east midlands mensa presents milton keynes 2008

23-26 may 2008 - holiday inn - milton keynes

Try tobogganing at XScape.
Or indoor flying.

Time is running out to book your place at the Milton Keynes Weekend, on the Spring Bank Holiday weekend. Bookings close on the 8th May.

There are some great activities available. Try tobogganing and indoor flying at XScape, participate in an aerial adventure, go wakeboarding, see Woburn Safari Park, visit historic Stony Stratford, ride on the Leighton Buzzard narrow gauge railway, learn about the WWII code breakers at Bletchley Park, and much more.

Or maybe eating and meeting is your thing. In which case the “Around the World Dinner” is for you where each course is from a different continent. And come to the icebreaker buffet to meet your fellow members and feel part of the occasion.

Last, but by no means least, the Saturday night disco is FREE and open to all members and their guests.

Those who live locally are particularly well placed to take the opportunity to book just a few events across the full programme.

A full schedule with descriptions, menus and prices of all the events of the weekend, along with a booking form, is available for view, print or download at www.mensa.org.uk/eastmids or you can contact Maxine Bates ([Phone Number]) or Jo Sidebottom ([Phone Number]) for further details.

Regional News

At our regional committee meeting in February many items were discussed on how we can improve East Midlands Mensa. Although your regional newsletter Empress regularly wins awards and we often receive nice feedback from readers we would like more members to get involved, especially those who cannot attend our social events. Our editors Rosie and Nick would welcome reviews and photos of events, short articles if you have an interesting job or hobby, crosswords, sudoku and other puzzles, details of any fundraising or book writing you are doing or just to brag about your 15 minutes of fame. There’s no reward but you will see your name in print! Please find contact details for the current editor on the back page.

As for future events in our region, following the success of our last “T@3” day we are planning another for Sunday 3rd August. The idea is that each local group meets up at 3.00 pm that day to drink tea/coffee whether that takes place at home, in a tea shop, or café at a garden centre or similar. The last event was particularly popular as families and members who don’t like walking into a pub alone could attend. Other regional events are being planned for later in the year to ward off those winter blues. I would like to point out that all events are open to non-member guests unless otherwise stated (which is only usually the AGM).

Our Milton Keynes Weekend is fast approaching. Details can be found at www.mensa.org.uk/eastmids or contact organisers Jo Sidebottom and myself. Please note bookings close on 8th May although you may turn up on the day for a number of free or pay-as-you-go events. As part of the weekend we will be raising money for the British Lung Foundation in memory of former Milton Keynes LocSec Colin Zealley. If anyone has unwanted Nectar points please contact Jo on [Phone Number] or [Email] as soon as possible and she will put to good use turning them into raffle prizes. See the ad in this issue to find out how you can buy tickets to help this worthwhile charity.

Enjoy the bank holidays!

Maxine Bates

Regional Officer

Alistair stands down as High Wycombe LocSec.
Alistair’s last event as High Wycombe Locsec was a farewell meal at Pizza Express in February. Pictured above are Val, Helen, Alistair, Neil and Ian. Thanks for the photograph to Val who has now taken over as Locsec. See page 5 for Mid Bucks events this month.

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.
photo of Maxine Bates

Notts News

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

We have our three regular offerings this month. Round off the bank holiday weekend with a drink and chat at the Vat & Fiddle pub from 8.00 pm on Monday 5th. New and old faces of all ages are welcome. We’re easy to spot, just look for the yellow Mblem to the left of the bar and probably a dozen happy faces. The venue is on Queensbridge Road near Nottingham railway station.

On Wed 14th May at 7:00pm - “Chicks & Flicks” - Chicks and Flicks

On Wednesday 14th Paul Henchliffe is hosting our event. Meet us inside the doors to the Cornerhouse at 7.00pm prompt. From there we dine at Nando’s chicken restaurant whilst arguing over which film to see later at Cineworld, maybe splitting into two groups if there’s no consensus. Cornerhouse card holders and Orange phone owners get discounts so a whole night out for under a tenner! Contact Paul on [Phone Number] or [Email] to find out film options and to help table reservation.

On Tue 27th May at 7:30pm - “Postcode Pubcrawl” - Postcode Pubcrawl

We are nearing the end of our series of events and this month head to NG19. Our last visit to a Ma Hubbards pub/restaurant was very popular – and very cheap with main courses from as little as £2.99! At 7.30 pm on Tuesday 27th we’re going to their venue on Birding Street in Mansfield. Please contact me by 22nd to reserve your place.

Ciao for now!

Maxine Bates

Contact [Email] or [Phone Number] for details

photo of Jacquie Harrison

Lively Lincs

I am very aware that many of the members that try to be active, live in the East of the County and so I am always keen to hear of suitable venues as I know few large enough that are reliable. I know plenty of good eateries that can squeeze in about 10 people max with low ceilings and poor access but they are not suitable for a meeting so your help will be greatly appreciated.

