Question marks, to represent the quiz

Buffet & Quiz Night

Saturday 3rd March 7-11pm

Kegworth Hotel, Packington Hill, Derbys, DE74 2DF

Join us for a buffet meal followed by general knowledge quiz.

Play in teams of up to 4 people with prize for the winners.

Also optional raffle with some lovely prizes.

Cost £10 per person. Book by 23rd February via the Mensa Website (search ‘East Midlands’ under Local Events)

Overnight accommodation available at the hotel for £65 per room (double, twin or sole occupancy) including full English breakfast.

Phone 01509 672427 to book quoting “Mensa”.

Optional visit to the Donington Collection

(largest exhibition of F1 cars plus military vehicles from WW2 and rare Harley Davidson bikes) at nearby Donington Park at 11am on Sunday 4th March.

Friends and family of all ages welcome!

Regional News

I’m delighted to announce that Jacquie Harrison will be returning to the role of Lincoln Local Officer. Many thanks to all the local members who have been supporting her keeping events going since Christine relocated. Please go along to one of the varied Lincolnshire events if you can or contact Jacquie if you have suggestions for future events or would be prepared to host one yourself. That just leaves us with Luton and Northampton with vacant roles now. Would anyone be interested in taking over one of those? Contact myself for further information.

On Saturday 3rd March we are holding our annual regional committee meeting. If you have any issues (positive or negative) you would like discussing please let either myself or your Local Officer know beforehand. This will be followed by a buffet and quiz night starting at 7.00pm at the Kegworth Hotel. Ideally located near M1 J24 so accessible from Notts/Derbys/Leics although members have already booked from around our region and beyond. All ages welcome as are family and friends. Accommodation is reasonably priced and as several guests will be staying overnight there’s an optional visit to the nearby Donington Collection at 11.00am the following day. This is the world’s largest exhibition of F1 cars and also includes military vehicles from WW2 and some rare Harley Davidson bikes. You are welcome to join us for either the Saturday or Sunday event but you must book the buffet in advance.

I’m on [Phone Number] or [Email]

Maxine Bates

Regional Officer


Welcome to the March edition of Empress. We can all be looking forward to Spring now, leaving the Winter Blues behind. Why not celebrate by coming along to the big regional event this month. For the younger Mensans in the region, why not check out “Bright Sparks – Square Pegs”, elective educational enrichment groups for gifted children aged 7 or over, which are starting this month. See page 5 for details. As IMAG got a mention last month, this month there is information on SMAG. This is my last issue for now. For the next three months Empress will be in the capable hands of Maria Falces.

Mark Sloan

Member’s profile - Pete Gault

Portrait photo of Pete Gault
Pete Gault
When joined Mensa:
I’ve joined about 4 times since 1996 – I’m sure the exam papers got mixed up, (Me? Passed the exam? How did that happen?). I’m trying to get a regular Mensa meeting going in Newark where I live. So far so good, largely thanks to support from Maxine Bates.
Technical writer with the Met Office. It’s taken me to so many interesting places – airport control towers, container ships, rocket ranges, mountain tops, nuclear power stations, airliner cockpits and more. I mostly edit engineering manuals about radar (for rainfall), lasers (for characterising volcanic ash), and other weather observation instruments. I use Simplified Technical English, a subset of English that has a restricted lexicon of 970 words. The European specification for this ‘controlled language’ is used globally in aerospace and defence. By radically simplifying the way English is used and by allowing each word only one definition, it’s possible to reduce the readers’ misunderstandings and translation errors to almost zero.
Sailing and rock fishing. I live miles from the sea, so it takes some organising. I read, do (very) amateur astronomy, and try hard to avoid gardening or DIY.
Favourite things:
Favourite word – metanarrative, favourite subculture – steampunk, favourite band - Green Day, favourite drink – red wine (chilled).
Anything else:
A few years ago I went for a routine job interview. I noticed the recruiters were both dressed as ‘men in black’, then realised we were in a shielded windowless room. Part way through the proceedings they suddenly invited me to become a spy – to gather intelligence overseas. I turned it down. About 2 weeks later in a coffee shop many miles away, I recognised one of the ‘men in black’ sitting in the opposite corner. He looked over and caught my eye. Next time I looked over, he was gone.

