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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

Autumn In The Morvan

Posted by: marelebas on Friday September 28, 2018 (17:09:34)   (928 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 ...

Rosemary Border Rabson

Hamfest, Heritage Days, And The Bounty Of Nature

Posted by: marelebas on Thursday August 30, 2018 (16:56:20)   (599 Reads)

Charity Cottage is undersubscribed, alas. Since we opened our doors in 2012 Combat Stress, who receive 100% of our visitors’ donations, have sent us just one family (who enjoyed themselves so much that they came again two years later). Our friends and relations come from time to time. John places ads in his radio magazines, and in April Neil Robertson from Suffolk asked about availability in August. He had seen John’s ad in SPRAT, a magazine for radio amateurs.    more ...

Rosemary Border Rabson

Sweltering In The Morvan

Posted by: marelebas on Tuesday July 31, 2018 (16:35:44)   (808 Reads)
Quelle canicule!’ translates as ‘What a scorcher!’ and the Morvan has been sweltering since early June. We get up early and do our chores, including giving the geraniums on the patio their morning drink of the previous night’s bathwater, conserved in several large watering cans. The grass is parched; only the weeds seem to flourish. The trees are shedding their leaves prematurely. Sometimes dark clouds gather and we hope for ‘soft refreshing rain'.    more ...

Rosemary Border Rabson

Midsummer In The Morvan

Posted by: marelebas on Tuesday June 26, 2018 (17:30:30)   (1141 Reads)
We had a glut of cherries in late May. Now our quince tree is laden with fruit and we can expect a glut of fruit (un coing, and a quince tree is un cognassier).

Most varieties are mouth-puckeringly sour and astringent if you attempt to eat one without cooking it first. The most popular way with quinces is of course quince jelly, although if you google ‘quince recipe’ you will be spoilt for choice.    more ...

Rosemary Border Rabson

June In The Morvan

Posted by: marelebas on Wednesday May 30, 2018 (15:50:33)   (366 Reads)
I am typing this on 30 May. Yesterday the checkout girl at Aldi (our favourite supermarket in Corbigny, where the staff are old friends) was too polite to comment on the three bottles of cognac in my basket. Not a drop passed our lips, however: I filled six big kilner jars with brandied cherries. Last year a late frost killed all the blossom. Now our big cherry tree is bent like a weeping willow and the Rabsons, their friends and neighbours compete with the birds for the succulent fruit.    more ...

Rosemary Border Rabson

May In The Morvan

Posted by: marelebas on Friday April 27, 2018 (17:43:15)   (1100 Reads)
Bluebells and Dandelions

In late April the bluebells along the road to Lormes are a joy. They spill over onto the verges, but are best under the trees. ‘Bluebell’ is an apt name: the flowers look like clusters of little blue bells. Disappointingly their French name is jacinthe des bois, or jacinthe sauvage: wood or wild hyacinth. Botany rules ok, as with our forget-me-not: le myosotis.    more ...

Rosemary Border Rabson

Joyeuses Paques - Easter in the Morvan

Posted by: marelebas on Thursday March 29, 2018 (14:28:06)   (765 Reads)
I am typing this on Maundy Thursday, March 29, jeudi saint. Today Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will attend the service at The Free Chapel Of St George in Windsor, where the Maundy Money will be distributed to 92 men and 92 women - representing each of her 92 years.    more ...

Rosemary Border Rabson

March in the Morvan

Posted by: marelebas on Thursday March 01, 2018 (14:43:14)   (763 Reads)

I am writing this on February 28 and the temperature outside is minus 7. Taking into account the windchill factor, it may be as cold as minus 12. My father used to say, ‘Wind in the east, cold for man and beast’ and the British media have dubbed this cold snap The Beast from the East.The sun is shining, but we have closed the shutters to keep in the expensive heat.    more ...

Rosemary Border Rabson

Pancakes And Valentines In The Morvan

Posted by: marelebas on Tuesday January 30, 2018 (19:12:45)   (1367 Reads)
Around the middle of January our local shops are full of pancake paraphenalia. A little early for Shrove Tuesday, you may think. Well, yes: they are in fact gearing up for La Chandeleur, February 2: the date when the Virgin Mary presented baby Jesus in the Temple. Like many other Christian festivals, La Chandeleur – Candlemas - has pagan origins, but the emphasis is on pancakes: les crêpes. See here for more details.    more ...

Rosemary Border Rabson

Bonne Année, Bonne Santé!

Posted by: marelebas on Saturday December 30, 2017 (17:31:43)   (1690 Reads)
I wish all my readers Bonne Année, Bonne santé! - a happy New Year, and good health in which to enjoy it. I also wish them better luck with their online researches than I had today. I typed ‘new year celebrations france’ and came across a site which is full of errors in both French and English (clearly neither English nor French is the compilers’ mother tongue!) and inaccuracies (la galette des rois is associated with Epiphany, 6 January; pancakes do not usually feature in New Year’s Eve dinners; and what, pray, is ‘a cruise ride’?).

Digression: My old English master (Ilkley Grammar School 1953 - 60) said, ‘Use exclamation marks as sparingly as if they cost £100 each’. Well, I have just squandered £100 (see above). Thank God it was hypothetical! There goes another.    more ...

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