Swap-bot Time: October 6, 2022 1:31 pm


Date Joined: October 13, 2013
Last Online: October 6, 2022
Birthday: September 26
Country: United Kingdom

About Me

AMA What's Your Word for 2022: Kindness

16 July Various health crises over, home and feeling fine, complete with pacemaker. Planned surgery postponed again -- ah well. Thanks to all for messages and good wishes.

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 chased (mostly) but never received: kammy, Lady Abigail, Junemoon, annim, cynaemon, teraecau

Late senders: pernie123, venzo2b

Sharp Shooters Local Wildlife sent 21 June. Waiting for rating from ScrapHappyGabi.

Photography Scavenger Hunt sent 30 July. Waiting for ratings from mjhaertling

Waiting for vintage postcard WTA July from tatntole.

Mini Art Journal #3 sent 4 September 2022. Waiting for rating from swapwithyi.

Queer Pride Postcard sent 6 September. Waiting for rating from aspens.

SS Seven Roads Scavenger Hunt sent 24 September. Waiting for rating from pahasiga.

Looking forward to cemetery postcards from v3821

AMA Collaborative Puzzle Fun #3 sent 30 September. Waiting for rating from Jan Hardt

Accountability swap #18 sent 30 September. Waiting for ratings from colleenbusa.

Waiting for vintage WTA postcards from ch23, mugglemom, lynnpinkdaisy, colleen2868

Big Jubilee Read #6 sent 4 October. Waiting for swap from pernie and ratings from Pernie.

Betty and Carol 6th decade swap sent 4 October. Waiting for swap from carol.

CPG Get a Head Start on Christmas #2 sent 5 October. Waiting for swap from Zefaniya and rating from grannysimpson.

BLC - September - what did you read - sent 6 October. Waiting for ratings from colleenbusa and dorcii