Events and Meetings

In Leicestershire

On Mon 19th Mar at 8:00pm - Pub Social

Join us as we gather to mark the imminent arrival of spring at our usual convivial third Monday of the Month meeting at the Cradock Arms, 201 Knighton Road, Leicester, LE2 3TT. We usually gather in the lower part towards the rear of the bar. Look out for the magazine. For directions or encouragement please contact me on [Phone Number] or by email at [Email].

On Sat 31st Mar at 7:00pm - Evening Meal

Our last Saturday of the month meal will be at the Black Horse, 3 Main Street, Grimston, Melton Mowbray LE14 3BZ If you would like to join us, please reserve a place through Sue on [Phone Number] or [Email] by 23rd March.

Lively Lincs

On Sat 10th Mar at 12:00pm - Pub discussion

Our regular second Saturday meeting. Join us in the alcove of the Adam and Eve, 25 Lindum Road (bend of hill) for a discussion around “If you could know the answer to one question about your future or the future of the world, what would that question be?” All welcome. Contact Jacquie on [Phone Number] or [Email]. for more details

On Tue 20th Mar at 7:00pm - Italian Meal

We return to La Trattoria da Vincenzo, 14 West Parade for traditional Italian fare and conversation. Booking is essential so please contact Jacquie by 14th for more details/so that she can reserve a table on [Phone Number] or [Email].

Jacquie Harrison

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

photo of Maxine Bates

Notts News

On Mon 5th Mar at 8:00pm - 5OTM

Join us for a friendly drink and chat in the Goldings Room of the Vat & Fiddle pub, Queensbridge Road, NG2 1NB. Real ale from the adjacent Castle Rock Brewery to soft drinks and coffee available. Look for yellow Mblem on table. Phone Maxine on [Phone Number] or email [Email] if needing directions. Free parking outside.

On Thu 8th Mar at 7:30pm - Natter & Nosh

We're at The Cadland pub/restaurant, High Road, Chilwell, NG9 5EG. Come for a meal at 7.30pm or later for just a drink. Menu at We have reserved tables at the far side of the bar. Look for yellow Mblem. Contact Maxine on [Phone Number] or [Email] if needing directions/encouragement to come along.

On Fri 9th Mar at 6:00pm - Greyhound Racing

We're through to the finals of the charity tournament at Nottingham Greyhound Stadium in Colwick. Gates open 6.00pm, first race 6.28pm, last race finished by 10.30pm. Arrive/leave when you like. Ample free parking and food/drink available at the venue. £3 per ticket with accompanied under 18s free. All money goes to Cancer Research UK. Contact Maxine on [Phone Number] or [Email] to purchase in advance.

On Tue 20th Mar at 7:00pm - 3TuOTM

Our new "3rd Tuesday" get together at The Ram, Castle Gate, Newark. Come along for food and/or drink and lively banter. Menu at New faces welcome to our growing group. Contact Pete on [Phone Number] or [Email] for directions or just look for yellow Mblem on the night most probably to right of main entrance.

On Tue 27th Mar at 7:30pm - Eating Meeting

We're going in search of Easter chicks with a 'cheep' and cheerful meal at Nando's! Portuguese peri-peri chicken plus veggie options at their restaurant on Redfield Way, Lenton, NG7 2UW. Book your place with Maxine on [Phone Number] or [Email] by 23rd please. New faces welcome!

Ciao for now!

