or [Email] for directions and encouragement

Susan Graves

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

Relay For Life 2019

The Cocktail Crew

Do you ever feel like you’re just going around in circles? If so then why not raise some money for a great cause at the same time! Join the Mensa team taking part in a 24 hour event for Cancer Research UK on Saturday 6th/Sunday 7th July at Harvey Hadden Stadium, Bilborough, Nottingham. Walking, survivors lap, live music, demonstrations, food vans, fruity cocktails, candle ceremony, fundraising stalls and lots more. Sign up or donate at: http://relay.cancerresearchuk.org/goto/cocktailcrewteam

Big Screen Ballet

On Monday 3 December, a number of us went to the live broadcast from Covent Garden of the Royal Ballet's Nutcracker, shown at the Broadway cinema in Letchworth. This proved to be a popular event and all three screens in the cinema were used.

If you've not been to a live broadcast like this, it really does feel as though you're at the venue as the event is broadcast live from the auditorium and a commentary is provided before the performance and during the interval. The performance as of the standard we have come to expect from the Royal Ballet and there was a nice touch at the cinema both before the performance and during the interval as a local string trio played Christmas music in the foyer. The Nutcracker is, of course, the perfect performance for Christmas!

If you've never been to one of our events, they are very informal and you can take drinks into the auditorium - the cinema provided plastic glasses for this purpose.

See you at the next event?

Richard Allen

Cooking SIG

Ethnic food dishes
A sweet dish

Before I start, I just wanted to thank Mark for giving me the opportunity to talk about the Cooking SIG. New members are always welcome and who knows, I might even be able to entice someone new to sign up! As the name suggests it is a group for people who like cooking, but the scope is a little bit more than that..

I guess I should start by saying a little bit about myself. I have been interested in the culinary arts for many, many years. Twentysix years of travelling around the world on business has allowed me to visit many interesting places and try many different local dishes. Whilst travelling I always asked for the recipes for local traditional dishes. I always wanted real everyday food not the often over-complicated restaurant fare.

I personally would love to be able to simplify the meals we make. Many recipes seem to want to use strange ingredients, as if this were in some way better. Any recipe is of course accepted in the magazine, but I wouldn’t want anyone to be put off sending in a recipe because they believe it is too simple or too plain. I encourage people to just send in anything that they enjoy eating.

Although the majority of the articles are in fact recipes, I am also trying to widen the scope a little. For me, anything that is food related is fine, from favourite ingredients or kitchen appliances, to cookery tips, opinions or requests for help. We spend much of our time eating, food pervades our lives, so the scope of the magazine should be far more than a recipe exchange forum.

I would love to be able to increase the membership and thereby enrich the content of the magazine. I would encourage you to give the magazine a try, you never know, you might like the flavour....

Best regards,

Lincoln Betteridge

20 Questions (No. 208)

Did you guess the answers to the Christmas quiz? They were Germany, Blitzen, Avenue Q, T S Eliot, Alabama, Darwin, 364, Coca Cola, Flying Fish Cove, cranberry sauce, 6th January, Nuremberg, Ebenezer, Oliver Cromwell, white, Franz Gruber, a button, Rubik’s cube, Washington Dulles airport and KFC. Lots of entries but congratulations to David Crozier from St Albans who wins the £10 book token.

This month’s quiz is all about the year 1969. Send your entries to arrive by 20th February to ‘20 Questions (No. 208)’, [Address] or [Email] remembering to include your name and address in case you win.

1. Where was Charles invested as Prince Of Wales on 1st July 1969?

2. Which musical festival began in 1969 near the village of Bethel in New York state?

3. In which British location did the 1969 football league cup final take place?

4. Which ‘Friends’ star was born on 11th February 1969?

5. In which lunar sea did Apollo 11 land in 1969?

6. Which heavyweight boxer died on 31st August 1969, one day before his 45th birthday?

7. In which capital city was the Eurovision Song Contest held on 29th March 1969?

8. Which non-toxic, non-flammable party accessory did Julius Samann invent in 1969?

9. What was the name of the dance troupe performing on ‘Top Of The Pops’ in 1969?

10. Charles De Gaulle was replaced by whom as President of France in 1969?

11. Biba opened a fashion store in 1969 in which area of London?

12. Who was sentenced in 1969 to 99 years in jail for the murder of Martin Luther King?

13. ‘Subterfuge’ and ‘The Executioner’ films released in 1969 both starred which actress?

14. On 3rd February 1969 who was appointed to head the PLO?

15. Who was inaugurated as 37th President of the United States on 20th January 1969?

16. Which member of the Beatles sent back his MBE in 1969?

17. How many Oscars did the film ‘Midnight Cowboy’ win in 1969?

18. Fleetwood Mac had a hit with which bird in 1969?

19. Which presenter of the 1969 children’s TV show ‘Playschool’ has a famous daughter?

20. Which TV show, still running today, had the highest ratings in January 1969?