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.

37 thoughts on “Tickety Boo Or Not So Pucker

  1. It is so good to see people make it to the other side of this situation. One day it will be me.

    1. foolme1time says:

      Yes it will PSE, I hope for you that this day comes soon. 🤗

  2. santaann1964 says:

    I like this story. Seems like some good memories besides walking on eggshells, all of you! It is very cute. I knew you were from out of the USA 🇺🇸

    1. HG Tudor says:

      I think you mean that I am from outside of the USA, if so, yes that is correct.

  3. princesssuperempath says:

    Dearest HG: I love cherry blossoms. I was an adult before I ever encountered the trees in bloom. Wow. This line is so telling: “I smirked as what I came to know as the façade was rolled out.“ You sound so young here, HG, pre-teen? I think all family members and even ourselves all have facades. We call it being good. I think we basically call it good behavior. Our parents would say to us: be good now, so and so is coming over, etc, etc. Or say to us: do not embarrass us, when we go to a certain place, be good, and act right, etc. etc. Do you remember when you first thought or noticed, that something was way out of the ordinary, in certain people’s behaviour, even though you probably did not know the description narcissism, and were you very upset and disillusioned by the the discovery?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      See Fury.

  4. foolme1time says:

    HG, Are the two of you coming to the states?

    1. HG Tudor says:


      1. foolme1time says:

        May I guess? I know you won’t tell me even if I get it right! 😝

        1. FYC says:

          In previous comments that were unrelated about right turn on red and NYC driving on a different post, HG mentioned people in crosswalks may want to be careful in April. That was why I gave the welcome. It may be the case that he changed their plans. I guess we will know eventually on IG.

          1. foolme1time says:

            I’m sure we will FYC. 😉

      2. foolme1time says:

        Oh hell! I’m gonna guess, can’t wait for you any longer. Starting with the one I think it is and ending with the two it might be. Florida, Texas, Alaska?

      3. foolme1time says:

        New York City is where my family wanted to visit when they came from the UK. I don’t find it that appealing other then the shows! I’m sure there will be a lot there that you and SM will enjoy. Safe Travels!

      4. santaann1964 says:

        Come on Mr. H come meet all of us. I know I wouldn’t tell you identity.

  5. FYC says:

    HG, Since it is April, welcome to to the USA (when you arrive)! Are you and Shieldmaiden visiting places besides NYC while here? So much more to see that you would enjoy. May all your travels remain Tickety Boo!

    P.S. I agree with FM1T, I loved this post the first time I read it. Still do.

  6. nfl3 says:

    I love this story! The visual is always so colourful, you are such a gifted writer, HG!!

    But wouldn’t it be rude of your dear mum to be anything other than polite to her host?

  7. Kris says:

    This is incredibly visual and a fun look at a bit of the past. I love the phrase and can see it!

  8. marinathemermaid3 says:

    H. G. You were able to genuinely find something funny when you were a kid?

    1. HG Tudor says:


      1. WhoCares says:

        I’m glad that’s the case.

        Do you still, these days, find genuine humour in some things?

        1. HG Tudor says:

          Occasionally. Some of it here oddly enough.

          1. WhoCares says:

            I’m glad to hear that.

  9. WiserNow says:

    This comment is unrelated to the article, however, it does reflect the contrast between wonderful and terrible.

    After following HG’s relationship with the Sheildmaiden on Instagram with interest, I have noticed some very subtle ‘negative’ aspects creeping into the lavish, fairy-tale happiness of their golden period. For example:
    – HG’s digs about Ikea.
    – HG referring to watching football as ‘dessert’ and saying it with enthusiasm.

    Regarding the above points, HG’s digs about Ikea can be taken as a swipe against the Sheildmaiden’s land (or general area) of origin, which is a subtle insult to not only Ikea, but also her background.

    When HG is excited about watching football and calls it “dessert”, it makes me think of all the lavish meals he’s enjoyed with the SM so far and to me it sounds like he’s insinuating that he would actually rather watch football than have real dessert with the Sheildmaiden, thereby comparing his time with her to him watching football and making the football sound vaguely more interesting.

    I am fully aware that I ‘sound’ paranoid about this. Indeed, in one of my past relationships, if I made comments like this, I was accused of being paranoid and insecure. However, in time my suspicions were proven correct.

