Swap-bot Time: March 25, 2023 3:09 am


Date Joined: October 13, 2013
Last Online: March 24, 2023
Birthday: September 26
Country: United Kingdom
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About Me

24 March, this has now been sent with profuse apologies.

17 March 2023 -- My time ATC swap is due to be sent tomorrow. I finished making it yesterday and it's in the envelope, ready to post.

Unfortunately, my partner tested positive for covid yesterday so we're a bit housebound.

I'm hoping that a neighbour might post it tomorrow but if not, I should manage to get it into the postbox at the beginning of next week.

I've messaged my partner.

AMA What's Your Word for 2022: Kindness 2023 Word: Focus

31 January 2023

The throat surgery went well and I'm now back home. The care was wonderful, despite the pressure that the NHS is currently under.

I'm still a bit tired, but gradually getting my energy back.

Thank you to so many of you for good wishes and thoughts and prayers. They were and continue to be very much appreciated.

22 January 2023

I'm going into hospital for throat surgery on 24th January. It's really hard to know how long I'll be out of action. I know they'll keep me in for at least one night but possibly more depending on how quickly my calcium levels stabilise. And I'm likely to be fairly tired and out of it for a few days, so any swaps that arrive, I'll rate as soon as I can once I'm back at my computer. I don't have any swaps due to be sent until the end of the month.


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 (sometimes) but never received: kammy, Lady Abigail, Junemoon x 2, annim, cynaemon, teraecau, mjhaertling x 3, pernie123, scraphappygabi, swapwithyi, kaytee2368, snailmailer1, irm1980 x 2, QuinGem

Late senders: pernie123, venzo2b

Flaked on by tatntole (WTA, chased by both host and me, no response), LoveJester (twice)

SPCP Near and Far sent 9 November. Waiting for ratings from irm1980 Chased 30 11.

3 vintage pcs and a Christmas card sent 24 November. Waiting for rating from skinny52

Beginner postcard November sent 28 November. Waiting for swap from onyx

Accountability list #22 sent 30 November. Waiting for rating from krspellman.

CPG What will you read sent 7 December. Waiting for rating from fourgnomesinatrenchcoat

Reading challenge #2 sent 27 December. Waiting for swap from lilacsilence.

AMA Puzzle pieces sent 31 December. Waiting for rating from Beckster.

Email accountability list sent 31 December. Waiting for ratings from kirstyrogers and kspellman.

Last picture for Snapshots in Time sent 1 January. Waiting for rating from VAGardenGirl

AMA Fairy Tale Snow White sent 22 December. Waiting for swap from Circular logic

BLC Reading Challenge #3 sent 23 January. Waiting for rating from vigdisblom and lost in avalon

Accountability Swap #2 sent 31 January. Waiting for rating from katarariana.

January Nature Journal sent 3 February. Waiting for rating from VAGardengirl

Acountability list #3 sent 14 February. Waiting for rating from bluecrayons

Accountability swap #4 sent 27 February. Waiting for rating from bluecrayons

Reading challenge #4 sent 3 March. Waiting for rating from junemoon, annim

AMA Mini Journal Go Round #9 sent 8 March. Waiting for rating from swapwithi and swap from Tara.

BC Mini mail sent 8 March. Waiting for rating from Tara.

CPG Mini Envelopes - global - sent 12 March. Waiting for swap from bluerose3 and rating from cisnerosV

Naked vintage PC for the letter P sent 12 March. Waiting for rating from AnneliesV

CPG Newbies Random Envie x 3 sent 13 March. Waiting for swap from Taimat and jessiedau, and ratings from OrigamiGrace, chevl66 and jessieau.

