This is the Apple Orchard, one of our regular haunts. This one is frequented by our Buckingham members, who are led by Val Hinkins, and is located in West Wycombe. See for further details.

Regional News

Well, a lot has changed since I wrote my last column. And no doubt a lot will change between me writing this and you reading it. To say we are living in crazy times would be an understatement! Obviously we don’t really know what will be happening tomorrow let alone June, but we have to be optimistic so have planned a few events in the hope we are let out by then. Please do check with the host that the event is going ahead if you wish to attend. We are trying to keep both the main Mensa website and the East Midlands Mensa website up to date, but the situation may change quickly.

In the meantime it’s great seeing lots of you getting involved on our regional Facebook group. With most people being safe (not stuck!) at home there has been a ‘discussion of the day’, a weekly general knowledge quiz with prizes up for grabs, plus cryptic crosswords and other quizzes posted by members. No excuse to be bored! Just search for “East Midlands Mensa” on Facebook and join the fun! I very much look forward to seeing some of the faces behind the names in due course!

Thanks also to those members who contributed a piece for the main Mensa website on being a keyworker in the coronavirus crisis. Delighted that the East Midlands region were quick off the mark and led the way! Huge thanks to the Mensa office staff who quickly set up working from home and have managed to keep things going in these uncertain times.

Please stay safe. I’m on [Phone Number] or [Email] and always happy to hear from you.

Maxine Bates

Regional Officer


Welcome to the June edition of Empress. At the time of writing we’re all still staying at home. Hopefully restrictions are starting to ease and we can meet up again. It is a matter of necessity that we have to write the newsletter in advance so we can’t reflect the current situation when you’re reading this. But, on the good news front, next month will be the first issue of Empress written by a new editor! Let’s give Carole Pollard a big welcome as she is joining the editing team for Empress. She is already experienced in writing newsletters and knows how to handle Microsoft Word, all you need to know to be an editor. But rather than doing my own piece on her, I’ll let her introduce herself in her own words. Please see her profile on page 6 of this issue!

Mark Sloan

Member Profile - Carole Pollard

Carole on holiday, against backdrop of sea and blue sky
I am Carole Pollard and I’ve lived in Milton Keynes for over 30 years, seeing many changes there. I have three children who all live within a one hour drive of my home. This didn’t seem too far away until recently, but now. We have moved our regular gettogethers online, with virtual pub quizzes and online chats – we even get dressed up for these events and they certainly help with the isolation.
I became a member of Mensa after taking my supervised test in Oxford on 5th November 1989. A friend had commented that the Mensa quizzes in her magazine were impossible and I thought she was joking because the answers seemed so obvious. She secretly sent my details in to Mensa and the rest, as they say, is history.
Membership of Mensa and reading the magazines, has helped me to understand not just myself but other people and how we all think and learn differently. This was not a common idea when I was growing up. I could read and write before I started school and loved my infant and junior school life, but after passing the 11-plus I went to a strictly run and highly academic Grammar School for girls. I was bored, and my boredom was interpreted by teachers as insolence or a lack of intelligence. I couldn’t wait to leave. What a shame – I’m sure my life would have been very different if I and my teachers had understood that my ‘difference’ wasn’t necessarily a failing on my part.
In 2006 I was working at The Open University and enrolled on a Creative Writing module (A215 – a marvellous course), and after a break of several years I continued with OU study, achieving a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing in 2017, and an MA in Creative Writing in 2019. Now I write all the time – it’s the one thing in my life that when I’m doing it, I’m not constantly thinking I ought to be doing something else.
In addition to writing for websites and working as a freelance Proofreader, I am currently working on a memoir about the music we had access to when I was a teenager, but for a treat to myself I finally attended an Arvon writing week in January and met some amazing writers. Arvon has been on my To Do list for many years, and I would recommend one of their courses to anyone who has a desire to write; the tutors are so supportive, the food is incredible and the wine is luscious. I ‘found’ a character when I was there, and I’m continuing to write about her. Along with the memoir, my new character is filling the long days of March and April very well, along with a bit of macramé, crochet, painting, furniture restoration and my new love – modern calligraphy. Keeping busy is my way of getting through these very strange, worrying and heart-breaking times.
I have only attended one Mensa event – an interesting tour of the outdoor sculptures on The Open University’s Walton Hall campus. I’m not an intentional absentee – it’s just that I always seem to be booked up when the events are on, or I read about them too late. I will be back, because I thoroughly enjoyed the company of my fellow MK Mensans

Carole Pollard

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.
photo of Susan Graves

Derby Diary

On Wed 17th Jun at 7:30pm - 3WOTM

Replaced by a meeting conducted over Zoom.

