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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The problem with the internet is that you can't broadcast smells...

Yesterday was a ridiculous day! It began with the introduction of coconuts to Tas and co. Midway through our munchings, we were interrupted by a student from one of the adjacent labs who had come to announce that the only freezer in our department which can be maintained at -80˚C had been off all weekend because the wall socket it had been plugged into had given up the ghost for no apparent reason. As a result, any material that we had stored in there was more than likely useless as it had probably decayed beyond all recognition.

As one does in our department, we shrugged it off and figured that there would be a few students who would be upset, but the world would continue to turn none-the-less. We were wrong...

As it turned out, the fridge was determined to go out with a bang and that bang was targeted at everyone who worked in our side of the building. The decaying material (which included cat-food - WHY?!) had, as decaying material does, produced the most noxious stench our building has ever smelled. The pong was also really remained out of smell for a good part of the day and then rushed at all of us will full smelly force just after lunch time.

In an effort to overcome the stench, one of the resident academics decided to try and burn some Helichrysum, which she had obtained from a local traditional healers market. The result was a combination of putrification with burning plants and a hint of marijuana (and not in a good way...).

It was around this time that Tas entered my lab and uttered the words, 'What died?!' which pretty much summed things up. We also came to the conclusion that our building has absolutely no fire/smoke alarms at all; a comforting thought...

As much as appreciated the attempt to improve the olfactory conditions of our labs, the smell became too much and we all decided that it was a good idea to go home. So, we all packed ourselves up and began walking out of the building. As we arrived at one of the staircases, we noticed that there was a small cascade of water pouring down the stairs into the passage. As it turned out, one of the pipes had burst on the third floor and the water was using the stairs, as any sensible sentient being would. We gave it some space as the water was slightly yellow and, being that it had come from one of the microbiology labs, you really never know what it could contain...

This morning, when I returned to my lab, the stench still remained and had yet to be exorcised from the building. Some kind soul had replaced the burning plants with incense sticks so instead of the smell of burning grass, we had a building that smelled like an ashram.

And people wonder why I enjoy the work I do...


  1. Thanks for digging through the sludge and rescuing my samples! i owe you forever!!!!

  2. Wow. This is what I've been missing while I've been writing exams? I shall have to come visit you and Leia in the ashram sometime soon! :)

  3. I think my poor nose just plugged itself up at the thought of that stench. Wonder if we can make that happen here and get part of the day off...hmmm have to think on that one.

  4. Bloody hell, what with decaying matter and gushing microbial waste it sounds like biological warfare out there!