Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

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.

sinking feeling

I grew up in Poole, Dorset as a young boy & one of the clearest newspaper stories, which made front news headlines, that I remember from that time is of a Leicestershire couple who were on holiday & inadvertently managed to drive their car into Poole Harbour but escaped uninjured with only their pride in tatters. Some years later, I was recalling this story with my wife & it turned out to be her mother & step father.

Always say nice things, you never know...

I had just seen a wonderful play featuring Derek Jacobi at the Theatre Royal, Bath. Next day I was waiting in a line at the till at Waterstones in the high street, declaiming to my girlfriend how wonderful he had been and how I wished I had stayed to get his autograph. I turned round after paying for my book, and he was standing there next in the queue! I am so glad I had been saying nice things. And I got his autograph!

Family birthdays

My Mum has been married twice. My Dad and his brother were both born on 14th March, several years apart. And my stepfather and his brother were both born on 6th March, a few years apart!

When a wrong number turned out to be the right number

When I was a child, my brother's friend Iain was at our house. The phone rang and the caller asked to speak to Iain. It wasn't anyone who we knew and it turned out that he had actually tried to call Iain's home number, mis-dialled it and reached us. (We had a similar phone number.)

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.

birthday coincidence

good morning i heard your piece on the radio this morning and you quoted the chances of three children born to the same parents and sharing birthdays. my example is similar in that myself and my brother (two only children) share our birthday with our mother. i was born on her 23rd birthday and my brother was born on her 34th birthday. myself 2 days late and my brother 10 days late. what are the chances of that? regards art

When in Rome

Back in 1971 whilst still an architecture student my friend and I decided to go to Greece. We both had summer jobs and I decided to leave early and hitch hike to Athens. My friend was to fly out later and I would meet him at the airport. I duely hitch hiked to Athens and was there for about a week before his flight was due. Somehow As the plane was due in just after midnight one of us must have got confused about the date and he wasn't on the plane. This was before mobile phones so I assumed he changed his mind.

Pages