Members face the camera at their hastily arranged venue of Inntro bar, Jury's Inn in Milton Keynes.

What a Turn Around!

Phil Chippendale and Jack Piggott (left and right, front of photo) weren't the only ones who had to turn around in Milton Keynes last month. Discover the story behind this photo on page 7. (L to R back of photo are Chris Lonsborough, Phil Watling, and Hannah Byron; Jo Sidebottom was behind the camera)


Regional News

Following the ad in last month's Empress and on the East Midlands Mensa web site at , Janak has received some feedback from members aged 18-35. So watch this space as events aimed purely at that age group are arranged.

I would like to see more events for junior members and their families as I feel they don't currently get as much benefit from the society. If you are aged under 18 and would like to participate in the social side of Mensa, please contact me with event ideas. I'm on [Phone Number] or [Email] Obviously children cannot meet in the regular Mensa venues of pubs, but if any parents could offer their home to other families for get togethers that would be much appreciated. Please contact either myself or your Local Secretary.

Jo and I are still working on the programme for the Milton Keynes Weekend which we hope will include some 'family friendly' events. In the meantime, keep Friday 23rd-Monday 26th May 2008 free in your diary to join the fun!

Hope you enjoy reading another award-winning issue of Empress!

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.
photo of Sue Watford


On Sat 24th Nov at 7.30pm - LSOTM Meal

Hello again - having agreed to take over temporarily as LocSec, we'll start with a regular last Saturday of the month meal. As I haven't managed to get to a meeting recently, I'd love to meet loads of new faces, so please try to come along to the Horse & Groom in Queniborough. Call me for details.

Sue Watford

Contact [Email] or [Phone Number] for details

photo of Jacquie Harrison


On Sat 10th Nov at 7.30pm - Jazz

Join us for an evening of jazz and chat at the Drill Hall with the Jamil Sheriff Octet. There is usually cabaret style seating at tables as well as the concert tiers. For more details and to book as part of the group, please contact me by 5th November.

Jacquie Harrison

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

photo of Jenny Habib


On Wed 28th Nov at 7.45pm - LWOTM

Change of venue: we will meet at the Three Horseshoes Pub on the canal at Winkwell, Bourne End, just off the Hemel Hempstead Road halfway between Hemel and Berkhamsted, down the narrow lane next to the Texaco Petrol station, and across the swing bridge. Do come and drink, eat or just join us for a quiet chat. All welcome.

Jenny Habib

Contact [Email] or [Phone Number] for details

photo of Maxine Bates

Notts News

Apologies to anyone who turned up at our "Postcode Pubcrawl" event in September to find a locked door. Having phoned the venue that afternoon to reserve a table, I was told the venue had closed the previous day for refurbishment! A quick search for another venue in that postcode area followed by a series of emails, texts and phone calls ensured that a good turn out was still achieved at the alternative Windsor Castle pub in Carlton. I'm sorry if I didn't know of your intention to come along and was unable to get the message to you about the change of venue.

On Mon 5th Nov at from 8.00pm - 5OTM

Remember, remember the 5th of November . . . and join us at the Vat & Fiddle pub on Queensbridge Road (near the railway station) where you will find both intellectual discussion and silly chatter. Look for the yellow Mblem to the left of the bar. New faces welcome.

On Thu 8th Nov at 8.30pm - Dance

Hooked on Strictly Come Dancing? Would you like to learn the basic steps of waltz, quickstep, tango, cha cha cha, samba, etc? Several of us attend dance lessons at Memorial Hall, High Road, Chilwell every Thursday 8.30-9.30 pm. An hour lesson costs £4.00 per person with qualified instructors. We go for refreshments in a nearby hostelry afterwards for some socialising. Join us for a taster session. There is also a monthly Saturday night dance with live music by a big band in order to show off your dancing! Call me for further details.

On Wed 14th Nov at 7.00pm - Chicks & Flicks

We have seen a few new faces at our "chicks & flicks" event recently. Join us for a meal at Nando's chicken restaurant (veggie options also available) followed by a film at Cineworld. We meet inside the doors to the Cornerhouse complex. Please contact Paul on [Phone Number] or [Email] to help with table reservation and film selection.

