Swap-bot Time: May 19, 2022 2:04 am


Date Joined: October 13, 2013
Last Online: May 19, 2022
Birthday: September 26
Country: United Kingdom

About Me

AMA What's Your Word for 2022: Kindness

I've returned to Swapbot after a long break during the pandemic. It feels good to be back. I'm looking forward to reconnecting with old friends and to making new friends. I'm eager to begin crafting again.

My name is Betty and I live in Birmingham, England. Birmingham is right in the middle of the country about as far from the sea as you can get, around 120 miles north of London.

I'm in my early seventies and live with my (female) partner. We got married a few years ago after being together for 21 years. We have six children between us, three home-grown ones and three adopted ones who joined the family as older children.

We also have a fourteen year old grandson.

We are active in our local Quaker Meeting and I teach the children's class a couple of times a month -- stories and crafts. Although we only have the one grandson, we do spend a lot of our leisure time with children!

In December 2021 I took voluntary redundancy from my job as librarian at a local Quaker college. I'm continuing with a small amount of postgraduate PhD supervision and teaching. My main areas are history and literature.

I have always written and taking redundancy will, hopefully, allow me to develop that further. I have published one academic book about women's travel writing (and lots of articles), and two general books, one about great explorers and the other an atlas of exploration. I've also edited the memoirs of several 18th and 19th century women travellers. I've recently got interested in playwriting and audio playwriting and am tentatively taking steps in that direction but I still have a long way to go before I produce something that might actually be put on! I also want to have a go at writing either a historical novel or a cozy mystery -- again, I think it will be a stiff learning curve! And I have an idea for a children's picture book that I'm exploring and ideas for several more bits of academic research and writing.

Favorite Books

I read a lot. My tastes are pretty broad. I like general novels, poetry, history, crime fiction, science fiction and a whole variety of non-fiction.

I don't like horror and I like my crime fiction on the cosy end.

Crime novelists I enjoy include Donna Leon, Anne Perry, Molly MacRae, Kerry Greenwood, Ruth Dudley Edwards, Peter Tremayne, Sara Paretsky, Val MacDermid, Katherine Forrest, Majorie Allingham, Laurie R. King (particularly the Mary Russell books) and Carola Dunn. I reread Dorothy L. Sayers at intervals. I used to like Agatha Christie and Ngaio Marsh, but I don't think they've stood the test of time as well as Allingham and Sayers.

I used to read a lot of science fiction but read it only occasionally now. Suzette Haden Elgin's books stand out in my memory. I am a great fan of anything by Octavia L. Butler. I recently read and re-enjoyed Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. I may decide to do a re-read of Bradbury generally. Zenna Henderson's books were tremendously important to me when I was younger.

I like 18th and 19th century fiction. I re-read Jane Austen at intervals; ditto Dickens; ditto Susan Ferrier, Amelia Opie, and Walter Scott. I love Dorothy Wordsworth's travel writing -- I'm less fond of her diaries but they are nonetheless worth a read. I re-read Susan Glaspell's A Jury of Her Peers about once a year and am a great fan of Mary Wilkins Freeman and Charlotte Perkins Gilman.

Other books I return to at intervals include Breakfast at Tiffany's, I Capture the Castle, Cold Comfort Farm, A Bullet in the Ballet, Jackie Kay's Adoption Papers and Neil Gaiman's short story Chivalry. I like some but not all Gaiman; I like some but not all Terry Pratchett (mostly Tiffany Aching and the Wee Free Men).

More general novels? I enjoyed Anne Tyler's Vinegar Girl (a rewriting of Taming of the Shrew). I liked Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker. I will always read something by Margaret Elphinstone or Sara Maitland. I like the Icelandic writer Halldar Laxness. I loved Christine Coleman's The Dangerous Sports Euthanasia Society. I found The Restoration of Oscar Laird thought-provoking. I've just finished the Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman which I loved -- I'm on the waiting list for the next book in the series at the local library. I'm currently reading Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro and Ariadne by Jennifer Sain.

My partner and I are planning to visit Estonia next summer, covid-permitting, and I hope to read some Estonian novels in translation over the next few months. (I'm also hoping to teach myself to speak Estonian! Given that it's a Finno-Ugric language, which means that the only languages it resembles are Finnish and Hungarian, that's going to be a challenge ....)

Quite a lot of the time I read non-fiction. I'm an inveterate reader of cookbooks and cookery magazines. I read walks books and craft books. I read a lot of literary criticism but that's poised somewhere between leisure and work. Ditto 17th century Quaker texts.