    The thing is that these subtle insults can be easily taken as completely benign comments. Everyone has mocked Ikea for some reason at some point in time, and most men would probably rather watch football than be romantic with their other half, so these comments are loaded with plausible deniability. To say otherwise makes you sound paranoid, overly sensitive, insecure, and even like a ‘crazy snowflake’.

    To me, it’s the contrast that makes them stand out. On the one hand, HG is jet-setting to different places with the SM and treating her to lavish dinners, wonderful outings, gifts, flowers and some of her favourite things. This is all very wonderful, romantic and positive and what girl would or could say no?

    If it was really, truly genuine though, such a romantic and loving man would also be sensitive enough *not* to insult an icon (Ikea) that originates in his love interest’s part of the world, at least in these heady, early stages of the relationship. He would also not openly and enthusiastically imply that football is more of a “dessert” than spending time with her.

    I can see that my views are just slight suspicions and maybe I’m wrong. On the other hand, they could be very subtle salami-slicing techniques that are conditioning the SM into accepting his negative views about her.

    The point is, I think, to be aware that a golden period that’s excessive or not quite right, whether it’s lavish dinners and gifts, or 50 texts in one day, or phone calls that last hours on end, or whatever it is, needs to be considered carefully. Consistency and logical reality is important and needs to be considered, despite the passion and ‘magical thinking’. However, it’s very hard to see clearly and act on if you don’t have awareness and haven’t learned from experience.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Interesting WiseNow and fair enough for having given some thought to this and I also understand why you can see some credibility in your thought process, but you are incorrect.

      1. The Shieldmaiden and I both detest Ikea. It is because of what it is, not because it is Swedish. Even if I ridiculed it because it was Swedish this would entertain the Shieldmaiden.
      2. The Shieldmaiden loves football and enjoys watching football together. I watch her team and she watches my team.

      Nevertheless I see where you are coming from and you are right to articulate such observations, that is a sign of a good enquiring mind looking to form a view based on evidence (although the interpretation of that evidence has been incorrect) and is to be applauded.

    2. NarcAngel says:


      I didn’t see you as being paranoid or overly suspicious. I thought that it you showed you to be cautiously observant. You’re right that devaluation can be very subtle in the beginning (the salami slicing) and that’s why people tend to brush things off and give benefit of the doubt. Having been through it, you now appear to be proactive in observing behaviours, collecting thoughts, and sorting through them while using both emotion and logic. That, exercised, benefits us all I think.

  10. marinathemermaid3 says:

    I love this one too, even though it’s sad.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Thank you.

  11. TryMe says:

    I’ve read this on your site before. Since seeing the Good Doctors, has it ever occurred to you that your Mother was the victim of your Father?
    As the long term victim, I can completely see how her actions and reactions couldve been completely misunderstood.

    Btw, my identity was doxxed last time I responded. Curious indeed. Very much so. More on that later.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      He was the victim, not her.

  12. Sarah Jane says:

    Where did you visit, FM1T? London?

  13. Sarah Jane says:

    Funny story.

    Is that where you learned the Glaswegian Kiss?

  14. foolme1time says:

    This is one of my favorites HG, I always love when you post it! My next trip will be to Scotland. I hope I find it as beautiful and as full of history and culture as I did England! 🏰

    1. Claire says:

      Maybe I’ll swim to Scotland. Now that I am not drowning:)

    2. marinathemermaid3 says:

      Love the horses Foolme.

    3. Sniglet says:

      Edinburgh is one of my favourite cities in the world. You have to see the Scottish castles, lakes and highlands. The Glaswegians are incredibly friendly. I traveled alone in Glasgow one day and in the space of 2 hours 5 men asked me if I needed help getting around. They has the cutest accent and called me lass. Ha ha. Whatever you do you must try the Haggis pudding with mash potatoes. Delicious!!!! YUM YUM

      1. Sarah Jane says:

        How about Ireland?

        Such a beautiful place. The settings of many fantasies of a 1950’s farm boy, wearing a cap and walking over a hill top with a dog leash in one hand, whilst chewing on a piece of hay.
        An old barn setting in the middle of nowhere, making love on a hay stack during a storm just before dusk.


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