On Tue 27th Nov at 7.30pm - Postcode Pubcrawl

This month we are having an early festive three course meal costing £12.99 at The Tree Tops in Mapperley. The table was booked some months ago but please contact me to check availability.

Ciao for now!

Maxine Bates

Contact [Email] or [Phone Number] for details

photo of Ian Sargent

Northants NNotes

On Thu 1st Nov at 9.00pm - 1Th: Pub

No tricks or treats as that was last night. Our regular Harlestone meeting takes place on All Saints Day - but what is that all about? The village is on the A428 a couple of miles from Northampton and the Fox & Hounds is easily spied on the right as you arrive from the south. Once again, we'll be in the bar area. A Mensa mag on one of the tables will be a dead giveaway of our location.

On Thu 15th Nov at 8.00pm - Roadshow

The Roadshow parks up at another new venue this month: The Bricklayers Arms at Creaton. As we've not been there before I can't tell you exactly where we will be in the pub, so look for the Mensa mag. The village is on the A5199 between Northampton and Welford, and easily accessible from the A14. If you've got an old road map it'll be shown as the A50 instead and there are still one or two roadsigns around with that designation.

Ian Sargent

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

photo of Richard Allen


On Thu 1st Nov at 7.30pm - Pub Social

Join us for our regular First Thursday of the month at the Millstream, Cambridge Road, Hitchin (about five minutes' walk from the station). Good food and beer (and company!) always available. Call me for details and encouragement.

On Sun 18th Nov at 10.15am - Country Walk

Join us for a five mile walk followed by pub lunch in the delightful Bedfordshire countryside. Meet at Sandy station car park at 10.15 am. Sandy is on the London Kings Cross - Peterborough line and is served by hourly trains in each direction. Call me for details and encouragement.

On Fri 30th Nov at 8.00pm - LFOTM

Join us in the lounge of the White Horse, Hertingfordbury to chill out at the end of the month and mark the end of Summer Time - look for the mag and Mblem. Ring Gwen on 01279 441 763 or me for details and encouragement. The hotel is about 20 minutes' walk from Hertford North station. Meals are available.

Pub quizzes - we're moving venues again; please call me or check the email list for latest news.

Richard Allen

Contact [Email] or [Phone Number] for details

photo of Jo Sidebottom

Milton Keynes & Bedford

On Thu 1st Nov at 8.00pm - FTh: Movable Feast

Please join us at one of MK's newest restaurants: Las Iguanas in The Hub MK on Midsummer. Latin American cuisine - see for location/menu details. Booking essential by Tues 30th.

On Sun 18th Nov at 2.00pm - Museum Visit

Another trip to Milton Keynes Museum in McConnell Drive, Wolverton. Entrance charge £4.50 for adults. We will meet just outside the museum at 2.00pm. Contact me for directions/encouragement, or just to let me know who to look out for.

On Wed 21st Nov at 7.00pm - 3WOTM

Starbucks have started closing at 9.00pm, so join us slightly earlier, from 7.00pm onwards. Starbucks coffee shop is in Borders bookshop by the Hockey Stadium(Portway/Grafton St roundabout). We'll have the Mblem on display, but don't forget to check the sofas round the corner! Contact me for directions/encouragement.

Jo Sidebottom

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

High Wycombe & Amersham

Owing to work commitments I regret that I will not be hosting any events in the Wycombe and South Bucks area in November.

I am hoping to host a suitably unfestive meal in December, probably the early part of the month.

I am open to suggestions about this meal or any other event that you may wish to be held. If you have any good ideas please email me.

Alistair Blackett

Dunstable and Luton

On Sat 10th Nov at 7.30pm - SSOTM Indian Eating Meeting

Meet at The Brache pub, off Gypsy Lane, Luton LU1 3HJ and moving on to eat at the Red Chili Indian restaurant, Upper Wellington St., Luton LU1 5AF (yet again) about 8.30pm. All welcome, but needs booking with me by previous Saturday, please. (I now live in Northampton, but still LU LocSec). Call Andy on the night, on [Phone Number].

