Watching nature take its course, from the top of a hill in northern England

The Chicken or the Egg


It is spring like here today, I might even feel the need to change the header image to something more seasonal.  The chickens have been enjoying the spring sunshine

Chicken or the egg-1

Here in the UK the 2011 Census is on the horizon,*

“Numbers have never been so important. On 27 March 2011, the Census 2011 takes place. Taking a snapshot across the nation, on one day once a decade, helps plan services across the whole of the UK.” 
Office of National Statistics, October 2010

it may be the last  national census in the UK, but whatever you put on the form make it honest.


There has been much debate in this household about the whys and wherefores about the Census, for some additional thoughts on the subject you can take a look at British Humanist Society campaign.



*being a government department website, it comes as no surprise to me that the web page uses a different format to the rest of the Internet


Author: uphilldowndale

Watching the rhythm of rural life, from the top of a hill in northern England. Having spent most of my life avoiding writing, I now need to do it! I am no domestic goddess, but if I were expecting visitors to my home, I would whisk round with the duster and plump up the cushions and generally make the place look presentable. I hope that by putting my words where others may see them it will encourage me to ‘tidy up and push the Hoover around’ my writing. On the other hand I may just be adding to the compost heap. Only time will tell! Pull up a chair, sit yourself down, I’ll put the kettle on.

15 thoughts on “The Chicken or the Egg

  1. lol! I like the idea of answering “Jedi” on the census. I’ve been known to use some strange titles for my occupation on our tax forms. I don’t think anyone reads them. Or if they do, they haven’t had anything to say about it.

    That last sign is a hoot.

  2. Thanks for that link. I decided to ‘sign the pledge’.

  3. So often the real reason for any bureaucracy, public or private, to do something is “because we can.” Gather enough “information” and pretty soon you know . . . nothing. It’s all lost in the flood. Honestly, I’m just too grumpy. I’ll just go and peck around in the sunshine with the chickens now, shall I?

  4. Why might this be the last census in the UK?

  5. I think it is important to fill the census form honestly and carefully. You can hardly complain about inefficient bureaucracy or chastise the government for dishonesty if you can’t be bothered to help them and you find it amusing to lie.
    I am, as you may imagine, a po-faced old stickler….and an atheist.

  6. By the way, nice chicken pic.

  7. Yup, census form delivered by hand the other day – and a sizeable tome it is – with four of us in household, I’ll go for the online option, thanks. I remember giggling the last time as I ticked the box and admitted that my youngest child couldn’t read, write, understand or speak English or even Gaelic. Well, she was only a few months old at the time, so it was the truth!

  8. Still waiting for our forms to arrive (I notice that, while the main census site covers England, Wales and Northern Ireland, Scotland is having its own Scottish census, with a completely different website…)

  9. Strangely enough, I rather like the idea of somebody a hundred years from now looking over my details and perhaps gaining from them, and from other people’s, some idea of life today. I find it fascinating to read about the lives of people in the past so why should I be hypocritical and complain about future people reading about mine?

    I am of course perfectly aware of the dangers of the misuse of personal data. That risk has been with us ever since record-keeping began with the invention of writing and there is no simple solution for it. I think those people looking over our data a hundred years from now will still be arguing with their governments over this issue. Some questions have no final answers and have to be revisited time and time again.

    (BTW I think we reveal far more about ourselves in our blogs than in the census form.)

  10. Sorry, I forgot to say that I think the chicken picture is beautiful.

  11. I have just been sent family details from the Census in 1881 through to the one just released, 1911. Fascinating reading and without the Census, forgotten history. Why did my great-grandparents have 7 live-in staff in 1881 then by 1891 move to another county and have no live-in staff? How come they lived on their own means? Had no idea that one of my great aunts was born in India, presumably as great grandfather was in the Army?
    Interesting too, that the 1911 Census was the first one where householders filled in their own details so more likely to be correct spellings/names than earlier ones filled in on the doorstep by a census taker.
    On PC’ness of information, in the 1911 copy the modern officials have blanked out the column saying whether the person is deaf, blind, an idiot or imbecile or a lunatic and at what age they were afflicted!
    Sadly all the rest of my relatives come from Scotland or Ireland – where there was no census.
    For future historians and genealogists it will be very sad not to have the Census. My friend is a genealogist and uses Census information to cross check her information when researching families, as well as looking at parish records and getting all the relevant birth, marriage and death certificates. The Census information is also used when she needs to trace immigration and emigration, pointing to which years she needs to check passenger lists on sailing ships and liners! Fascinating stuff.

  12. Thanks Fee – will have a browse this evening.

  13. I just HAVE to do the Jedi thing on the census form. I can’t help it. It’s in my nature.

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