Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

Ed Miliband

As a prelude to this story, you should know that I am neither a member of the Labour Party, nor have taken no previous interest whatsoever in Ed Miliband! A year ago, I dreamt one night that Ed Miliband was my new partner and I was accompanying him on the campaign trail. I awoke and was very struck about how vivid the dream had been. Later that same morning the post arrived. I opened a letter addressed to me, and was shocked on pulling the letter from the envelope to see it headed `Ed Miliband'. I was being invited by him to attend the first of his roadshows, a forum on how the Labour could improve life for families, in early February. Struck, and not a little spooked, by this coincidence, I accepted the invitation to attend, largely to find how I had been selected. I was told that 300 people had been selected randomly from the electoral register. Why did I dream about him the night before receiving the letter?

Egypt /Clocks

Coincidence 1 I was born in Egypt. I heard Julian Fellows on Dessert Island Discs - He was born in Egypt. I had a DVD of an episode of Downton Abbey I had been unable to watch when broadcast. I had moved equipment into our large old country kitchen to be 'green' by cutting the house heating and relying on the AGA. I was disappointed to find the TV seemed to give the Downton cast jaundice, as everything looked rather yellow. I checked the Sony website for a phone number for technical advice - was it worth having the TV fixed or should I get another set? I phoned the help line. Was told that the problem was likely to be the Scart plug. (I remembered the cats had been having fun the day before at the back of the TV - The technician was right). Before ending the conversation I asked the technician where he was from. "Why?" I replied, because I thought he had a familiar sounding accent. "Oh no. I am from Egypt." I told him that I had been correct, and that I had been born and lived in Egypt. He was amazed.

Jo Mango and Ludwig

Cycling holiday with my son from Barra in the South to Stornoway in the North of the Outer Hebrides. On the third evening in a bar in Leverburgh, South Harris, I told him about a song entitled "Ludwig" by Jo Mango. At her concert in Edinburgh she had said "this isn't about Beethoven, he gets enough praise. It's about my favourite philosopher, Wittgenstein". I thought this was quirky and funny - and the music was haunting. The next day cycling along the dramatic, sparsely populated coastal road on the East of Harris we saw a sign to the Skoon Art Cafe. There were few opportunities to have a break with some cake and we took the side road to the cafe which was delightful. We ordered and were chatting when I realised that at the next table with friends or family was Jo Mango - someone I had never heard of before the concert two weeks previously. My son had to restrain me from interrupting her holiday.


As young person I liked to visit my cousin Alan. When I turned up he wasn't often there. My Auntie would say "He's gone to see his friend Peter." How I hated this Peter who, even after Alan had arranged to be there when I turned up, could still persuade him to abandon my visit, in spite of the fact it was across the other side of the city and two long 'bus journeys. As to Peter, I ended up being married to him. Ann.

Chateau d'Usse

In the summer of 1990 we had driven from our home in Germany to meet family and to camp in Brittany. Whenever we went into France I always tried to choose a route there and back that would include interesting places to visit. Leaving our campsite at Carnac I decided to return via the Loire valley and visit some of the chateaux. Around mid-day one day we stopped at Chateau d'Usse which is associated with the story of the Sleeping Beauty. In the parking area there was just one large tree providing shade on a hot day. I think it was a chestnut and we found there was a space to park our car under it. About a week later we met an American couple who were two of our best friends in Germany. They had relatives visiting them from the USA and they had taken them touring in France. They had been to see the garden of Claude Monet at Giverny and had then headed for the Loire. We discovered they had parked on the same day, under the same tree at Chateau d'Usse about 30 minutes after we left. It would have been even better if they had been pulling in just as we left. We had not been aware of their plans or they of ours.

car number plates

When we moved into our house in the 1969 I was amazed to discover that another car in the same road had the same numbers and the same letters as ours although the order had been reversed and our car was a "B" reg while the other had no year reg.

Living at same address

As a student at Imperial College in 1958 I was assigned lodgings in Putney. On returning to London some four years after graduation I took lodgings in a house in Hampstead and formed a friendship with the girl whose parents lived next door. Twenty plus years later, when the young lady had become my partner, we discovered that, as a trainee teacher in Roehampton, she had lodged in the same house in Putney two years before I took up residence there.


I'm originally from New Zealand. I have lived in England for over 20 years. At the weekend I do archery at a large sports field in South East London. One morning whilst going to collect arrows from the target I noticed something small and shiny in the grass. When I picked it up it was a New Zealand dollar. What are the chances of that?

Birthday coincidence

I have a friend who is really interested in Latvia and Latvian culture. His birthday is July 19. It was through him that I met my boyfriend, a Latvian, whose birthday is July 19. It turns out that the only other Latvian I knew when I was growing up was the father of a friend, though I didn't know he was Latvian then. He's an actor, so I looked him up and was surprised to discover his birthday is July 19.

Parallel Montage

In 1975, I travelled to Namibia with two colleagues, Peter S and Kate M, for the purpose of covertly filming a documentary for SWAPO the liberation movement, conducting a struggle against South African occupation. Kate was the director and Peter and I were responsible for shooting the film; he and I had been working together for a couple of years prior to this. We eventually completed the film. It was distributed by SWAPO and fulfilled their needs, at that time; it was shown at the Edinburgh Film festival that year. Kate was later injured in a serious car accident and became wheelchair-bound. Over the years, she and I maintained occasional contacts, when I would go and visit her, but I completely lost contact with Peter. Every year or two, Kate would contact me with some development relating to new interest in the film, which held very little appeal for me but I knew to be important for her. In the late nineties - and I would have to check exactly when this occurred - Kate phoned me to say that the National Film Archive was interested in viewing a print of our film to decide whether they wished to introduce it into the archive.