On Sun 11th May at 11:30am - Coffee and Chat

Meanwhile, please join us for coffee and chat, maybe lunch at Botts Coffee House, Horncastle on Sunday 11th May at 11.30am. You can always get your plants/compost afterwards as it is in Crowders Garden Centre on the A158. For directions or so I know to watch out for you please ring me. All welcome.

Jacquie Harrison

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

Derby Diary

On Mon 19th May at 7:00pm - 3WOTM

May already! Please come and join us down in Golden Valley, just outside Ripley. There will be food, drink and excellent company, plus the chance to inspect our new garden fence. Directions available, contact as above. Please call to let us know you’re coming so we can arrange parking.

On Wed 21st May at 7:30pm - Pub Evening

Our monthly get together at the Standing Order on Irongate. Find us at the long table in low ceiling area beyond bar. We have vouchers for various food and drink offers so a cheap night out! Contact this month’s host Pen on [Phone Number] or [Email] or just turn up on the night.

Merry Metcalf

photo of Sue Watford

Leicestershire Letter

On Sat 31st May at 7:30pm - Meal

Third time lucky! I’ve made a booking in plenty of time (two and a half months ahead!) to guarantee (?!) us a meal at the Slipcotes restaurant in Whissendine. The booking is for Saturday, 31st May (NOT bank holiday weekend) at 7.30 pm.

A meal here seems to have been elusive, but the restaurant enjoys an excellent reputation (good food, cheerful service and reasonably priced), so hopefully it will be well worth the wait. So the booking’s made: all I need to do now is sit back and wait for you to call and let me know you’ll be there, so I can confirm numbers. Please come. 6-12 are booked at the moment; it would be nice to increase it to somewhere between 12 and 18.

Sue Watford

Contact [Email] or [Phone Number] for details

photo of Ian Sargent

Northants NNotes

On Thu 1st May at 9:00pm - FThOTM Pub

Our first meeting of the month is on the first day of the month so it should be easy to remember. If you turn up at the Fox & Hounds in Harlestone on Thursday 1st May at 9pm you will find us in the bar area so look for the Mensa mag to find us. It’ll be my 50th birthday a few days later - if you want an invite to the party you’ll have to turn up tonight to find out when and where it is.

On Thu 15th May at 8:00pm - Roadshow

This month’s Roadshow is on Thursday 15th May and we are off to another new venue: The George Inn, Main Road, Wilby. The village is adjacent to Wellingborough, on the old road to Northampton so it’s dead easy to find. We’ll be there from 8pm. Once again, the Mensa mag will give away our position.

The Roadshows follow a three-month cycle with one in the Kettering area and one near Towcester. The third month sees us roaming the county to pubs of interest. If you would like to nominate one near you for a future meeting please let me know. For those members who don’t like pubs or can’t make Thursdays there will be some additional events in July, August and September - watch this space.

Ian Sargent

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


In last month’s edition of Empress, the 20 Questions on Northamptonshire place names was incorrectly attributed to Ian Sargent. In fact, the quiz was compiled by Margaret Hawkins. The editors thank Margaret for her contribution, and apologise for the mistake.

photo of Jo Sidebottom

Mensans in MK & Bedford

Just our two regular monthly meetings in May, as we have the Milton Keynes weekend at the end of the month.

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

First Thursday is at our “new” venue of Jury’s Inn on Midsummer Boulevard, on 1st May, from 8pm. Look out for the Mblem in either the foyer or the bar – most likely the foyer as it’s quieter. Parking is a bit busy around Jury’s and The Hub, so we usually try and get in across the road and then walk through the underpass.

On Wed 21st May at 8:00pm - 3WOTM

Our Third Wednesday meeting at the Old Beams in Shenley Lodge is on 21st May. If you’re definitely planning to come, please let me know as it will help us to grab the right sized table, but don’t let that put you off deciding on the spur of the moment – you’ll still be welcome. See www.mcmullens.co.uk for location and menu details.

On 23rd - 26th May at Various times - MK Weekend

See The Milton Keynes Weekend 2008 for details.

Jo Sidebottom

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

Luton & Dunstable

On Sat 17th May at 7:30pm - Pub Meal

Please join us at the Cross Keys pub, 13 High Street, Pulloxhill, Beds. MK45 5HB for a lovely pub meal and friendly banter. Meet in the bar and look for Mblem or mag. We once had a lovely evening there when they had a powercut and it was all candles!

This time we will be booked to eat at 8.30pm. Email or ring me as above (or call [Phone Number] only on the night, if you get lost). Please let me know by Thursday 15th, so I can confirm numbers. All welcome, it’s ok to bring a friend if you are shy. I do need to know ASAP please though, as numbers may be limited.