Maxine Bates

Contact [Email] or [Phone Number] for details

News from Northampton

On Sun 4th Mar at 10:30am - Brunch

Join us for our usual breakfast/brunch meeting on Sunday 4 March at the Rendezvous Coffee Shop in Market Walk, Northampton Town Centre. This time we'll be identifying, discussing - and possibly demonstrating - "inappropriate behaviour". Contact Marianne on [Phone Number] or email: [Email] for encouragement or to find out more.

photo of Richard Allen

Hertfordshire Happenings

On Thu 1st Mar at 8:00pm - FThOTM

Will spring be in the air? 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 23rd Mar at 8:00pm - Not LFOTM

Last Friday is brought forward a week to avoid clashing with Easter and is at our usual venue of 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 Sat 10th Mar at 3:00pm - T@3

Join us at Dobbie's Garden Centre in Fenny Stratford for tea, coffee and cakes in the restaurant. We will probably be in the conservatory area at the back. Contact Jo at [Email], or [Phone Number] / [Phone Number] for directions/encouragement.

On Mon 19th Mar 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 Sun 25th Mar at 10:00am - Breakfast

We are back at Brown's, on Midsummer Blvd next to Jury's Inn, for the winter. Join us from 10am for a full breakfast, a snack, or just a drink - look out for the Mblem. 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

photo of Val Hinkins

Mid Bucks

On Tue 6th Mar 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. 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 Sat 10th Mar at 2:30pm - Theatre

“Mindgame” a mind-bending psychological thriller by Anthony Horowitz features a true crime writer, a serial killer and mysterious events in a secure asylum. Join Mark at the Swan Theatre to see how the puzzles are unravelled. Tickets priced from £17 to £23 are available from For further details or encouragement contact Mark on [Phone Number] or mobile [Phone Number].

On Fri 23rd Mar at 10:30am - Coffee & Chat

Join me at Jung’s on the Broadway in Beaconsfield, HP9 2PD for relaxed conversation, cake and coffee. See for location and menu. 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 3rd Mar at 7:00pm - Buffet & Quiz Night

A hot buffet comprising chili, rice, beef lasagne, vegetable lasagne, garlic bread, chips and salad. Followed by a general knowledge quiz. Play in teams of up to four people with prizes for the winners. Also optional raffle. Venue The Kegworth Hotel, Packington Hill, Kegworth, DE74 2DF. Cost £10 per person. Book via or Maxine by 23rd February. Bed and breakfast available at £65 per room.

On Sun 4th Mar at 11:00am - Donington Collection

A visit to the largest collection of Grand Prix cars in the world at Donington Park (DE74 2RP). Also exhibition of military vehicles from WW2 and rare Harley Davidson bikes. Entry £12 adult, £10 OAP/student, £5 child, £25 family (up to 5). Optional lunch in their cafe afterwards. Further info from Maxine on [Phone Number] or [Email] or meet at entrance on the day.

On Sat 17th Mar at 3:00pm - Tea at 3

We will be at Derby Garden Centre, (DE21 5DD) for tea and cake and some retail therapy/browsing. Meet at 3pm in the restaurant, look for the magazine. Let me know you are coming, so I can look out for you, by emailing [Email] or ringing Susan or Mark on [Phone Number]

On Wed 21st Mar at 7:30pm - 3WOTM

Spring has sprung so why not join us at the Standing Order on Iron Gate in the city centre? Good value Wetherspoon food and/or drink. Pop in briefly or stay all evening. Look for yellow Mblem on a long table in the low ceiling rear section of the pub. Directions/encouragement from Maxine on [Phone Number] or [Email]

Susan Graves

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

Scottish Mensa Annual Gathering 2018

This year we will be visiting the Granite City. Join us in Aberdeen at the Copthorne Hotel from Friday 24th to Monday 27th August.

As well as being a great venue for SMAG, the Copthorne Hotel is the ideal starting point for shopping trips and sightseeing in Aberdeen. It should be noted that guests have access to free WiFi in all areas.

