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Rosemary Border Rabson

Columnists > Rosemary Border Rabson

Rosemary Border Rabson

Greetings From The Morvan

Posted by: scar on Friday December 04, 2015 (15:37:12)   (1015 Reads)
I have a new Expat Focus editor, and before I embark on my monthly effusion I'd like to thank her predecessor Carole Hill for our happy collaboration. Enjoy your retirement, Carole.

The season of Christmas markets, concerts and Réveillon blowouts is upon us. I shan't mention any of them this December, because my regulars have read it all before, and newcomers have only to click on . Instead I'd like to tell you what John and I have been up to lately.    more ...


Columnists > Rosemary Border Rabson

Rosemary Border Rabson

La Toussaint In The Morvan

Posted by: Carole on Saturday October 31, 2015 (05:46:33)   (1055 Reads)
Rosemary Border Rabson
We don't do Hallowe'en here in the Morvan. In 10 years at Maré le Bas I have never opened the door to a troupe of trick-or-treaters. The shops are full of pumpkins, but we cook with them rather than hollowing them out to make lanterns. French pumpkin soup is one of the glories of autumn cookery. Enjoy.

Look up Hallowe'en in the big Harraps dictionary and you will find La Veille de la Toussaint, together with an explanation in French, as if Hallowe'en were an esoteric Polynesian custom chronicled in National Geographic.    more ...


Columnists > Rosemary Border Rabson

Rosemary Border Rabson

Why The Rabsons Missed Out On The Journées Européennes du Patrimoine 2015

Posted by: Carole on Saturday October 03, 2015 (22:27:36)   (741 Reads)
Rosemary Border Rabson
The third weekend in September marks the Journées Européennes du Patrimoine – let's call them European Cultural Heritage Days. Since their inception in 1984 they have been organised by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication. They went Europe-wide in 1991, encouraged by the Council of Europe; and now 49 countries take part in the scheme.

Here in the Morvan this is a weekend to mark in one's diary.    more ...


Columnists > Rosemary Border Rabson

Rosemary Border Rabson

Summer Socialising In The Morvan

Posted by: Carole on Friday September 04, 2015 (03:43:40)   (1140 Reads)
Rosemary Border Rabson
Charity Cottage, the holiday home we run in aid of Combat Stress, stood empty throughout May, June and July. We do not advertise in tourist guides because this could affect those whose livelihood depends on their gîtes. Well, several people made bookings, then either cancelled at short notice or simply failed to turn up. I doubt whether they would do this in respect of a commercial gîte. Eventually I insisted on a £50 cheque payable to Combat Stress as a non-returnable deposit, unless I knew the people.

August was a triumph. Even the weather obliged. After the prolonged canicule in June and July, we had several downpours and the parched grass was soon green again.    more ...


Columnists > Rosemary Border Rabson

Rosemary Border Rabson

Charity Cottage In Rural Burgundy - How to Meet People

Posted by: Carole on Friday August 07, 2015 (22:23:40)   (1317 Reads)
Rosemary Border Rabson
My Expat Focus regulars know all about Charity Cottage, the holiday home in rural Burgundy that we run in aid of Combat Stress. Check out www.charity-cottage.org.uk.

Well, one day I found my way to the Daily Telegraph Expat section. They invited expats to tell their stories, and in January 2012 my first piece appeared.    more ...


Columnists > Rosemary Border Rabson

Rosemary Border Rabson

The Re-enactment Of The Flottage Du Bois In The Morvan

Posted by: Carole on Friday July 03, 2015 (02:10:20)   (1026 Reads)
Rosemary Border Rabson
Long before Monty Python's lumberjacks leapt from tree to tree as they floated down the mighty rivers of British Columbia, les flotteurs de bois were active in the Morvan.

By 1550 the population of Paris had tripled over just 50 years. Demand for wood for fuel increased accordingly, and Paris looked longingly at the 47,000 hectares of forest in the Morvan.    more ...


Columnists > Rosemary Border Rabson

Rosemary Border Rabson

Daily Bread

Posted by: Carole on Monday June 01, 2015 (04:27:59)   (1183 Reads)
Rosemary Border Rabson
I enjoy cooking, but I leave bread-making to the professionals. We were given a bread machine when we lived in Suffolk and John occasionally made herb bread for parties. Soon after we arrived in the Morvan, however, we lost one of the paddles and never bothered to try to replace it. There is no incentive, as the local boulangerie does such a great job.

As with all small businesses, our motto is 'Use it or lose it'. Our visitors enjoy walking the mile or so to Cervon to pick up their breakfast baguette, croissants and pains au chocolat.    more ...


Columnists > Rosemary Border Rabson

Rosemary Border Rabson

Murmurs From The Morvan

Posted by: Carole on Sunday May 03, 2015 (17:54:43)   (1360 Reads)
Rosemary Border Rabson
I have almost finished compiling Murmurs from the Morvan, a miscellany of articles about our life in this beautiful corner of Burgundy. I have drawn on my Expat Focus pieces and my articles in the Daily Telegraph Expat section, and added a wealth of new material. I hope to publish this book in aid of Combat Stress, the charity which helps combat veterans whose battle wounds are not visible. My 'regulars' will know all about Charity Cottage, and new readers can read the blurb at the end of this piece. Incidentally, we recently had our first visitors since the Christmas period, when friends and neighbours borrowed Charity Cottage as overflow accommodation for their guests. On 11 April nine young people were in the area for the Rallye de l'Anguison. Five stayed in the cottage, four in the guest suite in the main house, and Combat Stress is £100 richer.    more ...


Columnists > Rosemary Border Rabson

Rosemary Border Rabson

Shopping For Expats In France

Posted by: Carole on Wednesday April 08, 2015 (23:48:19)   (1698 Reads)
Rosemary Border Rabson
We emigrated to the Morvan in 2005 from rural Suffolk. By the time we left, shopping in our nearest town, Woodbridge, was no fun at all. The town had for various reasons – rapacious rents, scarce and costly parking, and a retail park a few miles away - lost many retail businesses. Corbigny, 10 minutes' drive from our new home, was a revelation. It still is.

Parking is plentiful and free and browsing is a joy. I have the feeling that this town is 40 years behind the times (thank goodness!). Corbigny bustles, except on Mondays, when almost everything closes to make up for Saturday opening, and lunchtimes – most businesses – apart from eateries, of course - close from noon until 2 pm. The long lunch break has always been observed, but the Monday closing has a lot to do with les trente-cinq heures .    more ...


Columnists > Rosemary Border Rabson

Rosemary Border Rabson

La Grippe

Posted by: Carole on Friday March 13, 2015 (02:04:17)   (2348 Reads)
Rosemary Border Rabson
La Grippe is an unassuming village on the road to Nevers. It bears an unfortunate name, la grippe being the French word for influenza, flu or the Dreaded Lurgy.

John and I have to drive through La Grippe on the way to Nevers, the capital of our département and the seat of petty bureaucracy at its most pernicious. Exchanging a British driving licence for a French one is a doddle elsewhere, but the bureaucrats at Nevers have their own perverse way of doing things, as readers of my column will be well aware.    more ...