May Blossoms

The flowers are out, the sun blazes out of clear blue sky, and on a warm spring evening, the gardens of England are truly the jewels of the world.

Unforfunately, that’s now, as I write this in late March. No doubt by May, we’ll either have been burnt to a crisp by global warming, or the British weather will have reasserted itself, and you’ll be reading this all wrapped up away from the freezing incessant drizzle ....

Regional News

If you’ve had problems logging onto our regional web site recently please note that we have a new address. Go to for the latest list of social events, reviews and photos of previous events, to see who’s who in East Midlands Mensa, copies of the Empress newsletter, FAQs and much more. There is also a page with links to Mensans in business ranging from interior design to helicopter flying lessons to fancy dress costumes. What a varied bunch we are! If you run your own business and would like including please forward your web link to our web officer Nick Stimpson at [Email]

Our web site also includes a page related to fundraising to prove Mensans can be charitable. So if you are involved in raising money for a good cause or are taking part in a sponsored event then drop Nick a line if you would like a mention. You may have noticed I organised a charity pamper night in March and am delighted to say the event raised over £800 for Cancer Research UK. Thank you to the ladies, and several gentlemen, who supported it. You may also have seen in the April Mensa Magazine that for the third year a group of Mensans are taking part in Relay For Life. This is a 24 hour team event in aid of Cancer Research UK. There are many events around the country and we’ll be doing the one at Harvey Hadden Stadium in Nottingham on 14th/15th July 2012. Our team consists of members from the East Midlands, North West, London and Ireland which just goes to show what a worthwhile and fun event it is. So far we have raised over £8,000 since July 2011 and you can follow our progress at Donations of any amount are very welcome!

At our committee meeting prior to the barn dance in February we realised that our ‘20 Questions’ competition has been running for over ten years! It seems popular with many entries each month and we plan to continue with it. Themed quiz questions are always gratefully received to allow me to sleep rather than burn the midnight oil compiling them all myself!

As usual I’d love to hear from you on [Phone Number] or [Email]

Maxine Bates

Regional Officer

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.

Leicestershire Letter

On Thu 17th May at 8:00pm - 3ThOTM

Due to various reasons, I'm afraid I wasn’t in a position to arrange events in Leicester for May before the magazine and Empress went to print, however the regular “Third Thursday of the Month” meeting WILL still be going ahead on Thursday 17th at 20:00. We’ll be meeting up at The Craddock (, so look out for the Magazine or yellow mBlem on a table somewhere. Give me a call on [Phone Number], or drop me an email at [Email] for more details.

Paul Coulson

Lively Lincs

On Sat 12th May at 12:05pm - 2SaOTM

2SaOTM, Saturday 12th May, 12.05, until 2pm.. or 3pm.. or longer. Do join us at the Adam & Eve on Lindum Hill, Lincoln for lunch or just a drink. Our main discussion will start at about 12.30 on ‘How important are the Arts?’, then we will wander off onto other topics. For encouragement: [Email]

On Sun 20th May at 3:00pm - Teatime Thinking

Do come and stretch your brain at my house near Alford on Sunday 20th May, 3-5 with a bit of ‘Teatime Thinking’. General discussion over tea and cakes on ideas of the main philosophers but no previous knowledge required, anyone and everyone can join in. This month: Engels - Are shareholders exploiters? For encouragement/directions: [Email]

Christine Howells

Notts News

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

There’s lots happening this month starting with our regular get together from 8.00pm on Saturday 5th in the Golding’s Room at the Vat & Fiddle pub. This is on Queensbridge Road near Nottingham railway station, close to Broad Marsh bus station and with free parking right outside. It’s good to see that attendance has been increasing over recent months. Males and females of all ages welcome.

On Thu 10th May at 7:30pm - Natter & Nosh

Continuing our “natter & nosh” events we’ll be meeting at the Beekeeper pub in Beeston from 7.30pm on Thursday 10th for good value food and/or drink. Come early, come later, pop in briefly or stay all evening. We should be on the first long table near the food order point but a yellow Mblem will be on display.

