A is for Aircraft

Susan Graves and a group of Mensans take shelter from the rain under the large wings of a Vulcan Bomber at East Midlands Aeropark.


B is for Banner

The Cocktail Crew on their final lap of Relay For Life 2019 at Harvey Hadden Stadium, Bilborough, Notts


C is for Croquet

Northampton Mensans went to St Andrew’s Hospital to learn and play croquet


Regional News

Not long now until the British Mensa Annual Gathering taking place in Reading 13th-16th September. See www.mensa. org.uk for the full programme of events and to check availability and book. You don’t have to stay the whole weekend and can do as much or as little of the activities as you like. Feel free to use our closed “East Midlands Mensa” Facebook group if you’re looking to car share or for company at a specific event. I look forward to seeing some of you there!

Our range of eating and drinking events continue along with our monthly ‘eat & greet’ taking place in Milton Keynes this month plus a unique opportunity to explore the caves underneath Nottingham city centre thanks to one of our new members. See Empress, Mensa Magazine or www.eastmidsmensa.org.uk for details what is happening around our region.

As always, comments – positive or negative – regarding your Mensa membership are welcome and you can contact me on 01773 715330 or maxine@maruba-events.com

Maxine Bates

Regional Officer


Welcome to the September edition of Empress, my last for now. Next month you’ll be in the capable hands of Maria once again. Lots going on this month but, thanks to a new member, there is a special opportunity for people who are interested in the caves under Nottingham. See Maxine’s Notts News for more details. It is also a bumper month for theatre and concert goers in Hertford-shire, a whole host of events organised by Lyn Packman. See Steve’s Hertford-shire Happenings for more details. I’d also like to congratulate the Cocktail Crew for exceeding their fundraising target of £5000 for Cancer Research UK this year after completing the Nottingham Relay For Life on the 6th and 7th July and taking part in numerous other fundraising activities throughout the last year.

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 16th Sep at 8:00pm - Pub Social

Join me for a drink and a natter at the Cradock Arms, 201 Knighton Road, Leicester, LE2 3TT. We usually gather in the lower part towards the rear of the bar. 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 Sat 28th Sep at 7:00pm - Skittles & Supper Evening

We are dining at the Blue Bell Inn, 36 Main Street, Hoby LE14 3DT this month. This thatched pub, is a real ale one with 6 real ales and a traditional scrumpy on tap. There is a car park in front of the building. Booking in advance is essential so please let me know by the 16th of September. Either call me on [Phone Number] or e-mail me at [Email]

Lively Lincs

On Sat 14th Sep at 12:00pm - Pub discussion

Our regular Second Saturday meeting at the Adam & Eve Tavern, 25 Lindum Road, LN2 1RT (opposite Pottergate arch). Join us for a discussion around “Does democracy inevitably develop into populism?” Cosy atmosphere, traditional pub food, decent ales, hot drinks, car park. All welcome. Find us in the alcove, Magazine on the table, or contact Jacquie beforehand on [Phone Number] or [Email] .

On Sat 28th Sep at 12:00pm - Lunch and town walk

A light lunch at the Little Rose tea room in Louth. Afterwards, weather permitting, we plan to explore this charming town (and shops) on foot. All welcome to join us for lunch and walk, just lunch, or just the walk. Note: the walk might be tiring for some. Please let Helen know you're coming, so she can book a table. Email [Email] or phone [Phone Number].

Jacquie Harrison

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

photo of Maxine Bates

Notts News

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

Fancy a chat over a pint of real ale, glass of wine or cup of coffee? Then come along to the Vat & Fiddle pub, Queensbridge Road, NG2 1NB, from 8 until late. Look for yellow Mblem on a table, most likely in the Goldings Room to left of bar. New faces always welcome! Further info from Maxine on [Phone Number] or [Email] or just turn up on the night.

On Sat 7th Sep at 1:00pm - Cave Tour

A unique opportunity to explore the Peel Street caves with the City Archaeologist. Participants must be mobile due to steps and wear sensible shoes plus hard hat provided. Numbers strictly limited. £10 per person. Age 12+ only. Tour lasts approx. 2 hours. For full info and to book your place please contact Scott on [Email]

On Sat 7th Sep at 7:00pm - Show

Honey Cabaret presents a show by nine burlesque troupes from around Nottinghamshire. Venue is Pryzm nightclub, Lower Parliament Street in the city centre. Doors open 7pm, show starts 8pm and ends 10.30pm. Tickets £12. To book please contact Maxine on [Phone Number] or [Email]

On Thu 12th Sep at 7:30pm - Natter & Nosh

We have our reserved tables to the far side of the bar at The Cadland, High Road, Chilwell, NG9 5EG. Join us from 7.30pm for food or later for just a drink. Plus a variety of conversation. Menu at www.emberinn.co.uk. One of our most popular events! Directions/encouragement from Maxine on [Phone Number] or [Email] if needed.

