Regional News

Thank you to those members who have turned up to one of our “eat and greet” events so far. This month Jo is hosting the event in Bedford on Sunday 24th March. Whether you are a new member or one who has belonged for years but not really taken part in any of our social events or a regular attendee at Bedfordshire events, please do try to make it along to find out what Mensa has to offer. If you confirm your attendance with Jo by 8th there will even be free food for you!

On Sunday 17th March the officers of East Midlands Mensa will be holding their annual committee meeting. If you have any feedback on your membership – negative or positive – please pass on to your Local Officer or myself so that it can be discussed if necessary. Following the meeting all members are invited to a St Patrick’s Day lunch. This will be a three course Irish themed buffet meal followed by an Irish themed quiz. We’re hoping that a daytime rather than evening event will attract a few families and members who don’t like going out on dark nights. We’ve even found an Irish chain hotel! The venue will be Jury’s Inn at the entrance to East Midlands Airport so easily accessible from M1. The cost is £20 with a discounted price of £10 for those aged 12 and under. See the cover of this issue of Empress for further details. To book log in to the member area at, click on the events tab at the top then scroll down to East Midlands in the drop down menu. Alternatively phone Diane at the Mensa office during working hours on 01902 772771. Numbers are limited so please book sooner rather than later so not to miss out on the craic!

I’m on [Phone Number] or [Email] with any questions on Mensa matters.

Maxine Bates

Regional Officer


Welcome to the March edition of Empress. This is my last for a few months as once again you’ll be in the capable hands of Maria. Yet another month crammed full of events, including a St Patrick’s Day lunch and quiz (see below and the front cover for details). There’s still a vacancy for a third Empress Editor if you’d like to take your creative side for a spin. All that’s needed is a working knowledge of Microsoft Word and a few hours every month. It can be great fun!

Mark Sloan

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 Mar 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 30th Mar at 7:00pm - Pub Meal

We will be dining at "The Gate Hangs Well", Lewin Bridge, Syston LE7 1NH. This is an Everard's pub and it has its own car park. New and old members are welcome but booking in advance is essential so please let me know if you would like to come along by Mon 25th March. You can contact me on 01949 861356 or e-mail me at [Email]

Lively Lincs

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

"Things you might do differently depending on whether someone else could see you". Come and talk about them at our regular Second Saturday meeting at the Adam & Eve Tavern, 25 Lindum Road, LN2 1NT. All welcome, and you can bring a guest. Car park, pub food, hot drinks available. Look for the Magazine on the table. Contact Jacquie on [Phone Number] or [Email] for encouragement or more details.

On Sun 24th Mar at 2:00pm - Stroll and tea

Gibraltar Point offers family-friendly walks and an extensive beach (tide permitting). Join us for an hour's walk, then tea at the Visitor Centre cafe. Full details of facilities can be found at Meet at 2:00 near the gate on the left in the large Visitor Centre car park. Look for the M symbol. For details/encouragement contact Helen & Paul on [Email] or [Phone Number].

Jacquie Harrison

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

photo of Maxine Bates

Notts News

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

Join us at the Vat & Fiddle on Queensbridge Road (near Nottingham railway station). Food available until 8pm or pop in later for a drink. Stay for a short while or all evening. New faces always welcome! Look for yellow Mblem on table. Directions/encouragement from Maxine on [Phone Number] or [Email]

On Tue 12th Mar at 8:00pm - Adventure Golf

A round of 18 holes of rainforest themed adventure golf at the Lost City in the Cornerhouse in Nottingham city centre. Cost £8.00 age 6+, £6 senior, £5 disabled (10% discount if 10+ or 20% discount if 20+). Please express interest with Maxine on [Phone Number] or [Email] by 10th in case we need to pre-book. Optional food beforehand or drinks afterwards can be arranged.

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

We'll be at The Cadland, High Road, Chilwell, from 7.30pm for a meal or later for just a drink. We have a large table reserved to the far side of the bar. Look for yellow Mblem on the night or contact Maxine on [Phone Number] or [Email] beforehand if needing further info. All welcome!

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

We'll be at The Prince Rupert on Stodman Street in Newark from 7pm until late for food and/or drink. Do join our friendly group! Look for yellow Mblem on table, most likely in room to right as you enter this historic pub. Contact Pete in advance for directions/encouragement on [Phone Number] or [Email] or just turn up on the night.

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

Hola! Please come to Chiquito's on Redfield Way in Lenton (NG7 2UW) for a taste of Mexican cuisine. Menu at Book your place with Maxine on [Phone Number] or [Email] by 21st so a table can be reserved. Free parking right outside.

Ciao for now!

Maxine Bates

Contact [Email] or [Phone Number] for details

News from Northampton

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

Join us for our regular breakfast/brunch meeting at 10:30 at the Rendezvous Coffee Shop, Market Walk, Northampton Town Centre. Pete will entertain us once again with a quiz and we'll nominate the most boring job we can think of. Contact Marianne for encouragement on [Phone Number] or email: [Email]

photo of Richard Allen

Hertfordshire Happenings

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

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 29th Mar 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 3rd Mar 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 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 24th Mar at 4.00pm - Eat & Greet

If you've never been to a Mensa event - or haven't been for a while – come and say hello to members old and new at The Fox & Hounds in Goldington Road. We have a private upstairs room, and a few nibbles to welcome you. Please confirm with Jo at [Email], or [Phone Number] / [Phone Number] by Friday 8th so we have numbers for catering.

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 Mar at 2:30pm - The Mousetrap

Join Mark at the Swan Theatre to see this classic play. Tickets priced from £15 to £37.50 are available from For further details or encouragement contact Mark on [Phone Number] or mobile [Phone Number].