The modern rooms offer in room movies, a minibar, and a kettle for making your own tea and coffee. There is also a clothes iron to keep you looking smart, and the newspapers provided will keep you informed. The hotel has its own restaurant and bar, however there are also other eateries nearby. Robert Gordon University and Robert Gordon College are only a ten minute walk away. The Marischal College, Bon Accord & St Nicholas Shopping Centres and Union Terrace Gardens are also in easy reach. Make sure to book your rooms at Mensa rates! Room bookings will be available shortly.

Peter Hill, Aberdeen LocSec

Horse Racing SIG

Tony, standing casually in a doorway

The Sport of Kings or The King of Sports ? In my case, not being of Royal descent it is the latter. My introduction to the sport came in 1954 when a relative drew me a horse in a sweepstake for the Grand National, the horses name was Royal Tan, it won the race, an event to which I was totally oblivious. The family interest soon took hold of me and through the years I have been a punter, professional gambler, owner and bookmaker. So I know a little about the ‘game’, enough about me...

The attraction to horse racing, for many, is the chance to make some easy money by having a bet. We all know that this never really works and that the bookmaker is the only winner, or is he ? I shall at some point try and advise you as what I think might win a race but don’t rely on my tips, or anyone else’s for that matter. You make your own mind up at this game.

This is a tough sport, make no mistake about it, horses die and jockeys die. It’s a sobering thought that a jockey’s job is the only one, where an ambulance follows you round at work.

Tony Dodd

Lakes Party Weekend

Lodges set in tha trees of Whinfell Forest

2nd-5th November 2018

A weekend based at Whinfell Forest Center Parcs in the beautiful Lake District.

Package includes 3 nights accommodation in a twin/double room, 3 parties (2 with optional fancy dress), some buffet meals, help-yourself bar, cocktail of the day, unlimited access to the subtropical swimming paradise, walks, quizzes, tastings, board games, firework display and much more.

Join in as much or as little as you like. All ages welcome!

Contact organiser Maxine on 01773-715330 or for full details.

20 Questions (No. 197)

Many thanks for the bumper crop of entries for our January competition. Although I did receive one envelope with nothing inside postmarked from Peterborough! The answers were 49ers, 86,400, Three Men In A Boat, 40 winks, Apollo 11, Three Coins In The Fountain, ten a penny, 221b Baker Street, Around The World in 80 Days, cat-onine tails, two faced, Ten Green Bottles, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, four leaf clover, The Magnificent Seven, 66, The Six Million Dollar Man, 22, 10,000 men and 2,880. Well done to Alex Foster of Derby who wins the £10 book token.

Thanks to Jo Sidebottom for compiling this month’s quiz on great buildings of the world. Send your entries to arrive by 20th March to ‘20 Questions (No. 197)’, [Address] or

1. Which is Britain’s oldest cathedral?

2. Jorn Utzon designed Sydney Opera House as a result of what?

3. What is the Taj Mahal made from?

4. In which Parisian square is the Arc de Triomphe?

5. What is the cathedral of the diocese of London?

6. What was the highest building in the world until 1930?

7. Who ordered the building of St Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow?

8. Which library in Venice was described as “the richest and most ornate building since antiquity”?

9. Who had Hampton Court Palace built?

10. Which dukes does Chatsworth House in Derbyshire belong to?

11. Which stately home was used in the film “Brideshead Revisited”?

12. Where was Europe’s largest Gothic cathedral rebuilt after World War 2?

13. Which chain store proprietor commissioned the then tallest inhabitable building in the world in 1913?

14. Which famous statue, brought back as war loot by Napoleon, is still housed in the Louvre?

15. When was Blackpool Tower built?

16. In which area of Paris is the Basilica of Sacre Coeur?

17. Who designed St Peter’s Church in Rome?

18. Where is the Shwedagon Pagoda?

19. In which city is Rastrelli’s Winter Palace?

20. Why is the White House white?