Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

Professor David Spiegelhalter of Cambridge University wants to know about your coincidences!

Same time phone calls

I work in Uppsala, Sweden, and was in a research collaboration a number of years back with a professor in Göttingen, Germany. We hadn't spoken for a while, and I had some new results, so I called him one evening from the lab. I heard no ringing tone, but he was there at the other end of the line. He had called me at so exactly the same time that we were connected immediately and neither of our phones registered engaged.

A life saver

I play horn in an amateur orchestra, and usually meet with the conductor Before each term to plan the term activities. A couple of years back the conductor turned up on the Saturday morning as agreed, but instead of discussing orchestra plans he insisted on calling an ambulance. I had developed acute blood poisoning during the previous day or so and was not aware that I was seriously ill. I spent 11 weeks in hospital and 2 years in renal dialysis as a direct result of the blood poisoning.

Same PIN code 3 times

Some years ago I got a credit card with 4 digit pin code that I liked (let's say 5679). So I started to chose that code in all the situations I was able to pic my own code (like on my gym card, computer log in). Later on I was on vacation and I was rehearsing a public talk I would be doing about "Acceptance". Being preoccupied in my mind with my rehearsal I didn't notice that the ATM I just put my credit card in wasn't in service. In fact the bak was closed years ago. The credit card wasn't the one with my favorite number it was different one.

Small world miles away

I moved from one end of the country to another (250+ miles), not knowing anyoe and took up a social interest which none of my circle of friends have. In the new social group (of about 15-20 people) I discovered that one member was closely linked to the person I was renting a room from (neither were previously connected to my social circle, and they are only connected by industry sector - which is very different to mine, even politically).

Tong poo

I was in the middle of taking note of a funny 'lost in translation' chinese/japanese phrase similar to 'wong fook hing book store' which has been posted online many times online. The one I had found was 'tong poo' by the yellow magic orchestra. At that exact moment tim vine's girlfriend in 'not going out ' spoke mock chinese to lee mack in the scene where he is unconcious,which essentially is the sam reason to find mirth in the mistaken english in the foreign phrases.

Age differences

There's a 25 year difference between me and my son. There is also a 25 year difference between me and my father, there is also a 25 years difference between between my father and my grandfather... also.. theres a 25 years difference between my grandfather and my great grandfather. On top of this, there is a 35 years difference between me and my mother and there is also a 35 years difference between my mother and my grandmother.

Meeting with a countryman

About 14 years ago me and my father went on a trip to London, during the spring, not on regular tourist dates that is, while there we went sightseeing all around and found a small boardgame store located in a cellar on some odd street. We decided to go inside, the room with tye games was no larger than 5x5 metres. There was one other customer in tye store. Me and my father started talking to eachother and after a while this other person comes up to us, speaking swedish. Apparantly all three of us were swedish tourists, in this small store.

20 years and 500+ miles

In the early 90s I dated a guy for a few months in Cork, Ireland, where we were both from. I emigrated to the US and we lost touch. 18 years later I moved to Cambridge and within a month I had a message on Linked in from my ex. I had popped up as somebody he might know and he was living in Cambridge too. We are now a very happy couple! We would love to know the mathematical probability of that happening.

Men meeting on a beach

Several summers ago, in north western Scotland, we were on Clashnessie beach. This being in Sutherland, there was no-one else there. We only went to this beach once that summer. We saw a man walking across the sand, looking very purposeful, not looking at us. My partner John said something like "that's David, what is he doing here?!" He then went across to him and chatted.

interrupted transmission

Sitting at work during a quiet period on my own listening to the radio, I audibly passed wind, and at that very moment the radio lost reception for a few seconds!