Tickety Boo or Not So Pucker

Last late Spring I had occasion to be in Scotland. A marvellous country filled with beautiful scenery and plenty of history. I realised that I was fairly near to a place where I had spent a handful of childhood holidays and decided to drive to the location to ascertain if it remained as I remembered it. I found the estate with ease and followed the single track road trying to catch a glimpse of something, anything that I remembered from our visits here. It was as I turned from the track onto a driveway that I knew I had found the correct place. I halted my vehicle and stared down the driveway. It was lined with scores of cherry trees which were in full blossom. I remembered the first time I saw this drive way and was taken aback at the vibrancy of the pink blossom and how it rained upon us as my father drove us down the driveway, the breeze displacing the blossom and causing it to cascade over us. It was quite the picture and something that I have always recalled although not as much as what came next.

We had spent a week staying at a five star hotel about an hour away from where we were now. This was at the insistence of my mother who had declared,

“If I am to rough it then I want my luxury either side of it.”

Typically a cold fury ensured until my father, as ever, conceded and agreed that we would stay for a week before and four days afterwards at the sumptuous hotel. The place we now headed to was an estate owned by a friend of my father. They had both been in the Royal Air Force together and Geraint, his friend, had removed himself to Scotland to oversee this estate. My mother had said nothing from the moment we had checked out from the hotel that morning. She sat, her icy rage chilling the interior of the car as my father drove us to the estate. My sister babbled incessantly during the journey, commenting on everything we passed in order to fill the silence. My father concentrated on the road ahead being well-used to these frozen car journeys and no doubt wondering how my mother would continue to behave once we arrived. I knew exactly what she would do and I could see my reflection as I grinned with anticipation.

Our car slowly drove along this bright pink tunnel until we halted by a gate. Set on a hillock to the right was a large and impressive house from which a figure, who I assumed was Geraint, half-walked half-jigged. His red corduroy pants housed two legs which skipped across the carefully manicured lawn that embraced the hillock, the colour contrasting with the mustard of his jumper and the green of the shirt beneath. He was as colourful as the entrance to his estate. My father lowered the window as Geraint neared and bellowed into the car,

“Hello hello, well how are you all you wonderful people, tickety boo or not so pucker?”

The rear of the car exploded into laughter at this expression. We had not heard anything like it and coupled with this multi-coloured man who bore a huge grin on his face we were mightily amused. This became the mantra for the week as my siblings and I would ask one another at any opportunity whether he or she was tickety boo or not so pucker. Still laughing I watched as my mother leant towards my father’s side of the car and trilled,

“Geraint how positively marvellous to see you. You look excellent well. I must say we are so looking forward to staying with you this week, it is awfully kind of you to accommodate us. It looks glorious, tell me how is your wife?”

I smirked as what I came to know as the façade was rolled out. I glanced at the rear view mirror to see my father’s reaction. As I suspected it was one of relief.

We children enjoyed our week. We had been housed in a large cottage which was clearly one which belonged to someone who had worked the estate in the past, a farmer or woodsman perhaps. Geraint occupied the main house where we dined three times if I remember correctly and there were fifteen cottages scattered across the estate. We spent our days locating them and adding them to the map we made of the extensive estate. My mother alternated between being fragrant and charming whenever she met Geraint and his family (tickety boo) to then sitting in silence when consigned to the cottage (not so pucker). As usual my father flapped about her trying to extoll the virtue of the cottage and its simpler way of life. The cottage had a permanent musty smell and it was necessary to chop logs outside to burn in the fireplaces and place in the aga range to provide cooking and heating facilities. We enjoyed this difference to the usual conveniences we enjoyed at home but my mother did not. She passed no adverse comment. She did not need to as she had repeatedly berated my father when at the hotel about his choice in coming to stay in this “bloody medieval hovel” and it seemed to me that the lap of luxury which she had insisted on had been not so pucker for her since she spent all of her time slating my father for wanting to see his old RAF pal. The blaming and name-calling then gave way to her iciness for the entire week. I do not recall my mother speaking to my father save when we were in the presence of Geraint and his family when my mother was charm personified, complimentary and quite the star of the dinner table.

Yes this trip stuck in my memory for many reasons but most of all for my exposure to the phrase tickety boo or not so pucker. I saw how these polar states were played out by my mother as part of her manipulation of my father, her quite amazing vacillation between delightful charm and muted resentment. She shone and then she iced over. I have come to realise that this entertaining phrase is most apt for our kind. Either everything is tickety boo, wonderful, marvellous and golden or it is not so pucker, awful, horrible, terrible and cruel. There is never any middle ground. No neutral. We do not do mediocre or mundane. We either give you tickety boo or subject you to not so pucker.

