Swap-bot Time: September 28, 2021 12:41 am


Date Joined: October 13, 2013
Last Online: April 5, 2020
Birthday: September 26
Country: United Kingdom

About Me

1 September 2019

I'm currently in hospital and may be in for a few weeks. If I'm slow at responding to messages or haven't rated you yet in a reasonable amount of time, that's why and I'm sorry. I'll catch up as soon as I can. Fortunately I don't have any outstanding swaps.

Hi Everyone!

I'm back after just over a year's break from Swap-bot and ready to start crafting and swapping again. It will be good to reconnect with old friends and to make some new ones.

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 late sixties and live with my (female) partner. We got married in July of this year 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 an eleven year old grandson who started secondary school in September.

I'm the librarian at a local Quaker college. I also teach there -- mostly literature and history. My main history interests are seventeenth and eighteenth century (and the first couple of decades of the nineteenth century up to 1830).

I also write. I've 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 just finished editing the memoirs of a late 18th century author and have published several other edited memoirs. I'm also interested in writing for children, although that tends to slip down my to-do list when things get busy. Maybe one of these days ....

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've just 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 recently read The Restoration of Oscar Laird which I found thought-provoking.

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 Get Started in Italian!

I often listen to audio-books, mostly crime 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 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 Yorkshire 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've now moved to be nearer my work, and I really miss the shops I used to have. 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

Socks, particularly with pictures on or nice colours (I wear size 8 UK, 9 USA. According to Google, that's 38 in Spain and Italy and 40 in other EU countries)

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

Gloves and mittens

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.

Just to help me keep track:

Waiting for ratings or comments:

Finished collaboration #63 sent to Annienotsobig on 15 February

Victorian Reading PC Swap sent to lostinavalon on 21 February

Free Sense cards to villagegreen sent on 28 February

Watching my postbox for:

To Send


snailmailpenpalsintheusonly (profile decoration, Dec. 2018)


Neenarneenar rated for TBR: March Update! on Sep 23, 2020
Comment: Sorry, nothing received yet. I will rerate when I get it, I understand mail can be very slow now.
LiliLuv rated for Just a postcard (Europe) on Mar 9, 2020
Comment: I received your postcard today and I loved it - both the art on the front and the information on the back! Thank you for taking the time to share that with me. :)
jules4534 rated for ALL THINGS BOOKS #2 on Mar 9, 2020
Comment: Love the bookmarks and pcs. Especially the luggage postcard. Very funny!
Comment: Thank you for the lovely bits and the advice ☺️
zanynat rated for TBR: January Unread Shelf challenge on Feb 3, 2020
Comment: Seems like we both didn't have the best reading start to the new year. Here's hoping February's better!!
Comment: Sorry to hear you didn't enjoy your books much!
Comment: Sorry to hear you didn't enjoy your books! I've encountered a few of the Audible Originals like you described, and it was so disappointing. I found one by/about David Tennent (love him!) and was so excited, but then it sounded more like someone recorded a conversation with him from their cell phone - in their pocket! It made no sense and was just disappointing. So I do understand that feeling. But with 2 'bad' ones out of the way, the rest of the year will be better, right? :) Here's hoping!
Cobweb rated for Magical Mystery Swap #3 on Aug 16, 2019
Comment: Lovely little thing. I thought it was great!
PrairieKittin rated for B is for ...... Boomerang? on Aug 16, 2019
Comment: Thank you! The card got delivered to my neighbor. She was nice enough to bring it over to me.
Comment: Love the photo of the forest! Thank you!
Bucket rated for CL: Woman author Canada - Re-do on Aug 2, 2019
Comment: Great review! I really enjoyed The Penelopiad too. If you enjoy these sorts of retellings from a new perspective, I highly recommend Circe by Madeline Miller.
Bucket rated for TBR: Audiobook challenge! on Aug 2, 2019
Comment: Sorry for the rating delay! I'm doing some dashboard clean-up and discovered a few e-swap ratings I'd missed. So glad you enjoyed your book!
KSENiA rated for CL: Woman author Canada - Re-do on Jul 24, 2019
Comment: Thank you for sharing.
RooBaRoo rated for CL: Woman author Canada - Re-do on Jul 24, 2019
Comment: Sorry for the late rate thanks for your patience! Wow, wow-wow1 Totally love the sound of it ... but I'll have to read the 'original' first it seems, & that's already only-started-not-read from an earlier challenge this year ;)
Response: I think you could enjoy the Attwood, even without reading the original so do give it a try!
farangelinan rated for CL: Woman author Canada - Re-do on Jul 10, 2019
Comment: Thank you for the review. :)
Comment: Thank you for the fabulous faux stamps! The celestial map is my absolute favorite. It sounds like you are having quite the busy summer, so I hope you find some time to relax!
Hugsie86 rated for CL: Woman author Canada - Re-do on Jun 27, 2019
Comment: Thank you for the review!
StagKing rated for Kitchen Challenge Series: Pickling on Jun 24, 2019
Comment: I'm glad you got to try a new technique & recipe! I've been looking into miso pickling myself lately, but perhaps i'll wait to do it until miso is on sale! Thanks for participating!
chocolatebananacake rated for Feminist magazine swap on Jun 23, 2019
Comment: Thanks so much for the books! I'm so excited to read them, they look so interesting.

Rating Overview

Overall Hearts Stars Hosted
4.9949 652 127 140
Completed Fives Threes Ones
644 776 0 1
Type 1 Type 2 Type 3 Uncategorized
43 208 393 0
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Currently Hosting

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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! β™₯

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! :)

Rocktopus on Feb 22, 2019:

Thank you so much for Luna's book for the February wishlist. She loves that it has a cat! And the stamps you used were so beautiful too!

Swan on Jan 25, 2019:

Thank you for my January Wishlist wishes! The calendar is lovely, I was just looking at the space with the old calendar again, and now I have this beautiful and educational one to replace it! The cards are wonderful, too!

Tryph on Jan 24, 2019:

Thanks for the wishes from my January Wishlist. The tea and stamps are lovely. And I LOVE the card. Excellently timed.

zoev1975 on Jan 21, 2019:

Betty, Thank you so much for my Alice in Wonderland goodies for the January wishlist - they are brilliant!

piratecaptainmo on Jan 6, 2019:

Just leaving a friendly reminder on all participant profiles that, if you haven't already done so, please don't forget to update your rating for the NH flat stocking stuffer swap now that you have opened your gifts :)

LizH on Jan 3, 2019:

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