Thursday, 22 January 2009

Thank You Tim Berners - Lee!

You might wonder why I'm grateful to Tim Berners - Lee and what that has to do with a virtually empty perfume bottle. Well this scent has nearly driven me batty recently and thanks to Tim Berners - Lee, I can retain what little vestige of sanity I have.

This rambling is about scent, (perfume as the posher people call it) and my feeble attempts to track it down, so it could be a good time for those amongst you who are not interested in this topic to jump to the end of the posting and grab the gist. I've given you the opt out opportunity!

Well, I've had this scent for years because I don't use perfume very often. I got out of the habit when I shared a room with a colleague who drowned herself in Sunflowers. For those amongst you who don't know what Sunflowers smells like, well to me it has a very fresh strong smell rather like cucumber. Now don't get me wrong, I love cucumber, however I prefer it on a plate to eat, not wafting around me 8 hours of the day, permeating my olfactory senses as though I had a piece of cucumber wedged up my nose.

It made me realise perfume smells differently to various people, that not everyone likes your choice of scent and perhaps it's best left to be used in places where there is plenty of space around you, to let the smell dissipate. So I only use perfume occasionally now, when I go out somewhere nice. That's not very often these days. Sympathy for me, Ahhhhh!

Over the years I've managed to persuade loved ones not to buy me scent as I am very fussy about it; there aren't many I like. In a previous posting I mentioned having to give away or throw out some very expensive perfume presents because I couldn't stand the smell. Ungrateful rat that I am.

Well this bottle is one scent I do like, along with my old favourite Le Dix (Balenciaga) which I can't buy locally now. However I can't remember what the heck this scent's called. I've had it so long and I've thrown the box away; the bottle top was such a heavy one that kept dropping off and so I threw that away too. It has absolutely nothing on the bottle to identify it. I do know I bought it about 10 years ago in Lanzarote. As you see I'm not extravagant.

Racking my brains to recall it, I was sure it was made by one of the French designers, so that eliminated quite a lot of today's perfumes from the so called celebrities like Jade and Posh. However that was as far as I could go. So I put the bottle away for a few months in my "holiday" drawer (where I keep the bits and pieces I only ever use on holiday) so I wouldn't see it regularly and be reminded about it.

Now it wasn't so much that I was desperate to buy another bottle of the scent, although I decided I just might, if I couldn't find another perfume I like. As I say I'm fussy! However I went into the drawer for my granddaughter's inflatable armbands and I saw the bottle. Fatal! It started my brain off again, I put it in my handbag and decided to ask about it next time I went to a shop with a big perfume department. I did, and they very kindly tried to identify it, but not surprisingly it had them totally baffled. Well really it was a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack.

So back the bottle came and stood on the windowsill for a couple of weeks (well I don't pretend to be houseproud). Today, Lauren, my granddaughter sprayed what was left of it about in the living room and it smelled delicious. I decided there and then I was going to have to try to find out what it is, just on the off chance I can afford to treat myself when we go on holiday in May.

Off I went to the Internet and I researched perfume websites where they had dozens of perfume brands all in designer alphabetical order. I checked all the main ones, Balenciaga, Balmain, Givenchy, Saint Laurent and so on but with no success. Then I decided that maybe I had got it wrong and it wasn't a French designer, so I went through the rest. That took over an hour, I hadn't realised just how many perfumes there are out there!

I kept wishing that there was an alphabetical list of perfumes with a photo of the bottle. I felt sure I'd recognise it if I saw the name. At this point I started to wonder whether it had been discontinued. That didn't worry me too much, at least I would know what the blinking scent was called and could throw the bottle away and forget about it. Out of sight, out of mind.

So Google to the rescue! I put "discontinued perfumes" in the search and it brought up a site with perfumes in alphabetical order. Not necessarily discontinued ones though, it seemed every perfume ever invented came up. Undaunted I started at the letter A, as you do. I worked my way through to I and was getting a bit naffed off by this lengthy but comprehensive search. So I put the thinking cap on again. I decided to do a bit of that sort of free thinking, you know when you let your mind go a bit blank (not hard for me) and see what comes into it, well that's if you're lucky! I
t kept running through my mind that it was two words both starting with the same letter. Once I got that, I suddenly thought of the letter V. Amazing! I have no idea where it came from. I still hadn't a clue about what the words were though.

Never mind I went to the letter V and worked my way through. Eureka! There it was, Vice Versa by Yves Saint Laurent. So would that mean it was discontinued because I'd already checked the Saint Laurent website for their perfumes early on? So I did another search and found a website with information about the scent. Apparently it's a limited edition. No wonder those poor women in the perfume department didn't recognise it if it's not even on the Yves Saint Laurent website. Looks like there are a couple of websites I can buy it from. Well I could if I had £60 to spare. I don't, so that's that. At least it's stopped me wondering about what it's called because I think it would have definitely driven me batty.

