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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 Rustle of Spring in the Morvan

Posted by: Scar on Tuesday February 23, 2016 (11:49:17)   (1712 Reads)
The wonderful solo piano piece The Rustle of Spring by Norwegian composer Christian Sinding says it all.    more ...

Rosemary Border Rabson

Hearts and Pancakes in the Morvan

Posted by: scar on Monday February 01, 2016 (13:42:11)   (947 Reads)
As I type we are gearing up for La Chandeleur. Expat Focus faithfuls may remember my February 2015 piece, February Frolics? and recall that February 2 is La Chandeleur, Candlemas, when pancakes are obligatory. This year Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras, falls on February 9, just one week after Candlemas. In our household, however, any day can be Pancake Day. The recipe is similar to Yorkshire Pudding, whose invention I described in my 2013 Christmas story, Angels Unawares.    more ...

Rosemary Border Rabson

The Morvan Greets 2016

Posted by: scar on Monday January 04, 2016 (10:48:30)   (1155 Reads)
Twelfth Night - time for John and me to take down the Christmas decorations. Not so our friend Christopher in California. His Christmas tree will remain on display until the spring.

In his Christmas greeting he says:

“Instead of pulling out the artificial Christmas tree from the basement and erecting it in the living room - which we haven't done for several years - Hadda decided to put it outside and decorate it with seeds, slices of apple and toasted bread in the shape of candy canes."    more ...

Rosemary Border Rabson

Greetings From The Morvan

Posted by: scar on Friday December 04, 2015 (14:37:12)   (1300 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 ...

Rosemary Border Rabson

La Toussaint In The Morvan

Posted by: Carole on Saturday October 31, 2015 (04:46:33)   (1359 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 ...

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)   (969 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 ...

Rosemary Border Rabson

Summer Socialising In The Morvan

Posted by: Carole on Friday September 04, 2015 (03:43:40)   (1340 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 ...

Rosemary Border Rabson

Charity Cottage In Rural Burgundy - How to Meet People

Posted by: Carole on Friday August 07, 2015 (22:23:40)   (1558 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

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 ...

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)   (1275 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 ...

Rosemary Border Rabson

Daily Bread

Posted by: Carole on Monday June 01, 2015 (04:27:59)   (1415 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 ...

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