Saturday afternoon and I am sitting at my desk surrounded by bottles of cologne - I am finishing off a a feature on male fragrance - when the doorbell rings. I throw open the window and I see Luis my (former) Portuguese neighbour below with a familiar black bundle tucked under his arm.
'Boeuf était sur la route,' he says as I open the door. He places a sheepish looking Biff in my arms. As he leans towards me, I detect a subtle smell of citron cologne. It's one that I don't recognise but it's not bad and it's not CK-One.
'Il s'appelle Biff, pas Boeuf,' I say, unable to hide a smile. 'Mais, merci quand meme.'
Then it occurs to me that my neighbour might have reached in through the casement windows, which I have left slightly ajar in the autumn sunshine, and taken Biff from his favourite perch on top of the sofa. Except that Biff does look extremely sheepish and he is more than capable of pushing open the windows and jumping out.
'It was very nice of you to bring my dog back,' I say.
'De rien,' says my neighbour with a disarming smile. 'So what about the aperitif that you promised me?'
'OK,' I say. 'Demain soir a sept heures.'
'Ca va?' he says, looking a little disbelieving.
'Ca va,' I say, and return to my desk to finish my feature, 'Scent of a Man.'