Regional News

Firstly congratulations should go to Chris Tyler and Jo Sidebottom, both from Milton Keynes, who will belong to the British Mensa Board of Directors following this year’s AGM. Chris, who is currently Chairman, remains on the Board for another term of office whilst Jo is newly elected. I have every confidence that these two members will serve Mensa well.

As promised in the last Empress newsletter, we have not one but two forthcoming regional events. The first is a joint event with North West Mensa and will take place in the beautiful Peak District on the late May bank holiday, Monday 30th May. Our ‘Grand Day Out’ will include a tour of Poole’s Cavern, a stroll through Buxton Country Park to Solomon’s Temple, a ‘Mad Hatters Picnic’ and a visit to Chestnut Centre otter, owl and wildlife park. Payment is not required until the day but we do need numbers in advance in order to obtain the group discounted rates. See full details on the front page of this newsletter.

On Sunday 12th June we have another joint event. This time with West Midlands Mensa which will be a day out at Drayton Manor Park near Tamworth. Again we have discounted rates that work out cheaper than normal admission and include entry to the theme park and zoo, arrival refreshments, basket meal lunch with drink, and a short talk by their Managing Director about the park. See for details and booking form. Prices are £5 (age 0-3), £25 (age 4-11) or £30 (age 12+).

Both these events are suitable for members of all ages and families are encouraged to attend. Not only have we kept the prices as low as possible but don’t forget this is a great way to make new friends. If you’ve never attended a Mensa social event, why not give one of them a try?

I’m on [Phone Number] or [Email] if you have any questions.

Maxine Bates

Regional Officer

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.

Leicestershire Letter

On Wed 4th May at 8:00pm - Eating meeting

With spring slowly turning to summer (with any luck), I thought we’d take our rolling-roadshow of eating meetings to a lovely little canal-side restaurant on the North side of Leicester, and go to The Hope and Anchor on Weds 4th May at 20:00 (More details are at Now, Wednesdays are usually their “quiz & curry” nights (although they do a normal menu as well), so it would be nice to see a bunch of tandori-laden Mensa ringers sweep the board in the quiz.... I’m going to be disappointed, aren’t I? Anyway, please call me on [Phone Number], or email me [Email] to let me know you’re coming as tables might be busy.

On Thu 19th May at 8:00pm - 3ThOTM

I’m getting the hang of holding this “Third Thursday of the Month” get together on the third Thursday of the month now, as this will be the second time in a row I’ve managed it! Tea & Buns all round!

Head off to The Old Horse on London Road (my wife and I tried the food last time we were there, and it wasn’t too bad!) at 20:00 as this month’s conversation topic is finding out who to blame for losing the quiz earlier in the month!. Please give me a call on [Phone Number], or email me [Email] for further details / reassurance / counselling.

Paul Coulson

photo of Christine Howells

Lively Lincs

On Sun 1st May at 2:30pm - Nature reserve

Another trip to one of our favourite venues, Gibraltar Point, Skegness, to sit and chat in the cafe and indulge in one of their wonderful cakes, maybe do a bit of bird-watching or just walk about the nature reserve. All very welcome. For more information, etc, please contact [Email].

On Sat 14th May at 12:00pm - Conversations over lunch/drinks

Do join us in the coffee bar at The Collection, Danes Terrace for lunch/snack or just a quick coffee. Usually we’re at the far end of the room, spot the yellow Mblem. All very welcome, for more details/encouragement please contact me on [Phone Number], or [Email]

Christine Howells

Contact [Email] for details

photo of Maxine Bates

Notts News

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

Please join us from 8.00pm on Thursday 5th for our regular get together at the Vat & Fiddle pub on Queensbridge Road (near Nottingham railway station). At our March event unusually we didn’t manage to get our regular table to the left of the bar. But this led us to sit at the other side of the pub where we found a stack of boardgames. So it became the stereotypical Mensa event playing games to test our trivia knowledge much to the amusement of a new face that evening! Look for the yellow Mblem on the table or phone [Phone Number] beforehand for directions.

On Wed 11th May at 7:00pm - Chicks and Flicks

Our ‘chicks & flicks’ event takes place on Wednesday 11th. Meet at 7.00pm inside the doors to the Cornerhouse in the city centre. The offer at Nando’s has changed from a free unlimited soft drink to 20% discount off food. This is for Cornerhouse card holders and you can obtain one for free by visiting After dinner there’s the option to watch a film at Cineworld. There are usually enough of us to get the 2-4-1 Orange Wednesdays deal. Why not join us for this good value night out?

