The Errant Sock

There are occasional mishaps when you become, as I am, a house husband. You burn the dinner; forget to buy eggs, lettuce, pomegranates, dishwasher tablets, or whatever there is a lack of in your cupboards. I have noticed also that it is usually the very thing you went shopping for that you invariably forget. You are diverted by bright, enticing shelves laden with things you don’t really want. You’ve gone out for say sugar and come back with biscuits, cheese and shampoo but no sugar. The shop is deliberately designed to rob you first of your critical faculties and then your cash. It is a conspiracy come back Fox Mulder all is forgiven!

Other mysteries appear when the inexperienced take over household management. There is a whole new language to learn, a complete set of baffling symbols to decode. Laundry graphics for example; you are about to fill washing machine when you spot your partner’s favourite garment in the basket and terror strikes. What if it shrinks or tears, what if the dye runs, can you put it in the drier or on a radiator, what temperature, which detergent to use? So many questions so little time; the restaurant table is booked and you know this is what he/she will want to wear. Panic!

But human ingenuity has a solution – the symbols. Tucked away on a tiny label sown inside all the information you need. But it is in code –what do they mean? There’s little triangle with the cross on it, the basin with what looks like water in it and an impossibly small number that requires a magnifying glass to read. Don’t panic all is not lost yet – the internet – and here it gets worse – there are twenty three of them and if you look internationally there is even more. Will to live is rapidly diminishing. So for the benefit on the uninitiated here are some with meanings attached.


 Sorted; you negotiate through the problem, reading the washing machine instructions and comparing symbols. After all, you’re not translating the Dead Sea Scrolls; it’s only washing and proficiency is not hard to develop so you soon become blasé. What’s all the fuss about?

But then you are confronted by an even bigger mystery, one which has yet to be resolved. The Errant Sock! Occasionally after finishing the laundry and you are putting away the garments an unmatched sock appears. The first time you shrug and put it back in the washing basket. And this often does solve the problem, as if by magic after the next wash the errant sock is reunited with its partner. Bliss! Problem solved, but no it happens again and again. So where do these socks hide? What are they up to? There are whole web sites dedicated to alleviating the stress of the Errant Sock there is even one which recommends that you pin socks together in the correct pairs before washing and there is a neat little photo to show you how.

Amazon has twenty pages of books etc dedicated to missing socks.

But as my son would say “First World problems” take a deep breath and forget about it – the sock will turn up; it is not as thought it has been eaten by the hungry hosiery monster.

Or has it?

My work background is in operational meteorology and in my career I have been involved in forecasting for everything from bananas to jumbo jets.I joined the Met Office 1974 as an observer at Glasgow Airport. After training as a forecaster, I worked as an Operational aviation forecaster at various defence sites and airports. In 1982, I moved to Glasgow Weather Centre as a forecaster and STV broadcaster till 1988. He then took up a post as Senior Forecaster London Weather Centre, then Senior Forecaster ITV where I qualified as a trainer in presentation techniques for the ITV Association. After being diagnosed with MS, he moved into management and became Head of London Weather Centre in 1997 followed by a period of front-line management for Southern England and Europe covering London and Cardiff Weather Centres and the Met Offices on defence stations from Akrotiri in Cyprus to St Mawgan in Cornwall. He took up the post of Met Office Chief Advisor for Scotland & Northern Ireland in March 2008 and moved to Edinburgh. I retired in September 2014. My one claim to fame is once performed a comedy sketch on TV with Manuel (Andrew Sachs) from Fawlty Towers in support of Comic Relief.

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One comment on “The Errant Sock
  1. Heather Carson says:

    I love this one and so true! We have a big bag of unmatched socks in our house. Even worse when it is the wee baby socks. Put both in the washing and only one comes out! Where do these socks go? You know everything maybe you can tell me! Hx


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