Swap-bot Time: February 4, 2023 5:11 pm


Date Joined: October 13, 2013
Last Online: February 4, 2023
Birthday: September 26
Country: United Kingdom
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About Me

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.

21 January 2023 I have now sent 5 of the swaps listed below. The others have to wait a bit longer because they require customs slips and the post office is not yet accepting anything that needs a customs slip.

15 January 2023

I have the following 7 swaps completed, addressed and stamped and sitting in a pile on my desk, waiting for me to post them:

hazelwitch3 & hausofimps - 5 postcards! - sent 20/1

5 Photos in an Envelope (2 partners) - sent 20/1

AMA: FairyTales -Snow White - sent 22/1

AMA: Mini Art Journal Go-Round #8 - sent 20/1

Wishlist gift for Tryph

Resend Christmas stationary envelope for Stachel

Unfortunately, the UK postal system has experienced a major cyber attack and all of their IT systems relating to international mail are frozen. A ransom demand for several million pounds has been received.

The Royal Mail website asks people and companies not to post anything internationally until this is sorted out. As soon as mail opens up again, I'll put all those swaps into the post. Hopefully that will be within deadline but obviously it depends on how quickly the issue is settled.

I'm due to go into hospital for surgery on 24th January. If the crisis lasts until then, I'll post the envelopes as soon as possible once I'm out of hospital.

I've pulled out of all the international postal swaps that I was in where partners hadn't yet been assigned, other than one I'm hosting with a sign up date of 6th February and a send-by date of 27th February. If the problems haven't been resolved by the end of January, I'll cancel that swap.

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, annim, cynaemon, teraecau, mjhaertling x 2, pernie123, scraphappygabi, swapwithyi, kaytee2368, stachel

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.

ESO PC #15 sent 18 November. Waiting for rating from liisaS

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

SPCP Calendar pages Jan-Feb sent 28 November. Waiting for rating from mjhaertling

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

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

SPCP Cloud pictures sent 7 December. Waiting for rating from freespirit66

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

Wishlist gifts sent to snailmailer1 on 22 December 2022 (chased 23 1)

Reading challenge #2 sent 27 December. Waiting for rating from junemoon, and swap from lilacsilence.

SPCP Celebrate our local library sent 30 December. Waiting for rating from Irm1980.

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

MF: Be a Cheerleader sent 9 January. Waiting for rating from bhindiblueeyes

Accountability list #1 sent 15 January. Waiting for rating from QuinGem.

5 postcards private swap sent 20 January. Waiting for rating from hausofimps.

5 photos in an envelope sent 20 January. Waiting for ratings from wavesofjoy and jafferty and swaps from alihagerart.

Mini art journal go round #8 sent 20 January. Waiting for rating from daisyny

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

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.


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!!!
carol rated for BLC: Reading Challenge - Pick 1 - #3 on Jan 30, 2023
Comment: Beautifully done, as always. Thanks for the very complete review!
lrm1980 rated for Mini Art Journal Go-Round #7 on Jan 28, 2023
Comment: Thanks for sending along another lovely MAJ!
Catt007 rated for SPCP - December photo(s) on Jan 22, 2023
Comment: Thank you for the lovely photo's looks like you had a fab Christmas. Happy New Year :)
Comment: I'm putting several of your mysteries on my TBR list! Sigh. SB wiped out what I'd written before, so I'll just say thanks and email you.
USAFwife rated for R & W: Read a Christmas Story on Jan 14, 2023
Comment: Thank you for your report about your Christmas themed books. I don't think I've read any that you listed. I read A Christmas Carol often, but haven't tried others. I'll check them out. :)
freespirit66 rated for SPCP - December photo(s) on Jan 11, 2023
Comment: I loved seeing all the beautiful photos of the Christmas ornaments and decorations. I would have enjoyed seeing the huge tree at the Birmingham Central Library with the stuffed penguins and polar bears - two of my favorite animals! The market sounds like a fun place to go - especially looking at all the different items there. The frost-covered grasses and plants seem almost magical!
Comment: Excellent reviews again! I feel like mine was slacking this month...hmm, may add a bit more...The Angels of Venice sounded interesting and definitely I'm a Richard Osman fan (eagerly awaiting #4 supposedly winter 2023?) so thanks for the heads up about the Marlow Murder Club - I'll pass. The new Lucy Worsley book is on my TBR list so I'll have to push it up to read soon. Worsley always does a great job showing her research I find. Still slowly ticking away at all the Agatha series. Team Marple or Team Poirot - undecided... I hope you remain upbeat about the pending hospital stay and of course, I wish you a speedy recovery. xxMuggleMom
uiltje rated for ESO: Teamwork PC #16 on Jan 7, 2023
Comment: It took a long time to arrive, but there is! Thanks for the extra card with good wishes.
LiisaS rated for SPCP: Celebrate our local libraries! on Jan 2, 2023
Comment: Thank you for this nice tour through the library and a happy New Year🥰
Comment: Thank you for sharing!
9O96O rated for SPCP: Photo walk on Jan 1, 2023
Comment: Thanks for hosting this photo swap! A lovely write-up of your Chesire visit. And a very cosy finish (hot chocolate by the campfire). Thanks for sharing the beautiful frosty photos.
colleenbUSA rated for Reading challenge #2 - pick one! on Dec 30, 2022
Comment: Thanks for sharing! I think I've heard of these books.
Comment: **Love the Blueberry Postcard!** it arrived while I was out of town babysitting with my Granddaughter ! Thank you and Happy New Year !
Comment: Thanks! I love the oxford bookmark! I will definitely have to check out some of those books too!
pahasiga rated for SPCP - December photo(s) on Dec 29, 2022
Comment: Thank you for the photos! They are very tiny, though.
Response: I'm sorry. Would you like me to send them again in another format? I could paste them into a document.
Comment: Thank you so much for the wonderful digital gift! I'm very excited to make some mini Christmas books, and the Edwardian ladies are going to be perfect for junk journals and decos. I hope you have a happy holiday season with lots of time to print and craft!
marineko rated for QS: Mini Zine Swap on Dec 20, 2022
Comment: Thank you for the cool zine!
NRGordon rated for SPCP: Cloud pictures on Dec 19, 2022
Comment: Thanks for the swap. I like the lens ball and Birmingham photos.
Idril rated for E-mail accountability swap #23 on Dec 16, 2022
Comment: Oooh, the first snow is always a little magical. If the weatherman is to be believed, we might get some next week. Awesome job on your list! Working around big events is always hard. Glad to hear your procedure went well! Safe travels!

Rating Overview

Overall Hearts Stars Hosted
5.0000 849 181 199
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816 995 0 0
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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.

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!

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