Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

Dog story

I had recently split up with my husband and wasn't in a good place emotionally, morose, depressed and crying a lot. My husband had left a few days beforehand to his home town in South Africa. I was left in the UK with our Cocker Spaniel. I would walk the dog every day on the fields behind the golf course where my husband used to work. Occassionaly there would be other dog walkers, on this walk there was one other person on the other side of the field that I could barely see. My dog was off the lead and began to run towards the other dog.

From here to Australia

In 1996, I was travelling in Australia for the first time when I met a lovely australian bloke. One day he introduced me to one of his friends whose mother came from England. I enquired as to where. "Oh you won't know it, a little town called Redbourn" he said. "Well Redbourn in Hertfordshire is 6 miles from where I live" i replied. Do you know Brache Close, he asked. I replied that I knew the road but that my mum's aunties had lived in the next road to it since the 1920s. "Ask them if they knew XXXX" I was told.


I live in Ireland, but went to Uni in Scotland. By chance I was placed in halls of residence with another Irish girl (from a different county). 5 years later, we were best friends. We decided to go backpacking in Australia and got our tickets. I said i'd sort out the visas and needed both of our passport details. Turned out that both Irish passports were 8 years old, both printed on 22nd April 1999, and our passports had only 1 digit separating them, so were printed 1 directly after the other. This was before each of us knew of each other !

Familiar Cottage

In the late 60s when I was a young teacher I travelled by bus every Saturday morning to Wath -on -Dearne where there was a music centre. Part of the journey was on the Dewsbury to Barnsley road.The road was one I hadn't travelled along before. I enjoyed looking out at the countryside. Along the route I passed a pair of cottages which were adjoined and set at right angles to the road. I always looked at one of them in particular which had an apple tree in in front of it.

Date of birth

My dad Jack, his date of birth is exactly the same (when written numerically) as the year he is born 1935. He was born the 1st day of the 9th month (september) in the year 35 = (1935).

Swearing in Swahili!

Nursing patients with artificial hips, it was often my job to walk them down the ward soon after their operation. Some were nervous but they had to be 'got going' on the new joint. One day I was about to escort a splendid elderly gentleman for his first walk. To reassure him, I said 'It might sting a bit so it's OK to swear, as long as it's in Swahili!' - that being the first language I could think of. He gasped in surprise and asked 'How did you know THAT? I spent 20 years with the Army in Kenya and I am fluent in Swahili!


I had a flatmate who I had not known prior to that. One day my friend was visiting from San Francisco and they got talking. Turned out he grew up in the same small village in Lincolnshire she did and their families knew each other..

Empire State

I was visiting New York and standing in the queue at the Empire State Building. I heard the people in front talking and they were from the same small town in England where my parents live and knew them..

A Face from the past.

In the early sixties i worked for a national TV company which was involved in a change of name due to a government allotment of licenses,I was made redundant. After being paid a lump sum of money and being re-employed in my job I put my windfall to good use and took a mortgage on a small house in High Barnet,Herts. After time due to a couple of additions to the family I decided to upgrade to a brand new house right out past Witham in Essex.

next door neighbours

My mother, Betty, trained as a nurse during World War 2 in Berkshire. One of her fellow students was always called 'Sally' by her friends. After their training Betty and 'Sally' went their separate ways. 'Sally' married a doctor at the hospital and Betty went to various other nursing jobs before ending up back in South Wales, where she had been brought up, and where she met and married my father, a teacher. The 2 nursing friends completely lost touch with each other. After their marriage my parents moved to Surrey and later to Northamptonshire.