Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

Remarkable meeting

In 1997, after retiring, my wife and I decided to take a self-drive holiday in New Zealand. On Sunday 9th November we were touring N.Island and stopped around 4pm in a small country town. My wife said that she would like a cup of tea. There were several small cafes and restaurants in the square. We selected one at random and went inside. As I was moving along the servery (choosing cakes!) I received a tap on the shoulder. It was my old Ph.D. supervisor from Bristol University, 45 years earlier. We had met a few times in between, but only at scientific conferences. He was holidaying also with his wife. Neither couple had ever been to New Zealand before. A one in a billion chance? Ron
Total votes: 336
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:47:27 +0000Coincidence ID:3733

Telephone Call Coincidence

Summer 1973. I was living in a flat in Bedford which had a telephone and I had to attend an interview in Leeds. So, I thought I'd arrange to meet a friend who was living in Sheffield, on the way back from the interview. He had no phone at the last address I had for him there so I wrote to him and suggested that if he could meet he should telephone me on the flat telephone number, at 7pm on one particular Monday evening, and we could agree where and when to meet in Sheffield. So, at 7pm on that particular Monday I posted myself by the telephone, and within seconds of 7pm the telephone rang, and sure enough it was my friend on the line. After the initial exchange of pleasantries my friend immediately started talking about a sailing trip he had in mind. After a few minutes of conversation he had still made no reference to my proposed meeting and so I asked him if he had seen my letter, about stopping off in Sheffield; "What letter?" "I posted a letter to your Sheffield address about meeting up in Sheffield on the Xth, and I suggested you called me at precisely this time on this number to discuss it, which is why I answered the phone so quickly." "I left that address three months ago. I'm back home now in Bridlington, and I haven't seen your letter. I'm just phoning to see if you were interested in sailing." At which point I felt very odd. I can't remember if he already had my telephone number, which was unlikely, as I hadn't been at that flat very long, or if he'd got the number from my parents and called me. Either way it was very weird.
Total votes: 263
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:47:26 +0000Coincidence ID:3732

Winning raffles

It has always amazed me how often the same people win raffles. I was for years a member of a dance club and later in life a member of a bowls club. In both cases a weekly raffle was held. There is an expression often used in such clubs, it is "Same old faces" This is because people recognise the fact that the same people seem to win at least every 3 weeks somtimes every week, whereas others are lucky to win once in a year. It surely cannot be just coincidence?
Total votes: 299
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:46:38 +0000Coincidence ID:3731

Family Bible

My surname is L. In the 1980s we lived in Eccleston, St Helens, Merseyside and were aware from an elderly couple who had lived all their married life in the house next door that our house had been owned in the 1960s by another L family. We are not to my knowledge related. It seems they had had to leave for Australia unexpectedly to avoid the consequences of having guaranteed a debt which had not been repaid. Whilst working in the loft I found a tiny leather-bound New Testament which was inscribed 'To Gabrielle from Uncle Basil' and a date I cannot now remember. We are not Roman Catholic but I had heard of a Father Basil L, the local Priest at Whitehaven in Cumbria, from my own father who had been Town Clerk and knew Father L from his civic activities. I thought there was a chance that Uncle Basil and Father L might be one and the same, and mentioned it to my father who passed on the story. Indeed they were, and I was able to return the bible to Gabrielle in Australia via my father and her uncle.
Total votes: 298
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:46:37 +0000Coincidence ID:3730

broken leg

I was walking on Exmoor near Dunster with a friend on November 30th last year when I fell and broke my leg (I didn't know that at the time). The problem was to get transport back to Taunton to go to A & E at Musgrove Park Hospital. We were sitting on a park bench thinking what to do when two friends appeared walking the same route. Their car was nearby and they took me to Taunton. Hopefully my plaster will be removed next week and I will be mobile again.
Total votes: 296
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:45:51 +0000Coincidence ID:3729

Smartarse revisited

A louche friend was lying in bed in Coventry, puffing on a ciggie, listening to a broadcast of a concert on Radio 3. It was a fairly 'difficult' composer and a piece not often performed, which was what attracted him to it. The end of the symphony was very sudden, and one audience member anticipated this, clapping loudly (and what my friend thought, ostentatiously) before the rest. My friend took a delicious pleasure in berating this person loudly just as it was announced that the concert had been recorded at Warwick Arts Centre in Coventry and he realised that the Smartarse audience member was himself.
Total votes: 432
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:45:25 +0000Coincidence ID:3728

Sisters, does this count?

My sister, who is 6 years younger, and I have often been accused of being twins as we look very alike. We found ourselves in coincidental situations many times:- 1. I, living in London, had not seen her for three years and went to catch up with her in Nottingham - to find she had the same handbag and shoes. 2. Once I was invited to a barbecue in Sussex, didn't know what to wear, settled on blue silk shirt, jeans and blue flat shoes. When I arrived my sister was dressed identically. 3. My sister had been working in Spain. We met in Italy for a holiday - opened suitcases to unpack identical dresses (M&S!). 4. One Christmas I decided to buy her a blue and white porcelain fretted bowl from a particular shop - but when I went back the shop was closed for the day so I bought something else. But when I unwrapped my present from her, SHE had bought ME that same bowl. 5. I moved to my new home in London about the same time as she moved to hers in Sussex. We 'inherited' blue and pink bathrooms, respectively. We had both purchased small plastic 'pig' nailbrushes - in blue and pink, of course. What's more we had both chosen identical crockery - I well remember her opening my cupboard to exclaim, "What are you doing with my dinner service?!" 6. One Christmas I bought her a small glass bottle with a blue bird on the top. The one she bought for me was a different design - but it was still a small glass bottle with a blue bird on the top. Et cet era
Total votes: 358
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:45:09 +0000Coincidence ID:3727

chain of coincidences

1. In 1987 I was living in London in what was then an unheard of area (now very trendy) called Kensal green. No one knew where it was in 1987. I travelled to Tibet and was staying in a hostel in Lhasa . A young guy was really I'll in our dormitory and I spoke to him to see if I could help. Where did he come from? London. 'you won't know the area' - it was Kensal green. He lived 5 minutes away from me. 2. I work in a small school in Camden in central London . One of my colleagues grew up in Cheshire not far from where I grew up. I grew up in a small village in the countryside near delamere forest - a place people like to visit. My colleague recently told me she used to spend her summer holidays with her granny in a caravan site a short walk from where I lived. 3. My dauhgter's best friend's grandfather is scottish as is mine and he worked for ICI in the same place as my father at the same time. Her mother's partner grew up in the nearest town to my village in Cheshire where my younger brother went to school.
Total votes: 400
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:44:43 +0000Coincidence ID:3726

Are left handed people more pushy?

After a gathering in a restaurant 5 of us went back to someone's flat for coffee. There was just one sofa, which 3 sat on. The remaining 2, myself included, sat on the floor. I noticed that the 3 on the sofa were all holding their mugs in their left hand. Indeed, the 3 seated on the sofa were left handed, the 2 on the floor were right handed. Could an explanation for at least the seated on sofa v. seated on floor ratio be skewed by the fact that left handed people are more pushy and they all made sure they secured a comfortable seat?
Total votes: 387
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:44:42 +0000Coincidence ID:3725


Two people came to live in our village from Cornwall and we became friends. They told us they have friends in Cornwall called NEIL and MARGARET who have a SPRINGER SPANIEL called ROSIE. Guess what. I am called MARGARET, my husband is NEIL and we have a SPRINGER SPANIEL called ROSIE !
Total votes: 451
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:44:27 +0000Coincidence ID:3724