Learning to blow up a balloon !
The lady in question is not exactly phobic about balloons - well just slightly -
she doesn't like them being blown up - she is scared of them popping at this time
and doesn't really worry about them being about - like anyone else she will jump
if one does pop during the event but nothing more - but being there when they are
inflated is just not on.
On one occasion I did see her being very brave and blowing up a balloon ! !
And it was on this occasion that I saw the problem - she just held the neck of the
balloon between finger and thumb - and blew... and blew... how can I put this -
the lady in question has quite appreciable lungs. So it was that I had to tell her
when to stop.
Her 'spare' hand was doing nothing at all - most people put their other hand on
the balloon and 'feel' what is going on - how 'tight' the balloon is getting - so
they can judge when to stop so that it doesn't burst. Her lack of 'pressure monitoring'
and her lack of experience blowing up balloons meant that she was very likely to
pop them without trying - and then wondering why. Her daughter blows up balloons
the same way but has better judgment.
So the way to blow up a balloon without bursting it is to have one hand on top of
the balloon and sort-of squeeze it by pressing it into your body - if it reaches
the stage when it starts to feel quite hard and there is very little 'give' when
it is pressed then it is probably time to tie a knot in the neck.
The other sign that a balloon is getting towards its limit is the neck itself
starting to expand. With some balloons this may start to happen quite early on
because the way balloons are made means that the neck is actually the thinnest
part - the reason that it doesn't blow up first is that a tube is a naturally
stronger section than the sphere that forms the rest of the balloon.
A trick you can use when blowing up a long balloon is to blow up the strongest bit
first - then you are less likely to overstress the weakest section. If you hold
your hand over the upper part of the balloon to stop it inflating - and inflate
the furthest end first - this is the bit that normally gets left uninflated - you
can even stop blowing and squeeze the balloon so that the far end is fully blown
up. This method can inflate the whole balloon - even that far end may stay blown up
because a blown up section is actually weaker than the unblown bit. Having got the
far end blown up you can carry on blowing until you get to the neck - but beware
- sometimes the neck can be very much weaker and can suddenly inflate leaving
you with no neck to tie a knot in.
Whatever you do - practice makes perfect - and if you can only start by blowing
them up quite small - it's a start - an old Chinese proverb says that a long
journey starts with a single step - time to take that step ?
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