Close-ups of various items


For each photo, identify the commonly found item of which it is a part; take the leading letter of each item and rearrange to find the name of an animal. There’s no prize – so the answer is cunningly hidden at the bottom of this page.


Inside This Month

Plenty to do around the regions – from the usual wide choice of eating and drinking to the less usual steam engines and fairground organs - plus an opportunity for keen walkers and another for keen talkers. Get out! Have fun!

Regional News

Why did you join Mensa? This may be a simple question but I bet there are a dozen different answers! Unfortunately it seems the majority of members are happy to sit at home and just receive their monthly copy of Mensa Magazine and Empress. This may be due to financial or logistical problems or work or family commitments and that is perfectly understandable. If you do attend our range of social events I hope you enjoy them. But do you ever wish we, as a region, could do something more beneficial than meeting at pubs and restaurants? (Nice that these events are!) Over the past three years we’ve held events to raise money totalling over £3,000 for Cancer Research UK, the British Lung Foundation and RNIB Talking Books. I think, on the whole, East Midlands Mensans are a charitable bunch judging by the number of sponsored events you tell me you are participating in.

So, my question is . . . would you like to see us organising more fundraising events for charity and, if so, which charity would you choose? Maybe you would like to see East Midlands Mensa have a nominated charity each year? Your thoughts would be much appreciated. You can contact me on [Phone Number] or [Email]. Go on, surprise me and offer your feedback!

Enjoy yourself if you are going to the Annual Gathering in Liverpool this month and don’t forget the Scottish Mensa Annual Gathering takes place in Edinburgh 10th-13th October. For details of both these events contact Diane Salter at the Mensa office on 01902 772 771 or

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.
photo of Jo Sidebottom

Mensans in MK & Bedford

On Thu 4th Sep at 8.00pm - FThOTM

First Thursday is at our regular venue of Jurys Inn on Midsummer Boulevard, on 4th September, from 8.00pm. 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 Jurys and The Hub, so we usually try and get in across the road and then walk through the underpass.

On Wed 17th Sep at 8.00pm - 3WOTM

Our Third Wednesday meeting at the Old Beams in Shenley Lodge is on 17th September. 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 for location and menu details. You can eat or not, as you wish – their food is quite good and reasonably priced. If it’s fine, we may be outside, otherwise look around for the Mblem as we don’t always get the same table each time.

On Sun 28th Sep at 2.00pm - Wrest Park Gardens

The final meeting this month, on Sunday 28th September, is a visit to Wrest Park Gardens, near Silsoe – MK45 4HR for Streetmap/Satnav. We’re not sure how much of the house is open at present, but the gardens are reputed to be well worth a visit, having been inspired by Versailles. We’ll meet by the main entrance at 2.00pm (if there isn’t an obvious meeting place, then call my mobile and we’ll find each other). Hopefully the tea shop should be open, so we can have a good wander round the gardens and round off the visit with a cup of tea. Wrest Park is an English Heritage property, so free to members, otherwise entry is £4.90 for adults, £3.90 for concessions. See for further details.

Jo Sidebottom

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

photo of Richard Allen

Hertfordshire Happenings

On Thu 4th Sep at 8.15pm - FThOTM

On 4th September from 8.15pm we have our regular first FThOTM 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 very few evening buses in the area.

On Sat 13th Sep at 11.00am - Bedfordshire Steam and Country Fayre

On Saturday 13th September from 11.00am it's time for that annual extravaganza of steam – the Bedfordshire Steam and Country Fayre at Old Warden. Traction engines, fairground organs and all sorts of wonderful things on static display and at work for you to enjoy! See you there! Contact me for further details and encouragement. Old Warden is about three miles west of Biggleswade (nearest station). I can arrange pick-ups if need be. Admission is £12 and this also includes the Shuttleworth vintage aeroplane collection, Bird of Prey centre and Swiss Garden.

On Fri 26th Sep at 8.00pm - LFOTM

On Friday 26th September at 8.00pm, Gwen Jones and I have to return to our former haunt, the White Horse, as the Prince of Wales is presently closed. A warm welcome and stimulating conversation guaranteed! Look for the Mag/Mblem. Hertingfordbury is about 20 minutes' walk from Hertford North station. Contact Gwen on [Phone Number] or me for further details and encouragement.

Richard Allen

Contact [Email] or [Phone Number] for details

Derby Diary

Writing this so far in advance means I have no idea if September is warm and sunny or a continuation of the wet weather we had back in July. Either way, why not join us at some of the meetings we have planned for this month?

On Mon 15th Sep at 7.00pm - At Home

On Monday the 15th September, weather permitting, please join us in our garden enjoying the views over Golden Valley, with food, drink and excellent company, plus the added possibility of board games, gossip and generally putting the world to rights. If you're into art and crafts I'll even give you a guided tour of my new studio (OK, it's a converted summerhouse but it's new and it's all mine!).

On Wed 17th Sep at 7.30pm - 3WOTM

The "3rd Wednesday" meeting at the Standing Order in Derby falls just two days later on the 17th September so why not join us there any time from 7.30pm for a meal or just a drink, just look for the yellow Mblem on one of the tables at the back.