If it’s open, and enough of us are venturing out, join us in the Standing Order (Wetherspoon) pub on Iron Gate in the centre of Derby – please contact me first to check. Otherwise I will schedule a video meeting – please contact me for details. Happy to support if you are new to such things. Contact Susan on [Phone Number] or [Email]

On Tue 30th Jun at 7:30pm - Eating Meeting

We return to Gandhi Indian restaurant, Borough Street, Castle Donington, DE74 2LA, for excellent food and service. Menu at Please book your place with Maxine on [Phone Number] or [Email] by 25th.

Susan Graves

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

photo of Steve Thomas

Hertfordshire Happenings

On Thu 4th Jun at 8:00pm - FThOTM

Once again, we are hoping to be at the Three Magnets, Leys Avenue, Letchworth. Thursday is traditionally curry night, but other food is also available (standard Wetherspoons fare). Leys Avenue is just a few minutes' walk from the rail station (Kings Cross to Cambridge line). Please call me on [Phone Number], or email [Email] to confirm whether this meeting is still taking place, given the situation with COVID-19.

On Fri 26th Jun at 8:00pm - LFOTM

As ever, we are planning to be at the Cowper Arms, Digswell. The pub is next to Welwyn North station and is served by stopping trains from Kings Cross to Cambridge. Good food, beer and conversation guaranteed! Please call me on [Phone Number] to confirm whether this meeting is still taking place, dependent upon the COVID-19 situation.

Steve Thomas

Contact [Email] or [Mobile Number] for details

photo of Haydn Starkie

In Leicestershire

On Mon 15th Jun at 8:00pm - Pub Social

This month I will be hosting the meeting at the Cradock Arms, 201 Knighton Road, LE2 3TT. Come and join me for a chat over a drink, or two, or more! You are welcome to bring a friend too. You'll find me with the yellow Mblem at the lower end of the bar. You can contact me beforehand on [Phone Number] or by e-mail at [Email]

On Sat 27th Jun at 7:00pm - Pub Meal

This time we are dining at the Stilton Cheese Inn, High St., in the village of Somerby LE14 2PZ. Booking in advance is essential so if you want to join us please contact me by 22nd June on [Phone Number] or e-mail [Email]

Haydn Starkie

Contact [Email] or [Mobile Number] for details

photo of Jacquie Harrison

Lively Lincs

On Sat 13th Jun at 12:00pm - Cancelled - Pub discussion

This event has been Cancelled

All being well, the Second Saturday meeting at the Adam & Eve Tavern, 25 Lindum Road, LN2 1NT (opposite Pottergate Arch). Topic this month: “Is it better for the world if humans focus on what is going well?” All welcome. Car park, pub food, decent ales, tea/coffee available. Look for Mensa Magazine on table, in the side alcove or front room. Contact Jacquie to confirm on [Phone Number] or [Email].

On Sat 27th Jun at 11:00am - Gentle walk

Walk in the vicinity of Bardney, between Lincoln/Horncastle. Please contact Jacquie for more details by 24th June on [Phone Number] or [Email] , and to check that this will be going ahead.

On Sat 27th Jun at 12:30pm - Pub lunch

Join us at The Old Angel Inn, 2 Wragby Road, Bardney, LN3 5XE, for an informal lunch. Large village pub with car park and good inexpensive food. Guests always welcome. Please contact Jacquie by 24th June to check this is going ahead, and so she can book a table, on [Phone Number] or [Email].

Jacquie Harrison

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

photo of Val Hinkins

Mid Bucks

On Sun 7th Jun at 2:00pm - Games Afternoon

Please join Dave and Alison either at their home if restrictions have been lifted or on-line for a relaxed and informal afternoon of indoor board games and chat. All members and friends are welcome. We will be using and Skype for discussion. For further information, directions &/or connection details contact Dave a few days beforehand. Either telephone him on [Phone Number] or e-mail to [Email]

On Fri 19th Jun at 10:30am - Coffee & Chat

If restrictions have been lifted, please join me for coffee at The Apple Orchard, High Street, West Wycombe, Bucks, HP14 3AG. See for more information. Fascinating 17th century building, lovely food and good coffee. Please contact me a few days before to confirm that the meeting is on. Telephone [Phone Number] or e-mail me at [Email] Empress

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 Jo Sidebottom

Mensans in MK & Bedford

On Sat 6th Jun at 2:30pm - Walk

Let’s go for a breath of fresh air in Campbell Park. Meet at 2.30pm by the MK Rose inside the park entrance opposite the theatre. Contact Jo at [Email], or [Phone Number] / [Phone Number] for directions/encouragement.

On Mon 15th Jun at 7:45pm - 3MOTM Quiz

Replaced by a quiz conducted over Zoom.

Our monthly quiz outing to The Plough at Simpson. Meet from 7.45 for a 8.00pm 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 Sun 28th Jun at 10:00am - Breakfast

Join us at Brown's on Midsummer Boulevard from 10am for a full breakfast, a snack, or just a drink. Contact Jo at [Email], or [Phone Number] / [Phone Number] for directions/encouragement.

