Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

Jetsetting in the Lake District

I was brought up in Malaysia, and as an ex-pat our family were regular fliers to and from the UK. We once had a family holiday touring the north of England, and one of our stops was the Lake District. Having dinner at the hotel that evening, my mother thought she vaguely recognised someone sitting at a nearby table.

Dream Home

My husband and I were on holiday in Egypt a about 20 years ago and we met a lovely young English girl on the trip who we kept in contact with sending Christmas cards and even went to her wedding. Imagine my surprise when she sent me a Christmas card a couple of years ago and said she had seen the house of her dreams in my home town, but the deal had fallen through and she was disappointed. Turns out she moved in to her (dream home) eventually, a few months later, it is in the next avenue to me and was owned by one of my colleagues at work who was moving down south. What a coincidence.

Meeting a Celebrity

A few years ago, my wife and I attended a play at the Mill at Sonning, where we go only every few years. Geoffrey Palmer appeared in the play. The very next morning I had to go to London by train, again something I rarely do. Ascending the escalator at Waterloo, I passed Geoffrey Palmer coming down the other side.

same day of the week

My brother was born on September 4 My parents were born on February 27 My parents were married on April 10th I was born on July 17 The above all fall on the same day of the week - regardless of year

Wedding & Honeymoon

My honeymoon was arranged by my parents, who purchased everything based on vague instructions (near Carcassone, must have a pool, if I remember correctly). We didn't play any part in it beyond this. The wedding had about 40 guests, and went very well (it happened to be about the only dry day in a very rainy summer, but thats a different - and less impressive coincidence) We arrived at our honeymoon accommodation, and got talking to the owner (who was cleaning the pool). It transpired that he had family near where my wife had just moved from.

Shared childhood home

I worked for one of the London open top bus sightseeing tours from around 1993 to 1998. Initially I worked on the pavement for a few years as a supervisor (organising the departure of buses and so on) and in doing so got to know the various bus drivers and tour guides that started out or passed by the departure points I covered.

Seaside Encounter

In approximately 1989 we had a family gite holiday in France and one day went to the coast and parked on the seafront. At the time we had a cream coloured Montego saloon and upon returning to our car discovered parked next to us was the same model and colour of car. Not only that but it had a British number plate with identical letters and the next number in the sequence. Can't remember now whether it was the one before or the one afterwards.

Two cards twice

My mother sent me a card with a drawing of a goose on, since she knew I like drawing and I like geese. A few months or maybe a year later she sent me the same card, having completely forgotten about sending it the first time. Some time later a friend was visiting, and saw one of the cards which was up on the mantelpiece. Not knowing anything about the story behind it, she told me that her mum had sent the same card to her boyfriend on his birthday once. And then sent the same card the next year, having completely forgotten about sending it the first time.

Exam coincidence

I was taking the Oxford University entrance exam at school in Birmingham in 1981. One of the papers I had to take involved writing a precis of an unseen passage and then answering questions about it. On the morning of that paper I chose to practice by taking a book from the school library shelves (Rousseau's The Social Contract - not quite a random choice since I chose something that interested me but not something I had any reason at all to believe would figure in the exam), selecting a page at random and writing a precis of the argument.

Lost address book

I lost my address book in Cannes in 1968. Some months later I had a letter from a good friend of mine, Jacques, a Frenchman who had settled in Oslo. He told me he had my address book. His brother was in Cannes and had found the book. Seeing his brother's name in it, he posted it off to him in Norway. I was able to retrieve the book when I went back to Oslo the next year.

Pages