±A - Join Our Community

JOIN OUR FRIENDLY COMMUNITY
Learn from the experiences of other expats and make new friends in our disccussion forums and Facebook groups

±A - Cigna

±A - Read Our Guide

READ OUR GUIDE TO MOVING ABROAD
The Expat Focus Guide to Moving Abroad contains everything you need to know when planning an international relocation available now, completely free

±A - Compare Quotes and Save

COMPARE QUOTES AND SAVE MONEY
Find the best health insurance provider or foreign currency transfer specialist by comparing free quotes

±A - Listen to the Podcast

LISTEN TO THE EXPAT FOCUS PODCAST
The Expat Focus podcast features interviews with expats living abroad and service providers meeting their needs subscribe today!

±A - Expert Financial

EXPERT FINANCIAL ADVICE & SERVICES
From our tax, investment and FX partners

±A - ExpatFocus Partners

Expat Focus Partners
Become a Partner. Click Here.

Rosemary Border Rabson

Columnists > Rosemary Border Rabson

Rosemary Border Rabson

La Grippe

Posted by: Carole on Friday March 13, 2015 (02:04:17)   (2387 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 ...


Columnists > Rosemary Border Rabson

Rosemary Border Rabson

February Frolics?

Posted by: Carole on Tuesday January 27, 2015 (06:14:56)   (1247 Reads)
Rosemary Border Rabson
Visitors to the Morvan in winter are mystified by displays of crêpe pans, electric crêpe makers and free crêpe recipes appearing in the supermarkets in January. A little early for Pancake Tuesday, surely? Well, yes. But February 2 is La Chandeleur, Candlemas, and pancakes are obligatory.

I can never resist an excuse for a spot of research. According to the official website of France, www.france.fr , Candlemas commemorates the purification of the Virgin Mary and the presentation of baby Jesus 40 days after His birth. Like Christmas, this is a pagan festival which was adopted by the Christian church.

Clicking on Lupercalia took me to wikipedia.org/wiki/Lupercalia    more ...


Columnists > Rosemary Border Rabson

Rosemary Border Rabson

New Year Greetings From The Morvan

Posted by: Carole on Monday January 05, 2015 (17:37:18)   (1786 Reads)
Rosemary Border Rabson
Here in the Morvan the festive season is almost over. First there was Le Réveillon on Christmas Eve, with foie gras and oysters and standing room only in church. Christmas Day came and went, with turkey 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 all this and more all over the world. Neighbours borrowed our cottage (www.charity-cottage.org.uk, see below) to accommodate their overflow of Christmas visitors.

Boxing Day is rather an anticlimax in France. My trusty online dictionary translates it as le 26 décembre.    more ...


Columnists > Rosemary Border Rabson

Rosemary Border Rabson

Christmas In The Morvan

Posted by: Carole on Friday November 28, 2014 (03:42:06)   (2271 Reads)
Rosemary Border Rabson
It's official: Christmas is coming to the Morvan. The Morvan? Think of the Yorkshire Dales, but with better roads and less hype. Nobody comes here for motorways, theatres, discos, shopping malls or even ubiquitous broad band. We are online thanks to a gizmo on our balcony which provides a microwave link to a base station in Corbigny, our nearest town. 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.

In the UK the Christmas hype seems to start around Michaelmas.    more ...


Columnists > Rosemary Border Rabson

Rosemary Border Rabson

A Taste of Home

Posted by: Carole on Saturday October 18, 2014 (19:50:16)   (2403 Reads)
Rosemary Border Rabson
Here in rural Burgundy you know where your food comes from. You see your vegetables and fruit growing, often in your own garden. In the field behind our house white Charolais cows suckle their calves or enjoy the attentions of a self-satisfied-looking bull. Local shops and market stalls offer tempting pâtés, terrines and other charcuterie, a bewildering variety of cheeses, and delectable tarts and cakes without an E number in sight. All this and wine too! It seems perverse, therefore, for expats and their visitors to crave the tastes of home; but some of us do.    more ...


