Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

Swimming event

Jessica (my current classmate) and I went to a non-school swimming event at the Sun Moon Lake two years ago. That happens right after I met her when school started that year. The swimming event happened in September, and the school started in August. We were 9th grade, and we knew we both went to the same place after the event (I saw her post on Facebook).

video game coincidence

When I was little, I am playing a game called seer51. I love playing that game the main thing to do in the game is to get as many monster you can, just like pokemon. When I was playing I have a very good online friend called 關羽, he is very good at this game and teaches me a lot about seer51, but after a few months, I and 關羽 don't play seer51 anymore, until I came to kueishan and met a student named Steven. We started chatting and talked about games. He said when he was small he likes to play seer51 and I said me too, then I asked his ID and he said it was 關羽.

Ancestor Stories

While chatting with a new acquaintance at a new school, we realized that the ancestors on both of our dads' sides had retreated to Taiwan during the Chinese civil war, and that we both have relatives on our moms sides who was doing business in Indonesia at the moment.


We go clay pigeon shooting from time to time at Fyfield about an hour's drive from our home. The first time we took the wrong lane having missed the (rather small) direction sign, just short of the club. We arrived at a farm house and my wife got to ask the way. To her amazement the woman who greeted her was an old friend from her horse riding stable, who she had lost touch with some years ago. (So, we remained there for some while as they chatted).


When I worked for the BBC it had a large collection of firearms used in drama productions, and retained a small team of retired police officers to deal with security, safety, licensing etc. These were in an armoury with a huge steel door in the basement of the TV studio scenery block. Later these were "outsource" to an agency and we took the, now empty, room to use for storing our IT Network spare parts.

JGR is walking in

When I was a student (many years ago), I spent a year in France as a teaching assistant in a school. During the Christmas break I travelled to Italy (Milan) to visit a fellow student who was also spending her year abroad. During my visit, we often talked about one of our lecturers (JGR I'll call him after his initials) whom we both liked and she had a bit of a 'thing' (intellectual rather than romantic) about him. He was of part Mediterranean background and could easily have been taken for Italian in looks.


I was at university in the late 1980's and after I left I noticed one girl who I knew well by sight, walking around London several times in the course of a few weeks. Later my director of studies got on the Underground train right next to me on one of her few trips down to London and another girl on my course was sitting right next to me at a touch typing course that I paid to go on the following year, back in London.


When I was a student at Cambridge in the late 1980s one of my professors was Timothy Smiley, who had several daughters. I found out in the early 1990s, after I'd returned to work, that one of them was the girlfriend of the person who sat in front of me in the office!

Another UK/Australia link...

Circa 1980: I took the car from home in Nottingham down to London, to attend a concert on the South Bank. Arriving late morning, I parked near the British Museum and spent some time there before doing some shopping. Returning to the car I wondered whether to leave the car there while I went to the concert, or to take it to the South bank. I decided on the South Bank. Once there I had to decide where to park: on the street or in the National Theatre car park? I headed for the NT.


August 2004: Our son having finished his GCSE exams, we took the opportunity to have a long holiday in far-away Australia, our tour ending in Sydney. We went to the Opera House Concert Hall for a matinee concert by the Sydney SO of Brahms and Bartok. The piece played as an encore was unfamiliar to me, and afterwards on the quayside I approached another middle-aged couple and asked if they knew what the piece was.