Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

Picture this

I have just written my first (unpublished) children's story, and went to Smith's to look at similar books for publishing ideas. I picked one at random, and saw that the illustrator's name was unusual - Korky Paul - I had never heard of or seen the artist's work before, but was very impressed by its quality. Today, I went to Blackwell's (Oxford) on a similar mission. I asked the very helpful assistant about manuscript promotion , and the subject of illustration came up. She then said 'Oh, my uncle is Korky Paul'.

Film on TV

Approx 5 years ago I was thinking about a film I had seen and enjoyed called Harem (no accounting for my taste!) which was made in 1985, not particularly successful at the time, and about 15 years old at the point I was thinking about it. 2 days later I was looking for something to watch on TV and it was listed as showing that night. I don't think anything conscientiously or sub-conscientiously has caused me to think about it previously.

Injured Little Bird

I was on a split shift in work one day when a colleague called me out into the courtyard of our work. She had found a small bird lying on the ground under a tree with what appeared to be an injured wing. It was attempting to fly but was unable. I phoned my brothers girlfriend to ask for some advice (she is a vet nurse) and if I should ring the RSPCA. She explained that there would be nothing that they could really do and that we should leave it alone and it's mother would tend to it and eventually it's wing would heal and it would be fine.

Travelled round Africa in a truck which years later was bought by a work collegue in the UK

In the early '70s I travelled overland to Australia and worked in a mining camp at Mount Newman in the Gibson desert in Western Australia. After six months, having made quite a lot of money - the contract was for 10 hours a day, seven days a week for six months (there wasn't much else to do but work or spend your money on in the Gibson desert) I left to visit various Australian friends I'd made on the overland journey and at the camp, plus I also wanted to see a bit more of the country.

Old schoolmate

I was forty years old and I hadn't seen my old schoolmate Ed for 15 years. One night I had a dream in which Ed was in. The next day I was in a town 15 miles from where I live and I bumped into Ed. The coincidence struck me immediately. I don't think it was a premonition just a coincidence. Previous to this dream I gave Ed little thought.

Australian connection

Around 2002/03 we went to Australia for Christmas to meet up with my brother and his then-fiancee (Ian and Victoria) who were mid-way through a year-long trip around the world. Australia seemed like a good place for them to stop for Christmas as an old school friend of my brother’s had married an Australian girl (Tom and Mrs Tom) and was living in Sydney, so it meant they would be with friends for the festive break. We arrived the day before Christmas Eve and it was decided we, along with Tom and Mrs Tom, would all have dinner together on Christmas Eve.

Bumping into my Ex

A walk around Lathkill Dale in Derbyshire is about 10 hours. There is a point where a path crosses going into the Dale and coming out. I drove 90 miles, stopping off on the way which I normally don't do, sat on a bridge eating lunch which again I don't normally do, to walk for the 10 hours. At the intersection I bumped into my ex girlfriend with her new boyfriend reading the same OS book of Derbyshire walks. The passing at the intersection would have only been about 30 seconds. We never did that walk when we were together.

Too many links.

In 2005, age 13, I went on a package holiday with my mum to Turkey. Whilst there I met a large group of people my age including one boy called David. After the holiday I kept in contact with some people I met out there although I rarely spoke to David. My mum and I enjoyed the holiday so much we decided to return the following year. Unbeknown to us so did David and his family. 'What a coincidence' we thought. Even more of a coincidence that the year after that both our families returned to the same resort at the same time again without each other knowing.

Phone numbers

Many years ago my sister's home phone number was 22266. Her birthday is 22.2.66. I have lived in homes in Gloucester and Cambridge, and both times had phone numbers ending in 7333.

Font

About 20 years ago I developed a computer font which looks pretty much like real handwriting. This is the only font I've created and eventually it made its way onto the internet and a few people have used it. A few years ago, a printer in Sussex made some greetings cards using illustrations done by my grandmother in the 1960's and 1970's when she was a professional illustrator. For the captions on the cards, and without knowing the connection, they used my font - they were very surprised when I told them!

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