Nottingham Christmas Meal Thurs 12 Dec 7:30pm. Leicester Christmas Meal Mon 16 Dec 7:00pm. Viennese Style New Year’s Eve concert
Christmas is coming to the East Midlands. Don’t forget to book!!!

Regional News

It was lovely to see some of you at the Annual Gathering in Reading in September. Congratulations to organiser Judith Barrett for finalising arrangements from her hospital bed as well as to our own Val Hinkins for helping the committee with some of the events.

The 2020 event is planned for Manchester in September so watch this space as details are finalised. Following the AGM Young Mensan Emily Shovlar from our region joined the Board. Congratulations to Emily.

Our own regional event usually takes place in February/March so we are seeking suggestions for location and type of event. Over the last 20 years we’ve done everything from a Valentine’s Day ball to barn dance supper to quiz night to Chinese banquet to live music to St Patrick’s Day lunch. Would you prefer a Saturday or Sunday? An afternoon or evening event? The opportunity to make it into a mini-weekend with other events? Something formal with chance to dress up or less formal? In a hotel or village hall?

Your opinions really would be appreciated so please contact me on [Phone Number] or [Email] or join in discussion on our East Midlands Mensa Facebook group. We’ll aim to go with the majority of opinions expressed.

Maxine Bates

Regional Officer


Welcome to the November Edition of Empress. Not many photos this month so please, if you attend or organise an event, do say “cheese” and email me some nice piccies for Empress.

Bookings for Christmas meals and Christmas events are all over this issue. It would be lovely to see as many of you as possible. Enjoy the reading!

Maria Falces

Member’s profile - Christina Andersen-Bacon

Christina Andersen-Bacon (previously Keey-Andersen)
Couple of miles outside Lincoln, Lincolnshire. Live right in between 3 RAF stations which is great when you get to watch a Lancaster bomber flying next to you, or watch the Red Arrows practice in front of you on your morning commute – slightly less so when the Typhoons practice night flying at 2 in the morning over your house.
When did you join Mensa:
About twenty years ago.
Why did you join:
Having moved from Switzerland to Birmingham, I was looking to make some new friends. Have you attended any events: When I lived in the West Midlands I used to be very active, attending lots of events – particularly loved the games evenings running all through the night, and organised many myself, but since moving to Lincolnshire and starting a family I have not managed to attend many. Which I plan to change!
Still not sure what I want to do when I grow up. Have been a project manager for many years, which I love, but currently working a series of slightly random part time jobs to make family life work. The current line-up is doing admin for a charity that work with people with wide ranging problems from mental health, homelessness, just released from prison etc and also working for a charity that run SureStart centres where I am responsible for anything to do with excel and data. In my spare time I am studying Economics and History with the Open University.
Roles in Mensa:
I have recently taken on the role as Family Officer for the East Midlands, as I would love to go back to attending events, but these days it means bringing 2 lively six year olds in tow, and as there are not many suitable events I thought I had better organise some.
Having done a quick poll on Facebook a couple of months ago (thank you to all that replied) it looks like families with children are quite spread out across the region and of varying ages so it is not going to be easy, but I am up for the challenge! If you have any ideas for events you would like to see happen please feel free to let me know, and I hope to be able to launch our first programme by next month – I am hoping to have something happening across all areas but it might take me a little while as so please bear with me. I am also happy to be the first point of contact for families if they have any queries or would like to see a friendly face.
I can be contacted on [Phone Number] or [Email].

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 Susan Graves

Derby Diary

On Thu 7th Nov at 7:15pm - Ten Pin Bowling

Please join us at Ten Pin Derby, Foresters Leisure Park, DE23 8AG. The deal is 2 games plus a drink for £10. All abilities welcome. Meet at 7.15pm for a 7.30pm start. Please contact me on [Email] or [Phone Number] by Friday 1st November so I can check I have enough lanes, but spaces could still be available after this.

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

It’s time for our monthly get-together in the centre of Derby. We will be at the Standing Order pub on Iron Gate (Wetherspoons) to eat or just for a drink and a chat from 7.30pm. Reasonable prices. 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.

Susan Graves

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

photo of Steve Thomas

Hertfordshire Happenings

On Tue 5th Nov at 7:15pm - Theatre Group

A live transmission from Covent Garden at the Broadway Cinema, Letchworth. The Royal Ballet will be dancing Concerto / Enigma Variations / Raymonda Act III. £18 to include a glass of wine. If interested, please contact me on [Phone Number], [Phone Number] or email [Email].

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

Once again, we are at the Three Magnets, Leys Avenue, Letchworth. Thursday is traditionally curry night, but other food is also available (standard Wetherspoons fare). Leys Avenue is the main shopping street in Letchworth and is just a few minutes' walk from the rail station (Kings Cross to Cambridge line). Call me on [Phone Number], or email [Email] for further details and encouragement.

