12 Mensans met at Tissington Hall near Ashbourne for their "Christmas in Neverland" event as part of the DE postcode district tour. All enjoyed a rare glimpse inside this lovely building and enjoyed some very creative Peter Pan themed displays - some so much that they were still in the hall when the photo was taken.

Regional News

What is Mensa? The HQ for IQ! The new year would be a good time to get involved if you are currently not active in the society. You are welcome to attend any of our social events in the East Midlands and beyond if you’re travelling for business or pleasure around the UK. If you’re unable to join in due to finances, logistics, work or family commitments then you are able to join in from the comfort of your armchair by contributing a quiz or member profile to Empress, joining one or more of the 100+ special interest groups on offer, writing a feature for Mensa Magazine, chatting to other members on the Brightspace or other Facebook groups and much more.

This month sees the start of our ‘eat & greet’ series of events. We have analysed where lots of members live and will be hosting events during the year in these postcodes. It’s hoped these events will encourage new or inactive members to come out as well as regulars. There will be some sort of food on offer free of charge to encourage you further! We start with NG2 which is actually the location of the regular ‘5th of the month’ venue in Nottingham and we have a private room and will be providing chip butties to all attendees (if notified by 2nd). Come and find out more about our society and maybe what you’ve been missing plus make some new friends!

Mensa weekends are a great way to make new friends whilst seeing different places and taking part in a variety of activities. This year the main weekends will be the Irish Mensa Annual Gathering in Letterkenny 3rd-6th May, the Scottish Mensa Annual Gathering in Dundee 23rd- 26th August and the British Mensa Annual Gathering in Reading 13th-16th September. Keep an eye on the main Mensa web site and Mensa Magazine as details are finalised.

As always you can contact me on [Phone Number] or [Email]. I look forward to hearing from you!

Maxine Bates

Regional Officer


Happy New Year!! Welcome to the January edition of Empress. A big thank you to Maria for the last three months. If you’d like to be part of an award-winning editorial team, then do please get it touch. If you don’t fancy editing then why not write a short piece about yourself or a group you belong to. I’m sure other members would love to read about you.

Mark Sloan

Member Profile

Events and Meetings

In Leicestershire

On Mon 21st Jan 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 26th Jan at 7:00pm - Pub meal

Join us for an evening meal at the Soar Bridge Inn, 29 Bridge Street LE12 8PN. There is a free customer car park beside the pub. Booking in advance is essential so please let me know if you would like to come along by 21st January. You can contact me on 01949 861356 or e-mail me at [Email]

On Tue 29th Jan at 7:30pm - Eating Meeting

This month's eating meeting is just over the Derbyshire border, at Zamani's Restaurant, 11 Rushtons Yard, Ashby de la Zouch, Leics LE65 1AL You can view the menu at http://zamanis.co.uk/. There is free parking nearby. To get to the restaurant you need to go through the archway and enter the building from Rushtons yard. To reserve a place, please contact me on [Phone Number] or [Email] before the 25th please.

Lively Lincs

On Sat 12th Jan at 12:00pm - Pub discussion

Our regular Second Saturday meeting at the Adam & Eve Tavern, 25 Lindum Road, LN2 1NT (opposite Pottergate Arch). The discussion topic this month is: “Closing down debate”. All welcome. 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 Sun 27th Jan at 12:30pm - Lunch & browse

Come along for a light lunch and chat in the Redwood Café at Wyevale Wolds View garden centre (formerly Crowder's), Lincoln Rd, Horncastle, LN9 5LY. Afterwards we'll browse the plants on display, and look forward to Spring. We'll need to book a table, so please contact us by Saturday morning if you would like to join us, also for directions and encouragement. Email [Email] or telephone [Phone Number].

Jacquie Harrison

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

photo of Maxine Bates

Notts News

On Sat 5th Jan at 7:30pm - Eat & Greet

Never been to one of our social events? Then come along to the Goldings Room at the Vat & Fiddle pub, Queensbridge Road, NG2 1NB and find out more about Mensa. There will be free chip butties for everyone confirming their attendance by 2nd January with Maxine on [Phone Number] or [Email]. Note earlier start time as food service ends at 8.00pm. New faces and regulars all most welcome!