On Fri 25th May at 7:00pm - Greyhound racing

We’re making a return visit to Nottingham Greyhound Stadium in Colwick on Friday 25th. I’m suggesting a 7.00pm rendez-vous time but gates open at 6.00pm with the last race finished by 10.30pm so you can arrive and leave whenever convenient. Tickets cost £5 each for admission and race card (usually £6) and all money will go to Cancer Research UK as the stadium have kindly donated the tickets as part of their charity tournament. We’ll be allocated a dog to cheer on the night and if it wins will go forward to the final in October. Under 18s are admitted free of charge if accompanied by an adult. A fun night out for all ages.

On Sat 26th May at 7:00pm - Eurovision Song Contest

The following evening, from 7.00pm on Saturday 26th, I’ll be hosting a Eurovision Song Contest party in the private function room of the Bowman in Hucknall. Tickets cost £16 and include a three course buffet of European dishes, two large screen TVs to watch the contest live, a Eurovision quiz to test your trivia, optional fancy dress and more. Royaume Uni nul points? Please book by 19th.

On Tue 29th May at 7:30pm - Eating meeting

Finally our “eating meeting” at 7.30pm on Tuesday 29th will be an Italian meal at Gino’s in Ruddington. See menu at On Tuesday the restaurant have an offer of any pizza, pasta or chicken dish for £6.95 or 20% discount if ordering a starter and main course. Please let me know by 25th if you’d like to join us so a table can be reserved.

Contact me on [Phone Number] or [Email] for further information or to book any of these events.

Ciao for now!

Maxine Bates

Derby Diary

On Sat 12th May at 5:00pm - At home

Sandy and Janine are kindly opening their home on the Mackworth Estate to members for an afternoon and evening of activities on Saturday 12th. Come along from 5.00pm for tea and cakes on the lawn with the option of playing boules or croquet or even trying a spot of country dancing. All this is weather permitting, so fingers crossed for warmth and sunshine! Or come later for an evening of music, board games, table tennis or just chatter. Soft drinks, hot drinks, cakes and nibbles will be provided but please BYOB if you wish to drink anything else. An Indian or Chinese take away meal can be ordered in the evening for those who wish to eat. Come whatever time you want and stay as long as you like. Please ring [Phone Number] for directions, information and to say you’ll be there.

On Wed 16th May at 7:30pm - 3WOTM

Our regular get together at the Standing Order on Irongate in Derby city centre will take place from 7.30pm on Wednesday 16th. Find us on one of the long tables in the low ceiling area at the rear of the pub. A yellow Mblem will be on display. We have recently seen some new faces and more are always welcome. There are usually 12-20 of us so a variety of conversations is guaranteed. Phone [Phone Number] or email [Email] for directions if required.

Northants NNotes

On Thu 3rd May at 8:00pm - Pub/Arts

Our first Thursday Northampton event is on 3rd May at 8pm and it’s one with a difference. Join us in the function room of The Picturedrome for the monthly "Film Lab", which is an eclectic mix of videos, slide shows and music by local artists. Admission is free but you will need to get there fairly early to guarantee a seat.

On Mon 7th May at 11:00am - Country Walk

Hopefully the Spring weather will be kind to us as the first of our country strolls is on Monday 7th May at 11am. The “LIV” walk is a 3 mile circular from Brixworth (not to be confused with Blisworth!), followed by a pub lunch. Park safely somewhere in the village and meet outside the Coach & Horses in Harborough Road. This event is weather permitting so you might want to phone me before you set off. If you can’t make it for the walk feel free to join us for lunch around 12.45pm.

On Thu 17th May at 8:00pm - Roadshow

And finally, the Roadshow meeting is on Thursday 17th at 8pm. This month’s meeting is in The Countryman at Staverton, just a couple of miles from Daventry. The pub is on the A425 Daventry-Southam road that skirts the village.