Fun with shrink plastic sent 16 March. Waiting for rating from Dan


chevl66 rated for CPG-N: Random Envie 3 x 3 - Global on Mar 23, 2023
Comment: The zine was great! I love it, so interesting!
chimerix rated for AMA: Collaboration Puzzle Fun #5 on Mar 18, 2023
Comment: Thank you for the lovely dragon and Alice puzzle pieces. They are a great addition to my puzzle - just one more round! Aloha
QuinGem rated for Email Accountability Swap #5 on Mar 15, 2023
Comment: Good job on your list, despite having to deal with illness! Hope she's feeling better!
Bhindblueeyes rated for MF: March 2023 Goals on Mar 15, 2023
Comment: Def some good goals that I know you can reach!!!!
Comment: Hi Betty! Thanks for a lovely range of ATC backgrounds. I especially love the ones with the trees. 😊
Comment: Betty, you had a lot of 'murdery' books on your list, lol! I'm so glad you mentioned A Song of Comfortable Chairs. I've read all the books but when they switched narrators on books # 21&22, I about lost my mind but I see they have the original narrator back for #23!! More of Mr J.L.B. Matekoni please! I've also added a few books from your list, even the work-related books. The Invention of Murder: how the Victorians revelled in Death and Detection and created Modern Crime by Judith Flanders sounds great. Have you read any of Kate Summerscales Victorian murder research books. I think I've read 3 of her books and I hope she writes more!. xxMuggleMom
Response: Thanks! I had a feeling that some of the work-related books would interest you, and I suspect the ones I'm going to be reading over the next few months will be the same. That's why I like doing this swap with you and Carol -- we're all willing to consider books from right across the genre spectrum! I think you'd like the Flanders and her other books as well if you've not read them. I haven't read any of the Kate Summerscales yet but they're on my list!
Comment: Some really intriguing titles here, as always. I've already started listening to the BBC "Dark is Rising" series. Wow! I'm intrigued by the "work related" books too! Quite intriguing selections! Thanks!
aurelas rated for BLC Reading Challenge - Pick 1 - #4 on Mar 5, 2023
Comment: That sounds like my kind of book! I love books based on mythology, especially with a feminist slant. Adding it to my reading list now :) Thanks!
WavesofJoy rated for 5 Photos in an Envelope on Feb 24, 2023
Comment: Thank you for the great variety of photos. They are all cool. The kitten note card is very cute! Thank you for sharing about the photos separately. I enjoyed reading it. I will do again, while looking everyplace up soon. LOVE the stamp and appreciate the washi on the envelope!
LiisaS rated for SPCP: Black and white #1, 2023 on Feb 22, 2023
Comment: Thank you for this awesome e-mail loaded with amazing pictures! They're just a treat!
Catt007 rated for SPCP: Black and white #1, 2023 on Feb 22, 2023
Comment: Thank you for the lovely pics, hard to choose a fave. I tend to black-and-white bridges as well, i don't know why but I think they just work better. Catch you soon.
Vickyen rated for SPCP: Photo scavenger hunt 2023 #1 on Feb 17, 2023
Comment: Hi Betty! Thank you for the wonderful share of photos and the stories that went with them! I love these types of swaps! All the best! Hugs, Happy Snapping, and Swapping! ;)
Jafferty rated for 5 Photos in an Envelope on Feb 16, 2023
Comment: Thanks for the letter and the great pictures! I've been to Stratford and can't wait to go back and have also been to the Bean in Chicago. Very cool.
Comment: I absolutely LOVED these postcards, they're right up my alley! Thank you so much for trading! And were you near Horner Park? I used to have a PO Box right off the Kimball Brown Line. What a fun coincidence!
Response: We were about a mile from Horner Park -- I used to ride my bike there in the summer and sled down the hill in the winter! Always followed by ice cream at the Tastee Freeze across the road. I went to Bateman School. I agree -- a fun coincidence!
Tynkerbelle rated for AMA: FairyTales -Snow White on Feb 13, 2023
Comment: Thank you so much for the lovely package, the postcard is the cutest, very creative atc..thank you for the mini zine I have never saw one before, and yes i would love to receive the electronic copies via my email..that would be awesome...ty again!!
Comment: Thank you so much for the very generous resend. I'm sorry it has caused you some trouble and I appreciate everything in the envelope 🤗
carol rated for SPCP: Photo scavenger hunt 2023 #1 on Feb 10, 2023
Comment: Wow! Gorgeous shots and I love the stories behind them. I may dig through my old photos and see if I can find the one I took at a Loggins and Messina concert back in the day. I got some great shots there! So fun!
DaisyNY rated for AMA: Mini Art Journal Go-Round #8 on Feb 9, 2023
Comment: That's a nice book theme. I'm glad you got to finally send this on.
Bhindblueeyes rated for MF: Be A Cheerleader on Feb 2, 2023
Comment: Well, I just loved everything about this swap!! The pet affirmations are amazing, and I'm even more excited because my best friend had a bull dog (recently passed), and my parents have a cavalier!!! The info about training in 6 months will be GREAT since I have changed the plan around and won't be going to Nashville in April and now have until Oct! Also, the travel anxiety - super helpful, and I will keep it handy for when I do need to travel out of state! A lovely letter and I really appreciate the encouragement! Thank you so much for joining!!!

Rating Overview

Overall Hearts Stars Hosted
5.0000 867 190 208
Completed Fives Threes Ones
835 1014 0 0
Type 1 Type 2 Type 3 Uncategorized
129 239 467 0
View all


sleepykitty on Mar 11, 2023:

Thank you for the amazing cards you sent for the Dec/Jan WTA for our Vintage group! They made me giggle, and I love that!

wolfeagle on Jan 31, 2023:

Hope you are feeling better, and have a speedy recovery from your surgery.

JanHardt on Jan 15, 2023:

Hi Betty, Thank you so much for adding the Woodland Wonderland page to my Mini Art Journal. The stenciled leaves are beautiful. JanHardt

SerenBunny on Jan 5, 2023:

Thank you so so much for sending me postcards that are from my wish list! You are one very wonderful human being <3 xxx

MuggleMom on Jan 1, 2023:

Wishing you a New Year full of meaningful memories and a year of only GREAT books!!



CookieMomster78 on Dec 31, 2022:

Thank you for sharing one of your Christmas memories of Rajesh’ catch phrase and an assortment of lovely flower postage stamps, Betty! It was a wonderful surprise to see in my mailbox today, read about your loving family, and I’m so grateful for you granting my December Wishlist wishes!

Happy New Year! 🎊

sassafrass on Dec 24, 2022:

wolfeagle on Dec 24, 2022:


Highlander18 on Dec 5, 2022:

Thank you very much for the Nov Wishlist envie of three vintage new to me and two different paper napkins for my latest obsession to make covered envies.

Swan on Nov 19, 2022:

Thank you for the November Wishlist wishes! I’m especially excited about all the Israel recommendations.

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