Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

Employment coincidence

Early in my employment career I fell into a post in central London which effectively managed the UK arm of a European Youth Programme. Some 25 years and a completely unrelated spell in local government later, I ended up working for a small charity in a tiny village in S E Cornwall which tapped into the very youth programme I had once managed. A case of gamekeeper turned poacher perhaps and probably why I got the job! One of my first tasks was to meet some of my former colleagues as they disembarked from a ferry onto the beach...

Bumping into a friend in a large city

I think this is the only coincidence that's stuck with me - it was about ten years ago, and I was in London for the day, planning to do a few things before meeting up with a friend of mine in the evening to go to a gig. It turned out that my friend had also headed into London a few hours early, and we bumped into each other on (I think) Oxford Street - I saw her crossing the road and called out. This wasn't near any shops or venues that both of us were interested in, we were both just passing through the city and happened to cross paths. (Bit concerned that by publishing all the stories visibly at the bottom of this page, you're discouraging people from reporting mundane coincidences - I nearly stopped and deleted this one, after reading the more epic coincidences below.)

Lock and key, reunited!

My father, Terry, bought a door from a reclaim centre and fitted it to the 'pub' that he'd built under his house. The lock had no key. Some friends came round for drinks in the 'pub'. My father mentioned that he needed to buy a lock for the nice old door he'd just fitted. One of his friends, John, said that the door looked very similar to one he'd taken to the scrapyard, some weeks ago. "I've got the key on my key ring" he said, handing it over. It fitted!

Rolex

In my early thirties and married with two young children I often took the dog for a walk over local countryside in West Yorkshire. One winter's day when the snow was fairly deep I slipped down an approach to a stream I often walked over and didn't think much of it at the time. Later on I noticed my expensive Rolex watch was missing and could not find it anywhere. I cannot remember whether it was the next day or two or three days later I did the same walk and again slipped in the snow and as my hand went deep into the snow I felt something. And yes it was my watch.

A coincidence within a coincidence....

I was pretty amazed by a strange set of coincidences that happened to me a few months ago... With children in tow I set off to see my Ma for some lunch out on a Saturday. On the way there (M1 Leicestershire) we passed a new windfarm. I muttered about "not mentioning to Grandma" (as she is an argumentative so and so and does not approve), and a discussion ensued with my daughter (14) about the merits or otherwise of wind farms, and the fact as she saw it that they "have to go somewhere". "Have you heard of the expression Not In My Back Yard, or NIMBY"? I asked her, and explained what it meant. More later.... On arrival at Ma she had kept for me to read an article from the Telegraph about Marc Almond's latest venture. She thought I would be interested as I lived in same accomodation c. 1981 when Soft Cell went global - and played bass on a couple of tracks. Nothing particularly unusual there. When I got back home however I was catching up on some email etc., and playing music on random play on Windows Media Player. I have c. 39,000 .mp3 files in my library.

Driving from airport

I travel almost every week to another city by airplane to do business. When I get back, I have to drive about 10 km from the airport to my home, passing approx. 20 traffic lights along the way. Normally I have to stop for a minute or so at every second one of them (or so it seems). A couple of months ago I had the amazing experience of landing one night, and then driving straight home without stopping at a single traffic light. It seems to me the chance of this occurring must be very small. Best regards, Claus Skaaning PS. Btw. we met many years ago while I was a student in Aalborg under Steffen Lauritzen and Finn V. Jensen.

Family birthdays

My Grandfather,his son (my father) and my fathers younger brother were all born on June 16th.I became a father when I was 28 ,my son was born on the 28th, now my son is expecting to become a father at the age of 28,I am waiting to see if the baby will be born on the 28th of whatever month

Car Registation Plate

In 1972 I sold an Austin A40 car to someone who lived near High Wycombe, Bucks. In 1976 I bought a second hand MGB from a dealer in Chalfont St Peter, Bucks. A month later my wife said that she thought that there was something strange about the number plate of the MGB. She looked in the files and found that it was exactly the same number plate, both letters and numbers that was on the A40 sold 4 years previously. Fearing that that there may be something illegal about out 'new' car I obtained details from the DVLA. This is what had happened. The person who purchased the Austin A40 from me moved to Norwich with the car and sold it to someone in Norwich sometime later. The new owner of the A40 also owned an MGB and legally transferred the cherished number plate to the MGB. That MGB was later sold to someone locally in Norwich who subsequently moved to Chalfont St Peter a few miles from where I lived, and traded the MGB in for a new car. I saw the MGB advertised and purchased it without realising that the registration number was the same as the A40 when I owned it. So some 4 years later and with 3 intervening owners, the number plate returned!

Family History

When researching my family history I found that two men very closely related to my family line had been transported on the same ship to Australia (the Claudine 1829). One was from my maternal line (Aston, Birmingham) and one was from my paternal line (Udimore, Sussex), in 1956 my parents met in the UK.

Salmon Farming

This morning I was talking with a work colleague about food scares and we went on at length to discuss salmon farming, a very much off-topic discussion. In fact, I've never spoken about salmon farming before. Later this morning I was researching on Youtube the work of the poet Kwame Dawes, who spoke about a salmon farm as a setting for his poem, Progeny of Air. http://kalamu.posterous.com/video-interview-kwami-dawes-reading-29-septem (35.38)

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