Frankincense may be about to dry up forever, I’ve just read.
No great lost to mankind, I thought. Who the hell actually knows what it is, above and beyond it being one of the things presented by a Wise Man to the baby Jesus?
A bit of Googling revealed all. Frankincense is an aromatic resin used in incense and perfumes. So, I discovered, is myrrh. Which means two of the men may have been wise, but they were typically male when it came to gift-giving (ie both a bit lacking in the imagination stakes).
Wasn’t it akin to two modern-day prospective god-parents turning up at a newborn’s plastic crib at the Jessop, both brandishing bottles of aftershave; an atomiser of Calvin Klein Obsession for Men and a DKNY splash-on, for the boy-child to keep and dab behind his ears when he’s older.
I’m being highly irreverent, I know. Particularly about frankincense.
It comes from the boswellia tree, which grows in the most inhospitable climes in Africa, China and the Middle East, but not for much longer, experts warn.
And once it’s gone, it’s gone, as those sofa and carpet sale adverts about to pop up on the telly will no doubt say any day now.
Its name will live on, though. Generations of infants will step up to the manger, mum’s best teatowel on their heads, bow to baby Jesus and sweetly say, just as my friend’s son did: “Ere, Frank Sent This.”