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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

The Morvan Greets the New Year

Posted by: marelebas on Thursday December 29, 2016 (23:15:44)   (1620 Reads)
Nobody comes to the Morvan for motorways, theatres, discos or shopping malls. We are 20 miles from the nearest cinema, although movies are occasionally screened at the Centre Médico-Social in Corbigny, which also offers tap dancing classes, sewing bees, tax advice and the annual flu jabs. Even so, there is plenty going on in a restrained sort of way.    more ...


Rosemary Border Rabson

Mistletoe, Oysters and Chocklit Log in the Morvan

Posted by: marelebas on Tuesday November 29, 2016 (23:03:08)   (1116 Reads)
Here we are again: Advent, with its Christmas markets, Christmas concerts and - er- festive fare.

Pedantic Digression: The use of fayre is an abomination second only to the instrusive apostrophe. According to The Free Dictionary website fayre is 'a pseudo-archaic spelling of fair, fare'.    more ...


Rosemary Border Rabson

All Saints and Armistice Day in the Morvan - and Movember in the UK

Posted by: marelebas on Sunday October 30, 2016 (20:59:39)   (741 Reads)
Hallowe'en is a non-event here in the Morvan. 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. Aldi and Atac, our local supermarkets, have a few packs of supposedly spooky sweets on display, but in 11 years at Maré le Bas I have never opened the door to a troop of trick-or-treaters.    more ...


Rosemary Border Rabson

Fun in the Morvan and a Flea Circus in Suffolk

Posted by: marelebas on Thursday September 29, 2016 (20:29:19)   (903 Reads)
Charity Cottage did everyone proud in September. Stuart from Canada and girlfriend Alice from Yorkshire would ordinarily have stayed in the main house, but on their proposed arrival date I was having cataract surgery in the Polyclinique. I had no idea how I would be feeling after the operation, so I cooked and froze several days' grub the day before, and we agreed they would sleep in the cottage and eat with us.    more ...


Rosemary Border Rabson

Paradise Lost, Paulownia And The Burkini Ban

Posted by: marelebas on Monday August 29, 2016 (19:17:24)   (1038 Reads)
I am typing this on (British) August Bank Holiday, in a sizzling heatwave. Our trees, notably the paulownia adjoining our patio, are shedding their leaves. When the paulownia flowered for the first time in 2015, I emailed Carmela Delcros, who had planted it as a tiny sapling when she and Georges built the house 22 years ago. No flowers this year, but we collect a barrowload of handkerchief-size leaves daily.

Was there a Paulownia in the Garden of Eden? Carmela also planted a fig tree...    more ...


Rosemary Border Rabson

Burgundy by Bike, Delays at Dover and Sex on the Beach

Posted by: marelebas on Thursday July 28, 2016 (22:13:06)   (939 Reads)
Our next visitors to Charity Cottage are due on 13 August. Keith, his son and his son-in-law are coming by car – with three bikes on the car roof. They emailed us several weeks ago, asking about interesting places to see by bike. As always, I was happy to do a spot of research.    more ...


Rosemary Border Rabson

A Centenary, a Climbdown, Some Puzzled Locals and a Unique Railway

Posted by: marelebas on Monday July 04, 2016 (21:31:52)   (805 Reads)
July 1 2016 – 100 years since the murderous Battle of the Somme began. Most families have tales to tell. Here is mine. My Uncle Harry served in the Royal Field Artillery. There are few contemporary photographs of them in action – understandable – but here is one.    more ...


Rosemary Border Rabson

Weasels, Fuel Shortages, Anniversaries and a Prang in the Morvan

Posted by: marelebas on Saturday May 28, 2016 (14:31:28)   (1037 Reads)
How do you take a scrupulously honest and fully documented insurance claim for 2000 euros, and pay out 599 euros? No problem if you are the weasels we inherited when we arrived here in 2005. They lied, they prevaricated, they lost the papers, and all the time they promised their best attention at all times.    more ...


Rosemary Border Rabson

Dandelion Wars And A Stay In The Polyclinique

Posted by: Scar on Tuesday May 03, 2016 (12:31:32)   (1440 Reads)
Yellow is my favourite colour. In spring in the Morvan the forsythia, cowslips and primroses are a feast for the eye. On the road to Nevers (more about that anon) we pass huge fields of oilseed rape.

It has many uses: as a vegetable, as animal feed, and as oil for lubricating and cooking. Here rapeseed oil is called colza, and I buy it because it reminds me of Suffolk, where a lot of it is grown.    more ...


Rosemary Border Rabson

Spring Roars Through The Morvan

Posted by: Scar on Tuesday March 29, 2016 (10:23:57)   (1403 Reads)
In March I spoke of the rustle of Spring. Now it is roaring through the Morvan. In the UK cowslips are a protected species. Here les coucous are common as daisies. When we first came here I transplanted hundreds of cowslips to safe havens under the trees to save them from the mower. The locals laughed uproariously. 'Elle transplante les coucous !' It was as if I'd transplanted dandelions.    more ...