Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

Chance meeting

It is several years ago when we were touring with our caravan. We were staying on a small certificated location in Wales. When we awoke, parked beside us was a mobile home with an AUS sticker. Of course we said hello and how quiet they must have been when they arrived not to have disturbed us. During our conversation my wife said that she had relatives in Australia living near Sydney in a suburb called Penshurst. "That's where we live", said the Australians.

Bizarre reunion

I grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa with my South African parents and family. I went to the local school, and I had close friend throughout most of my school years. Her parents had emigrated to South Africa from England and although she only lived a few blocks from me, for various reasons our parents had never met. With our houses being fairly close to each other we would generally walk to visit each other. When we were about 15 years old around 1974, I was at her house one afternoon and there was a terrific storm. I rang my father and asked him to come and collect me in the car.

Licence plate and road marker

In 1994 I travelled with a local coach company to Ireland from Fishguard to Rosslare for a holiday. On the return journey we stopped at a hotel near the Irish port and the coach parked on the road ouside. Next morning we set off and crossed to the UK and while on the M4 the coach juddered to a halt. The driver said that despite filling the tank with fuel the night before, it was empty. The fuel having been siphoned off while we were asleep in the hotel. The driver set off on foot to obtain fuel and the passengers congregated on the hard shoulder.

1955 missed train

It was in about 1955 and I was a student living in Leeds and took a girl friend to York for a day travelling by train. We missed our train back and I said that we could have a snack whilst we waited for the next train. WE went to the only eartery open and I spent all my money. I realised that we would have to catch a tram from Leeds station to her home but I did not have any money left at all and was too proud to tell her. I was struggling with an explanation as to why we should walk [a long distance] when the next train came in.

Just odd!

My family were sitting around the table at a family tea party when my son, aged 15, suddenly asked me if we had ever been to Vancouver. As I answered yes, and reminded him of when, my phone started ringing in my pocket and it was my friend from Vancouver calling. We don't speak to each other than often, maybe every couple of months, and it isn't at a set time so that was really odd!!!

In the Indian Jungle

Last year my family went on holiday to Kerala, South India. On one of our adventures we went for a day exploring the Indian Jungle. There were 9 participants, my family of 5, a Dutch family of 3 and a single English girl living in Hong Kong. As we started walking she said that the jungle reminded her of Highgate Woods (not far from where we live in London) and during the conversation we discovered that we both went to the same school (although not at the same time) and had both enjoyed geography with the same teacher.

Identical cars (nearly)

I bought a red Fiesta LX in Cyprus (UK forces)and then 6 months later I drove it back to the UK and registered it at the Chester Office of the DVLA and was given the number J224 HMA. About 3 1/2 years years later I had to go on a course at a shopping centre towards London. Someone at the office had a red Fiesta with the number J225 HMA. I spoke to the owner and it turns out that they had there car shipped over from Germany (UK forces). So two red fiesta's one difference in reg number, both comeing from overseas registered in the same area and parking next to each other near London.

Scoring 3

Hi, I read quite a lot but find this does not occupy my mind enough so also have the radio on, tuned to radio 4 and have speech rather than music. I feel my mind drifts between the two without slowing on reading. So I started to play a game. If I heard a word on the radio and I was reading this word at the same time (excluding 1 &2 syllable words) I score myself 1 point. In an hours reading I always score 1 and have got as high as 3 with intermittent reading during the day. I have been doing this for several years now.

Rainy Provence

In late September, 2009, my wife Sheila and I were staying in the Ardeche and on one cloudy day we decided to visit the town of Orange, to the South-East, in Provence. By the time we arrived, it was raining heavily and our visit to the renowned Roman amphitheatre was rather a damp one. We bought two cheap ‘Packamacs’, some postcards, had lunch and then returned to our campsite.


I was walking down a high street,thinking about wanting to get a copy of Oliver Sacks 'The man who mistook his wife for a hat',walked into a charity shop,looked at the bookshelf and there it was.