Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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


I had been lying in the lock-up ward of a large psychiatric hospital for some five months suffering from severe depression. One day I roused myself enough to think, "What are you doing lying there? Do you think angels are going to come and scoop you up in their wings and carry you over the high walls to freedom? If you want to get out of here you better do something about it yourself." I sat up. There on the ward floor was a discarded copy of the Sunday Express. I picked it up and flipped through it. My eye was caught by an article about a man sailing single-handed around the world.

Ypres Remembrance Day

A group of us from Andorra had been invited by the Anglican vicar of St Georges, Ypres to attend the November 11th Memorial service. On the day, we were told to follow him closely in the Remembrance parade. This was made easy by his flowing, poppy-red robes. As we approached the Menin Gate I saw no way we could get through the crowds. I decided to peal off to the left and try my luck there. Eventually I was brought to a standstill beside a suited, straight-backed gentleman with a tightly rolled umbrella. I glanced at him. He was wearing my father's Regimental tie.

Colombo airport

Our flight to Nepal had been delayed by two hours. There was a Caucasian man standing around looking as bored as I felt. Maybe he spoke English. He did. He asked me what I was doing in Sri Lanka. "Living on a boat," I replied. "That's interesting. One of my employees in New Zealand has just sailed around the world on a boat." "What's his name?" "Terry Banks" "Rally! His children are my guardian children." It was Christmas time so I bought them presents from a souvenir shop and the man promised to deliver them when he got home.

Similar unusual phrase from two sources

I was watching a music education video on Youtube when the phrase "this is music theory; not music fact" appeared on the screen. At that precise time, I received a message notification from a friend living and working over 2000km away stating "these aren't some theory, these are facts".

Harrow Weald

3 big Coincidences [1] when I started work at a stable in Harrow Weald in 1963, 5 miles from my home there was a person, male my age, name Nick . And when I went to visit my cousin in Hatchend [ 5 miles from my home ] I met her husband to be and he was the brother of the same Nick . We had met brothers coincidentally. We married IE cousins married brothers all by coincidence . [2] also at the stables there was a girl Anne who had been at school with me age 5 .

Name coincidence

My mother, who was called Primrose Broomhead, died recently. For her funeral I decided I would wear a black dress but because she loved flowers and her name was Primrose I thought I would like to wear a scarf with primroses on it. I googled scarf and primroses and then looked at the links. One of them seemed to fit the bill and I looked on the website of the person who was selling the scarf. When I looked at the contact details imagine the shock I had when my maiden name jumped out at me, Valerie Broomhead.

Family connection

In 1973 I travelled with my parents to Waldau in the Black Forest to try to find information about the Fehrenbach family from whom my father descended. We found living, my father's 3rd cousin Eduard Spiegelhalter & his wife Berta, who helped us draw up a rough family tree, & told us that the family business in London had been at 81, Mile End Road, East London. Some months later I decided to start collecting old postcards, & went to a huge postcard fair. There were hundreds of dealers & millions of cards, & I chose just one, for the picture.

Strange route to an old acquaintance

This all happened on the same day, 29th November, 2017. </p> <p> I saw, by chance, a reference to a long, long defunct American magazine called 80-US. I remembered being an avid reader, and also having had an article published in it, so I searched on it and found that it was not only well referenced on the web, but some copies were downloadable in a multitude of formats and they included the edition with my article in it. It was the February, 1983 edition. </p> <p>Later that morning a friend called me and I told him about it.

People I Have Worked With

I worked with someone for 10 years and discovered a number of curious similarities. Our mothers share the same name - Sylvia. His father was an amputee, as was mine. His birthday was the same as my husband. We had just one child each, both girls with names beginning with 'C'. Finally, we were both working/living in New York during 1976 although we never met while there. Also, while in New York in 1976, and in the course of my work, I had contact with a travel agent who, noting my accent, mentioned he had a relative who was currently living in the UK - in Surrey did I know it?

Obscure words

Roughly 20 years ago I was sent for work to visit a house in a small village about an hour from where I lived. I had never previously been to the village and the address I was given was fairly nondescript, something like 12, Church Street but no house name was given. On the way down I was thinking of a friend of mine from school days [20 years previously] and his brother, who I knew a little. The brother had recently married a girl who was studying shoe design in London at Cordwainers College, part of the London school of fashion.