On Sat 14th May at 7:00pm - Eurovision Song Contest

On Saturday 14th it’s time to eat, drink and dress in all things European at my annual Eurovision Song Contest party! BYOB and a buffet contribution if possible. We tend to have everything from French cheeses to Italian pizza to German Black Forest gateau to Maltesers. There’s also an optional sweepstake to add to the fun and one person could go home richer! Some people heckle the TV all evening, others mingle in the kitchen or garden, and some flit between the two. Arrive from 7.00pm at my home in Langley Mill. For directions and to let me know you’ll be there please phone [Phone Number] or email [Email]

This month’s eating meeting on Tuesday 31st is in Ockbrook so please see Derby Diary for details.

I am planning two trips to Nottingham Theatre Royal over the summer. If you are interested in seeing Calendar Girls on Wednesday 6th July (tickets £16-£25) or The Sound Of Music on Monday 1st August (tickets £20-£30) please let me know so a group booking can be co-ordinated.

Ciao for now!

Maxine Bates

Contact [Email] or [Phone Number] for details

Derby Diary

On Wed 18th May at 7:30pm - 3WOTM

I am writing this in the middle of March when signs of Spring are very much in the air. Daffodils are out and it is getting noticeably lighter. By May, when you read this, the days will be very much longer and, hopefully, it will be much warmer. I’ve recently met some interesting Mensans at local meetings who have either moved to the area recently or have attended a meeting for the first time in a while. I am hoping to meet more “new people” in May. Our regular Derby pub night at the Standing Order is usually well attended with a core of around a dozen regulars that can swell to 20 people or even more is a good place to meet local Mensans.

On Sat 21st May at 10:45am - Golf and meal

I am also planning something different, by way of an experiment this month. A visit to Morley Hayes hotel and golf club. This was tried before my time and, I am told, went down quite well with those that attended. If you are not a golfer don’t worry as the food is good and the restaurant comfortable so come and give it a try. Please however telephone or e-mail to tell me that you are coming by Sat 14 May. Enjoy the Bank Holidays and the remainder of Spring.

On Tue 31st May at 7:30pm - Eating meeting

Our regular last Tuesday ‘eating meeting’ will take place at Bartlewood Lodge in Ockbrook at 7.30pm on 31st May. This is a Crown Carveries venue with main meals costing £5.79 for a choice of three roasts, Yorkshire pudding, stuffing and all the vegetables you can eat. There are also vegetarian options. Starters, desserts and drinks are extra. Not only is this a get together over a meal but also a celebration of significant birthdays of two Derbyshire members, Susan Luke and Mark Graves. Please advise if you can join the celebration on [Phone Number] or [Email] so we can grab a large enough table.

Alistair Blackett

photo of Ian Sargent

Northants NNotes

On Mon 2nd May at 11:00am - Scenic Saunter

If you can’t think of anything better to do on the May Day Bank Holiday (2nd May) how about joining our Scenic Saunter. The village of Arthingworth is the start point, meeting outside the Bull’s Head at 11am. This is a 3 mile circular route, partly through open country and partly along the Brampton Valley Way - so bring stout footwear and a TORCH! If you can’t make the walk you are welcome to join us in the pub for lunch afterwards; I guess that we will be there sometime between 12.30pm-1pm.

On Thu 5th May at 9:00pm - FThOTM

Our 1st Thursday meeting is at 9pm on 5th May and we are heading just to the east of Northampton on the A4500 (the Wellingborough Road). The World’s End at Ecton is the venue and I’m sure that it’s the first time we have used the place.

On Thu 19th May at 8:00pm - Roadshow

The last meeting for the month is the Roadshow meeting, which is on the west side of Northampton - about halfway to Daventry. The date is Thursday 19th May and we will be at the Saracen’s Head in Little Brington from 8pm - possibly the only pub in the country with a red phone box in the bar.

Finally, advance notice for Friday 10 June event when we are off to the Royal Theatre in Northampton to watch “Eden End” by J.B.Priestley. Advance booking is required so I need to know numbers by 20 May to make sure that we can get enough seats. Tickets will be around £23, depending on exactly which seats are available. Please phone or e-mail me for more details if you are interested.

