The answer is, of course, yes – in the case of something like the Elgin Marbles. But I am talking about general stones – the kind you find lying around or in a flowerbed. The reason I ask is because I have created an exciting new area around the compost heaps at my allotment, which is paved with stones that I have dug up (DIY gravel). The trouble is that I don’t have quite enough stones (because my beds are quite clear of stones now) so yesterday I picked up some stones from my neighbour’s plot. Half of me instinctively felt this was wrong and that I should have asked first in case he needed them for some unknown purpose. The other half justified taking the stones by thinking that normally you try and get rid of stones when you are trying to grow things as they get in the way. In other words, I was doing my allotment neighbour a favour.
I was scooping up more stones from my neighbour’s plot today when I was caught red-handed. A woman came up to me and said: “Have you taken over this plot now?” I said: “No – this is still Dave’s plot.” And she said: “It’s just that I saw you picking up stones.” I explained that I needed them for my project but I fear she was trying to make a point about the fact she had found me stealing stones. Now I feel very guilty and bad for taking Dave’s stones. I will have to mention it to him next time I see him and see if he minds or if he wants me to replace them.