Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

Village Idiot

My wife Liz' and I married in September1989. We had our honeymoon in Jamaica. On our return Liz needed to find a job. After a few months working in a dairy she found another job processing claims for an insurance company. She was one of dozens of people doing this. Some months passed when Liz' heard that one of the girls, Jo' and her partner John were trying to sell their house. Liz and I were looking to buy a house so Liz asked her about it. Arrangements were made to view and it suited our needs so after some negotiations spanning several months we eventually bought it.

Meaning of life the universe and everthing

Some years ago, shortly after the death of Douglas Adams my wife and I were driving with the car radio on (Radio 4 of course) and there was a programme paying tribute to the late author. A succession of people came on saying nice things about him and then there was a short dramatisation of the bit in The Hitch-hikers Guide the Galaxy where the great computer announces that it has found the answer to Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything. There right in front of us was a house with it's street number indicated in large metal numerals - number 42 !!!

The other side of the world

Many years ago I backpacked around the world. Before I left I would regularly discuss some my plans, as much as they were, with friends including a girl who told me her boss was interested in doing the same and would I mind if she shared some tips with him. I duly agreed and for a while, through her, we swapped a few ideas, but never met him before I left. Some five months later I'm staying in an out-of-the-way hostel on the edge of Sydney, Australia when another backpacker arrives.


In 1976, at home in the U.K. on leave from Thailand, my wife and I visited a friend in Southampton, who was working in a restaurant. He suggested he leave work immediately and that we all go on a journey to Stratford-on-Avon. This we did - and decided to leave for Scotland the next morning, where another friend was on leave. We found him in Glasgow that evening. The next morning we all left for Oban, and in Fort William decided to have a meal.

Birthday coincidence

Neighbours both had visitors with toddler twins (one girl, one boy). I invited them to a twin tea party. It turned out that the two sets of twins were born on the same day of the same year - May 10th - and that happens to be the birthday of my son (aged 43)!

Tim Wilbraham

Some years ago I used to pick up/drop off, on my drive to work, two colleagues. One evening Sue was a little late coming to my car. Val and I chatted for a few minutes, and when Sue eventually arrived she apologised saying that she was late as it was Phil's birthday that day (a person working in her department).

A message from the grave?

After my mother died I was sorting through her papers and came across the rough copy of an amusing poem that she had written and sent to me about five years previously. One of the lines said that she loved me, not a statement that she often made. Where I'd put the copy she'd sent to me I'd no idea. I returned home to Turkey and took the poem with me. A few days later I went upstairs thinking about mum and picked up the poem and sat down and re read it. A little later I went downstairs and into the living room where I saw a piece of paper on the floor.

Holiday waiter coincidence

In 1990, I went on holiday to Majorca with friends. Whilst there we went on a night out (cabaret, dinner etc) and they had a waiter who would pour wine from a traditional bottle directly in your mouth and you could have a photo taken. I did this, and bought the photo. On returning home I showed the photo to my parents who laughed and said they had done that as well, back in the 1960s, on holiday with friends, also in Majorca. Mum went to see if she could find the photo they had had taken which she did. The waiter was the same man!

The Family Home

I am Tom, from Bradley Stoke, just north of Bristol. In 2007, I met a girl at a gig in Bristol, Kirsty, who is now my fiancee. We quickly developed a close relationship and as we did, discovered more about each other. We were both from Bristol - fairly likely considering where we met ! Kirsty told me she was from a reasonably large suburb of Bristol called Horfield. I noted that my mother had been born in Horfield and my grandparents and great-grandparents had lived there - not unremarkable really.


My husband was adopted at 6 weeks old.about 5 years ago a sister from his blood family contacted him.It turned out his biological mother had died about 25 years ago and her birthday was the same date as mine.