On Tue 30th Sep at 7.30pm - LTuOTM Eating Meeting

On the 30th September we've got something new for you, the Nottingham Mensa "Postcode Pubcrawl" series of events has now finished and is being replaced by an "Eating Meeting" on the last Tuesday of each month roving around Derbys. as well as Notts. Our first event will be an Italian meal at La Caverna on North Parade in Matlock Bath and after dinner we can take a stroll to admire the illuminations which were first held in 1897 to celebrate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. Queen Victoria had childhood memories of visiting Matlock Bath and seeing candlelight reflected in the River Derwent and this inspired the first illuminations which comprised of fairy lamps and Chinese lanterns lighting up the whole village. Although the Venetian Nights boat parade only takes place at weekends it may still be busy so it's essential to book your place by the 23rd by contacting Maxine on [Phone Number] or [Email].

As always, if you want some encouragement to attend one of these meetings, advertise one of your own or just want to say hello, then please contact me as below.

Merry Metcalf

photo of Maxine Bates

Notts News

Just two events this month as I’ll be holidaying with Mensa friends for some of it.

On Fri 5th Sep at 8.00pm - 5OTM

Join us from 8.00pm on Friday 5th September at the Vat & Fiddle pub on Queensbridge Road where there is a fine selection of real ales, good value soft drinks and (hopefully!) interesting conversation. Look for the yellow Mblem to left of the bar or phone me in advance for directions.

On Wed 10th Sep at 7.00pm - Chicks & Flicks

Our “chicks & flicks” event is on Wednesday 10th September. As usual we’ll be meeting at 7.00pm prompt inside the doors to the Cornerhouse before heading onto Forman Street to dine at Nando’s periperi chicken restaurant. There’s a free refillable soft drink if you have a Cornerhouse card. (See to get one.) Then we’ll choose which film to see at Cineworld later, maybe splitting into two groups if we can’t agree! There are usually enough of us with Orange mobile phones to get their 2-4-1 deal meaning the film only costs £3.50 each. Contact Paul on [Phone Number] or [Email] for further info.

Now that our “Postcode Pubcrawl” series of events has finished I’m organising an “Eating Meeting” on the last Tuesday of the month. This will rove throughout Notts and Derbys. as many members often attend events in both counties. Please see Derby Diary for details of our visit to an Italian restaurant in Matlock Bath on Tuesday 30th September.

We often arrange short notice social events such as pub evenings, meals, cinema visits, BBQs and parties. If you’d like to be kept informed please drop me a line on [Email]. We don’t wish to be a ‘clique’ but some events simply cannot be arranged at two months notice.

Ciao for now!

Maxine Bates

Contact [Email] or [Phone Number] for details

Historical Fact . . . Or Hysterical Fiction?

What do you think of these . . . ?

Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May and still smelled pretty good by June. However, they were starting to smell, so brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odour. Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children. Last of all were the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it. Hence the saying, “Don't throw the baby out with the Bath water.”

Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof. Hence the saying, “It's raining cats and dogs.”

The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying, “dirt poor.” The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entranceway. Hence the saying, “a thresh hold”.

photo of Ian Sargent

Northants NNotes

The nights may be drawing in, but that's no reason to go into hibernation.

On Thu 4th Sep at 9.00pm - FThOTM

On Thursday 4th September head north from Northampton on the A428 to Harlestone and meet us from 9.00pm in the Fox & Hounds. Look for the Mensa mag on one of the tables to find us.

On Thu 18th Sep at 8.00pm - Roadshow

On Thursday 18th September we again take the Roadshow to a new part of the county. Tonight from 8.00pm we will be at the Overstone Arms, Stringers Hill, Pytchley - which is a couple of miles south of Kettering. Turn right once you are in through the front door, then left into the bar area rather than the restaurant part. A copy of the Mensa mag will give away our presence.

On Mon 22nd Sep at 7:30pm - Strangers in the Night

Specially for those Northants members who have not yet been able to get to one of our events, or who have not been along for a while we present "Strangers in the Night". Join us on Monday 22nd September at 7:30pm at the Red Hot restaurant, Sixfields, Northampton for a meal and a chat. For members with an NN postcode the cost of the meal is just £5 and £11.95 for guests (drinks extra). Advance booking, by 15th September please, to me at [Address]. Cheques payable to "Mensa Northampton".

Ian Sargent

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

photo of Val Hinkins

Mid Bucks

On Thu 18th Sep at 7.30pm - Bangladeshi meal

It’s my birthday on the 19th. Not a milestone one, but still a good excuse for a meal out the night before – Thursday 18th September at 7.30pm. The Elaichi Restaurant at 188 Cressex Road (on the roundabout where Cressex Road and New Road meet) has a relaxing atmosphere and prides itself on preparing exquisite Bangladeshi dishes specially suited to the European palate. Despite the liberal sprinkling of chilli symbols on their menu, the food is milder than some local restaurants. However, all dishes can be made hot for those who prefer a more fiery experience!

