Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

Edwina Currie gives me a death stare

About ten years ago I was in the queue in The Windmill Pub on Clapham Common, waiting to order lunch, when my brother-in-law, who was also queuing asked me what I was going to have. I replied by saying that I really fancied a curry. At that moment Edwina Currie, who was immediately ahead of me in the queue, turned around a gave me the most withering of looks

holiday and postcard coincidence

My daughter-in-law's parents met my best friend and her husband for the first time at my mother's funeral in Surrey in October 2006. In January 2007 my daughter-in-law's mother was in New Zealand, sitting on some driftwood on a very remote beach which could only be reached by boat. She was gazing out to sea when, you've guessed it, my best friend went and sat down beside her. Just to enhance the coincidence, the two couples chatted for a while until their relevant water taxis picked them up and they both continued on their seperate trips around New Zealand.

a pea in a pod

My second strange coincidence ( after the one in Barcelona ) occured when I was in my early 20's and working with disadvantaged children in Newcastle. We had taken some children on a caravan holiday to Berwick-upon-tweed. I was out walking with one of the children ( J ) when I told him that I had a strong craving for peas in the pod! I then said why don't we scramble down this cliff to the sea ( it was a bit tricky but we both managed it ) Then we saw a small pile of stones that someone had obviously placed there and right in the middle, you guessed it, a pile of peas in their pods!

Mustapha, Turkey

We had talked of going to Turkey for ages, and in the end we drove there (in a Mini Clubman). We talked of meeting up with our friend Mustapha, who was going to be in Turkey, but he wasn't a good friend, he was a customer in our fishmongers shop. But he did give us his phone number, in case we decided to meet him in Turkey. Once we got to Istanbul we drove around, got lost and ended up at a place near the sea where a lot of people were swimming. We saw a phone box, started to make the call, looked up and saw Mustapha swimming.

Arthur H

At a pavement cafe in Athens in September 2010 my wife and I got into conversation with an Australian couple at the next table. When I enquired whether they had any English ancestors they told me that they had, and had visited their graves in the West Country. I then happened to mention that a mystery in my family had been the disappearance of a great uncle who had emigrated to Australia in 1910 and had never been heard of again.

Strange meetings

In 1975 I employed a young Chinese Girl who left the company after marrying another Chinese person and thought no more of it other than I heard she had left the country Then came a series of strange co-incidents. In 1989 I was in Malaysia working with a company on a privatisation project as technical consultant when I received a fax from another company in Malaysia who had been given my name by someone I had worked with in Singapore in 1976 that had given my name as reference to the Managing Director. I telephoned the company and explained I was in Malaysia on other business.


1) In 1969 I was serving in the RAF in Cyprus I had a close friend John B. JB married in 1971 and in due course returned to the UK. His tour of duty was ahead of mine, which was to conclude in 1972. No contact was kept with JB and his family. I left the RAF in 1973, JB stayed in. In 1980 my wife and I returned to Cyprus for a holiday. Whilst there we decided to take in some of the old haunts, Lukas Bar in Limassol in particular. As I waited for service at the bar across a crowded room I heard the cry of , "strewth Keith H.!" It was JB and his wife who were again serving in Cyprus.

Dads old girlfriend!

While on a family holiday in Australia with our 3 children in 1993, we booked ourselves on to a boat trip for the day. As we boarded the boat, we heard English voices up ahead ( the only other English people on the boat!). It was a big boat and our paths didn't cross with the 3 couples (all friends) until after lunch. A dingy took people to the island for a swim, 12 at a time, and yes, you've guessed it, we were in the boat with them. It turned out that 2 of the couples were visiting the 3rd, who had emigrated years before, and were all old friends.

Family tree

A friend & I stayed in London for a weekend, it happened to be the day before Princess Diana died. The Saturday was pleasant so on the way back to our hotel we decided to stop for a drink, my friend went inside to get the drinks while I sat outside. There were only two of us sitting there and the gentleman engaged me in conversation asking me what we were doing in London & where we had come from to which I replied that we were from Portsmouth.

One of my customers in Johannesburg

Got on a plane to return to the UK from Johannesburg, met one of my customers at the aircraft steps. I have a fishmongers shop in Reading, Berkshire, and didn't know this man socially. He went to first class, I didn't!