The next census takes place in 2021. Carlisle is one of four places in England and Wales chosen for a rehearsal to ensure that the system is working.

The questions are based on who will be staying at each household on Sunday October 13. You can answer in advance if you already know what will be happening that day.

There was a time when this would have been impossible for many of us to know.

You go out on Saturday night. Who’s to say where you’ll be on Sunday, or who with?

I would have written “I cannot be tied down to any place or time. I am a free spirit, a child of the storm.”

But there doesn’t seem to be a box for that.

These days it’s all too predictable. Where will I be on Sunday October 13? At home with my girlfriend.

I could even give an hourly breakdown.

6.15pm: Countryfile. An hour spent saying to each other “That looks lovely. We’ll have to get out into the countryside more often.”

Followed by several more months of not doing so.

7.15pm: Strictly Come Dancing results special. I don’t want to watch this. She does. We watch it: that’s democracy.

Those years when Sundays were excitingly unpredictable were just a blip.

The day is traditionally one of preparing for the week ahead, mainly by watching telly.

At secondary school a friend told me “If you’re ringing a girl, ring her on a Sunday night. She’s most likely to be in then.”

In some ways that was good advice. In other ways - namely the idea that I could ring a girl and persuade her to go out with me - it was very bad.

As for the census rehearsal, remember that its sole purpose is to ensure things are running smoothly.

That sounds like a chance to have some fun.

Questions in the actual census must be answered accurately. But would it do any harm in the rehearsal if everyone in Carlisle declared that they live at the same address, and they all have the same name?

I love the thought of someone at census HQ looking up from their screen and saying “Did you know that all 108,000 people in the Carlisle district are called Jemima Sedgwick and they all live at 596 Warwick Road?”

It’s a chance to create an alternative life.

In the rehearsal I may well be a Buddhist astronaut who travels to work by motorcycle, scooter or moped and whose home is heated by solid fuel. All this is far removed from the truth: I’ve actually got storage heaters.