I should tell you at this juncture that we have an "Odd Socks Box" in our house. Well, to be truthful, it's more of a gigantic basket which happens to contain socks instead of logs for the fire; this should give you an idea of its dimensions and intended purpose. Once I realised that our collection of odd socks had become too sizeable to be housed adequately within a cardboard carton which had previously held six bottles of wine, I searched elsewhere for a suitable receptacle and decided to evacuate the cuddly toys residing within the basket in favour of the socks, which were far more numerous and thus had a greater claim on the vessel in question. The trouble is that I've now started gaily flinging every single sock owned by the four of us into said basket as soon as it's been laundered and dried, which means that nothing ever gets paired up and every single sock spends much of its time in a regrettably mateless state. So if any family member requires an actual pair of identical socks rather than a mismatched twosome, a lengthy search inevitably ensues. My mother, who is a maths teacher, is delighted by this rich source of material with which her pupils might improve their skills in the area of probability. If Fiona, Ben, Joshua and Daniel each have ten pairs of socks (that's twenty socks apiece), and the lazy slattern in charge of the laundry (that's me) chucks all eighty socks into the Odd Socks Box, stirs them with a giant spoon and draws two out at random, what is the probability that a) the two socks will be the same colour, b) the socks will belong to the same person, or c) any member of the family will ever again wear an actual pair of socks that isn't brand new and still held together by its plastic tag? Let's not spend undue amounts of time ruminating upon the answers to those questions, but instead take a short diversion into the living room.
One Christmas, years ago, I suspended several golden ribbons of varying lengths from the picture rail using drawing pins and spraypainted gold a packet of wooden pegs. Our Christmas cards were then pegged prettily onto the ribbons, at jaunty angles, and delighted me regularly throughout the festive period. Since our family birthdays are spaced fairly evenly, I left the ribbons up and now use them to display cards kindly sent in celebration of our respective Natal Days as well as at Christmas. They always stay up there for an absurdly long time before I remember to remove them, but that's neither here nor there. Anyway, this is what the Wall of Cards looked like until this afternoon.
I'm sure you can't imagine where this apparently unrelated tangent is heading, but please bear with me whilst we return to the subject of socks. Much as Fi and I admired both the concept of the "Missing Socks" gadget and its attractive appearance, we did wonder why it lacked the capacity to accommodate far more than four odd socks. "Why, I have a whole BASKET of odd socks!" we both exclaimed; "They're never going to fit on that miniature washing line!" And, an instant later, the solution became quite clear to us both.
Why did I not think of this earlier? The advantages to this system are manifold:
1) Each sock now stands a far greater chance of being reunited with its other half, since the mate in question is probably hanging on public display rather than languishing quietly under a multitude of other, perhaps more brightly patterned and thus more easily recognisable, socks.
2) Anyone requiring a couple of socks can just reach out and unpeg them on the way out of the house rather than rummaging fruitlessly and frustratingly through that ridiculously capacious basket. We need never be late anywhere again as a result of sock-related delays.
3) All laundered socks can be pegged up immediately they leave the washing machine, will dry during their time on the ribbons before being unpegged and worn, after which they can be tossed straight into the laundry basket, thereby bypassing the middleman (aka the Odd Socks Box).
4) Whilst I do feel that leaving my and Ben's birthday cards (received in February and March) up until June (Daniel's birthday) is unacceptably lazy even for someone with my atrocious domestic standards, I don't care for the comparatively bare appearance of the walls during the interim months. This problem has been neatly solved, in the shape of some rather unorthodox wall art.
Do visit Pinterest if you haven't already; I can warmly recommend it as a highly diverting pastime and source of the most unlikely, but useful, ideas! And now, if you'll excuse me, it's very cold up here in the north-east tonight and I must go and unpeg a pair of woollen socks from the wall.