Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

Chance meeting

In about August 1983 my family and I were visiting an aunt who lived in Burngate, Dorset right by the RAC Gunnery School. We were awakened on morning early by the sounds of tanks firing. In those days there was an observation post just down from the bungalow and I took my children down there as they wanted to see the tanks shooting. While we were there a young Army captain wandered over and began chatting. He asked my job and I explained I was an officer in the Merchant Navy. This lead on to discussions of places overseas we had visited, He described his last posting to Belize and a family who had befriended him. He had visited their home on numerous occasions and played golf with them. I asked their names as I was pretty sure I knew them. Indeed I did as I had rightly guessed they were my mother and father-in law.

Missing petrol cap and shopping coming to exactly £4.00

A few years ago I was shopping at Sainsburys in Bedford and purchased about 5 items including loose bananas ie they had to be weighed, not pre-priced. The bill came to £4.00. Strange? To me it was strange, as I had never before had to pay a round figure for an assortmant of items. I know this must happen but with many items being priced at a figure ending in 99 pence, it did seem odd. I left the store and drove into the Sainsburys petrol station to fill up. When I opened the filler flap I found that my petrol cap was missing. That had never happened before. I am not forgetful and access to the petrol cap was protected by a flap that could only be unlocked from inside the car. I put petrol in the car and went to pay. There on the counter was a box of filler caps for sale - one size fits all. I was about to buy one when the man behind the counter said that he had seen a petrol on the fore court earlier. I paid for the fuel and returned to my car. To my surprise I found a petrol cap sitting on the ledge by the petrol hoses. It was a different make but fitted so I took it.

off track schoolfriends

I was in Dusseldorf visiting friends in 1996 when the airport burnt down, so rather than fly home I needed to get a train to Holland. Not speaking German, when I got onto the platform I migrated towards English voices. Coincidentally they happened to be 2 schoolfriends from 20 years previously, over on business. (approx 1500 pupils at the school, 300 per year group, 90 per 'county')

My new landlord was my friend's lodger

My friend Nick was living in a flat owned by his friend Adam. Adam moved to Bath to study, so I moved into the spare room in his flat. Meanwhile Adam found a room in Bath, and his new landlord was Craig, who was was one of my best friends from University. Very strange!

off track schoolfriends

Derek I was in Dusseldorf visiting friends in 1996 when the airport burnt down, so rather than fly home I needed to get a train to Holland. Not speaking German, when I got onto the platform I migrated towards English voices. Coincidentally they happened to be 2 schoolfriends from 20 years previously, over on business. (approx 1500 pupils at the school, 300 per year group, 90 per 'county')

How I met my husband and family

At a party miles from home in totally unrelated circumstances got talking to a friend of a friend. Had been in same social group for a while but never really talked to one another. Somehow got talking about school and I asked where he went to school. "A long way from here, you wouldn't know it" he replied, insisting for no good reason that he told me the name it turned out we both went to the same school only four years apart. This is quite a coincidence baring in mind that it is a small county school (in his day a Grammar School but not by the time I got there) on the welsh border. Second coincidence, my husbands Grandmother was a survivor of the Holocaust. Whilst pregnant I chose the name for a girl of Hope because i had been seriously ill prior to getting pregnant. She was born on November 9th, which unbeknown to us at the time was coincidently in 1938 Kristallnacht, (Night of Broken Glass) when Jewish people were attacked throughout the night in Germany. Grandmother was delighted, she said, "For her to be born on this day is incredible, and you have called her Hope, and that is all that we had left that night of Kristallnacht, hope!"

I thought it was a joke!

I was a pro footballer for Rangers FC. In June 1980 I was sold to Brighton for £440k, I put my house on the market. After a couple of days I got a call from a gentleman with a very polite accent asking if he could come and see my house. He then said his nane was Brighton. I even asked him to spell it and then was firmly of the belief it was one of my Rangers teammates taking the mickey. He asked if he could come the next night to view the property. I was offhand by now, even a bit cheeky and said "why don't you just come along whenever you like" He went off the phone and I told my wife what had happened and we discussed which colleague it might have been. The next night there was a knock on my door and there stood a middle aged gentleman in a trillby hat. He introduced himself as Tom Brighton. I apologised for my behaviour the previous evening but explained the circumstances. He wasn't a football fan, didn't know who I was but accepted my apology. He bought my house. So I went to BRIGHTON and sold my house to someone called BRIGHTON - COINCIDENCE

Open by Christmas

I had been driving past a scrap of land for weeks in the city centre that had been flattened ready for some sort of development. I had always wondered what One day I found myself walking past and saw two isolated workmen - motionless, leaning on their spades. As I walked the remaining 100 yards or so along the path to the point closest to them, I became frustrated by the lack effort going into the project. It bothered me that I didn't know what the land was to be used for or when the building work would be completed and vowed to find out some how. At the exact moment that the thought entered my head one turned to the other and said 'Well Frank, we'd better get a move on if these shops are going to be open for Christmas' around the boundary, , I became I began think again about what the site was to become and when it would open. At that exact moment


In 1985 I took my granddaughter from Coventry to Liverpool for an audition. We sat by the Mersey wondering if we had time to cross on the ferry for this audition or would we have to go by the less inviting tunnel. A lady sitting by us said we had plenty of time to go on the ferry. We then found that she was visiting her fiance and actually lived in Coventry next to my granddaughters college and knew the principle very well. We confirmed this on our return.

United States Air Force

My name is Robert Jamieson and I emigrated from Glasgow to the United States in 1957. I enlisted in the United States Air Force and by 1959 I had attained the rank of Airman Second Class. My parents sent me Scottish newspapers and I read in one of them that a Scot from Ayr had emigrated to the United States and had enlisted in the United States Air Force and was then serving at a USAF base in England and had married an English girl. His name was Robert Jamieson and his rank was Airman Second Class. The gist of the story was that he had crossed the Atlantic twice to meet his future wife. I wrote to the newspaper and told them of the coincidence but they did not respond. THIS IS NOT THE END OF THE STORY! At the end of 1969 I received a posting to Labrador but decided to take a leave back in Glasgow. During my leave I met my future wife and after knowing her for only three weeks I went off to Labrador for 14 months. As I was posted in a remote communications site I was able to choose the area of my next assignment and I chose the United Kingdom and was assigned to a USAF base in Essex. By this time I was Airman First Class Robert Jamieson.