…….Four calling birds. Aha! You might think they were calling birds, that’s certainly what I’ve always sung, but it only takes a little light fact checking to discover that in the earliest version of the song they are actually four colly birds, which through its association with collier and coal means blackbird.

The creative writing moral for today is to do with accuracy. You should always check your facts when you are working on a story. If your narrative is set during a period when people would have spoken of colly birds, that’s the term you should use. If it’s set when they would have said calling, go for that. Try to avoid anachronisms as they will break the spell that you’ve been busy weaving. Your readers will forgive a little bit of poetic licence, but inaccuracy is unpardonable: it suggests laziness, and if someone is investing their precious time to read your book, you should pay them the respect of ensuring it is error free.