Another photo taken with the phone, today. Is it my imagination, or are we getting a little better at phone pictures? With all the intelligence built into the average phone these days, perhaps it’s just that the phone has learned how to take better pictures of the stuff I thrust in front of its face – nothing to do with me at all.
This is the wrong type of crocus. The useful kind is the sort that flowers in autumn around the Mediterranean, the variety that you can collect pollen from to make saffron.
This immediately conjures up a picture of a bunch of Ancient Greek cavemen, bear skin clad, complete with cudgels and flint knapping accessories, chasing down a herd of wild horses, merely to pull a few hairs out of a pony’s tail.
The stolen hairs are then rushed, victoriously, back to the tribal camp under heavy guard. In the camp, with much ceremony, the hairs are formed into a little brush. The tribal elders gather round, the Medicine Man casts the auguries. If The Gods seem to be supportive, then, and only then, are the crocuses brought forward and, with heart stopping delicacy, the pollen is brushed out of the flower into a bag. A bag heavily decorated with much intricate and magical bead work by the women of the tribe.
Here the saffron will lie, awaiting the discovery of China and the arrival of a couple of kilos of rice.