I foolishly thought this was the solution. I bought only black socks, black socks of one variety. But, the washing machine is no respecter of uniformity. The laundry shows no mercy.

Over the years, the socks have faded down to a glorious range of 256 greys. Cotton fades fast. Some have gone saggy, with the lycra/elastic falling to pieces. Some have gained holes and rips. The rare few have preserved their pristine blackness through wash after wash.

I think I need new socks.