lights spell out the word 'hope' and 'cure' on an embankment

In Hope of a Cure for Cancer

Raising funds for Cancer Research UK a team of Mensans and friends took part in Nottingham’s Relay For Life on the 15th and 16th of July 2017. See inside for more details and pictures.


Regional News

Firstly I would like to say a huge thank you to Christine for her long stint as Lincoln LocSec. Unfortunately she is moving out of the county so no longer able to retain that role. Fortunately she is moving south but still in the East Midlands region so hopefully will be seen at events once settled. This does mean an ever increasing gap in our Local Secretaries – they are fast becoming a dying breed! - as we now need volunteers to help in the DE, LE, LU and NN areas. Eek! If you may be prepared to host a one-off or occasional event please do get in touch with me. Some of you have kindly contacted me but for one reason or another haven’t yet been able to arrange an event. We will hopefully have a new Derby LocSec once their work commitments currently in another part of the country allow. But remember any member can host any event. It’s not too onerous to organise a night out at the pub or a meal in a restaurant or an activity such as ten pin bowling or a walk. So if there’s nothing happening in your area – or even if there is we’d still like to see more – why not advertise an event and make new friends? Contact me with your ideas and suggestions and I’ll help all I can with getting them online/in print and promoting to local members. If you’re heading to Ipswich 8th-11th September for the British Mensa Annual Gathering then have a great weekend. If you’re quick you may still be able to book events. See or contact Diane at the Mensa office on 01902-772771.

If you’re heading to Ipswich 8th-11th September for the British Mensa Annual Gathering then have a great weekend. If you’re quick you may still be able to book events. See or contact Diane at the Mensa office on 01902-772771.

I’m on [Phone Number] or maxine@marubaevents. com and would love to hear from you.

Maxine Bates

Regional Officer


Welcome to the September edition of Empress, the last of my current run. Maria will be back in the driving seat for the next three months. If any of you fancy a try at being editor then do please get in touch. The more the merrier! For those of you going to Ipswich for the AG, have a great time!

Mark Sloan

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.

In Leicestershire

On Mon 18th Sep at 8:00pm - Social

In the absence of a local secretary, we have decided until further notice to hold a monthly social meeting on the 3rd Monday at the Cradock Arms, 201 Knighton Road, Leicester LE2 3TT. Free car park. Please join us for a drink and chat. You can find me seated with a Mensa magazine or contact me beforehand so that I know you are coming on 07941843275 or [Email].

On Sat 30th Sep at 7:00pm - Skittles and meal

We are having a skittles evening with a choice of a vegetarian or meat meal (7.95 per person) at the Blue Bell 36 Main Street Hoby LE14 3DT in the Skittles Alley. If you would like to join us please contact Sue to book a place on [Phone Number] or [Email] by Sun 10th Sept.

photo of Christine Howells

Lively Lincs

This is the last time I will do the notices for Lincolnshire as I am moving away. So, thanks to all of you who have made Mensa meetings such fun and have given me so much support with my stint as LocSec. If anyone would like to take over the role, I'm sure Maxine would be very pleased to hear from you.

On Sat 9th Sep at 12:00pm - 2SaOTM Pub discussion

I will already have moved but the aim is to keep the 2SoTM pub discussions going, so I've arranged for this month's meeting as usual. People gather at the Adam and Eve on Lindum Hill in Lincoln from about noon, discussion starts at around 12.30; food available; free parking; weather permitting - table in garden, otherwise, usually in the alcove. This month's topic is "Do we want equality or fairness?"

Christine Howells

Contact [Email] for details

photo of Maxine Bates

Notts News

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

On Tuesday 5th we’re meeting at the Vat & Fiddle pub on Queensbridge Road (NG2 1NB). Come along any time from 8pm until late. Pop in for a quick drink or stay all evening. There will likely be serious and silly chatter. Look for yellow Mblem on the table, probably in the GoldingsRoom.

