Burns Supper

Saturday 25th January 2014

Radisson Blu Hotel, Herald Way, Pegasus Business Park, Derby, DE74 2TZ (near East Midlands Airport)

Dinner 7.00pm for 7.30pm in the Wheatcroft Suite accompanied by traditional addresses and toasts and parade of the haggis

Regional News

Happy New Year! May 2014 bring you everything you desire.

On Saturday 25th January the officers of East Midlands Mensa will be having their annual committee meeting so if you have any feedback – good or bad – or ideas relating to Empress or our website at www.eastmidsmensa.org.uk or suggestions for future social events please let either myself or your Local Secretary know.

Following the meeting there will be our regional event of a Burns Supper at the Radisson Blu Hotel near East Midlands Airport. This should be a great evening of Scottish food and dancing. Do join us if you can!

Don’t forget we have some vacancies on our team if you’d like to get more involved in East Midlands Mensa. Definitely a case of the more you put in the more you get out of the society. Feel free to phone or email me.

Maxine Bates

Regional Officer

Events and Meetings

photo of Val Hinkins

Mid Bucks

On Thu 9th Jan at 10.30am - Morning coffee

No need to book, just join me from 10.30am onwards on Thursday 9th for a morning of informal conversation and coffee. This month we are going to “The Place to Eat”, the in-store café at John Lewis in High Wycombe, HP12 4NW. Located close to Junction 4 of the M40 the site has a large, free car park. Following the lifting of restrictions on the range of goods they can sell, the whole shop has been remodelled and extended, with former office and warehouse space on site converted into new sales departments. These include clothes and shoes for the first time. There may even be some bargains in the January sales!

On Sun 19th Jan at 1.00pm - Chinese meal

On Sunday 19th we will return to the “Eat as much as you can” option at the Sunshine Chinese restaurant, 21A High Street, High Wycombe, near the Crendon Street traffic lights and only a short walk from the station. Cost is approximately £15.00. Meet at the restaurant at 1.00pm. Family and friends are welcome to join us for a relaxed, informal meal and chat. Bring ideas for events you would enjoy this year. Suggestions already received include an outing to the Inns of Court in London and archery. What do you think of these ideas? I will need to book a table so, if you can, please let me know you are coming by Monday 13th. You will still be welcome if

Val Hinkins

Contact [Email] or [Phone Number] for details

More or Leicester

On Sat 11th Jan at 10.30am - Morning coffee

Ah, January! The month of full tummies and empty pockets! It’s also the time for us to see how long we can maintain our New Year’s resolutions, so why not put that “I must go to more Mensa meetings” one to the test by interrupting your trip to the January sales (you can’t afford it, anyway!) with tea and cakes at Brucciani’s on Churchgate in Leicester at 10.30am on Saturday 11th? It can get busy in there, so give me a call on [Phone Number] to find me.

On Thu 23rd Jan at 8.00pm - 4ThOTM

Can’t make that one? You’ll have a second chance at our usual “Fourth Thursday” thingy at The Craddock Arms at 8.00pm on Thursday 23rd. I really look forward to seeing you there!

Paul Coulson

photo of Jo Sidebottom

Mensans in MK & Bedford

A very Happy New Year to all East Midlands Mensans – and particularly those in Milton Keynes and Bedford!

On Sun 5th Jan at 10.30am - Sunday breakfast

Our first meeting of 2014 is Sunday breakfast, at 10.30am on Sunday 5th at Wetherspoons on Midsummer Boulevard West, next to Chiquito’s and not far up from the railway station (NOT the other Lloyds/Wetherspoons nearer the shopping centre and next to Jurys Inn). Come for a full breakfast, a snack, or just a drink – look for the Mblem on a table.

On Tue 14th Jan at 7.30pm - Italian meal

On Tuesday 14th at 7.30pm we will be visiting Prosecco in Midsummer Boulevard, which is a mid-range Italian restaurant. See www.proseccomk.com for menu and location, and please let me know by Sunday 12th if you are coming so that I can book a table.

There will be no quiz at The Barge this month as we will be away, I’m afraid. Normal service will be resumed in February.

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 January. 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. Why not make it a New Year’s resolution to come along to at least a couple of meetings?

Jo Sidebottom

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

photo of Christine Howells

Lively Lincs

On Sun 5th Jan at 3.00pm - Teatime Thinking

We start the New Year's events with Teatime Thinking at my house, early again this month, Sunday 5th, 3.00-5.00pm. We've dispensed with philosophers and decided to move on to learn of some of those countries we feel we should know more about. Our first venture is to consider the '_stan' countries of the former USSR. The Thinking might be different but there will be the usual tea and cake to sustain us.

