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17 July, 2006

Annoying aroma

I spent much of today dressing Bowland College for tomorrow, Graduation Day*.  This is the one occasion each year for which I escape the computer in order to arrange tables, chairs & windowboxes, fix the bar's spotlights, (re)hanging banners and, amongst other mundane yet novel tasks, inflate 200+ balloons.

New latex has a particularly persistant odour anyway, but can anyone identify the powder used on/in Mexican-manufactured balloons to prevent them sticking together? It smells vegetable-based rather than mineral, and really binds to the skin. Eight hours later, having washed dishes, cooked with chili peppers and showered, I can still clearly smell oddly sweetened latex on my hands.
It's not pleasant; I just hope it's safe. Is it just a variety of cornstarch? Perhaps I should wear rubber gloves to handle the balloons....

*: I spent the rest of the day struggling with the webcasts of other Colleges' Graduation ceremonies; the high- and low-bandwidth Real streams were fine, but the high-bandwidth Windows Media stream was formatted as low-bandwidth i.e. a tiny postage stamp of video in a decent-sized window. Ultimately, I don't know what happened, but it had better work for the remaining fourteen ceremonies this week.

[Update 18/07/06: Returning to work this morning, we discovered that none of that batch of balloons had retained enough helium to remain buoyant, so I had an excellent opportunity to refresh my perfume. Wonderful.
I also needed to move four 'park benches' which were repaired and creosoted... yesterday. I can't imagine how Estates thought they'd be dry and suitable for contact with peoples' very best clothes within 18 hours.]

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