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

Join us from 7.30pm on Thursday 14th for a meal or later for just a drink at The Cadland, High Road, Chilwell. Look for Mblem on tables 20-24 pushed together at the far side of the bar. Menu at and if you sign up to The Cadland email list you’ll receive regular discount vouchers such as money off food or free drinks.

On Tue 26th Sep at 7:30pm - Chinese meal

It’s a while since we’ve hosted an event in Mansfield Woodhouse so on Tuesday 26th we’re going for a Chinese meal at the Double Dragon restaurant at 54 Station Street. Their eat-as-much-as-you-like menu costs only £12. See and reserve your place with me by 22nd latest please so I can book a table for 7.30pm. We have now been hosting our ‘eating meetings’ for nine years. Many restaurants have opened in that time as well as some closing. If you can recommend a good eatery please let me know!

Ciao for now!

Maxine Bates

Contact [Email] or [Phone Number] for details

In Northampton

On Sat 2nd Sep at 10:30am - Green tour/talk

This is a walk around the designated Long Buckby Green Space (NN6 7PJ) by Nick Roberts (author of Wildlife of Long Buckby) followed by an optional lunch afterwards at a local pub - The Old King's Head. Meet at 10:30 on Saturday 2 September - parking is available on site. Check out the website: and contact Jo on [Phone Number] for directions/encouragement.

On Sun 17th Sep at 10:30am - Brunch

Our usual get-together will be on Sunday 17 September at the Rendezvous Coffee Shop in Market Walk, Northampton Town Centre. While having a breakfast, brunch or just a drink there will be a fun caption competition (free coffee/tea for the winner(s)!). Contact Marianne on [Phone Number] or email: [Email].

photo of Richard Allen

Hertfordshire Happenings

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

As ever, we are at the Three Magnets, Leys Avenue, Letchworth. Thursday nights are curry nights but other food (standard Wetherspoons' fare) is available as well. Leys Avenue is the main shopping street in Letchworth and is a few minutes' walk from the station (Kings Cross to Cambridge line). Call me on [Phone Number] for more details and encouragement. Digswell Fri 29 Sept 8.00 pm

On Fri 29th Sep at 8:00pm - LFOTM

Last Friday is at our usual venue of the Cowper Arms, Digswell. The pub is next to Welwyn North station and is served by stopping trains from Kings Cross to Peterborough and Cambridge. Good food, beer and conversation guaranteed! Please call me on [Phone Number] for more details and encouragement.

Richard Allen

Contact [Email] or [Phone Number] for details

photo of Jo Sidebottom

Mensans in MK & Bedford

On Sat 2nd Sep at 3:00pm - T@3

Our first event in June is a return to Dobbie’s Garden Centre in Fenny Stratford (just south of MK) on Saturday 2nd for tea, coffee & cakes from 3pm in their restaurant. All members welcome as usual – we will probably be in the conservatory area at the back.

On Sun 17th Sep at 10:00am - Sunday breakfast

Sunday breakfast is on Sunday 17th at Carluccio’s in the Centre:MK. Join us from 10am for a full breakfast, a snack, or just a drink. We will probably be in one of the red booths in front of the restaurant.

On Mon 18th Sep at 8:15pm - 3MOTM & Quiz

Our regular Third Monday visit to the Barge in Woolstone for the quiz is on Monday 18th. Meet from 8.15 - the quiz starts at 8.30pm (note the earlier start time) and costs £1 per person. Please let me know beforehand if you’re coming - the maximum team size is 6 people so it helps to know whether we’ll be one team or two, or somewhere in between.

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

photo of Val Hinkins

Mid Bucks

On Sun 3rd Sep at 2:00pm - Museum

Amersham Museum has recently re-opened following a 10 month refurbishment. The expanded displays include more information about the twentieth century and greater access to maps. The garden has also been redesigned and replanted and wheelchair access improved. Admission is £3 for adults, children free. Meet me at the entrance to the Museum on the Broadway, Old Amersham at 2pm on Sunday 3rd September. Afterwards we will find refreshments at one of the local tea shops. Please ring me on [Phone Number] or e-mail me at [Email] for further information or encouragement.