Hi Folks, following hilarious happenings at the Griffin in September, I am trusting that we won't be thrown out again (please ask :o))) when we once again meet at the Brache on 10th November. Around 8.30pm we will move on to the Red Chili Indian restaurant. They have a very full and varied menu and we have always had a good time in the past. I have moved to Northampton now, but will still be doing LU LocSec job so please ring or email me to book ASAP, on the Wednesday at the very latest so I can confirm numbers. Call Andy on [Phone Number]if you get lost on the night. New members always welcome, but we think there aren't any others in Luton, as you don't come along to meet the hard core Luton Mensa types for fun and jokes. Did the August 19th Mensa tests in Luton get us some new blood, I wonder? I have been so busy with our move I haven't checked out this month's new members records yet, sorry. Hope to see as many as possible along, guys.

Les Draper Eames

Derby Doings

On Wed 21st Nov at 7.30pm - 3WOTM

Members and friends welcome to the November meeting, a quiet lull before the festive season gets under way, at the Standing Order on Irongate. More info from me (contact as below)


Bernie Briggs

Hotel Soap Opera

Dear Maid,

Please do not leave any more of those little bars of soap in my bathroom since I have brought my own bath-sized Dial. Please remove the six unopened little bars from the shelf under the medicine chest and another three in the shower soap dish. They are in my way.

Thank you,

S. Berman

Dear Room 635,

I am not your regular maid. She will be back tomorrow, Thursday, from her day off. I took the 3 hotel soaps out of the shower soap dish as you requested. The 6 bars on your shelf I took out of your way and put on top of your Kleenex dispenser in case you should change your mind. This leaves only the 3 bars I left today which my instructions from the management are to leave 3 soaps daily. I hope this is satisfactory.

Kathy, Relief Maid

Dear Maid - I hope you are my regular maid.

Apparently Kathy did not tell you about my note to her concerning the little bars of soap. When I got back to my room this evening, I found you had added 3 little Camays to the shelf under my medicine cabinet. I am going to be here in the hotel for two weeks and have brought my own bathsize Dial, so I won't need those 6 little Camays, which are on the shelf. They are in my way when shaving, brushing teeth, etc. Please remove them.

S. Berman

Dear Mr. Berman,

The assistant manager, Mr. Kensedder, informed me this morning that you called him last evening and said you were unhappy with your maid service. I have assigned a new girl to your room. I hope you will accept my apologies for any past inconvenience. If you have any future complaints, please contact me so I can give it my personal attention. Call extension 1108 between 8am and 5pm.

Thank you.

Elaine Carmen, Housekeeper

Dear Miss Carmen,

It is impossible to contact you by phone since I leave the hotel for business at 7:45am and don't get back before 6pm. That's the reason I called Mr. Kensedder last night. You were already off duty. I only asked Mr. Kensedder if he could do anything about those little bars soap. The new maid you assigned me must have thought I was a new check-in today, since she left another 3 bars of hotel soap in my medicine cabinet, along with her regular delivery of 3 bars on the bathroom shelf. In just 5 days here I have accumulated 24 little bars of soap.

Why are you doing this to me?

S. Berman

Dear Mr. Berman,

Your maid, Kathy, has been instructed to stop delivering soap to your room and remove the extra soaps. If I can be of further assistance, please call extension 1108 between 8am and 5pm.

Thank you,

Elaine Carmen, Housekeeper

Dear Mr. Kensedder,

My bath-size Dial is missing. Every bar of soap was taken from my room, including my own bathsize Dial. I came in late last night and had to call the bellhop to bring me soap.

S. Berman

Dear Mr. Berman,

I have informed our housekeeper, Elaine Carmen, of your soap problem. I cannot understand why there was no soap in your room since our maids are instructed to leave 3 bars of soap each time they service a room. The situation will be rectified immediately. Please accept my apologies for the inconvenience.

Martin L. Kensedder, Assistant Manager

Dear Mrs. Carmen,

Who left 54 little bars of Camay in my room? I came in last night and found 54 little bars of soap. I don't want 54 little bars of Camay. I want my one bar of bath-size Dial. Do you realise I have 54 bars of soap in here? All I want is my bath-size Dial. Please give me back my bath-size Dial.