Les Draper Eames

photo of Richard Allen

Herts Happenings

On Thu 1st May at 8:15pm - FThOTM

Regular first Thursday of the month meeting at the Millstream, Cambridge Road, Hitchin. Good food and good beer both available! Call me for more details and encouragement . The pub is about ten minutes’ walk from the railway station. Sadly, there are now very few evening buses in the area.

On Fri 2nd May at 7:30pm - Baldock Beer Festival

Join us at Baldock’s first ever beer festival at Brandles School, Weston Way, Baldock (a few minutes’ walk from the station) for guaranteed interesting beer! What better way to start the Bank Holiday weekend? Call me for further details and encouragement

Richard Allen

Contact [Email] or [Phone Number] for details

On Fri 30th May at 8:00pm - LFOTM

Join us once again at our new venue, the Prince of Wales, Hertingfordbury, to unwind at the end of the month. Food and an interesting range of beer available and interesting and stimulating conversation guaranteed! Look for the Mag/Mblem. Hertingfordbury is about 20 minutes’ walk from Hertford North station.

Richard Allen/Gwen Jones

Contact [Email] or [Phone Number] for details

photo of Val Hinkins

Mid Bucks

On Thu 29th May at 7:30pm - Thai Meal

Anong Thai restaurant, 256, Desborough Road, High Wycombe. Excellent food, reasonable prices. See www.anongthai.co.uk for menu. Car park off Desborough Avenue. Only a small restaurant, so please ring me by Monday 26th so that I can book.

Val Hinkins

Contact [Email] or [Phone Number] for details

On Sun 18th May at 7:00pm - City of London Sinfonia

Please join me for an evening of classical music at the Swan Theatre performed by the City of London Sinfonia. The programme includes works by Schubert and Ralph Vaughan Williams. Tickets range from £12 to £19. For directions or encouragement ring [Phone Number]

Mark Sandford

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

photo of Jenny Habib


On Wed 28th May at 7:45pm - Pub

We will meet at the Crown Inn at Ley Hill. Car parking is in the lay-by opposite, which usually has plenty of spaces. Do come and drink, eat or just join us for a chat. All members welcome, come if you can. If the weather is nice we can stay outside.

Jenny Habib

Contact [Email] or [Phone Number] for details

MK Weekend Prize Draw

Over the Mensa Milton Keynes Weekend from 23-26 May 2008, we will be holding a prize draw in aid of the British Lung Foundation, in memory of our friend and former LocSec, Colin Zealley, who died from lung disease in October 2007. The first and second prizes will be vouchers for action days out, which can be redeemed for activities such as bungee jumping, karting, white water rafting, quad biking, flying, scuba diving, zorbing, helicopter rides, to name but a few. The third prize will be £50 of theatre tokens.

Tickets for the draw will be available for sale over the weekend itself, but you can also buy tickets in advance (or if you are not attending the weekend) via the Justgiving website at http://www.justgiving.com/mkmensaweekend. Tickets will cost £1 each, and full instructions are on the site. Please don’t forget to add your contact details so we can get in touch if you are a winner!

The draw will take place at the Holiday Inn, Milton Keynes, on 24th May 2008, and will include both tickets purchased over the weekend, and the appropriate number of tickets on behalf of those who entered via this JustGiving site.


The Website has a page showing forthcoming events.
Event reviews augment those published in Empress.
Regional events are covered in detail.

While Rosie takes a well-earned break, and I’m looking after the Empress for the next three months, I thought I’d take the opportunity to advertise the East Midlands Mensa Web Site, which I maintain when I’m not editing Empress.

So, what can it do for you? Well, first and foremost, it provides an on-line calendar of the region’s events, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, without having to track down your copy of Empress or the Mensa mag. In addition, short notice events are sometimes listed, and corrections are made when meetings have to be rearranged or cancelled.

The event list is also generally available two to three weeks before Empress and the Mensa magazine arrive on your doorstep, so if you’re the kind of person who likes to plan their diary well in advance, then here’s where you can get a early warning of what’s on in the region.

Some months, the Empress editor receives more content than can be fitted into the eight pages we have allocated to us. That can take the form of whole event reviews, or additional pictures from an event that is covered in Empress. These appear in the “Reviews” and “Gallery” sections of the site.

The site also features information of regional events, frequently going into greater detail than is possible in Empress. These frequently include booking forms that you can download and print out.

There’s back issues of Empress, an opportunity for feedback, background information on Mensa and the region, and a fair bit more all in an easy to navigate site.

Nick Stimpson

Think Tank

This month’s think tank is courtesy of Fiona Fitzgerald, who hails from Dublin.

