Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

Jury service

While a student, I was on the electoral roll in two places - my permanent home and at university. I was summoned for Jury Service in both towns on the same date. Also, when I arrived at one, one if the other jurors had the same name as me. Presumably all down to the computer software used to select jurors? Or just coincidence?

From one side of the world to another...

I was born in Changi Hospital, Singapore, near the equator. So was a kid called David, in the bed next to mine (well, obviously, next to my Mum's bed really) on roughly the same day as me. I left Singapore at the age of 2 (can't remember my childhood there). 14 years later my parents had long since relocated to Ely in Cambridgeshire and I started my first day at school. In my Tutor class we were allocated our desks. At the desk next to mine was David, the same kid from the bed next to mine.

Easy to remember this phone number

My friend and I lived on different sides of Ely but went to the same school. His parents had been at Ely for quite some time before I and my family arrived in 1972 though since we were the same age it's not surprising that we went to the same school. What is surprising is that when BT allocated us our phone number on arrival, it was Ely 36196. Just one digit different to his, being Ely 36197. Very useful. We never forgot each other's numbers.

whats in a name

my name is J ohn my youngest daughter's name is O livia my wife's name is H elen my eldest daughter's name is N atalie

A newspaper date coincidence

In the early 1990s I was living in an upstairs apartment in an old three-storey house in the small town of Liverpool, Nova Scotia, Canada. The rest of the building was commercial space and it had not been a residence in many years. One day, with time on my hands, I started poking around in the attic, looking through old cardboard boxes that I suppose had belonged to previous residents. I found toys from the 1950s, tax returns from the 1930s, and so on. One box was lined on the bottom with a complete edition of the Halifax Herald, published in the nearest city.

A popstar calls

My wife and I went to the show "Oh what a night" at the Hammersmith Odeon. It was a great show. Afterwards, I wanted the autograph of the main star, Kid Creole. We were told he didn't do autographs, and left disappointed. The next day we got a call from a girl who wondered if her boyfriend could view the car we had for sale, and of course we said yes, come straight over. Her "boyfriend" turned out to be Kid Creole, who not only bought our car, he had tea with us, and allowed us to take photos. We kept a copy of his cheque too.

A chance to say thanks & goodbye

When I studied English at Worcester University my lecturer was a Mike B. He had a great style of teaching and everyone was very amused by his wry comments and sense of humour, so much so that some of his observations became a part of my character too. I told my wife this when we went on our honeymoon to Portugal some ten years later. The last weekend of the holiday we drove in our hire car down to Lisbon, and found a hotel on spec (no planning at all, it just looked nice). The next morning we went down for breakfast at 8am.

A chance meeting on holiday

We lived in Ely in Cambridgeshire and went on holiday to Interlaken in Switzerland. One fine day we are walking down the street, and I see a class mate and her family walking towards me, so said "hello" much to their surprise too. Not just a coincidence of place but of timing too, a few more seconds and we'd have turned off and never known they were even in the same town.

Chance meeting in Paris

Whilst in Paris some years ago and trying to cash a travellers cheque. I was directed to various Bureau De Change due to their inability to deal with it. I was diverted 1 final time towards another branch. Whilst standing at traffic lights waiting to cross my wife asked who the guy waving at me was. It turned out to be a work colleague of mine who had just arrived in Paris and was passing through en route to the South of France. Had I cashed the cheque at the first branch I would never have met him however due to a starnge set of circumstances we collided.

the wheel of chance

We went on holiday to a port in Greece, a lovely place within a walk of a casino. Although we are not gamblers particularly we do enjoy a small flutter occasionally, so one night we went to the casino for some fun. I put a pound on number 14 and the number came straight in. We left immediately and continued with our lovely holiday. The next year we went to Monaco. Since it is famous for its casino we had a look around it. I put two pounds on number 14. It came straight in and we left immediately and continued with our great holiday. The next year we went to Spain.

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