Now lots of people probably think I am batty, letting something as insignificant as that irritate me when life has so many other problems. PG Wodehouse called them "life's banan skins", love that expression. Anyway I think it's the little things that do get on our nerves and if we can get them out of the way, we can focus on life's bigger issues. I remember at work on occasions I would have a massive problem thrown at me and I didn't bat an eye. I just sat down and thought about how I could resolve it. Yet on other occasions, something really small would get me going, irritate the life out of me and on a couple of occasions I threw a bit of a wobbler!

Once I had the information I started thinking about the Internet, how it really helps us in all sorts of ways we couldn't have imagined twenty years ago. How we can meet and communicate across the globe almost instantly with people and how we have the world's information at our fingertips. Information, a mammoth library to help us resolve the "silly" little things in life like identifying my scent bottle, useful stuff like researching and booking holidays and interesting stuff like finding the latest medical information, new hobbies and interests.

This is where my gratitude to Tim Berners - Lee comes in. Well after all he did invent the World Wide Web, nearly twenty years ago and I'm not sure he gets the credit he deserves for it. Surprise, surprise, in this day and age of computer greed (think Microsoft et. al.) he gave it away free! How altruistic was that!

So thanks Sir Tim, I'm really grateful to you and for more than finding my elusive scent.


  1. I have not been able to wear perfume or even tolerate it on others for a few years now. It gives me a headache and makes me sick to my stomach. I don't know what happened to change it for me. I save my old perfume bottles though, because I think some people collect them, and many times they are just pretty to look at.
    Not recalling things drives me batty as well. I usually can't rest until I have it figured out. Thank God for internet!!! Google in particular. I search for everything on it. I don't even look in the telephone book any more for a number or address.
    Glad you found the name of the perfume!

  2. I love my perfume and never leave home without it! My favorite of the moment is Calvin Klein's "Summer" it is a very soft, light scent and if you can smell me you are to close to me! Some of my other favorites are also Calvin Klein's one is "Eternity Moment" and the other one was a limited edition which I didn't know at the time or I would have bought another bottle was "Purple Orchid" And my all time favorite which I am never without is: Giorgio Armani's "Acqua Di Gio'." It is a very soft lovely scent. I also like some of the Channel perfumes, but not all of them.

    Well, that is my ramblings about perfumes.

    I should have added this as one of the six things about myself, I love perfume! ;)


  3. Brenda
    I'm glad I'm not the only one who has to get to the bottom of things.

    I remember I used to have Agua de Gio I thought it had been discontinued. Might have a look for it, as you say it's light. I've never liked Chanel perfumes, Number 5 has absolutely no smell when I try it.

    I hate Estee Lauder stuff on me, these are amongst the expensive presents I've had and got rid of. It often smells OK on other people but they are usually very heavy scents.

    When I go shopping with my duaghter we go to Debenhams and try a couple of perfumes each. I try to sniff the bottle before I try it as I've tried some horrendous perfumes that have made me feel sick as I've walked around the shops. Putting it on those card strips doesn't let you know what it will smell like on your skin.

    Happy sniffing!

  4. Isn't it wonderful to be amazed by the outreach of the internet? Just think, younger persons will and do take it for granted and isn't that sad. I'm off to search for my favorite perfume.

  5. You are one smart get it done person. I love the internet. What did we ever do with out it.

  6. Like you I try not to inflict my choice of perfume on others. I never wear it when travelling for example. I have several different perfumes that I enjoy wearing but prefer Nina Ricci to all others (for me, that is). I find them light and fresh. Several years ago there was one particular one that I loved and I believe is now discontinued - SO - A HUGE THANK YOU Winifred for the tip about searching out discontinued perfumes on the Internet. I shall begin immediately. A x

  7. Gday Winifred, Im another that cant ear perfume and even have to use unscented deodorant, my Daughters love their good perfumes and woldnt go out the door without it on...
    Today was nice and sunny a bit warm 34c
    but you can still smell the dust in the air....

  8. I like perfume. I don't very often buy expensive perfume so it is a real treat when I do. I used to actually like Sunflower. It didn't smell like cucumber to me. Your sniffer must be bad, lol!

  9. I am glad that I was finally able to see your perfume posting. I am afraid I am like Brenda and Jeannette. I can't wear perfume, nor can I tolerate the smell of it. I developed an intolerance to it some years ago.I think the bottle is lovely though;}


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