On Tue 17th Sep at 7:00pm - 3TuOTM

Food and/or drink plus friendly chat available at the Prince Rupert on Stodman Street in Newark. We're usually in the small room to the right as you enter this historic pub. Please contact Pete on [Phone Number] or [Email] if needing any encouragement to come along. New faces always welcome!

On Tue 24th Sep at 7:30pm - Eating Meeting

Join us for a Greek meal at Emilio's, 8 High Street, Arnold, NG5 7DZ. See menu at www.emiliosgreekrestaurant.co.uk. Please reserve your place with Maxine by 20th on [Phone Number] or [Email]

Ciao for now!

Maxine Bates

Contact [Email] or [Phone Number] for details

News from Northampton

On Sun 15th Sep at 10:30am - Brunch

Our usual breakfast/brunch meeting will be a little later this month but still at the Rendezvous Coffee Shop in Market Walk, Northampton town centre. After the chat (and a quiz from Pete) we'll be disclosing whether we have ever had our fortunes told - and if it came true! Contact Marianne on [Phone Number] or email: [Email] for encouragement.

On Sat 28th Sep at 11:00am - Archery

We've got a return visit to the Duston Bowmen at the Sandy Lane golf centre - but do not follow the signs to the adjacent Northampton County Golf Club in Church Brampton Village! See the entrance at https://goo.gl/maps/KgAyL1Dbqp42 You can ring [Phone Number] when arrived for collection to the archery area. Contact Marianne as above for more information.

photo of Steve Thomas

Hertfordshire Happenings

On Thu 5th Sep at 1:00pm - Theatre Group - Sculpture

A guided sculpture walk, at the University of Hertfordshire’s College Lane Campus. This can be either 1km or 5km and includes work by Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore. Starts at 1pm from the Main Reception and there is no charge. If interested, please contact me on [Phone Number] or [Phone Number], or email [Email]

On Thu 5th Sep 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 21st Sep at 7:30pm - Theatre Group - Recital

Recital at Weston Church by Paul Galbraith. Paul is a professional musician who plays his 8-stringed ‘Brahms’ guitar cello style. Weston Church has wonderful acoustics and the concerts are always first class. £16 includes a glass of wine at the interval. Contact me on [Phone Number] or [Email] for directions/car sharing.

On Sun 22nd Sep at 3:00pm - Theatre Group - I, Clara

I, Clara. Clara Schumann - A Life in Music. A live performance from Hertford Theatre. It’s 200 years since Clara Schumann was born and this is a celebration of her life. Juliet Stevenson is the narrator with Lucy Parham on piano. The excerpt I watched looked tremendous. 3pm, 80 minutes with no interval. £23. If interested, please contact me on [Phone Number] or [Phone Number], or email [Email]

On Thu 26th Sep at 6:45pm - Theatre Group - One Man, Two Guvnors

One Man, Two Guvnors screened live from the National Theatre at The Broadway, Letchworth. £18. This is a popular event with many tickets already sold, so the advice is to book early. If interested, please contact me on [Phone Number] or [Phone Number], or email [Email]

On Fri 27th Sep 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 Peterborough and 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 Jo Sidebottom

Mensans in MK & Bedford

On Mon 16th Sep 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 22nd Sep at 10:00am - Breakfast

Join Christine and others at Carluccio's in the Centre:MK from 10:00am for a full breakfast, a snack, or just a drink. Contact [Email] for directions/encouragement.

On Sun 29th Sep at 4:00pm - Eat & Greet

If you've never been to a Mensa event, come and say hello to members old and new at The Burnt Oak in Shenley Brook End. We have our own private space, and a few nibbles to welcome you. Please confirm with Jo at [Email], or [Phone Number] / [Phone Number] by Wednesday 18th so we have numbers; after that you're welcome to attend but we can't guarantee to feed you!

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 Mon 9 Sep 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 Sat 21st Sep at 2:30pm - The Girl on the Train

Join Mark at the Swan Theatre to see this play adapted from Paula Hawkins’ novel. Tickets priced from £15 to £37 are available from www.wycombeswan.co.uk For further details or encouragement contact Mark on [Phone Number] or mobile [Phone Number].