On Sat 11th Jan at 12.05pm - Pub discussion

The following weekend, on Saturday 11th from 12.05pm, we will be at the Adam and Eve on Lindum Hill for our regular pub discussion. The topic of the month is 'What should you draw the line at currying?' Perhaps inspired by those with overmuch turkey in previous years but more a question of ethics and practicality. Do join us to give your views, or just listen, pub food available, free car park.

Christine Howells

Contact [Email] for details

photo of Maxine Bates

Notts News

On Sun 5th Jan at 8.00pm - 5OTM

Our first get together of the year takes place at the Vat & Fiddle pub on Queensbridge Road in Nottingham. Find us in the Golding’s Room to the left of the bar from 8.00pm on Sunday 5th for a drink and chat and to suggest events for us to do in 2014. The pub is close to Nottingham railway station and Broad Marsh bus station and has free parking outside. New faces are always welcome. Our November event coincided with their weekly quiz night and despite not really paying attention we managed to win a gallon of beer!

On Thu 9th Jan at 7.30pm - Natter & Nosh

From 7.30pm on Thursday 9th we’ll be at the Beekeeper pub/restaurant on Meadow Lane in Beeston. You are welcome to join us any time during the evening for a meal or just a drink. We have the first big table beyond the food order point at the end of the bar and a yellow Mblem will be on display. Again new faces are most welcome.

On Tue 28th Jan at 7.30pm - Eating meeting

Our regular “eating meetings” now enter their 7th year. Some restaurants that we’ve enjoyed have been visited on more than one occasion but mostly we like to try new places. If you have venue suggestions please do let me know. This month we’ll be dining at Lime Indian Restaurant on Upminster Drive in Nuthall at 7.30pm on Tuesday 28th. Main courses are 2-4-1 on a Tuesday evening so please let me know by 21st latest if you’d like to join us so I can reserve a table. Menu at www.lime-restaurant.co.uk. Bring your own bottled beer or wine or the restaurant serve soft drinks and low/non-alcoholic beers or wines.

Ciao for now!

Maxine Bates

Contact [Email] or [Phone Number] for details

Derby Diary

On Wed 15th Jan at 7.30pm - 3WOTM

Our “3rd Wednesday” event falls as early as it can this month so do pop along to the Standing Order on Irongate in the city centre any time from 7.30pm until late on Wednesday 15th. Being a Wetherspoon venue there is good value food and/or drink. Look for a yellow Mblem on a long table in the low ceiling area, rear of the pub, or contact me in advance and I’ll meet you at the door if you’re new.

On Fri 17th Jan at 7.00pm - At Home

Susan and Mark kindly invite us to their home in Ilkeston again from 7.00pm on Friday 17th. There will be the option of getting a take-away for those interested. Or just come along for an evening of socialising. Please call them on [Phone Number] for directions and to say you’ll be there.

Don’t forget our Burns Supper regional event is taking place in Derbyshire on Saturday 25th. See elsewhere in this issue of Empress for full details and don’t forget to book your ticket!

Maxine Bates

Contact [Email] or [Phone Number] for details

photo of Richard Allen

Hertfordshire Happenings

On Thu 9th Jan at 8.15pm - 2ThOTM

Thursday 9th: Not the FThOTM at the Millstream, Hitchin from 8.15pm. Since the first Thursday's the 2nd, I've moved us to the following week to give us all time to get over the Christmas and New Year festivities.

On Fri 31st Jan at 8.00pm - LFOTM

On Friday 31st from 8.00pm we'll be at the Cowper Arms, Digswell, Herts

Richard Allen

Contact [Email] or [Phone Number] for details

photo of Ian Sargent

Northants NNotes

Postscript from ex-LocSec Ian Sargent:

With the cessation of regular social activities in the county at the end of October the bank account that had originally been set up for the Northampton Mensa Weekend back in 1998 became redundant.

Some of the funds were used to pay for a meal at the last meeting in Northampton and once that event had been paid for there was £162 left in the kitty. It was decided that this would be distributed to a number of charities connected with the county so I am pleased to be able to report that £54 has been donated to each of these causes:

  • Cynthia Spencer Hospice
  • Northampton General Hospital Chemotherapy Suite
  • The Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire & Northamptonshire

Ian Sargent

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

Border Patrol

All quiet on our borders in January.

Rosie Jefferson

Editor's Bit at the Bottom

Wishing you a HAPPY and HEALTHY 2014

Rosie Jefferson

Is it you we’re looking for?

“One of the unexpected benefits of being a LocSec has been some really enjoyable visits to places I perhaps wouldn’t otherwise have gone to, because I arranged them as local Mensa events.”

Jo Sidebottom

“The role is what you make of it - the only constraints are that you meet the monthly deadlines for putting events into the regional newsletter and magazine.

  • Never arrange anything you don’t want to do yourself.
  • Take a friend, a book or a newspaper in case no one else turns up (although this has very rarely happened).

Two general rules from my experience:

The role provides a good opportunity to meet other members.”