For the two evening meets a copy of the Mensa magazine, or another Mensa symbol, will show you who we are. If you need any further information contact me on [Phone Number] or e-mail [Email]

Ian Sargent

Mensans In MK and Bedford

On Thu 3th May at 8:00pm - FThOTM

Please join us on the 3rd from 8pm for informal First Thursday chat at The Old Beams at Shenley Lodge. We will try to get a table in the small room at the right hand end - look out for the Mblem or mag. See for location, menu etc. Feel free to join us for a meal or just a drink.

On Sat 12th May at 10:30am - Country Walk

On Saturday 12th May we have a country walk in and around the beautiful north Beds village of Felmersham (where I grew up, not that I’m biased!). Meet outside the village church at 10.30, and we’ll have a gentle walk around the nature reserve, cross the river via a series of islands, and return on the opposite bank. We should be back in time for lunch at the village pub, and can finish off with a stroll around the village if anyone is interested.

On Sat 19th May at 2:30pm - Planning meeting

On Saturday 19th May at 2.30 pm I will be holding a planning meeting at our house (contact me for the address if you intend to come). I’d like to know your suggestions and ideas for future Mensa events in and around the Milton Keynes and Bedford area, and in particular I’m keen to find out if anyone is willing to organise anything that particularly interests them – a visit, a lecture, a walk, a theatre trip – whatever takes your fancy that you think would attract other people as well. It would be especially good to attract some new faces, but I think we need to be offering some new events in order for this to happen. You bring your ideas and we’ll provide tea, coffee and nibbles.

On Sun 27th May at 10:15am - Sunday Breakfast

Sunday breakfast will be at 10.15 am on Sunday 27th, at Carluccio’s in the Centre:MK. Feel free to come for a full breakfast, a snack, or just a drink, but if possible please let me know by Saturday 26th so we have an idea what size table to grab when we arrive. We will probably be in one of the red booths just outside the restaurant.

Sadly, Mike Hargreave Mawson is no longer holding meetings in Bedford due to lack of attendance. It’s a shame, but I’d like to thank Mike for giving it a real try, and hope that he will continue to host meetings in Bedford from time to time in the future.

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

Jo Sidebottom

Mid Bucks

On Sat 27th May at 2:15pm - Windsor Chairs exhibition

Those who came to the tour of Stewart Linford’s furniture factory in January last year may want to join us on the afternoon of Sunday 27th May to visit “Windsors in Wycombe”. This has nothing to do with the Royal Jubilee, but is an exhibition of antique Windsor chairs at West Wycombe Park (National Trust). If the weather is good we will also walk round the park and gardens and then find some refreshments in West Wycombe village.

We will meet at the entrance kiosk near the car park at 2:15pm. Please ring me on [Phone Number] or e-mail me at [Email] to let me know you are coming.

Looking ahead there are a number of events planned for the rest of the year.

In late June / early July I will be arranging a guided evening walk with a local expert to seek out glow worms near Princes Risborough. I am assured that when it rains the insects still glow, it is just that the humans won’t come out to see! There will be a small charge, expected to be less than £10, for this event. If you are interested in coming, please drop me an e-mail or phone and tell me which evenings are best for you, eg weekends or mid-week. Final dates may change depending on the season, but if I know you are interested I can contact you and let you know in good time.

Further ahead I am planning a trip to Hughenden Manor to see an open air performance of Much Ado About Nothing on Saturday 4th August at 7pm. Reserve the date now. Tickets (£16 / £12) are available from the National Trust on 0844 2491895.

There are some local members who would like to host informal (scoring optional!) Scrabble evenings in their own homes on a regular basis. If you would be interested in taking part, please contact me and I will co-ordinate some initial dates and venues.

Val Hinkins

Hertfordshire Happenings

On Thu 3rd May at 8:15pm - FThOTM

Regular first Thursday of the month meeting and what better way to start the Easter weekend? 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.

On Fri 25th May at 8:00pm - LFOTM

We end the month in the usual way with good food and drink at the Cowper Arms, Digswell, Herts (by Welwyn North station). Call me on [Phone Number] for more details and encouragement. The pub is next to the railway station, which is served by stopping trains from Kings Cross to Cambridge and Peterborough. If the weather’s fine, we might be outside for a bit!

