Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

town coincidence

In the RAF I was once based in Digby north of Sleaford,and for a time went out with a local girl.When I left the RAF I eventually went to a college in Essex,and my colleagues on the course knew I went to Sleaford at the weekend.A few years later I became a salesman and one night was staying in a hotel in Sleaford(I had stopped seeing the local girl some years before).Over breakfast at the hotel the receptionist gave me a letter addressed "Simon Meek, Sleaford"The people who had been on my college course were having a reunion and the only idea they had about my wherabouts was that at one time I used to go out with a girl from that town.The postman had obviously used his initiative and tried the local hotels,and by pure coincidence I happened to be staying there for one night only because my home was too far away to drive to my customers in the morning."Of all the hotels in all the world" to paraphrase that film.

Mother-in-laws early meeting!

I took my then girlfriend now wife of 30+ years home to meet my mother. On meeting you could sense that my mother was slightly twitchy about something but she couldn't work out why. She asked Julia, my girlfriend "What's your mothers name" and was told Topsy Woodwark which didn't mean anything to her at all. Then with no prompting and completely out of the blue my mother said "Elizabeth Glendinning" which blew Julia away because those were indeed her mother's christian and maiden names. It transpired that my mother and future mother-in-law had shared a cabin for three weeks at the age of ten on a banana boat as they were evacuated to the West Indies in 1939/40. They never saw each other again as my mother went to live in Trinidad and go to school in Barbados and Topsy went on to school in New York. They grew up completely separately, got married, had children and then their children met at University and got married. Weird or what!

Taxi coincidence

In 2001 I got a temporary job in Melbourne. After getting out of the airport I got a taxi to take me to the house where I would be staying for the first couple of weeks. The following day I went to the office to meet the people I'd be working with. We went out for drinks after work. Still feeling a little jet lagged, I left early in the evening, flagged down a taxi outside the bar we were in and it happened to be the same taxi driver who had picked me up from the airport the previous evening!

Birthday coincidences

My sister's first daughter was born on my birth date and my daughter was born on the birth date of my wife's brother - so both uncle's had their first nieces born on their birth dates

random shopping

On checking my bank statement I noticed that ASDA BEARSDEN near Glasgow had deducted the sum of £43.36 from my bank on two consectutve days, as I normally shop each day and spend about £10 I thought that I had been charged twice I challeged the shop and on investigation it was found to be correct. I found it amazing that two days in a row I had higher than normal spend exact to the penny. This happened in 2010 prior to October which is as far as I can access my bank statements so I cannot supply the exact dates.

Baby Song

My daughter was born late at night in hospital by Cesarean. I was alone, with my stunning new born daughter in my arms, for what was a serene and special hour whilst my wife was in recovery. Come the time of departure it was perhaps 2:00 in the morning of a freezing cold day in March. After scraping the ice from the car windows, I sat in the cold car, waiting for it to warm up and decided I'd listen to the radio instead of a CD. As soon as I switched it over to the radio, I heard a baby crying and after after a few seconds a smile came over my frozen face as I realised what I was listening to ... Stevie Wonder's celebration song of his own new daughter, "Isn't She Lovely".

Bus Stop Meet Up

My (NOW) wife Tracy and I were waiting for a bus in a village in Scotland, we had only been there a few minutes, the bus was just coming round the corner, when a family came down a track, they were passing through on a long-distance hike . My wife had met the same family the year earlier when she was on a long distance hike with her ex. We said a quick hello and all went on our way.

Unlikely encounter

Between 1966 and 1968 I was a post-graduate student in the psychology Dept. of Bristol University. Also working there was Jim (I forget his surname), a negro post doctoral fellow from Washington State, USA. I left the University and went to work at Kamuli College, in Namasagali, Busoga District, Uganda. The school had about 400 students; Africans other than 3 0r 4 Gujarati immigrants. I introduced British A Level English into the school. Rehana Minhas was one of my initial students. Rehana was a good student. In 1970 Idi Amin came to power in Uganda. In 1971 he expelled the the Asian immigrants from the country. Rehana was expelled. In 1972 I left Uganda and in 1973 went to work as a civil servant in Scotland. I was sent on an induction course to Wakefield, Yorkshire. One evening I went by myself to Bradford for an Indian meal. The restaurant was full apart from a table where one man was sitting. It was Jim, the negro from Washington State I had known in Bristol.

Halfway round the world - for us both.

My husband & I were on holiday from Scotland in 1991 travelling in the Far East and when in Hong Kong took an evening cruise around the bay. I was chatting to others on board and in particular to one Australian. When it transpired he was in Hong Kong attending a medical conference, I asked which part of medicine he was involved in and he told me Haematology. I said I had great respect for the work they do, as my son had been diagnosed with leukaemia in 1974 and in particular was so grateful for the care and attention he's received from his consultant. I added that unfortunately he'd emigrated to Australia in, I think, the late 70s and laughingly asked that, despite Australia being a big place, did he know him? I named him and the Aussie said, jaw dropping, that he was his closest friend. I was delighted to be able to pass on a message to say my son was thriving and sent him our best wishes.

Ed Sheeran Left and Right

On the tube this morning, I looked left and there was a lady listening to Ed Sheeran (I glanced at her phone to see her selecting songs from his album on her phone). I looked right, immediately, and saw a guy reading the Metro newspaper and on the page that I could see I saw an article about..Ed Sheeran and his nominations in the Brits…bizarre.

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