What law would you introduce if you could?

I’d make it compulsory to emboss all tyres with the vehicle registration number

Voilà, no more anonymous hit-and-runs! Of course, being bruised all over with a stolen car number isn’t ideal, but at least you’d have the evidence to hand, however bad your memory.

... and which would you repeal?
No opinion. Most of the worst excesses are being gradually reformed, as far as I can see from here. I don’t really think you can make or abolish laws until most people are ready for them.
Which charity do you most like to support?
I’m currently broke, but I suppose the Irish Blood Transfusion Service. Not a charity, but I do donate to it every 90 days!
Name a place local to you that you’d recommend people visit
The Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin, a peaceful retreat from Dublin city centre.
Whose picture would you like to see on a bank note?
Richard Adams, he deserves some official recognition for wonderful writing.
What device would you like to see invented?
A transporter network, to get through city centre traffic in seconds! Think of it; no transport worries, too good to be true, maybe.
Who would you like to see in the Big Brother house?
It would be cruel to me to have to watch any more of it! It brings out the worst and pettiest in most people. I don’t hate anyone that much! I’d rather watch a webcam at a zoo, to be honest.
How would you reform parliament?
Oh, I wouldn’t presume to. It seems to work well for Britain.
How can we save the planet?

Use contraception; give generous grants and privileges to reward single, childless people.

{Why, yes, like myself, now that you mention it. }

Name an event at which the British could win an Olympic gold medal.
Hmm, tough question! A spelling bee, they’ve got as good a chance as anyone of winning. Can’t say fairer than that, can I?
What song would make a good national anthem for England?
Doesn’t England already have one? I don’t follow football ...
Who would you like see entered into room 101?
Adolf Hitler.
Suggest a new question for this page.
If you could be reincarnated as an animal, which one would you choose to become?

Thank you to everyone who has contributed a Think Tank submission since this feature began a year ago. I would still like to receive lots more for future issues of Empress, so please contribute your own by sending an email to the editor at empress@nfstimpson.co.uk or by snail mail to the topmost address given on the left hand side of the back page. Simplest of all, you can complete the web form at http://www.nfstimpson.co.uk/empress/ThinkTank.ashx

Remember that you can choose as many or as few of the questions as you wish to answer, and you can make your responses serious, or humorous, or any other manner as you see fit.

20 Questions (No. 80)

The anagram answers from the March issue were telephone, coffee table, percolator, chest of drawers, bath taps, cutlery, watering can, microwave, wardrobe, fireplace, liquidizer, lampshades, dining table, flower vase, barbecue, coffee grinder, garden hose, sideboard, rolling pin and dustpan. Entries were received from Entrants were Pat Naylor of Nottingham, J E Green of St Albans, Pamela Covey of Woburn, Peter Chamberlain of Rushden, Tony Armitage of Nottingham, Janie Comber of Milton Keynes, Jill Miller of Beaconsfield, Michael Warren of Derby, Mike Hadley of Lutterworth, D W Dell of Leighton Buzzard, Alex Foster of Derby, Geraldine Ellis of Nottingham, Geoff Ward of Lincoln, Carol Wheatcroft of Derby, Barry Gilchrist of Melton Mowbray, Dawn Cox of Derby, Tony Dodd of Belvoir, Keith Jackson of Aylesbury and Roger Plant of Nottingham. and the prize goes to Carol

This month’s quiz is set by Andy Farrell and the theme is the monarchy. Please send your answers to arrive by 20th May to ‘20 Questions (No. 80)’, [Address], for chance to win either a £10 Leisure Voucher or £10 National Book Token. Please state your preference if entering.

1. Who is sixth in line to the British throne?

2. Whom is Princess Margaret’s daughter?

3. Who is the current holder of the title Queen’s Guide To The Sands?

4. Which country’s former monarch became Prime Minister?

5. Which Scottish family ruled the Cocos Islands for over 150 years?

6. Queen Elizabeth II is monarch of how many realms?

7. Whom was the first monarch of the House of Windsor?

8. Which British king was known as the Prince Regent?

9. Who is the Duke of Lancaster?

10. Who is currently Lord of the Isles?

11. Which is the most southerly territory for which Queen Elizabeth II is head of state?

12. Which other country’s royalty are highest in the line of succession to the British throne?

13. What are the current Queen’s christian names?

14. What was Queen Victoria’s real first name?

15. Where did Princess Elizabeth find out she had become Queen?

16. Who is the only non-royal to serve as a Counsellor of State?

17. What was the supreme court of appeal for the British Empire?

18. Prior to the union of England and Scotland, Scottish sovereigns were not addressed as “Your Majesty”. What term was used instead?

19. Which two people currently receive money from the Civil List?

20. Who tried to steal the crown jewels in 1671?