There is something magical about washing machines. You stow in Y-fronts and a knot of school uniforms and you draw forth conkers and fancy rubbers. I found a gentleman's watch last week, the same day, by coincidence, that my seven-year-old lost his. My boss found a mobile phone that had whizzed round with her woollens. Sometimes my whites emerge rainbowed with liquefied wine gums. On lucky days there'll be a clutch of coppers stiffening a gusset; on really lucky days it's a quid.
But - I have an issue with tissues. Like that malicious, lurking tea spoon when you've just drained the sink, there is always a tissue in the trousers. My floors are snow-flaked from my progress to the top-floor drying rack, and a confetti of white shreds floats down on the stairs when I hang up the smalls.
I am resigned to the inevitable, but I shall tweak the inevitable to my advantage. I have ditched the own-brand tissue boxes and the pretty pastel shades. I stalk Personal Hygiene in Waitrose pondering the water resistance of Kleenex and Papura. I've trialled Ultra Balm on Delicates and spun Balsam Fresh on the hot cycle. I've even discovered Tissue World Magazine and probed its online archives for chemical pointers.
Then comes a revelation. The shreds have lately turned blue and drape the family knitwear in detatchable ribbons instead of explosions of white lint. My young son, also lately, has taken to stashing wadges of blue paper hand towels from ladies' lavatories. The events, I deduce, are connected and the way ahead is clear. Out go the fancy boxes of 3-ply and in come industrial quantities of Airtex Absorbant Hygiene Rolls.
They don't look stylish on a dinner date, but ladies, they wash beautifully!