Ian Sargent

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

photo of Jo Sidebottom

Mensans In MK and Bedford

On Thu 5th May at 8:00pm - FThOTM

Our regular First Thursday meeting is at 8pm on 5th May at Jurys Inn Hotel on Midsummer Boulevard. Look out for the Mblem on one of the tables to the right in the foyer. 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 Sun 15th May at 10:15am - Sunday Breakfast

Please join us for Sunday breakfast at 10.15 am on Sunday 15th May. I will post the venue on the East Midlands email list and website, or please contact me. Feel free to come for a full breakfast, a snack, or just a drink, but if possible please let me know by Saturday 14th so we have an idea what size table to grab when we arrive.

On Wed 25th May at 7:30pm - Eating meeting

Our final meeting in May is an Eating Meeting at 7.30 pm on Wednesday 25th. However, we haven’t yet decided on a venue so again please contact me or check the East Midlands email list and website. We’re obviously feeling a bit indecisive this month, but with such a huge choice of restaurants in MK these days we feel we have an excuse!

We hope to see as many of you as possible at one or other of our events in May.

Jo Sidebottom

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

photo of Val Hinkins

Mid Bucks

On Sat 28th May at 2:30pm - Theatre

Mark has offered to host a Saturday afternoon theatre trip on Saturday 28th May. Come to Wycombe Swan at 2:30 pm to see Journey’s End by R C Sherriff. All tickets £15. See for full details. Afterwards we will go for a meal in the town centre.

Based on the author’s own experiences of life in the First World War, this award winning production celebrates humour and courage in the face of certain tragedy.

Join Mark for the play, the meal or both. Please buy your own tickets for the Swan, but ring Mark on [Phone Number] or e-mail him at [Email] to let him know you are coming.

Val Hinkins

Contact [Email] or [Phone Number] for details

photo of Richard Allen

Herts Happenings

On Sun 1st May at 10:30pm - Walk

The perfect cure for eating and drinking too much over a Bank Holiday! I’m hosting a five mile circular walk from Harlington station (London to Bedford line) with a pub meal to finish. Meet at the station at 1030. The terrain is fairly easy with some hills.

On Thu 5th May at 8:15pm - FThOTM

Regular first Thursday of the month meeting. Come and join us! We’ll be around for our usual mix of lively conversation and a good atmosphere. As always, we’re at the Millstream, Cambridge Road, Hitchin. Good food and good beer both available! Call me on [Phone Number] for more details and encouragement. The pub is about ten minutes’ walk from the railway station.Note that if you’re driving, there are major roadworks in the area and you may have to park elsewhere. There is a signed diversionary route from the town centre but if you’re coming from the east, access is still possible without restriction.

On Fri 27th May at 8:00pm - LFOTM

Last Friday is back in it’s usual place so we hope you can join us at the Cowper Arms, Digswell (near Welwyn village). Good food and good beer available to suit all tastes! The venue is next to Welwyn North railway station (Kings Cross - Cambridge and Peterborough line with trains every 30 minutes). Contact me on [Phone Number] for further details and encouragement.

Both the Cowper Arms and the Millstream are McMullens dining pubs, serving a good range of reasonably-priced meals and the full range of McMullens beers. Neither pub has TV, so you can escape any football matches that may be on!

Richard Allen

Contact [Email] or [Phone Number] for details

photo of David Seddon


Thanks to all who attended the ‘Favourite Music’ evening hosted by Dave Silver. It was a brilliant well attended evening with a true eclectic mix of musical styles. Mozart to Motown! (I brought the Motown – Gladys Night and the Pips – Neither one of us) Interestingly we found something new about each other in the process. Definitely an annual event now and something to look forward to.

On Mon 9th May at 8:00pm - 'Favourite Book' evening

Following the really successful ‘favourite music’ evening, I’m planning the same format with a favourite book. Please bring a favourite book with you and share what you like about it. Then choose a paragraph to read. I propose 10 minute slots as this worked really well for the last occasion. The usual nibbles/refreshments.

Venue is my place - [Address]

On Mon 23rd May at 8:00pm - 4MOTM

Our regular pub meeting is at the Essex Arms, Langley Way, Watford. WD17 3EG. Please look for the Magazine on the table.

