Last week Arsenal Kev went to pick up a washing machine he’d bought from somebody. When I saw him, he was enthusiastic, because it was in perfect condition, and the previous owner was insistent that it didn’t eat socks. That has to be good news, doesn’t it? We all know that feeling of, ‘I’m sure I put seven pairs in, not 13.’ Bit of a first world problem we’ve all had to face.

My mate Mark was there. He’s a great bloke, but mad, bad, and dangerous to know, since he’s very open-handed and likes a beer. Keeping up with him is something you do on your own recognisance. He hadn’t heard the exchange, and leaned over to address AK.

‘Did you get your washing machine?’

‘Yes. And it’s pristine.’

I chipped in.

‘Even better, it doesn’t have a Sock Monster living in it.’

Mark looked blank and said, ‘What the fuck is a Sock Monster?’

‘What? You don’t know what the Sock Monster is? Lawks. It’s that fiendish little bastard who lives in washing machines and dryers that eats odd socks. A close relative of the Hankie Monster.’

AK took issue with that statement.

‘Nah, that lives behind the radiator in your bathroom. There’s all manner of stuff you find when you take that off the wall to decorate. Mind you, the Sock Monster sometimes takes a go at fly tipping down there too.’

We were into our stride now. AK wanted to know how he could be sure his new appliance didn’t have a resident evil predator in it.

‘Well, try washing just one sock, and see if it disappears.’

‘That’s a bit wasteful, washing one sock on its own.’

Enter West Ham Steve.

‘Not on its own you idiot! In with a normal load!’

And so it went on. We even discovered to our dismay that the manager of where we were had never heard of the Sock Monster either. Where have these people been living?