Looking at the non-fiction titles in the pile of books waiting to be read on my bedside table, they include The Natural World of Needle Felting, Cold Brew Coffee: Techniques and Recipes, Younger Next Year for Women, Macro Photography, Telling True Stories, Creating a Wildlife Garden, Covenant and Conversation: a weekly reading of the Jewish Bible, Fun and Games for the 21st century, and Teach Yourself Estonian!

I like and read children's and young adult books. Classic authors I still return to include C.S. Lewis, Madeleine L'Engle, Lewis Carroll, Louisa May Alcott, Susan Cooper, Arthur Ransome, Edward Eager, Ruth Sawyer, Kenneth Grahame, E.B. White and Robert Louis Stevenson. More modern authors that I've enjoyed include Philip Pullman, Philippa Pearce, Malorie Blackman and Jonathan Stroud and Alex Gardiner's Mossbelly MacFearsome and the Dwarves of Doom made me laugh out loud while reading.

Within my academic life I've done some research on 18th and 19th century children's books and have a particular interest in Mary Martha Sherwood, Maria Graham, W.T.Stead (especially the Books for the Bairns) and Sarah Trimmer. I'm also interested in 19th century children's magazines

I often listen to audio-books, mostly crime fiction and non-fiction.

Favorite Television

I hardly ever watch television. When I do, it tends to be game shows or documentaries or nature programmes.

I do however listen to a lot of radio. mostly BBC Radio 4 (which is mostly speech programmes, news, dramas, documentaries, etc.) or 4 Extra. Sometimes I listen to Radio 2 (generally popular and easy listening music). I also like BBC World Service which gives me a much more global perspective on world news.

Favorite Crafts

One of the great things about my time on Swap-bot is the way it widened my crafting. I now make ATCs, do kirigami, make zines, Zen tangle, crochet and knit. I also like making handmade postcards and decorated envelopes. Being part of a Digital Art Group made me work harder at that medium and I've also got increasingly into photography. I've just joined a local photography class so am hoping to improve my skills. I've received some wonderful items from other swappers and they've stimulated and inspired me to develop my own skills.

Other things I like to do

I play Serpentine online and Scrabble. I really like board games of all sorts and card games, but as my partner doesn't, I don't often have anyone to play with, unless my son who's into games happens to be around. (He lives in Scotland so I only see him every couple of months.)

I love cooking and like trying out new recipes. I cook things from all round the world, but Indian is probably the one I do most of. We used to live in a predominantly Pakistani neighbourhood where it was really easy to get all the spices and other ingredients in the local shops. We moved a few years ago to be nearer my work but make periodic expeditions into the old neighbourhood for shopping. I have lots of cookbooks. We keep running out of bookshelf space for them!

I also really like eating out and trying new restaurants.

We do quite a lot of country walking. I also like visiting museums.

We feed the birds in the garden and have seen over 30 species over the last year. We don't watch breakfast TV -- we sit by the patio doors and watch the birds instead!


When it comes to postcards, I particularly like maps, holidays, fairy tales, myths and legends, greeting postcards, foods and cooking, book or library themed, vintage, museums, trees, birds, insects, poems, science, sports and games -- but I'm open to surprises!

Things I Collect

Old children's books (published pre-1970) in any language and from any country

Cookbooks and recipes

Vintage postcards and greetings cards

Little Golden Books

Nativity sets

Contemporary children's picture books from around the world and in any language

I Like


Food from around the world

American candy, particularly Sweet Tarts, Chuckles, Necco Wafers, Good and Plenty, Cookie Dough Bites and Red Hots

Christmas carols

Music - folk, country, classical in particular. Not a heavy metal or punk fan.

Vintage postcards and greetings cards

Postcards with nice pictures on

Postcards from museums


Wild animals

Things that people have made and put time and thought into



Crime fiction from around the world


Nice things for the shower

Old microscope slides

18th and 19th century magazines

Silicone molds

Spices and herbs




Anything to do with the ocean (pictures, sand, boats, etc.)

Pictures of snow scenes

Women's magazines, craft magazines, cooking magazines, photography magazines (but not celebrity magazines)

Learning about other people, their culture and how they live

Board and card games

I Don't Like/Don't Want

Nail polish

Make up

Lip balm

Disney things


Hello Kitty items


My Swap-Bot User Name

A number of years ago, I needed a user name for an online game I was playing and there was a bottle of witch hazel sitting on the table. I ended up as hazelwitch! I've generally kept the name for online things that I do.