Columnists > Rosemary Border Rabson

Rosemary Border Rabson

'Paperasserie' - The French Equivalent Of Red Tape

Posted by: Carole on Wednesday October 01, 2014 (15:23:18)   (1908 Reads)
Rosemary Border Rabson
After nine years living in rural Burgundy, we are philosophical about paperasserie – the French equivalent of red tape. French bureaucracy has an appalling reputation, but some French paperasserie is actually easier to deal with than British red tape. Let's have the good news first.

John makes our joint tax return online here, thanks to our friendly tax inspector, Monsieur Picy. When we first arrived in France, M Picy gave us several hours of his time in the imposingly named Hôtel des Impôts at Clamecy, patiently going through the implications of the double taxation treaty intended to ensure expats did not pay twice: a subject dear to our hearts, although the documentation does not make for riveting reading. While our dog dozed under his desk, M Picy read aloud from his files.    more ...


Columnists > Rosemary Border Rabson

Rosemary Border Rabson

Welcome to Charity Cottage

Posted by: Carole on Friday August 29, 2014 (18:39:14)   (2820 Reads)
Rosemary Border Rabson
There was once a French boy who spent his summer holidays in an old cottage in the Morvan region of Burgundy. After a lifetime driving a Paris dustcart, he and his wife bought the cottage and built their dream home on the site. When they downsized in 2005 my husband John and I bought the property: a modern house built along traditional lines, the cottage and an acre of garden and orchard. We let our house in Suffolk and became full time expats.

Word got around. Friends and relations were joyously received, but people we scarcely knew solicited free board and lodging on their way to or from their hols further south.    more ...


Columnists > Rosemary Border Rabson

Rosemary Border Rabson

The Garbage Police In The Morvan

Posted by: Carole on Friday August 01, 2014 (12:51:01)   (2014 Reads)
Rosemary Border Rabson
Here in the Morvan our local council is in love with recycling. It also shows signs of overzealousness where enforcement is concerned.

Much rubbish of course consists of packaging – bottles, tins, milk cartons and so on. These have to be sorted separately by the householder. The buzzword is triage. I first heard of triage in M*A*S*H, with Hawkeye and Trapper deciding which wounded soldier to treat first. Here, triage means sorting your rubbish into three categories: paper and cardboard, glass, and a mixture of plastic bottles, bricks (juice and milk cartons) and tins. We have three plastic crates in the hall. Once a week we take them to the centre de triage which has a monster bin for each category. Clothes, shoes, etc go in another monster bin outside the salle des fêtes.    more ...


Columnists > Rosemary Border Rabson

Rosemary Border Rabson

Glut Is A Four-Letter Word: Nature's Bounty In The Morvan

Posted by: Carole on Sunday June 29, 2014 (01:09:23)   (2136 Reads)
Rosemary Border Rabson
'I hate plum jam!' the heroine of Calendar Girls announces to the Women's Institute AGM. She had a point. Faced with a surfeit of Nature's Bounty, my generation reached unquestioningly for the jam pan and the Kilner jars. 'Waste not, want not' was the rule; process your fruit and veg and compost the peelings.

Keats wrote in praise of autumn:

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness...
To bend with apples the mossed cottage trees
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core...    more ...


Columnists > Rosemary Border Rabson

Rosemary Border Rabson

Yum – And Yuk!

Posted by: Carole on Friday June 13, 2014 (16:19:30)   (2018 Reads)
Rosy Rabson
We eat well here in the Morvan, in Burgundy, central France. Cheeses to die for, top-quality meat and poultry, superb fruit, vegetables and salads, a bewildering choice of pâtés, terrines and other charcuterie, delectable tarts and cakes. All this and wine too!

Lefty propaganda prattles merrily of diversity and cultural enrichment. Well, our visitors leave us culturally enriched by their experience of local food (our cheese boards would be impossible to duplicate in rural England), while our French friends and neighbours embrace our Chinese and Indian dishes, along with toad-in-the-hole, cottage pie and indeed, roast pork with proper crackling.    more ...