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

WATever . . .

On Mon 14th May at 8:00pm

DVD evening hosted by Bryan Taylor. Another evening of challenging mind food served up from Bryan’s collection! Spaces are limited, so please advise if you would like to attend. I can supply Bryan’s address nearer the time. Usual drinks and nibbles.

On Mon 28th May at 8:00pm - Pub meeting

Pub meeting at the Essex Arms, Langley Way, Watford. WD17 3EG

Please look for the Magazine on the table.

New members always warmly welcomed.

David Seddon


On Wed 30th May at 7:45pm - LWOTM

We will meet as usual at the Old Mill at 7.45-ish., the pub set back from the London road, next door to the Esso petrol station on Berkhamsted’s High Street, (the old A 41 before they built the by-pass).

Come and chat / drink/ eat and meet. New members welcome.

Jenny Habib

An Evening of Favourite Music

We had another really special ‘favourite’ music evening kindly hosted by Margaret Etall.

It was worth going for the food alone!

So I just thought it would be nice to share what was chosen as a ‘some favourite music’.

Margaret Etall ‘Fantasie impromptu’ by Chopin (Benno Moisiewitsch)

David Silver ‘Remember me my dear’ by The Hilliard Ensemble (Jon Garbarek on sax) ‘Ballad of the soldiers wife’ by P J Harvey (Curt Weill)

Claire Ling ‘Donald where’s your trousers?’ by Andy Stewart

John Fleming ‘Rednecks’ by Randy Newman

Ros Groves ‘l’Apres midi d’un faune’ prelude by Debussy (Ros fell in love with this when she was 19)

David Seddon ‘Secret of life/wandering’ by James Taylor (recorded at James’ home in Squibnocket, Martha’s Vineyard)

Julia Haldane ‘Shosholoza’ by Ladysmith Black Mazumbo ‘Guitar concerto in D’ by Vivaldi

You can probably find good examples of this on YouTube especially the James Taylor piece.

A wonderful and truly eclectic mix of music that tells you a little about each person.

By David Seddon

‘20 Questions (No. 128)’

The Irish answers from the March quiz were Shannon, James Joyce, Trinity College, Soldier’s Song, County Cork, rock, Waterford, Molly Malone, Samson and Goliath, champagne, 3, 1996, Riverdance, Jameson’s, potato and cabbage, Belfast, Claddagh, basalt, drum and George Bernard Shaw.

Entries were received from Patrick Cavanagh of Mullingar, Michael Warren of Derby, Rita Beeson of Kempston, Pamela Covey of Woburn, Alex Foster of Derby, Andy Cole of Cleethorpes, David Crozier of St Albans, Pat Naylor of Nottingham, Roger Plant of Nottingham, Philip Abbott of Watford and Carol Wheatcroft of Derby with Rita winning the £10 book token.

The following are all lyrics containing food. Can you name the song title and the artist(s) who originally sang it? Send your answers to ‘20 Questions (No. 128)’, 80 Milnhay Road, Langley Mill, Nottingham, NG16 4AW, to arrive by 20th May.

1. buying bread from a man in Brussels

2. but if you don’t care a feather or a fig

3. a crawfish pie and fillet gumbo

4. red lights, green lights, strawberry wine

5. hot dog, jumping frog

6. I feel nice like sugar and spice

7. where hamburgers sizzle on an open grill

8. a can of beans or black-eyed peas

9. help yourself to another piece of apple crumble

10. Kentucky fried chicken and a Pizza Hut

11. they’re hanging out in the donut shop

12. tangerine trees and marmalade skies

13. parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme

14. songbirds are not dumb, they never buy a crumb of bread

15. sucking on chilli dogs

16. get yourself an egg and beat it

17. sweeter than sugar, kisses like wine

18. sugarpie honeybunch

19. chestnuts roasting on an open fire

20. what can you do you’re in a stew