On Mon 11th 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. 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 Mar at 10:30am - Coffee & Chat

Join me at Seasons Café and Deli, 6 Market Square, Old Amersham HP7 0DQ 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 Sun 17th Mar at 1:00pm - St Patrick's Day Lunch

A three course Irish themed buffet lunch followed by Irish themed quiz at Jurys Inn East Midlands Airport (DE74 2SH). Cost £20 per person or £10 for age 12 and under. See for full details. Book via the Mensa office on 01902 772771 or online via the website by midday 8th March. Contact Maxine on [Phone Number] with any questions. All ages welcome to join us for some craic!

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

Time for 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. 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 Sat 30th Mar at 11:30am - Museum & Lunch

Join us to go round Sharpe’s Pottery Museum in Swadlincote on West Street (DE11 9DG). Discover the once prolific pottery industry of South Derbyshire, also view “A Toilet Story” exhibition and “The National Forest Gallery”. Free Admission. Optional PAYG light lunch in the café. Meet at the entrance at 11.30am. Let me know to look out for you, or to join us for lunch - [Email] or [Phone Number]

Susan Graves

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

Barbican New Year's Eve concert

On the evening of 31 December 2018, a party of eleven Mensans from as far afield as Cambridge, Hertford, Letchworth, St Albans and London partook of what is becoming an established tradition (this was, if I recall correctly, our fourteenth year) and went to the Viennese style New Year concert, preceded by drinks and a meal at a nearby Wetherspoons. As ever, the Johann Strauss Orchestra and Dancers, with John Rigby conducting, gave a thoroughly enjoyable concert with a few amusing gags thrown in for good measure!

If you've not been before, and fancy coming at the end of this year, put it in your diary now. I will be putting out an advance notice towards the end of the year.

See you on 31 December 2019!

Richard Allen

Evolution SIG

Cover of the Evolver newsletter, depicting the head of a bee or wasp

The subject of this SIG is the rich diversity of life, past and present. Topics for discussion include the origins and seemingly limitless variety of species which live and have lived on this planet and, while it is not a part of modern evolutionary theory, on how life might have begun in the first place. All these living things are in a continuous process of change as a result of selective pressures. Estimates suggest that current biodiversity is but a fraction of what has gone before; some 99% of all species that have ever lived are extinct. Whether your interest is in dinosaurs, hominids, trilobites, ammonites, birds, mammoths, fish, amphibians, reptiles, plants, spiders, beetles or anything to do with life past and present, this SIG is for you - fascinating as we are to ourselves, we are but one tiny bud on the huge tree of life. This SIG will try to include all the other buds and trace their branches back to the source. The NL, the Evolver, has recently featured articles on the Sixth Mass Extinction, The Middle Miocene Disruption, a series on human evolution, Eurypterids, wasps and the Passion Flower. Eclectic, readable, fun and serious. We have it all, really.

Simon R Brook

Mensa Event Pictures

The group, in a courtyard in Sleaford

This is a Lincs Mensa group on a recent visit to Sleaford, following the Sleaford town trail. Our lunch and town walk meetings are proving popular, and we are planning more for the future.

Members looking over a wall down onto some otters in their pen

This second picture is a blast from the past, watching otters at the Chestnut Centre Otter, Owl and Wildlife Park in Chapel-en-le-Frith, taken in 2004. Sadly, the Centre closed its doors at the end of 2017. Do you have any event pictures you’d like to share? If so, please send them in to the Editor.

20 Questions (No. 209)

Just four entries to the George Orwell quiz in the January issue. The answers were Motihari, Eric Arthur Blair, Paris, Eileen Maud O’Shaughnessy, Partido Obrero de Unification Marxista (POUM), P G Wodehouse, Nineteen Eighty Four, Benjamin, a cup of tea, an elephant, Manor Farm, Richard Blair, Burma, Eton, a person’s greatest fear, Horizon, aspidistra, Jura, Eastbourne and Sutton Courtenay. Congratulations to Roger Plant of Nottingham who wins the £10 book token.

This month our quiz is all about places in the East Midlands region of Empress with many thanks to Richard Allen for compiling it. Send your entries to arrive by 20th March to ‘20 Questions (No. 209)’, [Address] or [Email]. Don’t forget to include your name and address so we know where to send the prize if you win.

1. In which town would you find a statue of Ronnie Barker?

2. What was the official name of the organisation famously located at Bletchley Park during the Second World War?

3. To which saint is the church popularly known as the Boston Stump dedicated?

4. Derby's railway station was once known as Midland. What was the city's other station known as?

5. Which town's railway station reopened to passengers on 2nd April 2017?

6. Twinwood Farm airfield, from which Glenn Miller took off on his fatal last flight in 1944, was located near which town?

7. What industry was High Wycombe once famous for?

8. The inhabitants of which town are reputed to consume more Irn-Bru than any other in England?

9. Which RAF base was used by the Special Operations Executive to fly agents and arms to occupied Europe between 1940 and 1945?

10. Where was the “slamming prison gates” opening scene from Porridge filmed?

11. Where is the “Magic Roundabout”?

12. Lincoln's railway station was once known as Central. What was the city's other station known as?

13. Which town in the south of the region is famous for its cave?

14. At which active RAF base is the Signals Museum located?

15. Which hotel, near Woodhall Spa, was famous as the officers' mess for the Dam Busters Squadron (617)?

16. In which city is the National Space Centre?

17. Which town in the south of the region was founded by the Knights Templar and is reputedly named after Baghdad?

18. In which town were Ladybird books printed and published for many years?

19. Near which town is the Rushton Triangular Lodge and what does it signify?

20. Which breakfast cereal factory can you see from the train between Kettering and Wellingborough?