Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

Coincidence that may have saved my life

My name is Geoff. In 1981 I was working in Nigeria. One weekend I went with a group of friends to a beach about 40 miles west of Lagos. It was in the middle of nowhere and totally deserted apart from our group. There were no buildings of any sort there. We were having fun standing in the water and letting the waves - up to ten feet high - break over us. One wave didn't break over me. It lifted me off my feet and carried me up the beach before depositing me on my feet again - but the force of the water had lifted my arm out of its socket and my shoulder was dislocated.

Early childhood

As a small child in the 1940's my brother and I were looked after by a girl called Thirza. My Grand mother who was our main carer, lived in a village in North Notts. called Lound. For whatever reason ( I know not ) Thirza stopped looking after us. Some 50 odd years later I was competing In an archery tournament near Lound and decided to stay in a hotel about 2 miles from Lound. Before dinner I went down to a deserted bar for an aperitif and started chatting to the young lady behind the bar. In the course of our conversation she asked me what I was doing in the area.

Death coincidences

My wife's father died on Easter Sunday 2002 of a pulmonary aneurysm. He went suddenly and peacefully and his death was totally unexpected. We had been to visit him and he died the following day. The fact that he was a vicar and died on Easter Sunday was a kind of reassuring coincidence, but a bigger one was that my own father died the following Easter of exactly the same thing. He also went suddenly and peacefully and it was totally unexpected. It happened the day after he had been round to see us.

Felicity S

I was travelling with my husband in Ecuador some years ago and we decided to visit the market town of Otavalo, Stupidly we managed to lose the keys to our hire car. We had earlier visited a bar where the owner spoke good English so we went back to ask if he could help us which he did and because of his kindness we stayed for lunch at the bar and started chatting. We then discovered that his daughter's best friend was also a friend of mine in England.

Three Continents....

My sister lived in South Africa for many years, but re-married and came to live in Wales. She had many visitors and often would take them to a tiny, interesting church at Patricio, in the hills behind Abergavenny. When Suzy and her family came from South Africa, they went on such a visit: photographs were taken. Now move on 6 months: My sister is on holiday near Cape Town, staying with a friend who also does Bed and Breakfast. There are two ladies from London staying. Everyone is enjoying a glass of wine on the terrace when Suzy (now home) calls in to see my sister.

Memories of Claremont in Clermont

While studying abroad in France, emailing my mum about plans for my return, I suggested we should perhaps have a family picnic. She answered that she was thinking the same thing. Not so strange, granted. For some reason, I recalled a photo of myself as a little boy wearing my granddad’s shoes at a picnic and casually asked where it was taken. It was at this point that things took a turn for the truly surreal. Claremont lake, she replied, as I sat in a university residence in Clermont-Ferrand, France. Somewhat shocked, I looked up pictures of Claremont lake in Surrey.

Student Next Door

In 1962 we moved from Kingston, Surrey, to Mountnessing, Essex. Our daughter Ella was 5 at the time. One family who looked at our Kingston house turned it down, but bought the house next door. Fourteen years later Ella went to Swansea University. She shared seesions with the English tutor with another student. He said he came from Surrey. He was the son of the man who bought the house next door. We had had no contact with them since then. Ella's husband has the same birthdate as my wife. Brian

Meeting American tourist

Many years ago my father took our children to the Isle of Wight for the day. While there, on a Sunday, he was asked the way to somewhere in Cowes by an American tourist. The following day, Monday, the same American tourist asked my father for directions in Victoria Street, London. My father asked him if he found his way in Cowes, the previous day, before directing him again.

same name by marriage

Both my sister and I married men with the initials RG and surname Williams who are not related. So my mother has two daughters with the married name Mrs RG Williams.

Baby bonds

I discovered I was pregnant when my partner was at work so I went over to my friends house to tell her as I was so excited when I walked in as her kids were around I said I have to tell you something in a minute (as I often said) and she said oh my god I know. She somehow knew that I was pregnant. Then told me how she thought she could be pregnant too. Well she was. We both found out we were having girls and her due date was a week after me.

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