New members always warmly welcomed.

email addresses - reminder!

I have a number of email addresses that are out of date. Please could you email me with a working email address to update my records and add you to the mailing list. I send out regular updates and notices and you’re missing out if you aren’t receiving these.

David Seddon

Contact [Email] or [Phone Number] for details

photo of Jenny Habib


On Wed 25th May at 7:45pm - LWOTM

The meeting will be at the Old Mill on Berkhamsted High Street at the end nearest to Hemel Hempstead. There is a car park, but this is popular so try to be there early.

We meet at the end beyond the bar, where it is usually quieter.

Looking forward to seeing you all.

Jenny Habib

Contact [Email] or [Phone Number] for details

Member Moments

Congratulations to Emma and Richard of Northampton on their wedding day, Saturday 28th May 2011

Advance Notice

We have been given an invitation to visit the Tring Park School of the performing arts at 10.30 am to 12.00-ish on Thursday 25th August by the wife of one of our members Sarah Bell, who is a teacher there. The mansion was originally a Rothschild home, but became the school in more recent times. It is a lovely building and much of the Rothschild’s décor is still in place. The School is famous for training some of our best dancers, singers and actors. Many of the children who take part in shows ands plays in the west end come from Tring Park.

Some of the famous alumni of the School are - Caroline Quentin, Jane Seymour, Golden Globe and Grammy winning Julie Andrews and BAFTA winning Thandie Newton (also a Cambridge graduate).

We are offered a coffee and some refreshments, [for which a small cost of £5.00 will be charged] followed by a talk about the school and then a tour of the beautiful building,. This is an unique opportunity which should not be missed.

Jenny Habib

‘20 Questions (No. 116)’

This month’s quiz is kindly compiled by Patrick Cavanagh and has a European flavour to link in with the Eurovision Song Contest. Send your entries to arrive by 20th to ‘20 Questions (No. 116)’, 80 Milnhay Road, Langley Mill, Nottingham, NG16 4AW, for your chance to win a £10 book token.

1. Which Irish city has areas with the following colourful names: Whitechurch, Blackchurch, Yellow Walls, Yellow House, Red Cow, Green Hills, Bluebell and Clear Water?

2. Which EU capital city was called Pressburg by the Germans?

3. King Zog was ruler of which European country during the 1930s?

4. What do the English call the stretch of water the French call La Manche?

5. Which Belfast shipyard built the ill-fated Titanic?

6. Which European country is called Tyskland by the Norwegians, Německo by the Czechs and Saksa by the Finns?

7. Which is the only country which won the Eurovision Song Contest on three consecutive occasions?

8. CaerGybi is the Welsh name for which sea port?

9. Which European car company produced a range of cars AX, BX, CX, DX and ZX?

10. Which local Spanish dialect is spoken in the area around Barcelona?

11. What is the national name (not the English version of the name) for the city which is the centre of port production?

12. What is the name of the bay where the French built a barrage on their Atlantic coast where the tide going in and out through turbines generates electricity?

13. What is the name of the main railway operator in Spain?

14. The Roman Empire area called Poetovio is now in which modern day EU country?

15. Which number one Abba song was originally called “Honey Pie” before being released?

16. What is the longest river in the British Isles and Ireland?

17. What is the name of Romania’s national airline?

18. What is the deepest lake in Europe?

19. On which European river is the Lorelei where wind whistling through holes in the rocks is said to sound like a woman screaming?

20. Scania is a province of which EU country?

Did you know the answers to the Welsh quiz? They were Snowdon, Llandudno, Oliver Postgate, church, M4, Megafobia, Pontypridd, Henry VIII, Chepstow, Menai Strait, Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, Charlotte Church, 1999, Dylan Thomas, Eisteddfod, Caernarfon, St David’s, The Mumbles, Celtic Manor and Ynys Mon.

Entries were received from Andy Cole of Cleethorpes, Patrick Cavanagh of Dublin, Helene Parry of Brentford, Alex Foster of Derby, Chris Impey of Tring, Pat Naylor Of Nottingham, Diana Morris of Kettering, Pamela Covey of Woburn, Una Adams of Corby, Tony Dodd of Belvoir, T Hamilton of Sleaford and Carol Wheatcroft of Derby with Una winning the book token. Well done!