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

News from Northampton

photo of Maxine Bates

Notts News

On Fri 5th Jun at 8:00pm - 5OTM

Round off the working week with an hour or two at the Vat & Fiddle pub, Queensbridge Road, NG2 1NB. Real ale, reasonably priced soft drinks, varied conversation, free parking right outside, what's not to like!? Look for Yellow Mblem on the table. Contact Maxine on [Phone Number] or [Email] for directions/enacouragement. New members welcome.

On Thu 11st Jun at 7:30pm - Natter & Nosh

Our popular get together at The Cadland, High Road, Chilwell, NG9 5EG, where we have a large table reserved at far side of bar. Join us for a meal or later for just a drink. Large car park at the pub or close to bus stops. Contact Maxine on [Phone Number] or [Email] for further info or look for yellow Mblem on the night.

On Tue 16th Jun at 7:00pm - 3TuOTM

Newark members invite you to join them for a friendly natter over food and/or drink at the Fox & Crown pub at 4-6 Appleton Gate. Further info from Pete on [Phone Number] or [Email] or just turn up on the night and look for Mensa sign, possibly to right of entrance. New faces always welcome.

On Fri 26th Jun at 7:30pm - Pamper Party

An evening of fun and laughter for ladies at my home in Langley Mill. Try (and buy if you wish) lovely items from the Tropic range of skincare, bodycare and make up. Optional lucky dip gifts for only £1 for Cancer Research UK too. Please contact Maxine on [Phone Number] or [Email] to confirm attendance as an idea of numbers would be helpful. Feel free to bring a friend!

Ciao for now!

Maxine Bates

Contact [Email] or [Phone Number] for details

Member Moments

Congratulations to Nottingham member Mark Fox on his engagement to Helena Lock

SIG Profiles

We don’t normally include profiles of more than one SIG but both of these SIGs are run by Neil Matthews, who is also the SIGs Officer for Mensa

Doctor Who SIG

Inside of the tardis, showing the cenral console

This SIG celebrates the continuing TV adventures of an alien who regenerates, and who travels in a time and space machine disguised as a 20th century British police call box. Over a dozen actors have played the lead role of the Doctor, with current incumbent Jodie Whittaker the first woman to do so.

The SIG newsletter Ice Hot Doctor includes comments, reviews, surveys, original fiction, quizzes and so on. We cover all things Who including spin-offs (audios, books, two 1960s movies, Torchwood, The Sarah Jane Adventures etc).

Sherlock Holmes SIG

A woman's body lying on the floor, with a tape outline around it

If you’re interested in the world’s most famous fictional detective - whether it’s the original books, the Basil Rathbone films, the various TV series starring Peter Cushing, Jeremy Brett, Benedict Cumberbatch and others, or something else - this is the place to share your enthusiasm. In the SIG newsletter Baker Street Times we also consider the extraordinary life of Holmes’ creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, as well as the influence of Holmes and his friend Dr Watson on the fictional detectives who followed them.

To join either SIG, login to, or email quoting your membership number.

20 Questions (No. 224)

The answers to the April anagrams were Inspector Morse, Waking The Dead, Foyle’s War, A Touch Of Frost, DCI Banks, Hill St Blues, Endeavour, Columbo, Police Woman, Prime Suspect, Scott & Bailey, Dalziel And Pascoe, Blue Murder, Silent Witness, Wallander, The Sweeney, Law & Order UK, Gideon’s Way, Murder She Wrote and Dixon Of Dock Green. Congratulations to Jocelyn Binks of Bedford who wins the £10 book token.

This month we’re heading back to the 1980s when life was much simpler! How much do you know about 80s music? Send your answers to arrive by 20th June by post to ‘20 Questions (No. 224)’, [Address], or by email to maxine@marubaevents. com remembering to include your name and address.

1. Which singer performed at Live Aid in both London and Philadelphia?

2. Belinda Carlisle and Jane Wiedlin used to belong to which all girl group?

3. Who was the lead singer of Big Country?

4. In which city were all eight members of UB40 born?

5. What is the real name of Elvis Costello?

6. Which member of Duran Duran produced Kajagoogoo’s first album?

7. In which year was Cliff Richard awarded an OBE?

8. Which group sang the title track to the Bond film ‘View To A Kill’?

9. Whose first top ten single was ‘Wishful Thinking’?

10. What was Sting’s occupation before becoming a pop star?

11. Which trio wrote hits for Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan?

12. Paul Humphreys and Andy McCluskey made up which band?

13. Who is the one-armed drummer in Def Leppard?

14. Which singer married Whitney Houston?

15. Who was a member of both Bananarama and Shakespear’s Sister?

16. Who was first person to sing on Band Aid’s ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’

17. What was the first song played at the launch of MTV on 1st August 1981?

18. Toni Basil was a cheerleader at which school?

19. Who was the female member of the Thomson Twins?

20. What was the biggest selling album of the 1980s (and still is today)?