On Sat 9th Nov at 7:45pm - Dracula

Join us at the Settlement in Nevells Road, SG6 4UB, to see this play performed by the excellent amateur theatre group, The Settlement Players. Tickets £10 from David's Bookshop or online: For more info or encouragement: [Phone Number]

On Tue 19th Nov at 8:00pm - Theatre Group

The Flint Street Nativity at The Barn Theatre, Welwyn Garden City. £13. If interested, please contact me on [Phone Number], [Phone Number] or email [Email].

On Thu 21st Nov at 7:30pm - Theatre Group

Thomas Tallis at The Little Theatre, Hertford. 7:30pm for 8:00pm start. £14.50. If interested, please contact me on [Phone Number], [Phone Number] or email [Email].

On Thu 28th Nov at 6:45pm - Theatre Group

A live transmission from The National Theatre at the Broadway Cinema, Letchworth of Noel Coward’s comedy Present Laughter, starring Andrew Scott. £18. Tickets are selling fast. If interested, please contact me on [Phone Number], [Phone Number] or email [Email].

On Fri 29th Nov 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 Cambridge. Good food, beer and conversation guaranteed! Please call me on [Phone Number] for more details and a spot of encouragement to come and join us.

Steve Thomas

Contact [Email] or [Mobile Number] for details

photo of Haydn Starkie

In Leicestershire

On Sat 2nd Nov at 10:30am - Coffee Morning

Join me for coffee, cake and conversation at the Garden Restaurant, Dobbies (formerly Wyvale) Garden Centre, Loughborough Road, Rothley, Leics., LE7 7NL. You may also like to take the opportunity for a little pre-Christmas shopping. New faces are always welcome. You are also welcome to bring a friend. Look out for the magazine or Mblem. For directions or encouragement, please contact me on [Phone Number] or by email at [Email].

On Mon 18th Nov at 8:00pm - Pub Social

Come and join me for chat over a drink at the Cradock Arms, 201 Knighton Road LE2 3TT. You'll find me in the lower area at the end of the bar with the Mblem on the table. Let me know if you are going to join us so that I can reserve a big enough table. You can contact me on [Phone Number] or e-mail me at [Email]

Haydn Starkie

Contact [Email] or [Mobile Number] for details

On Sat 30th Nov at 7:00pm - Pub meal

We are back at the Britannia Inn, Queniborough for dinner this month. This country, village pub has a selection of real ales to go with it's home made food, which is mainly from local suppliers. Booking in advance is essential so please let me know if you are joining us by 24th September. You can phone me on [Phone Number] or e-mail me at [Email]

photo of Jacquie Harrison

Lively Lincs

On Fri 8th Nov at 7:30pm - Theatre trip

“Waiting for Godot” in the Upstairs Room at the Drill Hall, Free School Lane, Lincoln, LN2 1EY. Tickets £10, book direct with the Drill Hall. More details on Meet in the cafe bar at 7:00pm, contact Jacquie beforehand on [Phone Number] or [Email] so she can look out for you.

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

Adam & Eve Tavern, 25 Lindum Road, LN2 1RT (opposite Pottergate arch). Our regular Second Saturday meeting. Come and join in as we seek answers to the question, “Can you fall in love with romance?” Traditional pub food (optional), decent ales (optional), hot drinks, car park. All welcome. Find us in the alcove, Magazine on the table, or contact Jacquie beforehand on [Phone Number] or [Email] .

Jacquie Harrison

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

photo of Val Hinkins

Mid Bucks

On Mon 11st Nov 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 Mon 18th Nov at 7:30pm - Eat & Greet

November’s Eat & Greet meeting will be held at The Mogul, 91-95 High Street, The Old Town, Hemel Hempstead, HP1 3AH. Free evening parking nearby. Directions and further details are at We will need to book, so please contact Christine by e-mail at [Email] or phone her on [Phone Number] by Monday 11th November to let her know you are coming.

On Fri 22nd Nov at 10:30am - Coffee & Chat

Coffee at Metro Lounge, 63-65 Hill Avenue, Amersham, HP6 5BX. Vegetarian and vegan friendly café. See for further details. 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 Jo Sidebottom

Mensans in MK & Bedford

On Wed 6th Nov at 7:00pm - Moroccan restaurant

Join us at Mimo's in St Cuthbert's Street to sample the Moroccan cuisine. Please let me know by Monday 4th if you are coming so I can book a table. Contact Jo at [Email], or [Phone Number] / [Phone Number] for directions/encouragement.

