Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

Hands across the Pond

Some years ago now we were temporarily living in a flat in Wapping while waiting for the refurbishment work to be completed on a flat we'd bought in Highgate. While waiting in a queue at the local supermarket I struck a conversation with an American woman behind me. We exchanged the usual pleasantries and I mentioned that my brother was teaching in America, "Where she enquired"? "Oh, I doubt if you've heard of it, it's Ohio State University, in the mid-west." "Really, how odd my daughter is a student there, what does your brother teach"? "Art education." "Really, that's my daughter's major, what's your brother's name"? By now we're both getting rather excited. "Paul Sproll" Exclaiming, "He can't be your brother, I know him well, he's black and you're white, oh! oh! He’s such a great teacher, my daughter loves his classes!" My response "Yes, that's right, he's my Mother's son from a wartime relationship" " I can't believe it! We've even had him over for supper" By now we're both flabbergasted and amazed by the coincidence, and continued to swap information about my brother. A bit of extra information we had just moved from Cambridge to live in London and now we have just brought a flat in Cambridge that we're just about to have refurbished before we move back...I wonder if I'll meet someone in a supermarket queue there?
Total votes: 289
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:25:17 +0000Coincidence ID:3681

Seeing Margaret Thatcher

I was reading a magazine while sitting in a plane waiting for takeoff at Madeira airport. The page I was looking at had a Schweppes advert which purported to show Margaret Thatcher visiting Jeffrey Archer in Prison. I happened to look up - and there was Margaret Thatcher herself looking at me. This was impossible I thought so I blinked and looked again. She was still there. In fact she and her husband were flying back to England from a holiday in Madeira and the plane's takeoff had been delayed to await their arrival at the airport. Their seats were just across the aisle from us.
Total votes: 300
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:24:29 +0000Coincidence ID:3680

ONE IN A BILLION

I worked at the British Embassy in Beijing in the eighties and on my return to the UK I went on a sightseeing trip to Hong Kong and then eventually to London. I flew from Beijing to Chungking on the Yangtste River where I took a boat down the river to a city called Wuhan. In Wuhan I boarded a train which took a couple of days (I think) to reach a very scenic tourist spot in the south of China called Guilin. As I got off the train I saw, amongst the teeming crowds, one of the British Embassy drivers with his wife who were obviously going on holiday. In a country of 1,000 million people I thought that was quite a coincidence.
Total votes: 370
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:24:23 +0000Coincidence ID:3679

Same Birthday

When I was at primary school there were three of us in the class with the same birthdays, day month and year. As a further coincidence it was the same in my wife's class at her primary school. Also my sister-in-law share the same birthday but not the same year.
Total votes: 349
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:24:00 +0000Coincidence ID:3678

Telephone number

During the months after the death of my wife in 1995 I was helped to deal with my loss by a female friend that I had not seen for some time and who had experienced a similar loss. I had written her number down on a cream coloured envelop. In the weeks that followed I agonised as to whether it would be appropriate for me to make a romantic approach to this friend. Finally deciding against the idea I tore the envelop into pieces and put them in a waste paper basket. Some days later on leaving my house I noticed a cream coloured piece of litter which had been pressed into the road tarmac by a car tyre. Vaguely recognising it, I picked it up and discovered that it was the fragment of the envelop that contained the telephone number. I made the call.
Total votes: 354
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:23:45 +0000Coincidence ID:3677

Living in Same Property, plus others

Unexpected meeting in Spain- Just after I left school in 1960 I went to Spain with seven others from my Scout Troop in a minibus. After touring across France and Spain we arrived in Alicante. When walking down the main plaza we bumped into two school colleagues, Tommy and Helen Jenkins. This was when few English people holidayed in Spain . Living in the same Property- This covers two coincidences concerning a flat in a large house ( 8, The Drive Walthamstow) my wife and I lived in when we were first married in 1968. a) Just after we moved in my mother told us that it was a house that they had also lived in for a while in between the wars. There was no previous discussion of where we were looking as my parents had been in New Zealand the previous 9 months. b) In the 1980's we went on a Flotilla sailing holiday to Greece. We discovered that the New Zealand skipper of the fleet, when he was in London, had also lived for a time in the same attic flat with the same strange landord. Unexpected meeting in Australia In 2003 my wife and I spent 3 months in Australia touring around in a hire car with no particular itinerary. On 28th Jan, my wife's birthday. we were in Sydney watching a free didgeredoo concert in a small theatre on the harbourside when who should walk in but a friend from my sailing club back in the UK. She was visiting her son in Bondi for a few weeks and had just popped in Sydney harbour to while away the time. Unexpected meeting in New Zealand. This concernes my good friend Peter who had spent a few years sailing his catamaran from the UK to New Zealand. He had hired a car for a tour of NZ and had pulled into a dusty carpark at a beauty spot and sent dust over two pedestrians. He went to appologise and found out they were British. Strangely they came from the same part of the UK as himself and then found they they both knew, quite well, Eric. (note they are both a bit eccentric and are memorable). Eric was my good friend from the Scouts and had also been on the Spanish Scout trip. Doug and Lesley Eyles
Total votes: 327
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:23:38 +0000Coincidence ID:3676

Same Birthday

We have three generations but four people with the same birthday in my family. My mother: Winifred Smith (nee Jennings (born Hereford, Herefordshire) 7th August 1933 Myself: Paul Andrew John Smith (born Hereford, Herefordshire) 7th August 1955 My eldest daughter: Natasha Alison Dawn Smith (born Truro, Cornwall) 7th August 1986 My son: Simon Ian John Smith (born Truro, Cornwall) 7th August 1987 I also got married (now divorced) on 7th August 1984 Neither myself, or my two children were planned! My daughter was born late and my son early and all of us were natural births!
Total votes: 295
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:22:48 +0000Coincidence ID:3675

Car plates match

I live in one of three similar houses in a village. Without collaberation, each family owns a dark blue car with the registration beginning WG07.
Total votes: 332
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:22:44 +0000Coincidence ID:3674

Prayer answered or Coincidence ?

As a newly converted catholic in the 1990s, when my father needed a serious operation, I decided to have a mass said for him. The operation was due for February of that year and so in early February I requested a mass be dedicated to my father, rather hoping that it would be at one of the February masses. My father was not religious and would not have welcomed or understood this request. I said in prayer, " I know my dad is very anti God but please let me know you are with him " The date of the mass allocated to my father was 26th March of that year. My father's operation did not take place in February - it was rescheduled for - 26th March at 6 p.m - the very time the mass was being said.
Total votes: 279
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:21:32 +0000Coincidence ID:3673

Mrs

My son has two children by two different partners, both children were born on 14th February, five years apart. My son shares his birthday with his neice, 34 years years apart.
Total votes: 317
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:21:15 +0000Coincidence ID:3672

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