Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

Easy to remember this phone number

My friend and I lived on different sides of Ely but went to the same school. His parents had been at Ely for quite some time before I and my family arrived in 1972 though since we were the same age it's not surprising that we went to the same school. What is surprising is that when BT allocated us our phone number on arrival, it was Ely 36196. Just one digit different to his, being Ely 36197. Very useful. We never forgot each other's numbers.

Birthday coincidences

My son's birthday is 2nd July, my husband's is 4th July and my late father-in-law's was 6th July. I found out I was pregnant with my son day that my father-in-law died. My Grandfather's birthday was 23rd September, my mother's is 25th September and my daughter's is 27th September. Oh, and me and my sister-in-law share the same birthday - 4th December.

the wheel of chance

We went on holiday to a port in Greece, a lovely place within a walk of a casino. Although we are not gamblers particularly we do enjoy a small flutter occasionally, so one night we went to the casino for some fun. I put a pound on number 14 and the number came straight in. We left immediately and continued with our lovely holiday. The next year we went to Monaco. Since it is famous for its casino we had a look around it. I put two pounds on number 14. It came straight in and we left immediately and continued with our great holiday. The next year we went to Spain.

When a wrong number turned out to be the right number

When I was a child, my brother's friend Iain was at our house. The phone rang and the caller asked to speak to Iain. It wasn't anyone who we knew and it turned out that he had actually tried to call Iain's home number, mis-dialled it and reached us. (We had a similar phone number.)

Family birthdays

My Mum has been married twice. My Dad and his brother were both born on 14th March, several years apart. And my stepfather and his brother were both born on 6th March, a few years apart!

Jury service

While a student, I was on the electoral roll in two places - my permanent home and at university. I was summoned for Jury Service in both towns on the same date. Also, when I arrived at one, one if the other jurors had the same name as me. Presumably all down to the computer software used to select jurors? Or just coincidence?

Always say nice things, you never know...

I had just seen a wonderful play featuring Derek Jacobi at the Theatre Royal, Bath. Next day I was waiting in a line at the till at Waterstones in the high street, declaiming to my girlfriend how wonderful he had been and how I wished I had stayed to get his autograph. I turned round after paying for my book, and he was standing there next in the queue! I am so glad I had been saying nice things. And I got his autograph!

sinking feeling

I grew up in Poole, Dorset as a young boy & one of the clearest newspaper stories, which made front news headlines, that I remember from that time is of a Leicestershire couple who were on holiday & inadvertently managed to drive their car into Poole Harbour but escaped uninjured with only their pride in tatters. Some years later, I was recalling this story with my wife & it turned out to be her mother & step father.

Chance meeting in Paris

Whilst in Paris some years ago and trying to cash a travellers cheque. I was directed to various Bureau De Change due to their inability to deal with it. I was diverted 1 final time towards another branch. Whilst standing at traffic lights waiting to cross my wife asked who the guy waving at me was. It turned out to be a work colleague of mine who had just arrived in Paris and was passing through en route to the South of France. Had I cashed the cheque at the first branch I would never have met him however due to a starnge set of circumstances we collided.

A chance meeting on holiday

We lived in Ely in Cambridgeshire and went on holiday to Interlaken in Switzerland. One fine day we are walking down the street, and I see a class mate and her family walking towards me, so said "hello" much to their surprise too. Not just a coincidence of place but of timing too, a few more seconds and we'd have turned off and never known they were even in the same town.

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