Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

A hitchhiking coincidence

My sister was living in Perth, W.A. and wanted her sewing machine from our parents home in the Cotswolds. She heard of a girl in London who would be> returning to W.A. shortly and suggested she should have a weekend in the> Cotswolds and in exchange bring out the sewing machine: there was no response. However, a few weeks later my parents set off in the car for a day at the seaside and on the way stopped to pick up two hitchhiking girls - one of whom was the girl who had been asked to bring out the sewing machine> (but who had been short of time and had not responded).

my father's birthplace

Dear Professor Spiegelhalter, . I would like to offer you a remarkable experience from my life which I tend to view more as an example of what Carl Jung would have regarded as synchronicity rather than something which can be explained away simply on scientific grounds. Please bear with me while I describe the background to all this. I was born in Britain in 1935. My father was a veterinary surgeon but during the war he worked as a radar technician on the South Coast of England. We lost our home in a German bombing raid in 1942.

work coincidence

In 1983 i was working on a medical ward as a student nurse. in those days patients beds were on a long ward and nurses were allocated a left or right side. i was doing observations of blood pressure pulse etc when i heard my name called out loud, i turned round to see the nurse working opposite me looking at me she asked why i had called her, i said no you called me, we were both so astonished and it felt really spooky. i have always wondered what caused this and what it meant!

Shared Acquaintance

When I was aged 20 I worked for one year as a secretary in a five star hotel in Tenerife. I was given staff accommodation - a twin bedded room which I had all to myself for most of my time there. However, for about two months in the middle of my term of office an English girl was employed as an assistant and she shared my room. After I left the hotel I had my first job in England as a secretary at Manchester Polytechnic.

The lost and found ring

In the spring of 1959 my fiancé and I were travelling overnight by train with two friends to holiday in the south of France. In those days the couchette carriages had a toilet and washroom at the end of each coach where we all washed and dressed in the morning. It was not until we reached our destination that my fiancé realised he had lost his engagement ring. Two weeks later we were returning to London by train and were sitting opposite a young man who was wearing a sapphire “gentleman’s ring”.

The musical repair man

A few years ago my husband and I were joining a small party for a painting holiday in southern Spain. At Malaga airport we saw the luggage of some other members of our party being loaded into a taxi, but unfortunately the driver dropped a large white cello case as he tried to put it in the boot. On arrival at the house the owner of the cello (a world-renowned ballet choreographer who had taken up learning the cello and brought it with him to practice) examined the instrument, which was not damaged, but the bow was snapped, making playing impossible.

Phone call

I met my wife to be when we she was twelve and I was 15 or so, we were friends for a year or so when we played in a band together. We had met a couple of times over the next 25 years as we had a common interests but not really spoken much to each other. I found out one February, from a mutal friend that she had separated from her husband and was going through a divorce but thought nothing more about it. By the time April came around I found myself thinking about her more often than I ever had and wondered how I could find her telephone number without anyone knowing.

The Dam-Buster

Some years ago an elderly neighbour had a friend, Ted, to stay who he had known all his life. They came to church on the Sunday morning and all was well until the last hymn was announced – No 219, “God is our strength and refuge” during which the tears started to flow down Ted’s face. The tune of this hymn is by Eric Coates, well-known as The Dam-Buster’s March, but what we did not know was that Ted was a member of the Dam-Buster’s Team in 1942. I’m sure the organist who chooses the hymns a month in advance was not aware of this either!

Personalised Number Plate

My surname is Frost and therefore in the 1970's the appropriate personalised car number plate would be FRO5T. My job then involved travelling overseas. One Sunday morning I was boarding for a long haul flight to Pakistan. At the entrance was a stand with newspapers from which I took the Times bunch. I must add that this is the only time I have taken the Times as my usual read is tabloids. Sunday editions with magazines are considerably extensive. I took my seat (in Business Class) and opened the paper at random.

Fellow F

Being interested in researching the history of the F family, I came across another F by coincidence. I was on a package holiday to Turkey, and while changinging planes at Istanbul Airport Transit Lounge, a guy in the crowd noticed the surname on my tour badge. He was also a F. We exchanged contact details, and I learned that he had traced the F family tree back to the 12th century. Later he sent me the results of his researth, and on comparing this with my own exisitng family tree, concluded that there is a 50-year gap in the 1600s between the end of his and start of mine! Roger F

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