Val Hinkins

“I joined Mensa in 1992 and was made very welcome at my first event and am still in touch with friends I made back then. When the then Nottingham LocSec had circumstances changing her home and work life I took over as LocSec in late 1995 and it's one of the best decisions I've ever made.

Over the last 18 years I've met interesting people from all walks of life I would otherwise not have done and taken part in all types of events from medieval banquets to zip-lining through Sherwood Forest.

I now consider many members amongst my closest friends and it's unusual I go on holiday without a gang of Mensans in tow whether that's on a European city break or Caribbean cruise, often linking up with foreign Mensans en route.

If you're considering becoming a LocSec I'd highly recommend it. Volunteering a few hours’ time each month can be very rewarding.”

Maxine Bates

Our region is short of LocSecs to cover postcodes Derby (DE), Northampton (NN) and Luton (LU). Many of the other LocSecs have been in the position for a long time so I asked them what was so good about being a LocSec. Perhaps reading some of their responses will encourage you to consider becoming one yourself.

LocSec made easy

Why am I a LocSec? Mostly, because I really enjoy Mensa meetings and the good friends I have made, so I don't mind a bit of organising to help to keep things going in our area. Not that there is much organising, especially if you stick mainly to regular monthly meetings.

Regular meetings are simple because you don't have to think about what to do or where. I started my time as a LocSec by choosing what suited me: a Saturday lunchtime, second in the month, somewhere one could eat inexpensively and reach fairly easily. It seemed to suit some like-minded people too and a few years later, we're still doing the same.

Regular meetings seem to work well for others too. Perhaps it's just the reliability of them; it seems to be a sort of 'glue', and we have a really nice core group with others joining in as and when they fancy.

We now have 3 sets of meetings running, most involving food which seems to be popular and mostly in response to requests for things that I was happy to do myself.

I think that's important, I think it would be miserable to do something that didn't appeal to me. For that, then I'm happy to help others to do the organising.

I advertise other meetings, like our beach hut days, or a concert that I'm going to.

Sometimes, others join in and we do it again; sometimes, no one else comes. That's fine, I understand we don't all like the same things but I think the trial and error bit is best left until one has the confidence not to mind. Also, although I do keep note of who came to what, I don't measure success solely by the number of attendees. Certainly, there's a buzz from a big group and it means one is providing something that more people want, but some of the small meetings are good, especially for those who don't like a crowd.

I think an interest in people is pretty useful in a LocSec. I enjoy meeting people, so an important part of LocSec, that of welcoming newcomers, is not onerous - it's a pleasure to chat away to them.

All in all, I have found that having the responsibility to host meetings has made me make more of an effort when I am there, but I am rewarded by getting so much more out of them.

So I happily recommend being a LocSec; there are bound to be people who will happily support you, as I was helped in the early days, and still am, by the others in the group.

Christine Howells

To find out more or to discuss becoming a LocSec, please ring Maxine on [Phone Number] or contact her by email on [Email]

20 Questions (No. 148)

The answers to the November quiz were Apennines, 19th Nervous Breakdown, mezzanine, canine, saturnine, 1890s, 39, ranine, to the nines, quinine, The Thirty Nine Steps, Nena, Beninese, Morning Train, Bradgate Park, Nineveh, nine volt battery, E19, feminine and Nine Days Wonder. Entries were received from Marianne Croll of Derby, Roger Plant of Nottingham, Pamela Covey of Woburn, David Lewis of Hitchin, Helene Parry of Brentford, Carol Wheatcroft of Derby, Judith Meller of Derby and Michael Warren of Derby. Congratulations to the winner Carol who receives a £10 book token.

Thank you to David Lewis for compiling this month’s quiz with the theme of iron. Send your entries to arrive by 20th January by post to ‘20 Questions (No. 148)’, [Address] or by email to [Email] but don’t forget to include your name and address so we know where to send the prize if you win! [Address]

1. Who famously sang ‘Any old iron’?

2. What is the chemical symbol for iron?

3. Who was the man in the iron mask?

4. What is normally added to iron to make steel?

5. In which city is the ‘Iron Man’ sculpture by Antony Gormley?

6. What is the name of iron deficiency in the body?

7. Which planet has the highest iron content?

8. In which year was the heavy metal band Iron Maiden formed?

9. What is the other name for iron pyrites?

10. Who directed the 2013 film ‘Iron Man 3’?

11. In which county is Ironbridge?

12. What is the middle name of actor Jeremy Irons?

13. Who was the Iron Duke?

14. What is the familiar name of iron oxide?

15. Which age preceded the Iron Age?

16. What football team has the nickname ‘The Iron’?

17. In which city is the Grid Iron Theatre?

18. What is the melting point of iron in degrees Celsius?

19. What distance in miles is swum in an Iron Man contest?

20. What is the motto of HMS Iron Duke?