Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

Gas man had lived in my home

We had recently moved to our new home and were considering replacing a gas pipe connected to the mains. I called a central number for Transco, the company, which in those days (2002), owned Britain's gas pipelines. I spoke to a gentleman to arrange for someone to give me a quote. When he took my address, he discovered it was the same property he had once lived in. He accurately described the layout of the house and told me that he and others had rented individual rooms from a landlady.

Are we all somehow connected to each other?

While on a sailing holiday in the Mediterranean last year (2016), our three children became good friends with the children of another family. After a few days, my youngest son remarked that our family really did have a lot in common with the other children's family. I asked why that was and he explained that their parents and I were in the same profession. The mother and I chatted pleasantly all afternoon before we realised we had worked for the same local radio station at the same time twenty-five years earlier.

Seconds later and we might not have met

It was October 1998, day seven of a new job in London, my home city, but one I had not lived in for thirteen years since I had left home. I was travelling to work by tube and needed to change from the Jubilee line to the Central line at Bond Street. It was rush hour and there was a long queue at the bottom of the only escalator that was in use. As I stood waiting, I recognised a familiar looking figure from behind, standing two people in front of me. It was an old school friend I had not seen or heard from in a decade, but someone to whom I had always been attracted. I called out his name.

The lost key

This was in my college days. We used to live in a hostel, and had a large walled campus. One night I was coming back from dinner when my I saw my friend putting up a notice on the board. He had found a key, and I laughed and got my key out my pocket to see if it matched. And it did! I had infact lost a copy of my key a few weeks ago. The odds are astounding that my friend would find it and I would see him put up the notice and also compare the key. It's an old style seven lever lock, so the keys are not very unique. In any case I did the logical think and changed to a more secure lock.


Last night I was browsing ebay and came across one item which said it was to be picked up in Royston. Not having heard of this place before,I then googled it to find it on the map to see whereabouts in the UK it was. I was a bit taken aback today,when I read the cover story of the newspaper about killer Ian Stewart who apparently lives in Royston. Ian Stewart is also the name one of my favourite mathematicians who has also written on the subject of chance an coincidence!

A very unromantic love story lol.

Back in May 2011, I had been going through a very rough time in life, was a single mom & had gone thru a rough breakup to man I had been with for 2 years & was generally over anxious & not sleeping right. My doctor put me on a sleeping med called Ambien to help me get some rest a night. It was later found that this sleeping med had caused people to do "weird things" in an unconscious state & eventually stricter rules were placed on its miligram distribution.

QY20 Persuaders

Recently I have been watching THE PERSUADERS which are re-running on TV,but not managing to catch all episodes,I took to looking them up on Youtube,and tried to watch them in passing. Today, I played back the episode 'Death in the Family' on Iphone whilst browsing Ebay on laptop. In this episode,all of Brett Sinclair's relatives feature,including Denolm Elliot as one. On ebay I came across a QY20 sequencer which was being sold as spares/repair,I noted that the seller was Australian.

Chance Meeting

While stationed at Wiley barracks in Neu Ulm, Germany, in the US Army, in 1975, I and some friends were walking back late at night to the base. We were returning from a Beerfest celebration in town. We were quite inebriated. Other soldiers were also walking home. A fight ensued over some supposed indiscretion between we friends and some other soldiers. I tried to end the fight by threatening the other soldiers with a broken glass beer mug. End the fight it did, when one of those soldiers tried to disarm me from the menacing object.

Same phone number

When travelling in Thailand with a Thai friend I bought a sim card for my mobile phone over the counter in a department store. The corresponding mobile number was my Thai friend's old mobile number from years before.

A family connection with a stranger

I moved to Scotland, several years ago, from the North East of England where I was born. I lived much of my childhood and adult life in South Tyneside. In 2013, a friend came to visit me in Edinburgh during the Festival and we walked up the Royal Mile, watching street performers and weaving our way through the Festival crowds. At one point my friend walked ahead of me and I when I spotted her, she was talking to a man who was giving out flyers for a show that evening. When I caught up with her, my friend said, ‘This lad is from South Shields!’ (our home town).