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Columnists > Rosemary Border Rabson

Rosemary Border Rabson
In 2005 Rosemary Border Rabson and husband John Rabson emigrated to the Morvan in rural Burgundy, where few other Brits have ventured. Their chief preoccupation is Charity Cottage, a holiday home-from-home in their garden at Maré le Bas which they run in aid of Combat Stress (money donations) and Help for Heroes (free accommodation). Since 2012, when Charity Cottage won the Daily Telegraph’s Best British Charity award, the total amount raised for Combat Stress, comprising UK royalties and donations from visitors to Charity Cottage, is nudging £10,000.

Rosemary Border Rabson

Yikes! Bikes! Cheering 'Em On In The Morvan

Posted by: marelebas on Tuesday July 02, 2019 (16:46:11)   (277 Reads)
They say nothing much happens at Maré le Bas. Well, on June 23 2019 a man with a bundle of tiny tricolore flags and a box of nougat rang the gate bell. Were we aware, he asked, that the TNM would pass our gate around 2 pm that very day?    more ...

Rosemary Border Rabson

June Is Bustin’ Out In The Morvan

Posted by: marelebas on Wednesday May 29, 2019 (19:00:07)   (418 Reads)
Hands up all those expats who remember June is Bustin’ Out All Over from Carousel. Good old Rodgers and Hammerstein!

They should have added a verse about local happenings. On June 9 St Père’s annual Le Jardin dans la Rue brings in the crowds. Their Troc Vert is a swap shop for keen gardeners. There are exhibitions and entertainments, and a brocante (see my May effusion) with a garden theme.    more ...

Rosemary Border Rabson

The Fun Starts Here

Posted by: marelebas on Tuesday April 30, 2019 (19:16:24)   (193 Reads)
Cervon: Spot the treasures among the tat!
May in the Morvan! Bluebells, fields of golden oilseed rape, the first lawnmower of spring – and the Morvan's answer to the British car boot sale, village fête or antiques fair: the vide-greniers, brocantes, foires and fêtes. Most sizeable villages host an annual event, usually advertised in the local free magazine, Le Criquet. Cervon’s vide-grenier is scheduled for May 5.    more ...

Rosemary Border Rabson

April In The Morvan

Posted by: marelebas on Thursday March 28, 2019 (17:28:08)   (486 Reads)
Poisson d’Avril!

On April 1 French children stick a paper fish - a Poisson d’Avril - on the back of an unsuspecting victim as a prank. No KICK ME ? How tame can you get? Dennis the Menace could teach them a thing or two.

Why the fish? Always glad of an excuse for a little research, I googled Poisson d’Avril for likely origins. One suggestion is that in 1564 King Charles IX decreed that the year would start on 1 January instead of 1 April. That’s all very well, but April Fool’s Day is celebrated in many other countries.    more ...

Rosemary Border Rabson

En Marche! - March In The Morvan

Posted by: marelebas on Saturday February 23, 2019 (19:08:55)   (197 Reads)
La République En Marche ! is the political party founded by Emmanuel Macron. When something is en marche it is on the move. En Marche! was the title of my first French textbook in 1953.

As I type Monsieur Macron may still be en marche, but he is not having an uneventful journey. Fortunately the violent protests and downright vandalism do not seem to have reached the Morvan. Meanwhile Theresa May in London must be wishing she had never heard of Brexit.    more ...

Rosemary Border Rabson

Pancakes And Valentines In The Morvan

Posted by: marelebas on Friday February 01, 2019 (10:40:04)   (493 Reads)
Around the middle of January our local shops are full of pancake paraphernalia: crêpe pans, electric crêpe makers and free crêpe recipes appearing in the supermarkets. A little early for Pancake Tuesday, surely? Well, yes: they are in fact gearing up for La Chandeleur, February 2.

Digression: I can never resist an excuse for a spot of research. In my student days research involved hours in the library paper-chasing through dog-eared index cards. It is a joy to be able to sit in my warm study and type ‘Crêpes history’ and sift through the dozens of references while playing online scrabble with my buddy Beardie in Yorkshire.    more ...

Rosemary Border Rabson

Bonne Année ! From Rural Burgundy

Posted by: marelebas on Sunday December 30, 2018 (10:34:54)   (735 Reads)
I am typing this on 30 December in the lull between festivities. First there was Le Réveillon on Christmas Eve, with champagne, foie gras and oysters. Christmas Day came and went, with turkey or goose and bûche de Noël and, for new expats, the baffling absence of Christmas crackers, not to mention mince pies and Christmas pudding. God bless the British Corner Shop, which sends Christmas delights all over the world.    more ...

Rosemary Border Rabson

Christmas In The Morvan

Posted by: marelebas on Friday November 30, 2018 (10:12:09)   (515 Reads)
Advent, the traditional run-up to Christmas, begins on 1 December, but the big sales drive starts soon after La Toussaint on November 1. The Christmas market season starts on December 1. Here at Maré le Bas the dates to remember are Corbigny (8/9 December) and Lormes (15 December).    more ...

Rosemary Border Rabson

November In The Morvan

Posted by: marelebas on Monday October 29, 2018 (10:25:24)   (524 Reads)
Pumpkins and Chrysanthemums

I am typing this on 28 October. The clocks went back last night and everyone is preparing for a long weekend of socialising. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Hallowe’en has not caught on here despite the best efforts of the local supermarkets. Pumpkins are on sale, but nobody carves lanterns. Here pumpkins are for cooking, especially soup.    more ...

Rosemary Border Rabson

Autumn In The Morvan

Posted by: marelebas on Friday September 28, 2018 (17:09:34)   (815 Reads)
Quarré les Tombes is a pretty village with an enticing weekly market. Its claim to fame is not its unremarkable church but the large number of empty stone sarcophagi (tombes) in the graveyard surrounding the church.    more ...