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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

Charity Cottage In Rural Burgundy - How to Meet People

Posted by: Carole on Friday August 07, 2015 (22:23:40)   (1621 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)   (1421 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)   (1490 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 ...

Rosemary Border Rabson

Murmurs From The Morvan

Posted by: Carole on Sunday May 03, 2015 (17:54:43)   (1634 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 ...

Rosemary Border Rabson

Shopping For Expats In France

Posted by: Carole on Wednesday April 08, 2015 (23:48:19)   (3260 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 ...

Rosemary Border Rabson

La Grippe

Posted by: Carole on Friday March 13, 2015 (02:04:17)   (3288 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 ...

Rosemary Border Rabson

February Frolics?

Posted by: Carole on Tuesday January 27, 2015 (06:14:56)   (1544 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, , 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    more ...

Rosemary Border Rabson

New Year Greetings From The Morvan

Posted by: Carole on Monday January 05, 2015 (17:37:18)   (2134 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 (, 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 ...

Rosemary Border Rabson

Christmas In The Morvan

Posted by: Carole on Friday November 28, 2014 (03:42:06)   (3274 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 ...

Rosemary Border Rabson

A Taste of Home

Posted by: Carole on Saturday October 18, 2014 (19:50:16)   (3032 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 ...

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