Wednesday 14 April 2010


Whenever we were feeling unwell,
perhaps complaining of a cold, 
a headache, or a sore throat,
my father would produce this little round bottle,
(from who knew where)
and would with some ceremony
sprinkle the 'water from Cologne'
onto one of his vast cotton handkerchiefs
and dab our hot foreheads with it.

Created in 1792,the original Eau de Cologne 
is formulated from the essential oils of citrus fruits 
blended with Rosemary, Lavender and Neroli.

The smell today reawakens that curious sensation of
childhood malaise and happy surrender to the care of
people who knew what was best for me.

The scent is supposed to be very reviving
and I think I do feel a little bit better.

* Wikipedia says that this was pronounced forty-seven eleven,
but they are quite mistaken.


  1. Didn't everybody? Of course, it was 4-7-11!

  2. My Mother calls it four seven eleven too. And it smells like comfort to me.

  3. Four seven eleven - always used for headaches in our house too. When the bottle was just about empty, it was given to us to be topped up with water, so that our dolls and teddies could be ministered to.

    That empty bottle was up there with Soir de Paris in its little blue bottle in terms of desirability!

  4. another interesting thing I have never heard of ...

  5. That little bottle brought back memories. We lived in Aden when I was a little girl and I used to lust after the bottle. Not so my little brother, because my mother used to dab it neat onto his "prickly heat" rash...............

  6. Oh, I loved this stuff! My gran used to buy it for me and my sister for Xmas. We weren't sure what to do with it (we were only 7 or 8) so we'd sprinkle some on a hanky and sniff it like smelling salts. I'm aware that I've made myself sound about 140 years old.