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15 Feb 2015

The Something, The Baker, the er- Mint-cake Maker?

Everyone knows the fiction: get within a dilating pupil of a mountain and you need ridiculous amounts of sugar.  Now!

Considering the last relative in Windermere was a mint-cake millionaire, how come we never saw a single SLICE.  Or even a photograph of someone else eating a slice.

My aunt writes:
'I was fascinated by all the family news but it has stretched so far that I can only really grasp the Aireys and the Bagshaws. I remember my mother visiting her Atkinson relatives when staying with Auntie Louie who had a parrot.'

Now she gets down to business:
'They went to see the mint cake being made at the factory and my mother having the sweet tooth that you have correctly shown as running through the family, even to its outer-most edges, was disgusted when they were not given a sample or better still a few whopping slabs of the mint cake. Atkinson's meanness was legendary!'

The Atkinson brothers had married into the Aireys (twice in fact). They were based in Windermere, apparently, but this is the first I'd heard of them.  In fact, I'd never heard this story before, which seeing as it is about the absence of sweets, rather than sweets themselves is perhaps not surprising.  Stingy sweetmakers not being our finest family product.

Rivalling the claim for best family product is our excellent sweet tooth.  My dentist hasn't seen me for years as he says there is 'no point'.  His busy accounting software beeped several times when I came in - perhaps it knew there was no money to be made here.  Five generations of eating baked northern goodies have kept the plaque-monkeys at bay!

There is a business called Country Confectionery in Bowness, which seems to be run by the Atkinsons.  It is quite a small shop, but doubtless does a good trade and the above comments concerning 1940s Atkinsons are in no way meant to apply to the current ones (phew).  The Kendal Mint Cake by a rival company dwarves the shop in the above illustrations, doesn't it.

Umpteenth cousins Ken and Lorraine couldn't resist calling into a great cafe in Ambleside when they visited.  Lots of cakes were consumed.  In fact, Ken's Whiteheads were bakers who got ousted from their property in town by the more money-grabbing Airey cousins.  Presumably the Whiteheads actually let people eat some of their produce.

Our childhood family holidays centred around amazing moments when Eccles cakes, lardy cake, cream horns, mint humbugs - or our favourite calling point - a sweetshop on a hill in Guildford, all came to fruition and waxed their lyrical bounty.

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