My Mum's very favourite perfume was Chanel No. 5, it also happens to be mine and is almost without exception the only one I use.
My Mum had a really sweet cousin, called Peggy. She and her husband Bill lived very quietly in the North East, in fact their life was desperately overshadowed by the death of their beloved only child (Elaine) at the age of 15. Somewhere I have a photo of Elaine and I as babies, she was just months older than me - but Elaine had asthma and I didn't. Very sad.
I have no idea how, but a youngish woman used to sweep into their lives at intervals - she had an exotic name like Yolande or something, Peggy and Bill doted on her. I think she was possibly a similar age to what Elaine would have been but I bet 'Yolande' was really called Dora or something - nothing wrong with Dora I hasten to add!
However, Peggy did confide to my Mum that Yolande seemed to have a 'fancy man' with plenty of money as she was always wearing new jewellery, really fashionable clothes and being whisked off to far flung places.
This little tale popped into my head after I'd written about the plaque disclosing tablets in Sunday's roll call - it isn't as gross but does show the perils of snooping!
Yolande was on one of her flying visits and Peggy remarked on the perfume she was wearing. 'It's Chanel No. 5' Yolande responded quite casually ' Do say if you want to try it'. 'Not now pet, would you like more tea?' was probably the reply from Peggy - who hadn't even heard of Chanel. Later, for some reason, Yolande went out for a walk (or perhaps an assignation!) - leaving her handbag behind.
I know, I know - human nature somehow crept up on Peggy and she had a really out of character urge to try out this unheard of Chanel No. 5. So, she took the bottle from Yolande's handbag and trotted off into the bathroom to 'dab just a little on the inside of her wrists' as she later told my Mum. It was before the days of spray perfumes and the stopper caused Peggy a little bit of difficulty. When it came out with a 'pop', thankfully over the bathroom wash basin, the bottle tipped and before Peggy could right it a whole load of the precious perfume spilt.
Shouting for Bill, whilst frantically mopping away perfume from the sides of the bottle and the wash basin, Peggy began to shake like a leaf. Bill came running and together they gazed in horror at the bottle which was about one third depleted. Then, they lost the plot..........Bill gently trickled some water into the neck of the bottle to 'top it up lass'.
Perfectly sensible thing to do in their eyes, and a way to cover Peggy's tracks. 'Not so sensible' thought the Chanel No. 5 and right before their eyes the water and perfume sort of separated (yup, water and oil don't mix!) making the bottle look full of little yellow rubber globules dancing round in glee pointing their fingers at poor Peggy.
Thankfully, when Yolande returned, to be met by a tearful Peggy who confessed all - she laughed it off! I think the miserable time that Peggy and Bill had spent waiting for her return was more than penance enough.