On Mon 18th Nov at 7:45pm - 3MOTM Quiz

Our monthly quiz outing to The Plough at Simpson. Meet from 7.45 for a 8.00pm 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 Nov at 10:00am - Breakfast

Join us at Brown's on Midsummer Boulevard from 10am for a full breakfast, a snack, or just a drink.Contact Jo at [Email], or [Phone Number] / [Phone Number] for directions/encouragement.

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

News from Northampton

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

Join us at our new venue for a quiz and breakfast, brunch or just a drink at the Zapato Lounge, Welsh House, 2 Newland Walk NN1 2EB. Look for a noisy bunch at a table with the Mensa Mblem. We'll consider how much of the total weight is made up of fuel in a car, plane and rocket. Contact Marianne on [Phone Number] or email: [Email] for directions or encouragement.

photo of Maxine Bates

Notts News

On Tue 5th Nov at 8:00pm - 5OTM

Remember remember the 5th of November... and join us for a drink and chat at the Vat & Fiddle pub, Queensbridge Road, NG2 1NB. Look for yellow Mblem on the table on the night or contact Maxine on [Phone Number] or [Email] beforehand if wanting directions or a little encouragement to come along. New faces welcome.

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

A meal from 7.30pm or just a drink later plus a variety of conversation. Venue is The Cadland pub/restaurant, High Road, Chilwell, where we have a large table reserved at the far side of the bar. Look for yellow Mblem on the table. Further info from Maxine on [Phone Number] or [Email] or just turn up on the night.

On Fri 15th Nov at 7:30pm - Girls Night In

Ladies are invited to my home in Langley Mill for an evening of fun and laughter. See the Tropic range of skin care, body care and make up with free mini pamper treatments on offer. Hot/soft drinks, wine and nibbles provided or BYOB. Optional lucky dip gifts available for only £1. An idea of numbers appreciated. RSVP to Maxine on [Phone Number] or [Email]. You are welcome to bring a friend.

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

Ooh la la! We're going to sample French cuisine at Le Mistral restaurant, 575 Mansfield Road, Sherwood, NG5 2JN. See for a la carte menu. Also daily specials including vegan and vegetarian. Or main, salad or fish dish plus glass of wine for £13.95 on their midweek deal. Reserve your place with Maxine on [Phone Number] or [Email] by 19th please.

Ciao for now!

Maxine Bates

Contact [Email] or [Phone Number] for details

Eat & Greet in MK by Jo Sidebottom

Milton Keynes Mensa welcomed a total of fourteen members to our “Eat & Greet” event in Milton Keynes on 29th September. This included four first-timers, three of whom were junior members, accompanied by a respective parent each.

We attempted to do a couple of quizzes, one on Milton Keynes and one on Mensa, but having fulfilled their purpose of getting people chatting, they were soon discarded in favour of more wide-ranging conversation. We made a valiant attempt on an enormous buffet but failed to polish it all off. Mensa Head Office had kindly supplied a variety of branded items so everyone went away with a variety of goodies.

I’m grateful to everyone who came and joined us for this get-together, and hope they will be encouraged to come along to more Mensa outings in future.

20 Questions (No. 217)

The answers to the September quiz were Canada, skimbleshanks, wombat, Akela, Speedy Gonzales, chickens, lizard, Top Cat, 2, 4, newt, pig, heifer, greylag goose, coypu, Indian peacock/peafowl, nightjar, crustacean, fox and herpetology. There were a number of entries this month with Keith Hutchings of Mablethorpe winning the £10 book token.

This month we’re testing your knowledge of wine. Send your entries to arrive by 20th November to ‘20 Questions (No. 217)’, [Address] or [Email] remembering your name and address.

1. Chianti wine originates from which Italian region?

2. Who was the Roman God of wine?

3. In which season are grapes generally harvested in the northern hemisphere?

4. What is the most planted vine variety in Bordeaux?

5. A balthazar size bottle of champagne is equal to how many standard 75cl bottles?

6. What kind of monk was Dom Perignon, the man regarded as inventing champagne?

7. Which country is the largest wine producer in South America?

8. If a wine is said to be ‘hard’ what is it high in?

9. Which country first introduced screw caps for bottles of wine?

10. What are the separate shaped pieces of wood called that make up the sides of a barrel?

11. The wine growing region of Napa Valley is north of which US city?

12. If a wine comes with an OWC, what would you be getting with it?

13. What colour is 80% of the wine produced in Provence?

14. What is the name of the part of the vine above ground including the leaf and fruit?

15. 50% of all English wines are produced in which county?

16. Which country produces the most (around 30%) cork?

17. The letters VDQS are found on bottles of quality wine from which country?

18. What is the oldest variety of grape in the world?

19. In which month is Beaujolais Nouveau wine released?

20. Which gas makes sparkling wine sparkle?