On Fri 15th Sep at 10:30am - Conversation, coffee and cake

Meet me from 10:30am onwards on Friday 15th September for a morning of informal conversation, coffee and cake. This month we are returning to Café Zest on the top floor of House of Fraser in the Eden Centre in High Wycombe. There are lifts available and the store is very close to the bus station. 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]

On Mon 25th Sep at 8:00pm - Indoor board games

Join Dave and Alison at their home in Flackwell Heath for a relaxed evening of indoor board games. Arrive for an 8pm start on Monday 25th September. Please contact Dave on [Email] or [Phone Number] for directions and to let him know which games you would like to play.

Advance Notice

Buy your tickets now for David Starkey’s lecture titled “Henry VIII: The First Brexiteer” at the Swan Theatre in High Wycombe, 7:30pm on Tuesday 17th October. Claiming the Reformation as the first Brexit, he suggests Henry VIII’s decisions still reverberate today and promises to illuminate both the Tudor Age and our own while discussing parliamentary sovereignty, Henry’s tumultuous personal life, religion and modern politics! It should be an interesting evening!

Adult tickets are £19.00, concessions available. Further details and tickets at Please buy your own tickets, but let me know you are coming on [Phone Number] or email me at [Email] so that we can meet up and continue the discussion

Val Hinkins

Contact [Email] or [Phone Number] for details

Derby Diary

On Sun 3rd Sep at 2:00pm - Alphabet Event – U is for Underground

Alphabet Event – U is for Underground

This month we’re going underground with a visit to the Peak District Lead Mining Museum in Matlock Bath. Experience an authentic 1920s lead and fluorspar mine on a one hour tour. For safety reasons please wear flat shoes. The climbing shafts and hazard tunnels under the Matlock Bath Pavilion are so realistic that the local emergency rescue teams use them for training.

Squeezing through the network of nooks deep in the Derbyshire countryside you’ll get an insight into the working conditions experienced by miners for hundreds of years. There is also opportunity to pan for ‘gold’. Afterwards visit the museum to learn about what happened to all these minerals once they were removed and how the men and children working below ground made such lucrative money for those above.

A provisional booking has been made on their 2pm tour on Sunday 3rd September but please contact Maxine as soon as possible if interested so numbers can be confirmed. The whole visit including mine tour and museum visit should last around two hours and we can wander along the river for fish and chips afterwards if you don’t have to dash off.

Parking is available in two pay and display car parks in Matlock Bath so I’ll do my best to arrange car shares if anyone would like to do that. Cost of the tour is £7 adults £5 under 18s. £6 concessions or £20 for a family of up to 2 adults and 3 children payable on the day. We will need to meet 10 minutes before the tour at the museum entrance at the Grand Pavilion on South Parade. All ages welcome.

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

Back above ground we’re meeting at the Standing Order (Wetherspoon) on Iron Gate in the city centre from 7.30pm until late on Wednesday 20th. Find us on a long table in the low ceiling rear section of the pub. New faces always welcome to join our growing group for food and/or drinks.

Maxine Bates

Contact [Email] or [Phone Number] for details

Computing SIG

portrait photo of John Thompson

The Special Interest Group on Computers – Digital Matrix (Dig-Mat) - welcomes all with any interests in Information Technology, at whatever level. As a secretary in my second year I have no idea of membership numbers but it is open to all. You may join the group by contacting Mensa directly and then all articles can be issued to ComputerSIG I have two cut-offs for subscriptions each year, August and December and the Magazines are issued in September and January respectively.

The most recent Magazine covers articles as wide ranging as: Successful experiences converting older PCs to Windows 10; Gaming on the move, both in the physical and virtual worlds; Experiences of different databases; Alternative uses for recycling plastics; and an introduction to coding.

I am a computer scientist and chartered engineer with twenty six years working experience within information technology, but some of the contributors come from more professional backgrounds and some come from amateur backgrounds. We all contribute in a non-judgmental environment and all love the use of technology in our world.