It's good to be back.

Current Swaps -- keeping track

Ratings never received: kammy, junemoon, jessnewson98 (messaged junemoon and jessnewson on 18 May)

Sharp Shooters Reflections sent 5 May. Waiting for swap from vicken

R & W What I read in April. Sent 6 May. Waiting for ratings from lostinavalon. Messaged 18 May.

Is that building still there? sent 9 May. Waiting for rating from risna

Happy bizarre June holiday sent 9 May. Waiting for swap from pahasiga and rating from pahasiga. Returned by post office 12 May. Resent 12 May.

BLC Big Jubilee Read 1 - sent 11 May. Waiting for swap from ladyabigail and ratings from melissalb and mugglemom

Big Jubilee Read 1 - sent 11 May. Waiting for swap from cynamoen

AMA PC Collaboration swap #108 sent 12 May. Waiting for swap from June Rosebud and rating from Princess Leia.

Wishlist envie sent to Poohtat and to Sandy1969 on 12 May

Accountability swap 10 sent 16 May. Waiting for ratings from colleen

ESO: Teamwork postcard #9 sent 18 May. Waiting for rating from uiltje and swap from satnification.

Zine #1 sent 18 May. Waiting for rating from irm1980.

Zine #2 sent 18 May. Waiting for rating from irm1980 and swap from soyprincesa2

Zine #3 sent 18 May. Waiting for rating from soyprincesa2 and swap from IsaArt


colleenbUSA rated for E-mail Accountability Swap #10 on May 18, 2022
Comment: I hope you feel better soon!
lou rated for Sharp Shooters: Reflections on May 18, 2022
Comment: Many thanks for the great shots loved them ALL … and I didn’t know the term turnstone (great Irish seabird) I’m thinking we call them something else on “this side of the pond.” Maybe tern?
Response: Thanks for the rating and heart, Lou. No, a turnstone and a tern are different -- turnstones are part of the sandpiper family and live all along the UK coast. I've just looked them up (https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/turnstone/) and it looks like we have some resident ones and some that migrate each year from Canada and Greenland.
QuinGem rated for E-mail Accountability Swap #10 on May 16, 2022
Comment: Wow. That is quite some list you've given yourself. Good job on what you've gotten done. Good luck on your surgery next month.
pernie123 rated for Read a Ukrainian novel on May 14, 2022
Comment: I shall certainly look up your suggested reading. I have not heard of GREY BEES> I wrote it down. I apologize for late rating. I found your email as I was cancelling out old emails. They come too fast, too many. I am sorry to be replying so late. Your long descriptive email was great!!!!
Shellyr rated for AMA: April Scavenger Hunt on May 14, 2022
Comment: If I could give you 5 hearts I would. I love birds too and your post card is so special. Loved your note and all the goodies too. Thank you for afabulous swap.
MelissaLB rated for Big Jubilee Read 1 on May 12, 2022
Comment: Thank you for sending a different book review. That was really nice of you. The Lonely Londoners sounds like a classic story of immigrants and their reality in a new country. I've added it to my TBR list.
Comment: I'm terrible at being required to read a certain type of book! I'm too much of a mood reader. Good job!
Comment: Interesting reads, Thanks for sharing your list. Although, unfortunately I haven't found anything new for my "to read" list ;).
Response: I did realise that my reading this month has been a bit specialised -- not everyone wants to read obscure 19th century novels! Thanks for the rating and the heart.
cynaemon rated for Read a Ukrainian Book on May 2, 2022
Comment: Thanks for sharing. Interesting books.
wolfeagle rated for AMA: Things That Fly -March on May 2, 2022
Comment: Thank you so much. Love the butterflies, both the art and your photo. ;)
HelenG6 rated for Read a Ukrainian Book on May 2, 2022
Comment: Thank you for the book report of, "Grey Bees." I really enjoyed what you wrote and also included another book, "Maya and her Friends."
Comment: Thank you, the notecards are beautiful!
dawnakaulen rated for You Pick Your Vintage PC on Apr 30, 2022
Comment: Great PC, thank you! I did tale the long way around :)
Snickerdoodle rated for VF: Mushroom Fun - INT on Apr 28, 2022
Comment: Thank you so much for the great mushroom envelope, so beautiful. I loved it!
mermaidery rated for March 2022: What Did You Read? on Apr 28, 2022
Comment: You’ve got me interested in some of those mystery books! Thanks for sharing.
riftvegan rated for E-mail Accountability Swap #8 on Apr 27, 2022
Comment: (sorry about the late rating!) You got lots done, Good Job! And looks like you put a good dent in the Phone Calls list... that's never fun, I bet you feel good about getting so much of that out of the way!!
mjhaertling rated for SPCP - April Photo Shoot on Apr 23, 2022
Comment: So sorry about the mix-up. Here is the new rating: Really enjoyed your photos. That frog is so cute. The picture of the seals is very interesting as is your info about seeing them. Thanks for sharing.
9O96O rated for SPCP - April Photo Shoot on Apr 22, 2022
Comment: I hope you are enjoying lovely Aberdeen. OMG that's a lovely tree frog. We have them here too, a rare sighting, I've only spotted one in my lifetime. And how unique to see 1000s of sea lions. I googled Donna Knock and seals to get an idea. What a cool experience. Thanks for sharing these photos BH.
Comment: What an interesting list. I have The Man Who Died Twice on my to read list, but didn't know it was a series. The Graham Law, Serializing Fiction in the Victorian Press sounds like a fantastic read. I'll be requesting it as an ILL next time I have a book pickup. Also, I didn't know about the BBC radio books. I listen to the BBC World Book Club, but wasn't aware of the free audio book. I mostly use Hoopla (supported by your local library) or YouTube (just learned today the entire Disc World series is on there.
Response: Have a look to see if you can download BBC Sounds, which is the portal to on-demand BBC radio. I've Googled 'BBC Sounds and USA' and it looks possible -- see https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/help/questions/listening-outside-the-uk/listen-outside-uk#:~:text=You%20can%20listen%20to%20most,from%20anywhere%20in%20the%20world. (sorry that's such a long URL!). BBC Radio 4 does a Book of the Week (usualy non-fiction) and a Book at Bedtime (fiction) as well as a fun programme called A Good Read where they get two prominent people on to recommend and discuss a favourtie book. Good luck and thanks for the rating.
user6937 rated for SPCP - April Photo Shoot on Apr 19, 2022
Comment: Thanks for getting these to us so quickly! Have a nice visit with your family :)

