Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

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. We joked at the irony of it given the population of Paris and the size of the city.

A chance to say thanks & goodbye

When I studied English at Worcester University my lecturer was a Mike B. He had a great style of teaching and everyone was very amused by his wry comments and sense of humour, so much so that some of his observations became a part of my character too. I told my wife this when we went on our honeymoon to Portugal some ten years later. The last weekend of the holiday we drove in our hire car down to Lisbon, and found a hotel on spec (no planning at all, it just looked nice). The next morning we went down for breakfast at 8am. I said jokingly to my wife that the man at the table across from us looked just like Mike B, "but he would look older now...". Curiosity got the better of me and eventually I asked him. "Did you use to lecture at Worcester Uni?" "I did" came the reply. "Are you Mike B?" I asked incredulous. "I am!" said the equally incredulous Mike B. He and his wife were on holiday too. We had dinner that night and swopped anecdotes (he was still as amusing as ever). He had retired years ago and this holiday was as spur of the moment as our choosing the hotel had been.

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.

A popstar calls

My wife and I went to the show "Oh what a night" at the Hammersmith Odeon. It was a great show. Afterwards, I wanted the autograph of the main star, Kid Creole. We were told he didn't do autographs, and left disappointed. The next day we got a call from a girl who wondered if her boyfriend could view the car we had for sale, and of course we said yes, come straight over. Her "boyfriend" turned out to be Kid Creole, who not only bought our car, he had tea with us, and allowed us to take photos. We kept a copy of his cheque too.

A newspaper date coincidence

In the early 1990s I was living in an upstairs apartment in an old three-storey house in the small town of Liverpool, Nova Scotia, Canada. The rest of the building was commercial space and it had not been a residence in many years. One day, with time on my hands, I started poking around in the attic, looking through old cardboard boxes that I suppose had belonged to previous residents. I found toys from the 1950s, tax returns from the 1930s, and so on. One box was lined on the bottom with a complete edition of the Halifax Herald, published in the nearest city. At the time I was working as a journalist so of course I pulled it out to take a look. The date on the paper was May 3, 1969 - the day I was born. There were no other newspapers in the attic. I'm unsure how unlikely a coincidence that would be, but I saved the newspaper and I still have it, 20-some years later.

whats in a name

my name is J ohn my youngest daughter's name is O livia my wife's name is H elen my eldest daughter's name is N atalie

From one side of the world to another...

I was born in Changi Hospital, Singapore, near the equator. So was a kid called David, in the bed next to mine (well, obviously, next to my Mum's bed really) on roughly the same day as me. I left Singapore at the age of 2 (can't remember my childhood there). 14 years later my parents had long since relocated to Ely in Cambridgeshire and I started my first day at school. In my Tutor class we were allocated our desks. At the desk next to mine was David, the same kid from the bed next to mine. I only found this out when I went home and my Mum asked me who my new friends were at school, and she remembered his Mum. How's that for a coincidence?

Dream Home

My husband and I were on holiday in Egypt a about 20 years ago and we met a lovely young English girl on the trip who we kept in contact with sending Christmas cards and even went to her wedding. Imagine my surprise when she sent me a Christmas card a couple of years ago and said she had seen the house of her dreams in my home town, but the deal had fallen through and she was disappointed. Turns out she moved in to her (dream home) eventually, a few months later, it is in the next avenue to me and was owned by one of my colleagues at work who was moving down south. What a coincidence.

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