However hard I pumped it it just wouldn't stay hard. 10 minutes or so into bouncing on it and I'd be several inches closer to the ground - and a baggy ball is good for nothing and no-one.
I couldn't see any holes in it so I figured it must have a leaky valve.
Considering it was not cheap (it was a superior deluxe double-skinned professional one - designed not to explode on impact and send pregnant women zooming through space) and was barely used, I decided I should contact the company who sold it to me and report the fault.
This was a difficult conversation:
Me: Hi, it's about one of your balls.
Me: Sorry, that didn't sound quite right! I mean I bought a ball off you and I've barely used it but, well there is no other way of saying this, however hard I inflate it it just won't stay hard - teee heee teee heee (pathetic nervous laughter).
Them: (total deadpan) What do you mean?
Me: Well I blow it up and then, within, minutes it's not hard. It's softish. Sort of a bit baggy.
Them: So there's a hole in it?
Me: No, well I don't think so. It's not going really soft - it's just not like to should be. It's sort of shrunken.
Them: Your ball is shrunken? Can you hear anything?
Them: From your ball. Can you hear a noise? A whistling?
Me: Erm, no. My ball is not whistling.
Them: Well it can't have a hole then.
Me: Erm, well something is wrong with it. It's not normal. I've seen other people's and they aren't like this. I thought it could be the valve?
Them: Have you put the valve in?
Me: Erm, YES!
Them: Is it in properly?
Me: Well yes, I mean it's stuck in the right hole. Fully in.
Them: Well I think you need to get someone else to look at it - one of the other teachers. Compare your ball with theirs and see if your plug is in properly.
Me: Sorry - I do have previous experience of working with balls. I'm confident it's not an error on my part.
Them: (sigh - big sigh) Hang on then.
Them: (to the other woman in the office having put the phone down on the desk - so I'm not even on hold) I've got a woman complaining about a ball. Says it isn't up the job, reckons it's the valve. What you do you think? We've never had a faulty ball before have we? Sounds unlikely. No it's not burst - just too soft for her purposes. Apparently.
Them: (back to me) Are you sure you haven't stuck anything sharp in it?
(What kind of question is that? Does she think I get some kind of thrill out of delibrately damaging balls and then trying to return them to their original owner!? The Phantom Ball Burster at large).
Me: No! Look I've only pumped it up a couple of times. It's ALWAYS been like this.
Them: Are you expecting too much do you think?
Me: No. I can assure you my expectations of my ball are entirely realistic.
Them: (very big sigh) Just send it back then. We'll exchange it.
So it's gone. I deflated it fully first (I wouldn't have liked to see the postman struggling up the path with that in his arms) which was fun as I've lost the pipe for the pump. I had to wrap my arms around the ball and sort of bounce it against the walls making loud 'oommph' 'ouf' noises to squeeze every last bit of air out.
I waited until I was alone - I didn't want the kids to have the sight of me bouncing against a wall making groaning sounds as a first memory..
I put it in a bin bag, sent it off recorded delivery and I shall wait and see what the postman brings. Whatch this space....