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41 thoughts on “Tickety Boo or Not So Pucker”

  1. A lovely childhood memory, the location sounds beautiful and idyllic and contrasting against your mums indifference. Your mum is very similar to how my mum was, sadly. And how are you today, which one suits your mood?

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      1. By the way, Scotland is the best place on this Earth to me. I am pleased it still brings you happiness in memory. Positive memories are so very important to hold onto, it is the negative ones we need to release.

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  2. Great posting and beatiful picture. I have dowloaded it to the pictures ony phone.
    Its a pity that your mother had to be so icy during the vacations because that anyway ruins the mood I think.
    And I am wondering if your father had already told his friend about your moms good and bad moods. And this is why he came up witj this sentence on purpose? Because it fits her doesnt it? 😂😂.
    im grateful that my dad could be happy staying at the highway motel or the sheraton city squire. He did never ever ruin our vacations but instead always tried to give us the best vacations, but if we misbehaved then we would have an hour or so of silent treatment.
    My dad could be like your mother in terms that he could dislike somebody but when greeting this person could pretend he liked him alot and this we found funny because if we would be around he would make a joke out of it . He really disliked people who would boast and tell lies about themselves and i clearly remember once he telling us in disgust ” oh noo now I have to greet this ass#%^<~}$~ who is always talking BS 😡😡 cant believe this, watch this kids how I tell him more BS than the one he can talk". And we 4 including my mom were there open eyes watching all what he would say that was clearly exxagerating his achievements and watch him laugh and be exquisite charming ( like you mom) , and 10 seconds before calling his counter part ass#£|£}$%…
    After the conversation was over and the person had dissapeared, he would laugh about it and tell us how we should learn that lots of people spoke BS.
    i also saw this behaviour like you did HG but in an overt way 😃.
    I grin at the idea of imagining my dad and your mom in a situation where she raged 😂😂😂. She would not resist my dads charm Im sure 😂😂😃

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    1. That was great story, Nikita…I am glad your dad still helped preserve happy family moments. My mum was two faced, she treated us as she truly was and was kind and disingenuous to others. I always wondered how no one on the outside could see through her act. Now I know why, they are devious and clever in their disguise. Why I fell for my N.

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      1. Thanks karaa. Sorry to hear about your mom. 😰.
        I was very close to my dad although he was a narcissist. In the meantime I have clarified that my dad was not a malignant narcissist but if you really were contrary to him then he could get higher on the malign scale. My dad was mainly emotionally absemt away at work and to my mother had a very bad relatioonship.
        The silent treatment was very well used and I think this is something very destructive because as kids we were blaming ourselves what had we done as at the end you really dont know why the person is remaining silent.. My parents never never divorced and fought often. 😢 but vacations contrary to all the thory you read were always spectacular. He was in his best mood. My father loved to travel and feel free and therfor vacations were like the best family time I can think about. My brothers like HG make now vacations were we used to go as a family to recall such happy wonderful moments. My father did not have a double face as he was mainly in a good mood and extremely nice to everybody so people adored him, but what he could do was dislike somebody and be extremely nice to somebody if he needed to but he would tell the people around him ” time to pretend” 😀😀… Quiet special I would say.
        As I child I remember feeling lost very often. There my love for the rain. Somehow when it rained I felt I could go somewhere else with the rain. I even once wrote about it in school.
        I never felt lost because of my direct relationship to my parents as both of them were nice to us. My mother extremely nice as she was pretty young when we were born.
        It was on between them two that was a ticking bomb and this is pretty traumatic. 😢

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  3. I didn’t say this yesterday but my ex N when he was 9 went with his dad to Butlins summer holiday camp in Scotland, his dad was a teacher, he had taken Students there for Duke of Edinburgh awards. He cited it as one of his best childhood memories, it was lovely to hear him talk about it. Like he was back in time. I recall. He said he happily went to escape his mum, who was strict and moody. He was always detached about his mum, had little recollection of childhood memories or preferred to forget them…other then once she privately disclosed to me which I ascertained the what the others were, but never disclosed that to him. He chose not to talk about his childhood, so I never pressed. Mine though not glorious, have always been open in my discussion of those times.
    So, your memory made me think about his memory, although both entirely different. Both happy memories.