carol rated for Betty and Carol 6th decade swap on Oct 5, 2022
Comment: Wonderful summary and review of one of my favorite books! Thanks for hosting these swaps! I've discovered so many great reads I never would have considered otherwise. I'm keeping the list for future reference too!
MuggleMom rated for BLC Big Jubilee Read #6 on Oct 4, 2022
Comment: I'm so glad you got a chance to read The Book Thief! I hope you get the opportunity to see the movie also. I wish our DVD systems were compatible (unless things have changed since I moved away in 2004) because I would love to mail you a copy of the movie. See you in the final swap, if we are partners. I have it on my watchlist and will join as the time gets nearer. I'm already reading my novel of course. xxMuggleMom
NRGordon rated for SPCP - September photo on Oct 2, 2022
Comment: Thanks for the swap. I love your teasel photo. Leaves her are falling from the trees still half green. Probably because of the drought.
QuinGem rated for E-mail Accountability Swap #18 on Sep 30, 2022
Comment: That was quite a list. It's good to see how much you did accomplish.
freespirit66 rated for SPCP - September photo on Sep 27, 2022
Comment: What a delightful section of photos! The Virginia Creeper you photographed has such lovely shades of red. I like the contrast between the oak leaf and the grass. You captured a lot of detail in the teasel!
freespirit66 rated for SPCP: Photo scavenger hunt #2 on Sep 26, 2022
Comment: Wow! What beautiful and diverse photos! I especially like the vibrant yellow flower and seeing all the detail of it. You did a very nice job with your photo of Sophie.I like the image in black and white.
skinny52 rated for Scavenger Hunt for the Letter A on Sep 25, 2022
Comment: Great postcards!
Sonya rated for AMA: Interactive ATC #4 - Int'l on Sep 23, 2022
Comment: Thanks for the cute clothesline ATC, Betty. It's laundry day here, too! lol
USAFwife rated for R&W Indigenous People's day on Sep 22, 2022
Comment: Thank you so much for sharing your books! I'm sorry if I missed rating this swap, I thought I had gotten them all! Thank you for re-sending and bringing it to my attention. :)
user6937 rated for SPCP: Photo scavenger hunt #2 on Sep 22, 2022
Comment: Wow, these are some awesome pics, Betty - I love yellow and this flower is beautiful (do you remember what it is?), the nude is tastefully done (though it would have been just as lovely without her face), I totally thought the rope was a braid on the man's head, lol - glad I looked again, love the hockey - very different from what the ice hockey I'm used to, and that ramen looks delicious - have you made the noodles since? I'd love the recipe :)
Response: Thanks so much. I foolishly didn't take down the name of the flower -- I really should keep a little notebook in my purse for such things! And I've not made the ramen since -- but if I can find the recipe I'll send it to you!
Comment: Thank you for sharing.
9O96O rated for SPCP - September photo on Sep 21, 2022
Comment: Thanks for the photos. The thistle in black and white turned out great. I like the details in the structure of the dry thistle flower. We have Virginia Creeper here too. I'll be out and about tomorrow to see if there are any reddened versions out yet in my part of Ontario. I'll have my iPhone camera ready for any good photo opportunities, I noticed wild grape on today's walk but didn't think to take a photo, maybe tomorrow.
jjhere rated for Where I Live ATC on Sep 19, 2022
Comment: What a great ATC!! I love it so much. Thank you!
mjhaertling rated for SPCP: A set of 5 on Sep 16, 2022
Comment: You did a great job with this challenge. You were able to catch some nice action. I especially liked the 2nd and 3rd shots. Thank you for the swap.
Comment: Wow. Wow. I'm at a loss for words right now... THANK YOU for the antique WWI postcard. Just wow! It's lovely and very generous of you. Love from NL!
MamaKek rated for E-mail Accountability Swap #17 on Sep 14, 2022
Comment: Keep that list going and checking things off!
03Scarlett rated for E-mail Accountability Swap #17 on Sep 14, 2022
Comment: Betty, don't feel bad that you didn't get a lot of the things on your list done this time, things happen sometimes . Your list was so long that it made my head swim, I was wondering how you could get all of that done to begin with. lol Have a good day, friend and no worries, all any of us can do is to try and many times things come up that need our attention more plus if you're like me, sometimes I just don't have the energy to do it all (or just plain don't feel like it. ๐Ÿ˜‚) ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
Comment: Thank you for the FUN early Christmas swap. Your tags are great! Love them! The Christmas cards are lovely, especially the kitten. So very adorable. AND WOW. Love the Christmas postcard and the Sate postcard for my collection. I need to get it updated. I like duplicate ones too as so far theyโ€™ve been different.
Comment: I'm sure you sent this and I forgot to rate you, so sorry to rate you late.
Response: I did indeed send it. Let me know if you want me to send it again -- I still have a copy in my sent folder.
colleenbUSA rated for R&W August Reading Challenge on Sep 7, 2022
Comment: Thanks for sharing! I should have thought of an anthology for this challenge, I couldn't figure out what to read so I attempted, I DNF'd it, to read a GN about a bakery! LOL

Rating Overview

Overall Hearts Stars Hosted
5.0000 784 157 171
Completed Fives Threes Ones
755 926 0 0
Type 1 Type 2 Type 3 Uncategorized
94 223 438 0
View all


sassafrass on Oct 5, 2022:

Thank you so much for thinking of me! I'm a bit of a bundle of nerves, but will face what heads my way. I appreciate your kind words and good thoughts!

MuggleMom on Sep 21, 2022:

Thank you for the lovely pcs for Vintage Postcards - August WTA and I absolutely adored the WWI silk postcard!!! Thank you for giving me the history behind it too! I will treasure it for a good long while! and share the knowledge with family & friends. Take care!



Sonya on Sep 21, 2022:

Hi Betty. Thanks so much for sending Rome's Flora deco and angeling for Softawoo. I really appreciate it. Best to you!

wolfeagle on Jul 22, 2022:


Glad to hear that you are doing well and are home recovering.

Rainydancer on Jul 3, 2022:

Welcome to Sunshine Swaps!

Swan on Jun 25, 2022:

Thank you for the wonderful handmade snail card for my May Wishlist!

tatntole on Jun 16, 2022:

I received my AMA: Collaboration PC that you sent home in a glassine envelope. It made it in perfect shape, thank you for adding seahorses, starfish & quotes to it and then sending it home to me.

sassafrass on Jun 3, 2022:

Wishing you all the best on your upcoming surgery, and hope you have a speedy recovery! I've had a number of big surgeries, so I can relate. Take care and give yourself lots of time to rest and heal :)

Poohtat on May 24, 2022:

Thank you for the May Wishlist notecard you made me. Love it! Happy Swapping

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! :)

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