On Fri 27th Sep at 10:30am - Coffee & Chat

Coffee at The Cedar Coffee Shop, 28 West Street, Marlow, Bucks, SL7 2NB. Lovely food and good coffee. 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 Susan Graves

Derby Diary

On Tue 10th Sep at 7:30pm - Meal

If you like Indian food, I think you’ll like Nadee contemporary Indian restaurant in Findern (DE65 6AR). It’s a rural location by the canal so hoping for pleasant late summer weather to arrive by. Please contact me on [Email] or [Phone Number] by Monday 2nd September so I can confirm numbers.

On Wed 18th Sep at 7:30pm - 3WOTM

Join us 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. 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

SIGs need their members!

SIGs depend entirely on their members for material, so a certain amount of nerve (or recklessness) is needed to put thoughts or memories on paper (nowadays mostly by email): a SIGSec can't produce a magazine out of thin air, and unless you're a creative writer or journalist by profession or vocation, it can be a bit of a mental effort, so SIGS are only as active as the members. I have had to transcribe a few articles from paper to electronic format, and scan some photos and drawings, sent by members who don't have a computer or can't scan photographs: luckily I have the equipment and the basic ability to do that, so handwritten articles and photos can readily be put into electronic format and sent to the Mensa office for distribution. I don't send the magazine out directly, as far as I know all SIGs send their magazine content to the Mensa office for distribution, either in electronic format or on paper through the post.

Although I compose the magazines electronically, I do like to read a printed copy on paper, largely to give my eyes a rest from the computer screen: it also lets me check that what is going out to the nonemail members matches what I sent in! It's just as well I'm retired, I can take my time composing each magazine, often tweaking font sizes and shuffling photographs to fit the required number of pages, always a multiple of 4 because the magazines in print form go out double sided as A4 booklets, with colour pictures on the outside sheet only. It can be fiddly at times, but I find it a satisfying exercise, and it is rewarding to see the finished product going out to SIG members.

The Mensa website contains a full list of SIGs (https://www.mensa.org.uk/sigs), so I would encourage Mensa members to look for a SIG that matches any of their interests. UK Mensa members can join two postal SIGs free of charge, due to the cost of postage, but can join more at £5 extra per year, or join as many as you like free of charge for email only, most SIGs operate by email anyway, with the paper magazine as an option, and some are online only, so the choices are there. If there isn't a SIG for your own special interest, and you think others might share that interest, you can always start a SIG for that interest, just contact Neil Matthews, the SIGs Officer, on 01494 890494 or at sigsofficer@btopenworld.com .

Pat Mason, SIGSec, Dog SIG and Transport SIG

Event Pictures

Jade and Maxine doing the Healthy Living lap at Relay for Life
Giving the ball a good thump at the Croquet
Exploring a rather damp East Midlands Aeropark

20 Questions (No. 215)

The answers to the James Bond quiz in the July issue were The Spy Who Loved Me, 1, Auric, chair, 1983, Q, inside a volcano, Licence To Kill, Paul McCartney & Wings, Vulcan, Ursula Andress, Scaramanga, the union flag, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, cello, Willard Whyte, Tracy, John Cleese, Felix Leiter and Grace Jones. Congratulations to Roger Plant of Nottingham who wins the £10 book token.

Thanks to Jo Sidebottom for compiling this month’s quiz on animals. Send your answers to arrive by 20th September by post to ‘20 Questions (No. 215)’, [Address] or by email to maxine@maruba-events.com for your chance to win.

1. Of which country is the beaver the national animal?

2. What is the name of T S Eliot’s railway cat?

3. Hairy nosed and Queensland are varieties of which animal?

4. In Jungle Book, who was the leader of the wolves?

5. Which cartoon character is “the fastest mouse in all Mexico”?

6. Of which animals is alektorophobia the fear?

7. A basilisk is what type of creature?

8. In cartoons, who led the gang whose members included Benny and Choo Choo?

9. How many tentacles does a squid have?

10. A bee normally has how many wings?

11. Crested, smooth and palmate are all types of what?

12. In George Orwell’s Animal Farm, what type of animal was Napoleon?

13. What is a cow that has not had a calf known as?

14. Anser anser is the scientific name of which bird?

15. Nutria is the fur of which animal?

16. What is the national bird of India?

17. Goatsucker is the North American name for which bird?

18. Crabs, lobsters and shrimps are all members of which class of creature?

19. A skulk is the collective name for which animal?

20. What name is given to the study of reptiles?