Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

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!

A Rainy Day Coincidence

A couple of years ago I made a train trip from Haslemere in Surrey up to London on business. When I reached Victoria Station I realised I lacked a vital piece of information and the only person from whom I could obtain that information lived in Southend. I rang his landline and his mobile but both were on answerphone. Undaunted I took a taxi from Victoria to the Old Brompton Road. It was pouring with rain, really hard.


I was at home (in Devon) reading a fashion article in the Times about a raincoat on sale in Miu Miu in Covent Garden in London. My son lives and works in London so I rang him on his mobile to ask him if he should happen to find himself in that area to buy it and post it to me. His reply was that he was in Miu Miu at that very moment standing next to the raincoats I was referring to. He is somebody who is not very keen on shopping so that made it more of a surprise.! I got my raincoat. Isobel Langton

One of my customers in Boston, USA

Checked into my hotel in Boston, USA, turned around and there was one of my customers of my fishmongers shop in Reading, UK. The room he was allocated was next to mine.

"Indian" restaurant waiter in New York

Went to an "Indian" restaurant in New York, trying to get away from all that bland food they serve in the USA (or did then). One of the waiters greeted me with pleasure, he was a waiter moonlighting in New York, he usually worked in my favouring restaurant in Reading, Berkshire.

A Meeting in New Zealand

In 1984 my husband and I were visiting our friends in New Zealand and had been lent their car to drive around North Island. We had been told that the Bay of Islands was worth a visit but when we tried to book a trip on the official boat we were told that it was fully booked for the one and only day we could manage. We turned and were about to drive away when we were called back to the boatyard to be told that someone had just cancelled their trip so we snapped up the chance to go out the following morning.