Date Joined: October 13, 2013
Last Online: March 13, 2017
Birthday: September 26
Country: United Kingdom
10 October 2016
House update -- We got the keys to the new house at the end of July and have had builders in ever since! We discovered rather more damp than we had realised was there, so currently there are people dealing with damp, and other people installing external insulation. The overgrown garden has been dealt with (we have 6 apple trees - hooray! -- and 2 hazelnuts and a pear tree -- I've never had an orchard before.) Fences have been built at the bottom of the garden and alongside the bit that didn't have a hedge on one side. The path down to the house is very steep, so we now have a wooden handrail along the driveway, another one along the steps going down to the house, and a concrete area at the top of the driveway behind the hedge so we can keep the wheelie dustbins there rather than dragging them up and down the hill every week. The solar panels are on the roof but are still waiting for a battery to be installed.
No idea when we might move in -- the date keeps getting further and further into the future! But it's wonderful to be getting the work done before we actually move in. I'm therefore back to swapping -- but might have to take another break when moving day begins to loom.
1 July 2016
My partner and I are buying a house -- completion date is at the end of July. Although we won't be moving absolutely immediately, we are busy trying to downsize -- the new place is a lot smaller than where we are now!
In September, I will be moving offices and buildings at work.
And ... I have a whole new set of responsibilities at work and three writing deadlines for the end of September.
All of that means that I'm going to be cutting way back on crafting, swapping and hosting over the next few months. I'm not stopping completely, but will need to be very careful what I take on.
4 September 2014
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! It’s about 120 miles north of London.
I’m in my early sixties and share a house with my partner. 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 seven-year old grandson.
I teach at a Quaker college – mostly history and English literature. My main history interests are seventeenth and eighteenth century (and the first couple of decades of the nineteenth century – up to 1830). Despite that, I’m leading a big project on ‘Quaker Aspects of World War I’, which is looking at some of the ‘alternative’ stories of World War I – the conscientious objectors, the ambulance drivers, the relief work during and after the war, etc. We’re going to be producing a major exhibition at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery in 2015 which is tremendously exciting.
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’m particularly interested in writing for children and am currently working on a picture book about a little girl who doesn’t want to go for a walk.
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’ve read a couple of vampire books recently but they didn’t really grab me and I don’t like horror.
Crime novelists I enjoy include Donna Leon, Ruth Dudley Edwards (Carnage on the Committee had me laughing out loud on the bus!), 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 tend towards the less violent crime novels, although I don't usually go for the ultra-cozy.
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 liked Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker. I will always read something by Margaret Elphinstone. I like the Icelandic writer Halldór Laxness. I enjoyed Mary Ann Shaffer's The Guernsey Literary and Potato Pie Society. I think Pat Barker's WWI trilogy is excellent. I loved Christine Coleman's The Dangerous Sports Euthanasia Society.
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. Definitely ditto World War I which is gradually taking over my life, a situation which will only increase over the next couple of years. I would be very interested in reading books about World War I from the point of view of other European countries, but haven't yet found any in English translation -- do let me know if you know of any.
Looking at the non-fiction titles in the pile of books waiting to be read on my bedside table, they include Your Brain at Work by David Rock; Michaelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling by Ross King; Crisis? What Crisis? Britain in the 1970s by Alwyn Turner; We Walk Alone by Ann Aldrich; Macro Photography by Haje Kamps; Travel as a Political Act by Rick Steves; The Martian Child by David Gerrold; a book on making soap; and The Art of Creative Nonfiction by Lee Gutkind.
I often listen to audio-books, mostly crime fiction, on my way to and from work – it makes the bus ride more enjoyable!
I hardly ever watch television. When I do, it tends to be game shows – I’m quite into ‘Bargain Hunt’ at the moment 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.). Sometimes I listen to Radio 2 (generally popular and easy listening music). I also like BBC World Service which gives me news from around the world. (I know that paragraph probably doesn’t make too much sense to anyone who’s not British – but it will do to any other UK swappers!)
One of the great things about being involved with Swap-bot is that it has widened my crafting. I now make ATCs, do kirigami, and am really getting into making zines. I've started Zen tangling as well and am keen to improve at that. I've got back into cross-stitch and am hoping to start crocheting arigurami soon. I've just started making my first domino accordion book and find myself continually stimulated and inspired by the great art and craft work that goes on here. I still haven't tried soap-making ........
Being part of a Photography-based group has encouraged me to pick up my camera and I'm enjoying then using my photographs to create notecards. I want to start finding other creative ways to use the pictures as well.
