Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

A Long Train Journey

It was 1996 and Matthew, aged 21, was making the long 3 day train journey from Perth, in Western Australia to Sydney. He intended spending some time in Sydney before continuing on his travels to Thailand. After two nights spent in the pretty uncomfortable sleeper seat, the train stopped at a small inland country town, Young, in New South Wales. The seat next to him was taken by Martin, aged 20. Martin is my husband's nephew and, at this time, we hadn't met him, only having seen the occasional photograph.

Pictures at an exhibition

In the mid-nineties I went to University in Yorkshire and would get the coach home to Wales which would always involve a change at Birmingham. On one occasion we nearly missed the change, so with only a few seats remaining on the departing coach I sat down next to an elderly woman for the onwards journey. We got chatting and it turned out that not only had she been evacuated to my town in west Wales during WW2 but she’d actually lived in a house which (though it’s since been rebuit on the same site) was then surrounded by fields and is now in the street I grew up in.

sequential license plate numbers

Once about 25 or 30 years ago my license plate on my truck was 371719. One day I was driving up a hill and noticed the car in front of me had the plate 371718. Just as I was thinking how weird that was, the car in front of that one turned off and I could see that its plate was 371717. So there were three cars in a row with plates 371717, 371718 and 371719. They were all New Hampshire plates. This means the cars were all registered at the same window at the motor vehicles dept. in sequential order.

Birthday coincidences

There are a couple of different coincidences within our family that I think are quite interesting. Firstly my mum and her brother were both born on the 19th of the month and my sister and I are both born on the 28th of the month albeit different months. My mum is 8 years older than her brother and I am 6 years and 6 months older than my sister. The second coincidence is that myself, my sister and my nephew were all born 16 minutes in the hour.

Same day birth

Both my children are born on the same day 7 years difference also their grandad is born the same day too 13th July

Pictures at an exhibition

I grew up in Pembrokeshire, west Wales. In 1986 my 11th birthday treat was a day trip to Cardiff with my family to see the ‘Dinosaurs from China’ exhibition at the museum. This was quite a big deal and out of the ordinary, as back then the journey would normally take about 3.5 hours each way, so a fair undertaking.

PIN code

A few years ago, I received a new credit card with the accompanying letter containing the concealed temporary PIN code. I went to the ATM with the intention of changing this to a memorable number but on revealing the code in the letter, I discovered that the not only were the four numbers the same as my intended change but they were in exactly same sequence, so I had nothing to alter! A remarkable coincidence I imagine. If only it had been the lottery!

Chance lift

I was posted to RAF Leconfield in 1971, and was allocated a quarter at RAF Driffield. The Driffield quarters were awful, which prompted us to buy a house on the outskirts of Driffield (knowing that I would be at Leconfield for a few years). A few months later, I was posted to Akrotiri. In 1973, I was on my way home from work one day, when 2 men were thumbing a lift just outside the camp gates. I stopped, and offered them a lift to Limassol.

birthdays, meetings

My mother's son, son-in-law and godson all had the same birthday--Feb. 14th I walked down the Ulica Placa in Dubrovnik and met the sister of a friend at school (in UK). On a small boat touring Windermere with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law, we met a couple on the boat with us who came from their small town in California. I was entering the local post office when two women unknown to each other came out. Both recognized me from a picture in the local paper, and approached me to say they enjoyed my books. This in a city of 150,00+.

Spanish Superstition II

During my retirement in Spain I was involved in a serious motor accident which left me badly incapacitated. Six months later, with hip and leg pain injury I was still obliged to use crutches and my golfing career had come to an abrupt end. One morning, sitting alone on my patio (my wife having gone to golf) I noticed an elderly couple calling house to house. My neighbours seemed to give them short shrift and eventually the couple approached me. With nothing particular to do I invited them in for coffee and a chat.