This month my thoughts here are sparked off by one famous book, now some 650 years old and conclude with another just published . . . I’m not quite sure where October has gone. As usual, it started with my birthday, and as usual we had a lunch at the But ‘n’ Ben in Auchmithie to celebrate, though not on my actual birthday, which fell on a Sunday. Instead our younger son came round with wife and four small children. Lunch out wasn’t until the following Wednesday. My main birthday present from my husband was the glorious new edition of Piers Plowman from Folio, which has the original text on the left-hand pages and a rendering in modern English on the right-hand pages and is illustrated by beautiful woodcuts.