I play ‘Serpentine’ online. It’s like Boggle. 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 live in a neighbourhood where lots of our neighbours are from India and Pakistan and it’s really easy to get all the spices and other ingredients in the local shops. 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.
I’ve recently got involved in a couple of online microfinance sites – www.lendwithcare.org and www.deki.org.uk. Both of them enable me to make small loans to entrepreneurs in developing countries – when the money gets paid back, I lend it again! I really like the personal nature of being able to choose who to lend to and it makes me feel connected to what happens in other countries.
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!
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
Contemporary children's picture books from around the world and in any language
Food from around the world
American candy, particularly Sweet Tarts, Chuckles, Necco Wafers, Good and Plenty, Cookie Dough Bites and Red Hots
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
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 bath or shower
Old microscope slides
18th and 19th century magazines
Gloves and mittens
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
Hello Kitty items
A number of years ago, I needed a user name for an online game I was playing – there was a bottle of witch hazel sitting on the table and I ended up as hazelwitch! I’ve generally kept the name for online things that I do.
I’m really looking forward to swapping with all of you!
Waiting for ratings or comments:
@Created46 for Reuse that Toilet Roll! Sent 16 February.
Watching my postbox for:
Toy journal to thaskett
Angel mystery swap to GiddyAnni
Hunger Games RAK
Angel package to SilverD
Resend to mamavan
7 DAY HAPPY MAIL
1 - Postcard of Gas St basin, sent 2 January. 2- Sandburg and Coffee zine, sent 3 January 3 - Vintage typewriter manual, sent 9 January 4 - Notecard and 5 teabags, sent 13 January 5 - Notecard and recipe magazine, sent 19 January 6 - PC showing vintage penguin stamp, sent 26 January 7 - 2 1/2 page letter in handmade envelope, sent 28 January
MARCH MINI-ZINE - Carl Sandburg APRIL MINI-ZINE - Wind MAY MINI-ZINE - Fairy Tales on Stamps MLFT ZINE #1 - Aesops Fables BC: Fairy Tale Zine - Fairy Tales on Stamps
FLAKED ON BY:
xxladybugxx, A Themed Christmas - awesomely angelled by Kiddo47!
akane, First Multiview 1 Person per Country Postcard Swap - angelled by flowerchild - thank you!
FreakyToast -- agreed to swap my journal back in exchange for English books -- never acknowledged books, never sent journal back
lilianmarie, Crocheted flower tag
Allison8236, Amazing Art WTA - said she sent but never received, didn't offer to resend
Ingleside. Argentine children's book.
Selfieempress. Lyrix Book Round 2.
Kuilo - Themed Christmas Swap - Hot. Kindly and wonderfully angeled by @devilspigeonhole -- thank you!
amanda0413 - Edible swappers WTA 61. Never arrived. Said she was resending but nothing came.
bizzitybam - NH Wild Animal postcard - angeled by flowerchild
miyuiki00 - Private pocket letter swap. nevermore offered to angel -- but nothing was ever received, despite chasing. Wonderfully angelled by angeliclizard, August 2016.
violettedream - public forum tag - wonderfully angelled by bblue!
NOT RATED BY:
ancalime for Christmas Carol CD
aiyamnenzki29 for Map Your Reading 1st Quarter
melannf75 for Songs Beginning with C playlist.
Arianne86 for W postcard (but did PM)
lovelylici for March Minizine
Scottishrosefaerie for March WTA TNW Group (eventually PM'd after chasing)
kimphilipsvanburen, for Angel zines for BC Fairy and Folk Tale zines. Sent 17 July.
miyuiki00 for DoFlamingo One Piece Pocket Letter.
RooBaRoo for Desert postcard. Sent 28 August.
PrincessKristin for June mini-zine angel. Sent 14 September.
kankalin for Rebus Art ATC. Sent 18 September. Chased 20 October.
Juliette for angel package. Sent 30 October
librarianbelle for NH Handmade envelopes. Sent 15 January.
CraftyCari for Sound ATC. Sent 15 February.
pandorasbox for Passport Playlist. Sent 24 March.
maryghek for Passport Playlist Sent 24 March.
Pandorasxbox for angel postcard. Sent 30 March
Aquiller for What I'm Reading NH PC. Sent 2 June.
nauchstage for ISS food scavenger hunt. Sent 24 June.
dada for Sea Life PC
@karry for Bird Envelope. Sent 25 November.
@missir for Flower Envelope. Sent 25 November.
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