In the May edition of the Newsletter:
I'm prostrated with grief, and standing up with grief, and sitting down with grief, and wandering round the garden with grief, and driving to the ancestral home with grief. I've had to have Morph, my last remaining cat, put to sleep, and everywhere I look, he's not there. It's awful.
He was eighteen and a half years old. I'd had his mum and his grandma and both his sisters before him, and he was the last one left. Although I knew, in my brain of brains, that he wasn't likely to go on for ever, it's still an awful shock. Whenever I came in the door he would rush to greet me. Even in the last couple of days, when he was struggling to stand, he'd still try to rush to greet me. And I still haven't got used to the fact that he won't be doing that any more.
I still instinctively look at the place on the floor where his bed used to be, even though I've put a chair there to try and distract myself. Then, when he's not there, I look out of the window, expecting to see him in the garden, and he's not there, either. Well, actually, he is there, but not visibly so. I've buried him in front of the Button Tree. Button was another of our cats, from long ago. We planted a tree on her grave, which became known as the Button Tree.
I wanted to plant some snowdrops on Morph's grave, and I thought that would be fairly straightforward. We have millions of snowdrops at the ancestral home in Westmorland, some of them valiantly trying to grow on the paving, so I was going to scoop a few up and bring them back. But there was a foot or three of snow at the ancestral home, so I haven't managed that yet.
Morph wasn't that thrilled with the ancestral home. He found it cold and damp. His sisters loved it because they could spend all day hunting. He'd spend all day sitting in front of the fire waiting for me to light it. But he did enjoy the journey to Westmorland. He'd sit on my lap in the car, with his paws on my shoulders and his head tucked under my chin. On one occasion, when we stopped at some traffic lights, in the outside lane, waiting to turn right, white van man pulled up in the inside lane. He looked across at Morph and me and cracked out laughing. Guess he was thinking something along the lines of, 'Bloody women drivers'. He rolled down his window, so I rolled down mine a bit, and he said, 'What do you call him? Airbag?'.
Morph always wanted to follow me everywhere and join in everything I did. He loved it when he got the hang of a sequence of moves and knew what was coming next. Unfortunately, he never got the hang of following behind. He always had to follow from in front, so I quite often tripped over him when he stopped to work out where we were going next. But I tried to do it gently and he didn't seem to mind.
Now, when I arrive home, he's not there to greet me. He always took me to the coat pegs to hang up my coat, with a brief hesitation as we passed the loo, in case I was desperate. He'd take me to the loo (if we hadn't already done that), then to the kettle to make a cup of tea. Then he'd help me with the crossword, sometimes nicking my pen if I wasn't being adequately appreciative. Soon it will be time for gardening again and reading in the summer house again, and he won't be there to do those things with me either. So, it's very difficult to stop crying when I think about life without him.
I'm writing this in January. Hopefully, by the time you read it, I will have stopped crying. If not, you'd maybe better organise me some therapy. Perhaps give me a couple of kittens? That might work.
Look forward to seeing you,
I'm Chenda Appleyard
Regional Wayzgoose - 17 March 2018
Despite the blizzards and icy weather in certain areas of the north east, 28 people including Chenda Appleyard, Regional Officer, Chris Brooks, Secretary and Roberta Bampton, Treasurer. arrived at the Parklands Sports and Social Club in Doncaster for the Wayzgoose.
For the Icebreaker the five tables were asked to consider which question they would most like answered. The following 5 were chosen:
1. Should you put Mensa membership on your CV?
2. Where did the name Wayzgoose come from?
3. Why does one always lose a single sock and end up with lots of odd socks?
4. What is the real purpose of the EU?
5. How can we get rid of all the plastic in the sea?
An initial vote in the room had a draw between questions 4 and 5, a further vote declared 4 to be a winner by one vote.
The local officers, Chenda Appleyard (Harrogate), Roberta Bampton (Huddersfield), Richard Arthurs (York) and Chris Finn (Hull) talked about events happening in their areas.
Unfortunately, the newsletter editors had sent their apologies for the meeting, but Chenda stressed that they were always happy to receive items for publication from members.
The treasurer updated the meeting on the regional funding and indicated that there is still money available for members requiring help in funding an event. The guidelines are that the event should be open to all Mensa members, applications should be made to Chenda or Roberta
Chenda then delivered her report as Regional Officer. She advised that the Mensa Board, as reported in Mensa Matters, Mensa Magazine January 2018, have changed the way in which Regional Officers are appointed. (Further information can be found after logging into the website then going to the news item at: https://tinyurl.com/y8f239ms). Chenda also reported that Oliver Bailey from Ilkley has been appointed Young Mensa Officer for the North East. She explained that Young Mensans are those aged 18 to 35 years of age and Junior Mensans are under 18s.
Finally, Chenda told the meeting that in May she would be moving over the border into Cumbria which would make it more difficult for her to attend as many events in the North East as she currently does.
Chenda then went on to introduce the guest speaker, PC Pete Burke from South Yorkshire Police. Pete has been a road traffic officer for 18 years and his talk was about the 'Fatal Four' main causes of death and serious injury in road traffic accidents. These are:
1. Speed - this should be appropriate for the conditions. Remember 'the higher the speed the bigger the mess'.
2. Distractions - mobile phones are a major problem. Just glancing at the phone can be enough to take our attention away from the road. They should really be switched off and put away when we get in the car.
3. Seat belts - putting them on should be a habit.
4. Drink and Drugs - the alcohol limit is 35 micrograms of alcohol in 100 ml of breath (80 micrograms of alcohol in 100 ml of blood). One in five drink driving arrests are on the morning after drink was consumed.
He left the following question for consideration: What messages are we passing to our children? They pick up on and copy the way they see us drive so we need to set a good example.
After thanking PC Burke for an interesting and informative talk, suggestions for things to do around Doncaster for the afternoon were discussed. These included Yorkshire Wildlife Park, Yorkshire Air Museum, Lakeside and the Retail Park. The meeting was then closed, and the quiz handed out for completion over lunch, this was won by Jonathan Lee.
SAVE THE DATE: Saturday 27 October 2018. The next Wayzgoose, venue to be advised but somewhere in the Teesside area.
Christmas in Huddersfield
Is it a Huddersfield thing or generally do Mensans enjoy being different? I ask because each year the Huddersfield Mensa group hold their Christmas Dinner in... February.
18th February 2018 saw 14 of us gather at a local hostelry for the celebrations, Christmas attire ranging from a pair of antlers, the usual T-shirts and jumpers to, well bits of clothing which are not visible without removing other clothing!
After we had enjoyed a selection of starters, my favourite was on the menu, tomato and basil soup other tried amongst other things pâté and crayfish and prawn cocktail. Eating and talking whilst we ate until the plates were cleared and then along came a magician.
Now, as you may guess a group of Mensans,
whilst prepared to be entertained were convinced that they would either know how it was done or not be fooled and see how it was done. We were fooled and entertained, Graham Smith (on the right) showing his delight at the ring on a rope trick.
The magician then went on to borrow a coin, asked a member to put her initials on it in felt tip. He then asked the organiser, Roberta Bampton to hold it at arm's length in her fist, she did, he held her fist for a moment then asked her to open her hand to reveal a bent coin. I was sitting next to her and I can confirm it wasn't bent when she closed her hand.
Following a rather delicious sticky toffee pudding (other sweets were available), we opened our gifts from Santa. These were many and varied including masks and light up balloons.