On Tue 8th Jan at 7:00pm - Cinema

A trip to Showcase Cinema, Redfield Way, Lenton, NG7 2UW (ring road near QMC). Please contact Maxine on [Phone Number] or [Email] by 6th January if interested in case we need to amend rendez-vous time depending on film choice or wish to meet earlier for dinner. See film listings at www.showcasecinemas.co.uk and cast your vote!

On Thu 10th Jan at 7:30pm - Natter & Nosh

Join us for a meal or later for just a drink at the Cadland, High Road, Chilwell, NG9 5EG. We have a large table reserved at the far side of the bar. Ample free parking and on bus route. Menu at www.emberinns.co.uk. Contact Maxine on [Phone Number] or [Email] for further info or just turn up on the night.

On Tue 15th Jan at 7:00pm - 3TuOTM

Our regular get together at the Prince Rupert, Stodman Street, Newark, NG24 1AW. We should be in the room to the right as you enter the pub. Look for yellow Mblem on the table. Contact Pete on [Phone Number] or [Email] if needing directions/encouragement to come along or just pop along on the night. We're a friendly bunch and new faces always welcome.

Ciao for now!

Maxine Bates

Contact [Email] or [Phone Number] for details

News from Northampton

On Sun 13th Jan at 10:30am - Brunch

Our usual breakfast/brunch meeting will take place at the Rendezvous Coffee Shop, Market Walk, Northampton town centre. We'll be giving Pete a rest so each attendee will be bringing 2 of their own general knowledge quiz questions (with answers!) for him. Contact Marianne for encouragement/inspiration on [Phone Number] or email: [Email]

On Sat 26th Jan at 11:00am - Museum visit

Meet us in the café of the Wellingborough Museum, 12 Castle Way, Wellingborough NN8 1XB - a FREE family friendly little gem, with plenty of parking in the nearby Swansgate Shopping Centre. Unless we want some sales retail experience, we can then adjourn to the historic Hind Hotel for some upmarket refreshment. Contact Marianne (as above) for directions or information.

photo of Richard Allen

Hertfordshire Happenings

On Thu 3rd Jan 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 25th Jan 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.

Richard Allen

Contact [Email] or [Phone Number] for details

photo of Jo Sidebottom

Mensans in MK & Bedford

On Sun 6th Jan at 11.00am - Riverside walk & lunch

Meet in the car park on the west side of Haversham Road, north of the Haversham roundabout, for a walk along the river to Stony Stratford and back. We will stop for lunch at a pub or restaurant en route. Contact Jo at [Email], or [Phone Number] / [Phone Number] for directions/encouragement.

On Sun 13th Jan 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 21st Jan at 8:30pm - 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. We are away, so David is hosting; please let him know if you are coming so he knows if it will be one team or two. Contact [Email] / [Phone Number] / [Phone Number].

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 Tue 1st Jan at 2:00pm - Italian Meal & 2019 Plans

Join me at ASK Restaurant at 17 High Street, High Wycombe, HP11 2BE. Either arrive at 2pm for a late lunch or come along later for coffee and to discuss plans for meetings in 2019. Details at https://www.askitalian.co.uk/menu/ Partners/friends welcome. I will need to book a table, so please contact me on [Phone Number] or [Email] by Sunday 30th December to reserve a place.

On Fri 11th Jan at 10:30am - Coffee & Chat

Coffee at The Cedar Coffee Shop, 28 West Street, Marlow, Bucks, SL7 2NB. Lovely food and good coffee. 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 Mon 14th Jan 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]

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 Wed 16th Jan at 7:30pm - 3WOTM

Its our regular Third Wednesday get-together at the Standing Order pub on Iron Gate (Wetherspoons). Join us to eat or just for a drink and a chat from 7.30pm to cheer up the new year. Look for the yellow Mblem on a long table in the rear section. Contact Susan on [Phone Number] or [Email] for directions and/or encouragement. New faces especially welcome.