Rating Overview

Overall Hearts Stars Hosted
5.0000 701 130 142
Completed Fives Threes Ones
690 831 0 0
Type 1 Type 2 Type 3 Uncategorized
64 213 413 0
View all


TeaNi on May 4, 2022:

Thank you so very much

for granting an April Wishlist group wish for me with the congratulations card, lovely note, and enclosed tuck in surprises! It feels good to have accomplished this goal I have wanted to reach for a very long time! :)

traceyj on Feb 22, 2022:

Hi again,

the last comment posted before I was finished. Photo credit goes to [LunaXXL].(https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gesetze_SozA.JPG)

Guess I'll quit now before I foul something else up.

Thanks for playing--happy swapping!

LLU: That's NOT a bookmark!

traceyj on Feb 22, 2022:

Hi Betty,

Here are some things I'd rather not use as a bookmark:

pressed zinnia

This would actually be a cool surprise to find in a book, but I'm slightly worried that it might wrinkle the pages (not totally flat) or it might leave stains/residue behind... (photo credit: Geo Lightspeed7

sticky tabs

A few of these sticky tabs left in a library book is not a huge deal, but some people would leave a ton of them behind when they returned their books! Not my favorite.

mejulia on Feb 10, 2022:

Thank you for the great Christmas postcards from the wishlist group.

Swan on Feb 9, 2022:

Thank you for the snowy postcard for my January Wishlist telling me how you stay active. My favorite way is walking as well.

anicka22 on Jan 26, 2022:

Thank you so much for the lovely January wish. I van understand how grateful you are about the recovery of your grandson. Warm wishes, Anicka

itsnobody on Jun 26, 2019:

Thanks a lot! The coins for the 54321 tag in the ISS group arrived. I'm very happy

phillaine on May 7, 2019:

Thank you for thinking of me and sending me the colorful stickers for making mandalas for my April wish list. It was so sweet of you, and I’m going to have fun playing with these! ♥

Queensmiley2530 on May 6, 2019:

Thank you so much for April wish I love the Panda bear and air mall labels

TeaNi on Feb 23, 2019:

thank you

for granting a wish for me with the pretty flower postcards and robin card! :)

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