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.

34 thoughts on “Tickety Boo Or Not So Pucker

  1. 1jaded1 says:

    Powerful reminder.

  2. 🌹Nicola🌹 says:

    Thank you for sharing.So the manipulation of your father through “Tickerty Boo or Not so Pucker” stop there or did your Mother extend this manipulative treatment to others?….Or was it just because of her obvious resentment towards him???

    1. HG Tudor says:

      She is a narcissist. She manipulates.

      1. Dolores Haze says:

        I cannot get over the fact she made you stand barefoot in the snow as a punishment. It just breaks my heart to think someone could do such a thing to their own child. To any child.

        1. HG Tudor says:

          Consider the fact “Baby, Its Cold Outside” would be played as foreshadowing.

          1. Dolores Haze says:

            C’mon, that didn’t happen. You’re joking for emphasis, right? Or did it?

          2. HG Tudor says:

            I am not joking.

          3. MB says:

            I don’t normally condone revenge, but that woman deserves whatever you have in store for her, HG.

          4. HG Tudor says:


          5. Pati says:

            MB, i agree with you. i believe in Karma!
            What goes around comes around thats people say,some of the pain that you have caused me will come back to you one day.

          6. Dolores Haze says:

            I’m very sorry this happened to little HG, it’s wrong and vicious, especially the song bit… just pure evil and torture. If I were you, I’d tell her to shove the inheritance up her arse and proudly stop communicating with her; but I’m not you and I’m sure you have your own sophisticated plan in the works for her. Once again, I’m very sorry, I just hope you were not completely alone with your pain those days and there was someone to hug you and console you.

          7. MB says:

            What a hateful bitch!

            On another note, how did people start associating that song with date rape? It’s politically incorrect to play it anymore.

          8. Dolores Haze says:

            And of course, that song in itself is the creepiest Narc anthem ever.

          9. Witch says:

            … HG I want to beat her arse but DBS checks and all that.
            I don’t understand how anyone could put up with it, I would have put my period blood in her tea or something.
            I thought my mum was crazy but I clearly have not experienced crazy!
            She should have faced prison time for that. A posh bitch in a prison with lessers, she gone know about the ghetto

          10. Asp Emp says:

            Oh, HG :-(.

            That is downright cruelty, never mind being left outside. You did not deserve that at all. No-one was ‘there’ for you. I’m sad for you right now, angry too. You experienced far, far too much as a child. And you are doing your work for humanity, not just for yourself.

  3. Dolores Haze says:

    Have you written any non-Narc books, HG? Perhaps fiction under a different name?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Yes, but not published.

      1. FYC says:

        Please do publish, HG. We eagerly await those works too.

        1. Violetta says:

          I second.

  4. Gypsy Heart says:

    This is my all time favorite of everything you have written. When I first came across your blog I could really relate to you about what childhood was like growing up with a narcissist parent. I would sit in wonder witnessing the tickety boo and not so pucker moments of my father with the facade compared to what went on behind closed doors. I found myself recalling so many instances with my father and labeling them tickety boo and not so pucker. You helped me to understand so much.

    Thank you HG. May your holidays be tickety boo.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Thank you GH.

    2. Gypsy Heart says:

      PS, love the brilliant artwork

  5. Pati says:

    HG, i enjoyed this article. Thank you for sharing your childhood memories.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You are welcome.

  6. Stacey says:

    This is pure gold. How are you today HG?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Tickety boo, thank you.

  7. FYC says:

    HG, I hope this comment finds you tickety boo and set for a marvelous day. I apologize for this being off topic, but do you mind sharing a few of your favorite places in Scotland that you would recommend for someone who has not yet been there? I plan to travel there within a year or so. Also, I agree with FM1T, this post is beloved.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Hello FYC, if you email me about this I will answer you with a short list of recommendations.

      1. FYC says:

        Thank you very much, HG, that would be greatly appreciated.

    2. Dolores Haze says:

      Scotland is wonderful, FYC; I’m sure you’ll love it. Highlands & whiskey tasting is a must!

      1. Notme! says:

        You’re so right Delores, I used to get a ferry to Arran for the sole purpose of drinking whisky on the boat. Fab!

      2. FYC says:

        Thank you, Dolores.

  8. FoolMe1Time says:

    I have always loved this story HG it is one of my all time favorites. You are such a gifted writer, thank you for sharing that talent and also parts of your childhood with us.

    1. Asp Emp says:

      FM1T, I share the same sentiments as you have worded it here, it is good to read 🙂

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