Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

Sea sun and computer

We were leaving for a two week sailing holiday in the British Virgin Islands. We parked in the long term car park at Gatwick and took the airport bus to the terminal. As I left the bus I noticed that someone had left their laptop behind on a seat. I picked it up and handed it in to lost property. I didn't think any more about it other than the glow of righteousness. We proceeded from Gatwick to Antigua and on from there on an island hopper to Tortola . When we arrived in Tortola we proceeded by taxi to Sopers Hole to pick up the yacht "Gunshot" which we eventually found moored in a raft of boats. We opened her up and unloaded and switched on the electrics. We found all was well apart from the 12v dc feed for the navigation computer that we'd brought with us. We traced this to a fuse but couldn't find a spare. It didn't really matter because we were not due to leave until the morning. We noticed by this time that the boat moored next door to us was occupied, faffing around getting their bearings just as we were. We struck up a conversation, shared a glass of wine, and, conversationally, asked if he had any idea about fuses and power supplies.

Chance Meeting

My husband and I were visiting Paris in the early 80s and on the Tuesday we decided to go to the Louvre. We walked up to the entrance and found it closed. We didn't know that it was closed on Tuesdays. As we turned to leave my husband's friend, and best man from our wedding 2 years previously, turned up leading a whole hoard of school children. They were staying on a campsite outside Paris. He too was about to visit the Louvre on a Tuesday! Neither of us knew the other was even going to France.

Birthday Honours

Last October on my 68th birthday, two cards arrived from my adult children who live roughly 150 miles apart. I opened the first card from my son.It was from a well known on-line greeting card company which contained his humorous personalised message. Then I opened the next from my daughter. Exactly the same card but with her own greetings inside. Coincidence, or what?

Ella and ELA

When we lived in Mallorca my wife was given a pink fish-shaped handbag as a birthday present from a friend. We called it Ella (partly after Ella Fishgerald, and partly after Salmon Ella) A few weeks later my wife was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease, which in Spanish is Esclerosis Lateral Amiotrofica, or what they call ELA in short. It seemed a very cruel coincidence as she died of the disease two years later.

Shared background

I moved to Yorkshire in 1975 and joined a tennis club. I soon found myself playing with a Scotsman, George, from Glasgow. I told him that my Mother had come from Glasgow but as she died in 1945 I knew little about her except that I had a book "The old Curiosity Shop" which had her name and address written in childish handwriting in it. George told me he had lived in Giffnock and when I looked at the address it was 17 Florence Drive, G. Much to our utter amazement George told me that he was born at 17, Florence Drive Gk! That is the most amazing coincidence you must agree!

Mrs sophie h

This is a coincidence that I find pretty uncanny. My husband and i have the same birth numbers, so I am born 9th Jan, so 9/1 and my husband 1st Sept 1/9 our son was born at 1.09am and our 2nd child was born at 9.10am. The odds of us all having 9 and 1 in our birth is pretty random. Look forward to hearing your comments. Thanks!

coincidence of Cambridge coincidences

On of the questions in the Cambridge entrance exam I sat in 1974 was on "coincidence" and I wrote an essay about setting up an organisation for the study of coincidence. I don't suppose Prof Spiegelhalter has been dredging through historic exam papers looking for inspiration! I went on to postulate that the institute discovered that it was all being controlled by aliens. Now it really would be a coincidence if that bit happened too. Incidentally I passed the exam.

Our House

We bought our house in 1983 from the late Mrs G-T. In the attic was a suitcase with shipping line stickers for Mr G-T and a neighbour told us it was her son in the Merchant Navy. My in-laws visited us (they are Australian) and realising son and family were settled in the UK returned home to sell the family house and live at their beach place down the coast. They changed their mind sometime later and went up to Sydney house hunting which meant booking into a hotel. While waiting at reception they got chatting to an English girl who lived in Canberra and told them of their visits. She asked -Where abouts? Which Village? Which Road? Which house? - and said DON'T MOVE. Up the stairs two at a time she went and returned with her husband who was Mike G-T. We had indeed bought the house from his mother's estate and learned that the family had moved in here in 1946 on returning from India when he was a small child. Some years later I was delighted when they turned up for a visit and a tour of the house which even today is much the same.

Bill and Bill

Two families of four, living within one street of one another, and friends. William, Gladys, Alan, Janet. William, Gladys, Alan, Janet.

Anniversary births/meeting work colleague

My brother, my parent's 3rd child, was born on their wedding anniversary(9th); my third child, a girl, was born on my wedding anniversary (10th). A friend and I enjoy visiting National Trust properties, but often end up running round as we arrive late in the day en route from another visit. This time we managed a look round the outside and a cup of tea under the trees of the cafe. As we gratefully drank the tea, a voice asked my friend if he had been in Africa during the fifties; my friend had worked in Africa for most of his life and had indeed been there during the fifties. The gentleman posing the question had been working in the same area as my friend and they had played football together, but had not seen, nor I suspect thought about each other since those days.