John Thompson

Relay For Life 2017

Particpants in the relay for life 1
Particpants in the relay for life 2
Particpants in the relay for life 3

Relay For Life events occur all around the world throughout the year. They bring communities together to help beat cancer. Teams fundraise through the year in their local communities to support the work of Cancer Research charities (here they support Cancer Research UK). Then everyone came together in an inspiring overnight celebration and commemoration that the whole community can be part of. Whilst the event is in full swing, members of each team take turns to walk around the track for the duration of the Relay. All events are overnight as this marks the fact that cancer never sleeps.

The Cocktail Crew team took part in Nottingham Relay For Life at Harvey Hadden Stadium from 1pm Saturday 15th July to 1pm Sunday 16th July 2017. We took it in turns to walk around the track for the entire duration of the event. The first lap was walked by our special guests - cancer survivors - and there was a break as it got dark for the 'candle of hope' ceremony to remember those who have lost their battle with cancer and celebrate those who have survived. Besides the walking there was live music, demonstrations, fancy dress laps, food stalls, fundraising stalls and much more. Not forgetting our Cocktail Crew marquee selling fruity cocktails!

Fortunately the rain mostly held off and everyone had a great time. One of our team, Janet, was interviewed by the BBC and appeared on the Saturday evening East Midlands Today bulletin. We think a special mention should be made for Stewart and Tony for covering the night time shifts. A great effort by all involved and the team achieved the goal of raising over £7000 over the course of the previous year and at Relay For Life.

Everyone knows someone affected by cancer. Cancer Research UK are making advances all the time. With your support one day there will be cures for all cancers. Let's make that day sooner rather than later.

You can still sponsor The Cocktail Crew

The fundraising page is still open at: Every penny really does make a difference. All donations gratefully received. Thank you so much!

20 Questions (No. 191)

The answers to the July competition were Iceland, Marie Curie, Julia Gillard, Cleopatra, Elizabeth Taylor, Margaret Thatcher, Joan Of Arc, Mother Teresa, Margaret Court, Queen Victoria, Dorothy Parker, first woman in space, William Shakespeare, Switzerland, the modern computer, Libby Lane, famous women, Mary, Eve and coffee beans. Lots of entries this time but David Crozier of St Albans was first ‘out of the hat’ and wins the £10 book token.

Many thanks to Kerrin Tarr for compiling this month’s competition suitable for all Scrabble players. Send your answers to arrive by 20th September to ‘20 Questions (No. 191)’, [Address] or by email to [Email] remembering to include your name and address.

1. In what year was Scrabble invented?

2. How many E tiles are there in a standard bag of 100?

3. When played correctly, how many points can 'Muzjiks' score you on the first turn?

4. There are a total of 225 squares on a Scrabble board. How many are not premium tiles?

5. Out of the 1,341 three letter words available to play in Scrabble, how many begin with the letter X?

6. What's the longest word you can make from the following rack - AEEOSUU?

7. What word comes between qintars and qiviut in the latest Scrabble dictionary?

8. What are the odds of drawing a B from the bag after your opponent has already chosen their tile to decide who goes first?

9. What was Scrabble originally called?

10. Pizzazz is not a playable word. True or false?

11. Which is the only letter of the alphabet that does not appear in a two letter word?

12. What's the minimum amount of points you can score with a bingo?

13. Your rack includes the letters QUIXTRY and you choose to play onto the O situated at O12 to make quixotry horizontally. How many points do you score? (Quixotry is the only word formed from this play.)

14. Which newspaper did Alfred Butts analyse to decide the frequency and distribution for all lettered tiles?

15. How many years has it been since the inventor of Scrabble passed away?

16. In French Scrabble, there are five tiles that score 10 points. K, W, X, Z, and what other letter?

17. What is the last animal listed in the dictionary?

18. The most amount of tiles used in a game of Scrabble corresponds to Portuguese and which other language?

19. In what year was Scrabble inducted into the American National Toy Hall of Fame?

20. There are four countries that use a separate dictionary to the one we call SOWPODS. USA, Canada, and Thailand are three of them. Who is the fourth?