Last winter they clear felled a piece of woodland near us. While all the big logs have long gone, the men with the machines left the rest – the stumps, branches, logs and other bits not deemed worth taking away. Eventually, if the last piece of clear-felled land is anything to go by, they’ll bulldoze it into a big pile and (about three years later) take it up to the local wood-burning power station. But meanwhile it sits there looking tempting. Mostly it’s softwood, but there were some birches, hazels and other hardwood trees in there mixed in with the spruce and larch. The problem is, it’s not ours to take. We’ve gone in and scavenged out some sticks for my beanpoles and to hold up the butterfly netting over my cabbages and, I have to admit, that occasionally when we’ve seen a nice handy sized piece of birch just sitting about doing nothing we’ve picked it up and, attemtping nonchalance, carried it the few hundred yards back to our woodshed.
This, we now realise, is WRONG. For what we should be doing is what I spotted one of our nearish neighbours doing this morning as I headed out for a hard day helping underprivileged children*: driving up there with a van and taking away a whole load. Because if you’re going to pilfer, pilfer properly and don’t muck about.
*Helping underprivileged children build dens in the woods, as the other half (who’d spent the morning hoovering instead) was jealous to discover. It’s hard work bringing light to the little kiddies’ eyes, but somebody’s got to do it.