Pink, yellow and orange, a trio of pure joy. Scottish sweeties rock. Ha.
King’s of Wishaw were founded back in 1829 and were famous in these parts and beyond for all sorts of boiled sweets and Pan Drops, but for the connoisseur of a certain age, Oddfellows are the classic sweetie. They’re crunchy but soften to a more powdery texture in the mouth, the three colours taste different, and taste of something somewhat intangible, aromatic, a little sharp, is ginger or is cinnamon, essence of pine cones and Irn Bru?
I was introduced to them in 1972 at a house where my Granny was the home help. On summer holidays at Granny’s I would tag along and the old lady who lived in the house would give me a sweetie, always an Oddfellow. I was hooked for life.
Times change and King’s went out of business back in 1989 like so many traditional sweetie and biscuit bakers during the 80’s and 90’s, killed by supermarket own brands and the might of McVities or Haribo and the like. So Oddfellows disappeared and I was left bereft.
Today I met the girls in Glasgow after a morning at work, now there’s a thing, Joycee and I were half packed for our first wild camp since Holly was born, we’d taken Monday off and everything. The blown steam joint at the factory was no respector of our plans. So, I met the girls and Holly ran all excited towards me with a little pink paper bag “I got a surprise for you!”. Inside was fudge, Chelsea Whoppers (Alright!) and little bag of pink, orange and yellow shapes… “Is that.. are these… they’re not real Oddfellows are they?” I stammerd over the words as I hugged my child and looked tearfully up at Joycee.
Hell yes they were, now made to the original recipe by equally old company Ross’s of Edinburgh, and bought from the retro sweetie shop across the street. I walked inside and by the time I’d taken two steps I was three feet tall again with a fringe and leather brogues. Visits to shops like this should be prescribed on the NHS for morale.
See, I think we all really do love variety, quirkiness and individuality, but we only miss it when it’s gone and by then it’s too late. Thank Jimmy for folk who try and put all all back out there so can er, eat it.