For Violet it's hedgehogs. "They move too fast" she says.
The Space Cadette shares a house with a soil enthusiast and his is mouths. He has to shut his eyes to brush his teeth and cannot watch anyone else eat.
A colleague of my mothers used to frequently faint when faced with the sight of toilet bowls. She had to back into the cubicle.
For me it's sand. Sand. Walking on it, touching it, wet or dry. The feel of it between my bare feet and my sandals is especially bad, and worse than anything, worse than death, pestilence, disease, war is wiping wet sand off my children's feet. I'd happily pay Robert Mugabe to do it.
I demand a radical redesign of the seaside. The sea can stay. Even the sand can stay. But between the two, I require a smooth strip of cement with a self rinsing plunge pool AND foot dryers. And sand free people to give me sand free garments and shoes, or to wrap me hermetically in cling film and carry me across the sand back to my car, which they will have hoovered free of the demon sand.
This is the ultimate parental sacrifice for me - building s*nd castles. Accepting a s*ndy child on my shoulders where it rubs its s*ndy hands all over my face in an amateur version of microdermabrasion. Washing s*nd out of clothes, buckets, baths, shoes. Eating s*nd, naturally. And then, at the end of a loooong s*ndy day, having a shower and lying down in my bed on a fine but definite layer of s*nd.