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  4. My mum was the disciplinarian in family, she would infuse fear and then have my dad inflict punishment, even as a child I knew this was to ensure he was seen as the bad guy. But I never saw him as such. I always knew she was at the root of punishment. Usually punishment was for small slights she received, a tone in My voice, sassiness, not doing something as soon as asked, getting an -A opposed to an +A and so forth. It was even more cruel to have the loving and affectionate parent be the one to carry out the punishment. My sister never understand the reasoning behind it.
    I recall one time , maybe eight years old, I heard boys at school swearing at each other. i had no concept of what the words meant, just the context in which they were said. They seemed upset when they said them.
    So, one day at home when my mum was being particularly mean to me, I called her one of those words…I was promptly dragged up the stairs to the bathroom and she took a bar of soap and literally washed my mouth out. It was humiliating, but, it worked, I never called her that word again. I tried to tell her I didn’t know what the word meant, but the main point of it all wasn’t the word, it was the insolence. I never hated my mum, I loved her and I pitied her as this was how she knew to be. What she learned. I vowed that I would not be such a way.
    That I would be loving, at all cost….and there is a cost, isn’t there? It always darkness to creep in through those cracks.

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    1. It appears from my discussions with the good doctors that they believe I am a product of my environment. My mission now is to make my environment a product of me.

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      1. Question: you say your goal is to make your environment a product of you, but since you are a product of your mother’s environment, wouldnt that still make you an extension of her?
        Even now she has you submitting to this ultimatum to have psychotherapy when the reason you are like this is because you admired her games and now she doesn’t even love the monster she created in her name. *tut tut*

        But who cares right? You must get that fuel 😉

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      2. Are we not all extensions of our parents to a lesser of greater degree?
        I think your observations are more an indictment of her than me.
        Fuel is the rule,naturally.

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  5. And what do you believe? (I’m guessing you do not care about your origins)
    Have you ever confronted your mother about you being her product?

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  6. Nikita my mum was neither loving, nor affectionate. She was cold and detached and critical. Ones best, was never good enough. Her response to anytime I was crying over a situation at school, was they are just jealous of you..because you are so pretty, or because they wish they were you. Comfort was at the minimum, whereas my dad read my sister and I bedtime stories, sang to us, made us breakfast, drove us to school, you name it, if not for his love and affection, I too might be like HG. Who knows what it takes to turn someone in the opposite direction of the core personality in childhood. Often it is sexual abuse or some other grievous trauma..
    I am pleased to hear despite your dads narcsisism you still had a happy childhood and good relationship, it is a shame that the turmoil between your parents had to filter into the childrens life too ❤️

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    1. Karaa good for you that you had such a dad. Mine were both caring I would but my dad was never there 😢 never had time. i never had issues in school, thanks God I belonged to the strong crowd. I was not one of the strongest but could hang in there due to my fun skills I suppose.. I had a “nefarious ” mind on how to distract class and make everybody laugh. I got along well with everybody and there was not really bullying going on. We are today still ” class of 91 forever ❤️”. In FB
      The issues I had was the relationship of my parents itself so nobody there to turn to.
      Feel sad for HG that his mom created in him a dark side. 😢….. I know he has a bright one too 🌗.

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      1. I was sometimes teased for being studious, I enjoyed study, I had lots of friends, but often preferred to read and do things considered I fun, well until University time….
        Yes, it can go either way with a child, the dark side or the light side. I wager, he does have much light within in and that there is some dark with in me too…just he weighs heavily on the dark and I, the light.

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  7. We are extensions of our parents to a far lesser degree than you of course.
    Which means we still have our own identity and we could answer the good doc’s question about who we are.
    You on the other hand are just mum’s boy.

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  8. HG I like this picture so much I’ve stolen it for my current whatsapp profile pic. Are narcissists moved by beautiful pictures , scenery , nature ? Or things like that as these things would not fall under the narc emotions such as rage , jealousy etc ?

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    1. You are not the only one who likes it Lisa, I seem to recall it is a favourite of Nikita’s.

      I can appreciate scenery, architecture, views etc but it manifests itself more in the sense of knowing that talking about the view, sharing the experience etc will result in fuel and that is where its value comes from.

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      1. That is sad HG . My narc was very tuned into these kinds of pictures and would send me all sorts of pictures of nature , scenery and animals . Maybe this was also fake but I don’t think so some how because he kind of did this naturally it’s not something that he could fake . If we went to certain places he seemed to genuinely like things other than me of course lol. Their maybe an individual thing rather than a narc thing. He was very good at drawing and had drawn animals , birds and landscapes years ago. I suppose it’s like your writing that can’t really be faked ? Can it ?

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      2. He evidently has an inherent ability to draw but it is how it is used which is the narcissistic element.

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