On Thu 24th Jan at 7:30pm - Meal

Let’s have an Indian meal out at Bollywood restaurant, Hollybrook Way, Heatherton Village, Derby (DE23 3TZ). The restaurant has recently been revamped and has good reviews. Free parking. Please contact me on [Phone Number] or [Email] by Monday 21st so I can confirm numbers.

Susan Graves

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

No Damn Clue

The band performing

Drummers are often the butt of some very cruel jokes in the music world:

What do you call a drummer with half a brain? - Gifted.

Hey, did you hear about the drummer who finished high school? - Me neither.

But after years of being pushed to the back of the stage and being subjected to numerous drummer jokes by my fellow ‘musicians’, I can now hold my head up high after recently joining the prestigious group of Mensans in the East Midlands.

It has been proved that percussionists’ brains do work differently to most people’s, with an innate ability to problem-solve in dynamic situations.

Well now it’s official! Thank you to the lovely folk that have already welcomed me to Mensa.

Playing locally in the East Midlands, I have already met several of you while playing drums with my band – the aptly named ‘No Damn Clue’.

We are a four-piece band celebrating the work of Queen, Stereophonics & Van Morrison to name but a few. We have been together in the current line-up for a couple of years although we have played together in various guises for two decades!

As our 2019 calendar is filling up nicely; it would be lovely to meet some of you at one of our gigs. All the details can be found on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/NoDamnClue. We also have an Alexa skill available for the Amazon Echo. Simply search ‘No Damn Clue’ in skills.

No Damn Clue? Maybe, we should now change the name of the band!

Lee Hawke

Pictures from recent events

A group of Mensans, led by Val Hinkins, enjoy a visit to the Trenchard Museum at James McCudden Flight Heritage Centre at RAF Halton
10 members enjoyed a tour of the National Brewery Centre in Burton Upon Trent which included beer tasting afterwards. Afterwards, most went to Wetherspoons on the High Street - as this was a success, Susan is considering hosting or supporting another event in Burton soon - please contact her if this would be of interest - [Email]

20 Questions (No. 207)

Not many photographers out there judging by the very few entries to the November competition. The answers were 1/200, Bokeh, 1.4, David Bailey, Magnum, Antony Armstrong Jones (Lord Snowdon), high dynamic range, Nikon, Jean Shrimpton, Hasselblad, megapixels, war photography, wide angle zoom lens, macro photography, twin lens reflex, Canon, ISO, making tripods, What I See and a hide. The £10 book token is on the way to Roger Plant of Nottingham.

Thanks to Nigel Bryant for compiling this month’s quiz on the subject of George Orwell. Send your entries to ‘20 Questions (No. 207)’, [Address] or [Email] by 20th January. Don’t forget to include your name and address!

1. In which Indian village was George Orwell born?

2. George Orwell adopted this nom de plume in 1932. What was his name originally?

3. Down and Out in London and where?

4. What was the name of Orwell’s first wife?

5. Orwell joined which brigade when he fought in the Spanish Civil War?

6. Which English humourist did Orwell defend in an essay published in 1945?

7. Winston and Julia are lovers in which work by Orwell?

8. What is the name of the donkey in Animal Farm?

9. Orwell wrote an essay on how to make what?

10. What animal did Orwell shoot “to avoid looking foolish”?

11. Name Mensa member Nigel Bryant's 2013 sequel to Animal Farm that takes it into the 21st century.

12. What is the name of Orwell’s adopted son?

13. In which country did George Orwell serve in the police force between 1922 to 1927?

14. Which public school did Orwell attend from 1917 to 1921?

15. What is contained in Room 101?

16. Cyril Connolly was the editor of which publication that published several of Orwell's essays?

17. What plant should we keep flying?

18. On which island was Orwell living when he wrote most of Nineteen Eighty-Four?

19. In which seaside town was Orwell's prep school that some people think was the inspiration for Nineteen Eighty-Four?

20. George Orwell is buried in which Oxfordshire village?