Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

life coincidence

I live in Turkey. A few years ago I met a lady who was at the same school as me, a year behind me. This school took in boarders of the local boarding school. I lived in the place I went to school. This lady lived in The Hague (I'm Dutch). We still both live in Turkey to date. Not only did she go to the same school in Zeist and we had never "met", but my grandfather was an artist and we had many artist acquaintances in common; memories from when we were very young. This was because her grandfather owned a museum.


In 1960 I began teaching in Lordswood Boys' Technical school. One of my colleagues there was Tom Davies. I left the school in 1963 and in 1968 took a post in up-country Kenya. Our nearest European shop was 35 miles away, in Kisumu, and one day in 1969 I looked along the counter only to see Tom standing there! He was teaching in Nairobi at the time. After retiring in 1991 I came to France to live and organised French lessons for the English there.

Public phone box

When I was 15 and shopping in town with a friend when I should have been working on a school project with the same friend, I walked past a public phone box just as it started ringing. I 'dared' my friend to answer the phone. She 'double-dared' me. I opened the door, answered the phone 'hello?' and my mum said 'hello charlotte. Are you coming home for dinner?'. I was so surprised I confessed all. It turned out that the phone box had the same number as my friend's home number bar one digit.

Glyn coincidence

I was expecting my cousin Glyn to phone from France at 6.45. At that time the phone rang and it was another Glyn, the only other of that name I had ever known

Dog Friends

We own two dogs, both West Highland Terriers, one called Maggie the other Vanilla. I made friends with someone on our street who also owned a (at that time 6 month old) Westie - coincidentally called Maggie. Little Maggie and Vanilla grew up (although not much as both are small for the breed) and were the best of friends. Sadly my friend, Kasey, moved back to San Francisco taking little Maggie with her and our long dog walks ceased. Six months later Kasey's sister came to London and wanted to visit Portobello where we live.

double Hastings visit

Having never been to Hastings before I got a job (I'm a photographer) there to do a business portrait. While driving there, I got a call from another client to do a job in Hastings the following day. There was initial confusion because I assumed that the two jobs must be connected - they were not connected in any way. Instead of driving back to London, and returning the next day, I booked into a lovely old hotel, and spent a great evening eating in a very nice restaurant, and visiting the castle. I have never been back since.

Mobile phone coincidence

When shopping in a local supermarket I bumped into a friend whom I hadn't seem for some time. While we were chatting, my mobile phone, which was in an inside pocket of my jacket, began to ring. Before putting the phone in my pocket I must have forgotten to lock the keypad and, reacting to my movements, the phone had set itself to the Contacts list. As I took the phone out to silence the ringtone, I glanced at the screen. It was displaying the contact details for the friend to whom I was talking .

Barry Higgs Pastetable and file

I needed an additional pastetable for a boot-sale and set off to buy one but down the road I found one lying in the road. I was due to hand over a rented property but the replacement key I had had cut didn't work. At 9.15 I visited a local ironmonger to buy a file to adjust the new key. The shopkeeper was very edgy. 'What's the problem' I asked. 'It's Monday' he replied, 'I've been open 15 minutes and you are the third person to come in and all each of you has bought has been a file. What the hell is going on'.

Watch incident!

I was shopping at the all night Sainsburys in Islington, when I looked at my watch and noticed the bezel was missing. My heart sank,as it was a Rolex submariner, and nothing Rolex comes cheap! The trolley I was pushing,was empty,(I'd only just arrived) except for a watch bezel! I picked it out and put it safely in my pocket. When I got home, I pulled out the bezel, hoping that I might be able to replace it myself, only to find, it wasn't the bezel from my watch, but a completely different make.


I returned from Northern Nigeria after two years as a teaching volunteer at a college just off the Niger boarder. I went for a drink in London with a University friend whom I hadn't seen for three years. We went for a drink, tried three pubs and ended up in a crowded one in Chelsea. I was speaking about my experiences and the people I worked with, in particular the other volunteer who had gone out with me but left after the first year and I had had no contact with. I described him, a large man with a bright ginger beard.