When it comes to shampoo, I'm a ' supermarket own brand' kind of a guy. I've even experimented with washing up liquid. But on my sister-in-law's last visit she waved grandly across her hair products and said "now you will use these up, won't you?", and it would be rude not to.

I start with the phial labelled Shampooing. I'm gambling that shampooing the participle means basically the same as shampoo the noun or verb, and the evidence suggests that it does. It takes three applications to get my hair clean though. I guess it doesn't have the kind of industrial-strength gunkstripper they ladle into every bottle of Tesco's own brand.

Then I turn to the Bain et Douche. My schoolboy French tells me this means bath and shower, the gloop in the bottle looks like a kind of gel, so I put the two together and treat it as bath and shower gel. It works well enough, although the Tesco's one smells nicer. When I see the price tag, I resolve to seek work as a translator, because whoever translated bath and shower into bain et douche must have got thousands for it.

The next bottle in the queue is labelled Acondicionador. Honestly, she's such a travel queen. You could run a language class on the stuff in her bathroom. It must be conditioner. I pour some into my hand, rub it into my hair, leave it for a minute and rinse. Nothing happens. Yes, it's conditioner.

Then I come to the Aqua parfumé, which I translate again, as perfumed water. I splash it all over. I now smell like a woman. A posh woman. A hundred posh women. Hang on.

On closer inspection, the bottle is actually Aqua parfum, with no é. I now more accurately translate this as a very, very smelly perfume called Aqua, despite the fact that aqua is Latin for water, which doesn't smell at all, ha ha caught you out, you foolish boy. I have doused myself in posh perfume. If you set me on fire, I would smell like Barbara Cartland being cremated. It's like Home Alone, but without the excuse of being ten.

I can't believe they have safety campaigns for fireworks and drunk driving, yet anyone can leave toiletries lying around unattended. It's been a few days, and the smell seems to have worn off. I'm just glad I didn't have any classes. Still, at least it stops you smelling anything else, which in Bristol is a blessing.

Be warned though. Toiletries are like email attachments. If you don't know what they are, don't open them. The Backlash - it makes the obvious errors, so you don't have to.