Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

friend and lover with a family connection

In the summer of 1999, I attended the Cambridge Folk Festival with some friends. I was sitting on the grass listening to some music when I overheard two young Frenchmen chatting. Since I'd just finished my French A-level and had also been to France a lot, I thought this was a good opportunity to practise my French. We got chatting and I gave out a flyer to volunteer in an Oxfam shop, which I was managing at the time. One of the young men took a liking to me and came to volunteer every day the following week and even baked me some fairy cakes. When he went back to France, we kept in touch as penpals, writing letters to improve our language. This was the start of a ten-year friendship. Two or three years later, he visited me in Oxford, where I was studying. I was writing an email one afternoon, and he leant over, reading it thoughtfully. My grandmother's name, Kiki, had been mentioned in the email. He then started asking me questions about her. Did she live in London? Yes. South East? Yes. Did she rent out rooms? Yes. Did she have a long-term Belgian tenant? Yes. Did she live on Lowther Hill? Yes! Remarkably, it turned out that my French friend had stayed next door to my grandmother with his Belgian PhD supervisor for the whole summer of 1998, the year before he met me at random among throngs of people at the Cambridge Folk Festival. I took this as some kind of fateful message, and soon we started a short affair. Sadly, the coincidence did not mean we were each others' destiny. Over the years our friendship was punctured by little flings and miserable recriminations. We no longer keep in touch, but I'll always remember this as the most extraordinary coincidence of my life. Jane ps I hope this young Frenchman is not involved in this project, by coincidence, as he had a job as a mathematician at Cambridge some years ago! Sorry if you're reading this hun, but I'm sure you'll agree none of it is untrue.
Total votes: 322
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:08:32 +0000Coincidence ID:3630

Same Birthday

When I was a primary school there were three of us in the same class with the same birthday, not just day and month but year as well and it was the same with my wife's birthday in her class at her primary school. Also my sister-in-law has the same birthday as myself.
Total votes: 304
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:07:31 +0000Coincidence ID:3629

Ted S

I met my wife in Wiltshire in 1972 where she lived with her family and where I was temporarily working. It transpired that my mother and her mother had previously met in Derby in the 1930's, where they lived with their respective parents.
Total votes: 328
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:07:20 +0000Coincidence ID:3628

The room of the harpist

As a mature student at the University of York in the 1990s I often went to the pubs where folk music was played. One evening I was at a pub I frequented and found myself sitting next to a woman I hadn't seen before who was playing a harp. We got talking and discovered that she had previously lived in the same room that I was then living in myself.
Total votes: 346
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:06:56 +0000Coincidence ID:3627

Unusual encounter

My late husband, Bill Embery, from Preston, Lancs. shared the unusual surname with his cousin, also Bill Embery. I met Bill when he came over to Redcar to work with ICI. We eventually moved to Milford Haven in Pembrokeshire, where I worked in the office of a school. One of the teachers returned from a cruise holiday in which they had shared a table with Bill Embery and his wife! This same teacher had, with her Northern husband, taught in a school in Middlesbrough, where I was born and raised. Then they had both returned to her home town to work in the school which eventually employed me!
Total votes: 366
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:06:39 +0000Coincidence ID:3626

Avebury Ex Brother-in-Law Meet Up

In late summer last year my wife and I plus another couple had planned a walk on Cherhill Down, near Calne, Wiltshire and to visit the Landowne Monument. Being a hot day and having completed our walk, decided to find a local pub for a reviving drink. The Red Lion in Avebury with convenient NT parking was chosen as the best venue. After spending an hour or so in the Red Lion we made our way along the pathway to the car park when out of the blue I heard a distinctive voice well in front of us. At first, I thought that sounds like my Ex Brother-In-Law (John), surely not as lives in Eastbourne. As we rounded the corner sure enough it was him. He was as shocked to see us, although we keep in touch, we had not seen each other for a number of years. It turned out he had booked a coach trip at short notice in Eastbourne to Avebury, not realising we lived a short distance away. He was also walking back to the coach at the same time as us for his return to Eastbourne as we were to the car park. Although we could only spend a little time with him till his departure, the whole episode was such a coincidence of events that for some reason happened to fit together.
Total votes: 330
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:06:36 +0000Coincidence ID:3625

coincidence re dog

I listened this morning to the interview with the Professor on Radio 4 about coincidences which was fascinating, and I had one in mind to post on the website. Then, as I was making my coffee, I opened my Your Dog magazine which had arrived in the post a few days previously but I hadn't yet had a chance to read. Yesterday, I'd met a man in the park whilst walking my dog who had a Spanish Water Dog. I'd never seen this breed before and started talking to him about it. The first page I flipped open was an article called Ready for Anything - yes, all about the Spanish Water Dog! Is this the newest coincidence in the study I wonder?!
Total votes: 336
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:06:12 +0000Coincidence ID:3624

Mr Gordon S

I'm 55, from Liverpool UK, in January 2001 I married a Russian lady Natalia from Omsk in Siberia. When we first became acquainted I noticed her address was 29 Volgogradsky in Omsk mine 29 Lowerson Rd in Liverpool, on my first visit to Siberia I noticed Natalia's front door faced number 27 and to exit to the street you would turn left, mine in Liverpool has an identical arrangement! Natalia my Russian wife has one sister whom has the same birthday as mine 16th November, Natalia has one brother whom has the same birthday as my son 10th October, Natalia's Siberian great grandmother's birthday is 2nd August which is the same birthday as my brother.
Total votes: 311
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:06:08 +0000Coincidence ID:3623

Birthday coincidence

Our first child was born on 11 October 1979 at 7pm. She was 3 weeks early and weighed just over 5lb. Following 2 miscarriages, our son was born on 11 October 1982 at 4.30pm, 10 days late. I suspect he may have been born a couple of hours later if the birth had not been induced at the last minute!
You voted 5. Total votes: 335
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:05:47 +0000Coincidence ID:3622

Meant to be?

My 22 year old son was killed in a road accident when his sister was on her honeymoon. The two siblings were very close and lived together on leaving home. The following year my daughter and her husband were looking to buy their first property, I and my daughter went to look at a small house 9 miles from her current home. She liked the property and during viewing she chatted to the owner. Unknown to us the lady selling the house was the policewoman that had attended my sons accident and spoke to him before he died..............................My daughter and her husband bought the property.
You voted 3. Total votes: 301
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:05:44 +0000Coincidence ID:3621