There is parking immediately outside or in nearby roads.

I will need to make a booking, so please contact me by Tuesday 16th September to let me know you are coming.

Val Hinkins

Contact [Email] or [Phone Number] for details

FACT OR FICTION? You decide . . .

Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could bring home the bacon. They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and “chew the fat”.

Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or “the upper crust”.

photo of Sue Watford

Leicestershire Letter

On Sat 27th Sep at 7.30pm - Meal

A meal in the Lime Kiln, Cropwell Bishop, straying over the border into Nottinghamshire, meeting there at 7.30 pm.

Sue Watford

Contact [Email] or [Phone Number] for details

photo of Jacquie Harrison


On Sat 6th Sep at 12.00pm - Lunch and chat

Join us at the Drill Hall for lunch/just coffee and a chat. If the weather is still warm, we will sit outside - look for the magazine. All very welcome, venue suitable for all ages. For directions/encouragement please ring Jacquie on [Phone Number].

Jacquie Harrison

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

Luton & Dunstable

On Sat 13th Sep at 7.30pm - Indian Eating Meeting

Meet at The Brache Inn, off Gypsy Lane, Luton LU1 3HJ and moving on to eat probably at the Meah Indian restaurant, 102 Park St, Luton Beds LU1 3EY (Tel: 01582 451333) about 8.30pm. Booking by Saturday 6th, please. Email [Email] or call me on [Phone Number] or Andy on the night ONLY if you get lost on [Phone Number]

Les Draper Eames

For those who like to walk . . .


I've decided to walk The Arden Way over the weekend 12th-14th September; would anyone like to join me?

The ARDEN WAY is a 26 mile circular walk based on the historic Warwickshire towns of Henley-in-Arden and Alcester, weaving its way through the delightful Shakespearian countryside and Forest of Arden. Created by the Heart of England Way Association, and recognised by Warwickshire County Council, The ARDEN WAY takes walkers through some of the finest landscape in Warwickshire. Using field paths, tracks, lanes and woodland paths, it gently sweeps through the typically rolling Warwickshire countryside.

The plan is to walk the route in 2 sections; it breaks down easily into a North loop (14 miles - Saturday) and a South loop (12 miles - Sunday), both easily accessible from Alcester. Alcester offers a good selection of eating & drinking establishments, we can provide some overnight accommodation for the weekend and there is a variety of accommodation in town.

This will be a PAYG event, eating out in Alcester on Friday & Saturday evenings, lunch stops in Henley-in-Arden on Saturday and Aston Cantlow on Sunday. Please call or email for any information required - John & Sue, [Email], [Phone Number], [Phone Number]. It would also be handy to know who'll be there.

John Ross

FACT OR FICTION? Another decision . . .

Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around, eat and drink, and wait and see if they would wake up. Hence the custom of “holding a wake”.

and for those who like to talk . . .

Dear Editor,

Following Roger Farnworth's letter in the June Mensa mag., where he suggests that there may be many Mensans who would like to take part in discussions, I am offering to set up a discussion group in my local area.

I set up a private discussion group 5 years ago. The members have now become good friends and it's still running happily. We do not vote for resolutions, but rather seek to increase our understanding of the current topic. We usually manage to talk the subject out in about two and a half hours. Sometimes the most robust discussion is at the end when we choose the next topic!

I believe the key to success is in having a good set of ground rules, where everybody is given the opportunity to express their views and every view is valued.

As I live in the small village of Clayworth in North Notts, I am looking to my local area (East Retford, Gainsborough, Doncaster) for a suitable venue.

I would be pleased to hear from anyone willing to help get a local Mensa discussion group off the ground. Please email me at [Email].

Nick Pal

FACT OR FICTION? And finally . . .

England is old and small and the local folks started running out of places to bury people so they would dig up coffins, take the bones to a bone-house, and reuse the grave. On reopening, 1 in 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive. So they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin, up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit in the graveyard all night (“the graveyard shift”) to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be, “saved by the bell” or be considered “a dead ringer”.

20 Questions (No. 84)

The July quiz answers were Abraham Lincoln in the Gettysburg Address, Martin Van Buren, 20th January, Ronald Reagan, William Howard Taft, peanuts, Richard Nixon, 8, I'm from Missouri, John Adams, Bill Clinton, John F Kennedy, The Chicago Tribune, Thomas Jefferson, Great Britain, 5, Grover Cleveland, 4, Massachusetts and Warren G. Harding. Thanks to the following members for entering: Michael Warren of Derby, Pamela Covey of Woburn, Chris Newbold of Quorn, Mike Hadley of Lutterworth, Chris Impey of Tring, Joyce Ellis-Croft of Rushden, Tony Dodd of Belvoir and Chris Benger of Bedfordshire. Mike Hadley was the lucky winner. Congratulations!

We haven’t had an anagrams quiz for a while so this month can you guess the famous people? They may be dead or alive but there are 10 males and 10 females. Send your answers to arrive by 20th September to ‘20 Questions (No. 84)’, [Address]. Please state whether you would prefer a £10 Leisure Voucher or £10 Book Token if the winner.