Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

Russian Roulette ?

At school in England in the fifties a swear word never crossed our lips- we were well brought up young ladies. However, one day in class I made an error and expleted "Oh Vladivostok ! " . This became an expression of frustration for evermore amongst my classmates. I had no knowledge of Vladivostok at all and I picked this out of a whole world of possible names. I could not have possibly have forseen that one day a beautiful little girl would be born there and that she would become my daughter -in law. Gloria Gillott

Help from the radio!

An extract from my Journal dated Saturday 24th March 2007: 'Stratford today "The Merchant of Venice". In the Swan by an American Company. Modern - smart suits, bad haircuts, Apple ibooks for the caskets. It worked very well. Shylock played by a famous person whose name just now escapes me. He was very good - very subtle - his downfall was shocking! Antonio - in love with Bassanio, but in a way hard to be sympathetic because he played it very anti-semitic. I rang Lesley sitting in the car before driving home as she had left a couple of messages.


My Father was a very funny man, alays playing jokes on us, three Daughters and one Son. Unfortunately our Mother passed away on 8th October 1984, but dad was a strong man and carried on helping his friends out with gardening and shopping etc. but then he was very ill with cancer, and my Sister and l looked after him. My Sister's husband built and extra room on their cottage and put a hospital bed in there, and l would do the morning shift and Jackie the afternoon, even then he was still playing jokes etc.

A reserved room?

In 1968 I became an undergraduate at Cardiff University, and had a room one of the Halls of Residence. My room number was Old Hall 10. Many years later I married a man who had been married before and had two daughters. One of the daughters married and went to live abroad. In time, her own children grew up, and the eldest returned to the UK to attend university. She chose Cardiff, as she still had family connections in the area. She was also allocated a room in one of their Halls of Residence - and it was the same Hall of Residence that I had stayed in so many years before.

Chance meeting

I was invited to a wedding of an acquaintance and, because I knew no one else there, I was sat with a table of strangers. I was chatting to a couple who told me that they had had a tiring day house hunting. It transpired that they had looked at a house that I was born in and had lived some 30 years previously. The wedding was in Hertfordshire, I was living in London and the couple were from Buckinghamshire I think. I had never met them before and have never seen them since.

turkey meeting

Many years ago I went on holiday to a small resort called Cesme. I met a young woman from London, she had left the Metropolitan Police and got a job working for a Doctor in Istanbul. Her name was Claire and mine is Carol and we are both Virgos. When her boss visited another country he would give her money to have a holiday anywhere in Turkey. 5 years later I sat on the sea front and said to a waiter " I wonder where Claire is now ?" "I'm here!" she said. standing right behaind my chair.

Mother and Mother in law

Recently my 84 year old mother unfortunately had the middle finger of her left hand amputated due to a blood circulation problem. One day, shortly after my mother's operation the phone rang. It was my wife's stepfather sounding pretty agitated. He told me that mother in law had been rushed into hospital the night before with some sort of virulent infection caused by a splinter she received whilst gardening the previous day. He said her arm had turned black and she was on various drips, and was in a bad way.

holiday acquaintances

In 1982, I was holidaying in Florida and met a couple of English guys in a bar in Key West. We got chatting and I told them that I was staying in the local Quality Inn motel and that it was very nice. We hung out for a couple of days and then went our separate ways. We all exchanged our addresses in England but did not expect to meet each other again in Florida. Twelve days later, after I'd driven all the way up the Gulf coast, across to Cape Kennedy, and down the Atlantic coast, I pulled into the Quality Inn in Fort Lauderdale to spend the night.

My sister's photograph

Many, many years ago my older sister was a student nurse at a London hospital. A medical publication needed a doctor and a nurse for a photo shoot demonstrating a new piece of equipment and my pretty sister was selected. About six years later I was a newly qualified secretary and was sent to temp at an office in London.

Daria and the boy next door

In 1997 I went on an international youth work camp in Japan where one of the other participants was a girl called Daria. I saw Daria again in 2005, in Camden. I was with my then-boyfriend (now husband) Ted. Daria was with her then-boyfriend (now husband) Patrick. Patrick and Ted were next-door neighbours all through childhood and their parents still live next door to each other!