Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

Seeing Margaret Thatcher

I was reading a magazine while sitting in a plane waiting for takeoff at Madeira airport. The page I was looking at had a Schweppes advert which purported to show Margaret Thatcher visiting Jeffrey Archer in Prison. I happened to look up - and there was Margaret Thatcher herself looking at me. This was impossible I thought so I blinked and looked again. She was still there. In fact she and her husband were flying back to England from a holiday in Madeira and the plane's takeoff had been delayed to await their arrival at the airport. Their seats were just across the aisle from us.

ONE IN A BILLION

I worked at the British Embassy in Beijing in the eighties and on my return to the UK I went on a sightseeing trip to Hong Kong and then eventually to London. I flew from Beijing to Chungking on the Yangtste River where I took a boat down the river to a city called Wuhan. In Wuhan I boarded a train which took a couple of days (I think) to reach a very scenic tourist spot in the south of China called Guilin. As I got off the train I saw, amongst the teeming crowds, one of the British Embassy drivers with his wife who were obviously going on holiday. In a country of 1,000 million people I thought that was quite a coincidence.

Same Birthday

When I was at primary school there were three of us in the class with the same birthdays, day month and year. As a further coincidence it was the same in my wife's class at her primary school. Also my sister-in-law share the same birthday but not the same year.

Telephone number

During the months after the death of my wife in 1995 I was helped to deal with my loss by a female friend that I had not seen for some time and who had experienced a similar loss. I had written her number down on a cream coloured envelop. In the weeks that followed I agonised as to whether it would be appropriate for me to make a romantic approach to this friend. Finally deciding against the idea I tore the envelop into pieces and put them in a waste paper basket. Some days later on leaving my house I noticed a cream coloured piece of litter which had been pressed into the road tarmac by a car tyre. Vaguely recognising it, I picked it up and discovered that it was the fragment of the envelop that contained the telephone number. I made the call.

Living in Same Property, plus others

Unexpected meeting in Spain- Just after I left school in 1960 I went to Spain with seven others from my Scout Troop in a minibus. After touring across France and Spain we arrived in Alicante. When walking down the main plaza we bumped into two school colleagues, Tommy and Helen Jenkins. This was when few English people holidayed in Spain . Living in the same Property- This covers two coincidences concerning a flat in a large house ( 8, The Drive Walthamstow) my wife and I lived in when we were first married in 1968. a) Just after we moved in my mother told us that it was a house that they had also lived in for a while in between the wars. There was no previous discussion of where we were looking as my parents had been in New Zealand the previous 9 months. b) In the 1980's we went on a Flotilla sailing holiday to Greece. We discovered that the New Zealand skipper of the fleet, when he was in London, had also lived for a time in the same attic flat with the same strange landord. Unexpected meeting in Australia In 2003 my wife and I spent 3 months in Australia touring around in a hire car with no particular itinerary. On 28th Jan, my wife's birthday.

Same Birthday

We have three generations but four people with the same birthday in my family. My mother: Winifred Smith (nee Jennings (born Hereford, Herefordshire) 7th August 1933 Myself: Paul Andrew John Smith (born Hereford, Herefordshire) 7th August 1955 My eldest daughter: Natasha Alison Dawn Smith (born Truro, Cornwall) 7th August 1986 My son: Simon Ian John Smith (born Truro, Cornwall) 7th August 1987 I also got married (now divorced) on 7th August 1984 Neither myself, or my two children were planned! My daughter was born late and my son early and all of us were natural births!

Car plates match

I live in one of three similar houses in a village. Without collaberation, each family owns a dark blue car with the registration beginning WG07.

Prayer answered or Coincidence ?

As a newly converted catholic in the 1990s, when my father needed a serious operation, I decided to have a mass said for him. The operation was due for February of that year and so in early February I requested a mass be dedicated to my father, rather hoping that it would be at one of the February masses. My father was not religious and would not have welcomed or understood this request. I said in prayer, " I know my dad is very anti God but please let me know you are with him " The date of the mass allocated to my father was 26th March of that year. My father's operation did not take place in February - it was rescheduled for - 26th March at 6 p.m - the very time the mass was being said.

Mrs

My son has two children by two different partners, both children were born on 14th February, five years apart. My son shares his birthday with his neice, 34 years years apart.

Old Friend

My name is Beryl. I attended Holly Lodge High School in Liverpool. Whilst in sixth form I had 2 close friends, Shelagh and Pat. We left school in 1956. We three attended different Universities and lost touch for many years. We were all aware that we had married but because we were no longer close we neither attended weddings nor knew the nanes or professions of the three husbands. During the academic year 1986-87 I studied for a Master's Degree in Manchester University. One of my tutors was Professor Tom Christie. A man for whom I had great admiration. Following an inspiring lecture one morning I was discussing the content with a friend, at that time she was a lecturer in the Shcool of Education, and the conversation turned from the professional to the personal. This lecturer mentioned the nickname of Professor Christie's wife, Boz, in respect of something totally unconnected with the matter in hand. I did not immediately invest this name with any importance. However, much later in the conversation, I asked (apropos of nothing) the lecturer if she was aware of the proper name of Boz.

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