S. Berman

Dear Mr. Berman,

You complained of too much soap in your room, so I had them removed. Then you complained to Mr. Kensedder that all your soap was missing, so I personally returned them. The 24 Camays which had been taken and the 3 Camays you are supposed to receive daily. Obviously your maid, Kathy, did not know I had returned your soaps, so she also brought 24 Camays plus the 3 daily Camays. I don't know where you got the idea this hotel issues bath-size Dial. I was able to locate some bathsize Ivory which I left in your room.

Elaine Carmen, Housekeeper

Dear Mrs. Carmen,

Just a short note to bring you up-to-date on my latest soap inventory. As of today I possess:

  • On the shelf under the medicine cabinet - 18 Camay in 4 stacks of 4 and 1 stack of 2.
  • On the Kleenex dispenser - 10 Camay in 2 stacks of 4 and 1 stack of 2.
  • On the bedroom dresser - 1 stack of 4 hotel-size Ivory, and 8 Camay in 2 stacks of 4.
  • Inside the medicine cabinet -14 Camay in 3 stacks of 4 and 1 stack of 2.
  • In the shower soap dish - 6 Camay, very moist.
  • On the northeast corner of the tub - 1 Camay, slightly used.
  • On the northwest corner of the tub - 6 Camays in 2 stacks of 3.

Please ask Kathy when she services my room to make sure the stacks are neatly piled and dusted. Also, please advise her that stacks of more than 4 have a tendency to tip.

May I suggest that my bedroom window sill is not in use and will make an excellent spot for future soap deliveries. One more item, I have purchased another bar of bath-size Dial which I am keeping in the hotel vault in order to avoid further misunderstandings.

S. Berman

Front Page Photo - the Story

Members face the camera at their hastily arranged venue of Inntro bar, Jury's Inn in Milton Keynes.

When Milton Keynes LocSec, Jo Sidebottom, and Chris Lonsborough turned up at their regular venue last month, they found it was shut! Jo says, "We waylaid a few early arrivals and took a chance on going to a local hotel bar which turned out to be an excellent choice - so the evening wasn't a complete disaster after all." What a turnaround!

20 Questions (No. 74)

The answers about Portugal set in the September quiz were Sao Vicente, 10th June, A2, escudo, sardine, Portimao, tourists, azulejo, Tagus, 50 km/hour, Santo Antonio, Henry, TAP, Foia, EN125, squid, 1755, art, a type of wine and Serra de Monchique. There were just two entries from Richard Pecout of Hertfordshire and Judith Meller of Derby with Judith getting the most correct answers and winning the exclusive Mensa designed linen bag.

Let's try another geographical quiz. This time all about capital cities and set by Jo Sidebottom. The prize on offer is a leather bound 2008 Mensa diary and pen. Please send your entries to '20 Questions (No. 74)', [Address] to arrive by 20th November.

1. The capital of which country translates as "good air"?

2. Other than in Scotland, where is there a capital called Edinburgh?

3. What is the capital of Venezuela?

4. Which capital's "spring" was shattered by Soviet tanks?

5. What is the capital of the largest country in Europe after Russia?

6. Which US state's capital is the name of a lively 1920s dance?

7. One night in where is the name of a song from the musical "Chess"?

8. Which fabric was originally made in Syria's capital?

9. In which US state capital are the headquarters of the Mormon church?

10. Which island's capital is Flying Fish Cove?

11. Which US state capital has the longest name?

12. In which capital was General Gordon besieged for 10 months and then murdered?

13. The motor rally to Dakar starts in which European capital?

14. Which capital city has a state within it?

15. Which Mexican state's capital is also the name of a breed of small dog?

16. Which capital was founded in 1566 by the Knights of St John?

17. Which two people sang about the capital of Catalonia in 1992?

18. They came to which Middle Eastern capital in the title of an Agatha Christie mystery?

19. Which capital is linked to Almada by a bridge over the River Tagus?

20. What is the name of Greenland's capital, formerly Godthab?