Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

happy campers (eventually)

We hired a tent from an outdoor store located in Kettering in Northamptonshire to take with us on our annual holiday to Hayle in Cornwall. When we tried to erect the tent we discovered that the shop had packed the wrong size canvas in the bag. We phoned the company to find out what we should do i.e. hire another tent locally or do B&B instead etc. The person who answered the phone asked if we had phoned before - another customer with the wrong size canvas had also contacted them - they were located in Redruth, about 8 to 10 miles away! They could have gone anywhere in the UK! We swapped tents and had a great holiday.

Wasted stamp

Years ago I went on a cycle touring holiday in the south of France with three friends. After three or four weeks away, one of them decided he'd better send five or six postcards to various friends from college. That afternoon, we cycled into the local small town to find a postbox. Before finding one, my mate saw one of these same friends walking towards him down the street. Also on holiday, and neither had any idea that the other would be in France, let alone the same place at the same time. Postcard duly handed over, stamp wasted.

Distant Relatives

I go to a weekly German class and every year we have a weekend in Germany to improve our knowledge of the language.One evening we were all discussing our reasons for learning the language and one of our frinds said her father's side of the family had originally come from Germany and that she had a great uncle in Leeds who used to run an engineering company,we were amazed because her great uncle is my wife's uncle and all the years we have been friends we never knew.

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. Near our timeshare was a casino. On the last day of the holiday we went to it, determined to blow the last of our cash. I put £20 on number 14 and it came straight in. We changed our minds and left immediately - I mean, what were the odds that we could ever be so lucky again?

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!

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