Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

DIY Tool

A couple of weeks ago I started doing some DIY - building some walls using plaster board fixed to a metal framework. I'd been told that I needed to get a special tool to crimp the sections of metal frame together so I looked on the internet for it. I live in France so was searching in French but didn't know the correct name of the tool and had a stab at various word combinations and eventually came up with pince à expansion; From the picture of the tool it was clear that it wasn't the one I needed although it said it was for plaster board. I'd never seen this tool before and couldn't work out how it might work ( I eventually found the right tool by trawling through the shelves at the local Brico-Depot). As I was looking at the webpage our doorbell rang. It was a friend from a few doors away, Jean-Louis, who wanted to borrow something. My French isn't great and his English about the same so there was a lot of umminng and erring and gesticulating and eventually he demonstrated using what in English would be a cavity wall anchor plug that he needed the tool to pull the bolt out causing the plug to expand behind the plasterboard. The exact tool that I had just been looking at online.
Total votes: 276
Date submitted:Sat, 09 Nov 2019 23:52:53 +0000Coincidence ID:10367


My mother gave birth to me, June 12th. My mother Expected to give birth to my brother on my birthday, but delivered 4 months early exactly on February 12th. My oldest sister gave birth to her second daughter on her fathers birthday. May 18th. My my second oldest sister gave birth to her oldest son, March 20th exactly 1 year later she gave birth to another son, March 20th. I gave birth to my son on my 18th birthday. June 12th. My second oldest sister gave birth to another boy, sharing his birthday with his older brothers. March 20th. March 20th is my nephews fathers fathers birthday. (Grandpa dads side) March 20th is my nephews mothers grandmothers and grandfathers wedding anniversary (great grandparents mothers side)
Total votes: 283
Date submitted:Mon, 04 Nov 2019 12:53:11 +0000Coincidence ID:10365

The T Shirt

I belong to a group who puts on a folk music festival (the South Country Fair) the 3rd weekend of July every year in a relatively small town (population less than 3,000) in Southern Alberta, Canada. The festival is not huge by some standards - lets say 1200 attendees or so a year - but we have our own merchandise which includes SCF shirts for our attendees and one in a different colour for our volunteers. In the summer of 2010 my future son-in-law silk screened a batch of SCF T shirts for the directors, let's say 50 or so shirts. There may have been more but that's the number I recall. In May of the following year my 82 year old dad and I were in Accra, Ghana. Dad had moved our family from Saskatoon Canada to Cape Coast Ghana in 1969 where we'd lived for 5 years. This was our first trip back and we had hired a driver to take us to the home of an old friend of dads that he hadn't seen in 40 years. Accra has a population of over 1.5 million and we'd been driving for over an hour, winding deeper and deeper in to the city while our driver was on and off the phone with our friend, finding our way to his home. By this point we were on red clay roads, with single story buildings surrounding us and not many street markers, relying only on our friend at the end of the line to guide us through the maze. When our driver's SIM card ran out of money then, we had to find a spot to pull over and buy another one at one of the many kiosks lining the road. We pulled over and stopped. The streets were packed with pedestrians and vehicles. I looked up to see a man walking towards us wearing THE VERY T-SHIRT THAT MY FUTURE SON-IN-LAW HAD MADE 10 MONTHS PRIOR. I dismissed it as having been mistaken, turned to my dad but then thought I better confirm. And as the man walked by, I could see it very clearly. I knew the person that had made that exact T shirt. I leapt out of the car and ran down the street to stop him and ask him about the shirt. I must have startled him and I think frightened him a bit but I wanted to know the story. Sadly I was not able to figure it out as he didn't speak English but I did get a photo with him to prove that it really happened. While half way across the world, in a city of over 1.5 million, I looked up to see a man wearing one of 50 T shirts my son-in-law made 10 months prior. I'll never forget that moment.
Total votes: 334
Date submitted:Mon, 28 Oct 2019 18:06:06 +0000Coincidence ID:10364

Name on a brick

I have an allotment, in Edinburgh, and of the eight which surround mine (including the ones that touch just at a corner) two have water taps. I've been there for 10 or more years, and filled a bucket or attached a hose more times than I could count. In April 2019 there I was, idly filling a bucket, my eyes wandering over the adjoining plot next to the tap. Some tidying up... some weed-suppressing matting weighted down by bricks. And on the old bricks (an allotment area is full of them - making paths, walls, props, movable weights) are the brick-makers names. One name - AUCHINLEA - popped out at me. I'd never seen a brick with this name on before, and here were two, within touching distance. I felt that heart-stopping lurch which you get - the adrenalin surge or whatever it was. This was a real coincidence that shocked me. It was like lottery numbers coming up. </p> <p>In March I had just finished a family tree blog, which I'd researched for a year or so, on and off, and worked on heavily over a month - I'd been discovering some of my great-grandfather and great uncle's business interests - I'd known the name "Auchinlea" since childhood, when we used to drive past a great big factory with the work written in ?metres-high? print in the wall. Made out of bricks. "My grandfather used to own that" said my father. This was near Wishaw / Bellshill. </p> <p>I do family history, as noted, and have always known about the Auchinlea Coal Company Ltd - we have metal box with the name on the lid, and so on. But I didn't know about brick-making... I thought this big building my father referred to was a coal mine, and had only recently discovered the connection. </p> <p>In February-March, my research write up had been themed around *bricks* and brick-making. The Auchinlea Quarry and Brick Company had come into my view due to a comment I had found: "Originally called Omoa Quarry (later Cleland Quarry), Auchinlea Quarry belonged to S King & Co; then Auchinlea Coal Co until 1934 then finally Auchinlea Quarries & Brickworks Ltd. During 1923 Auchinlea Coal Company’s annual output was 160,000 tons of coal. Auchinlea Brickworks was purchased by a Mr. Leggat (Senior) in 1931, and operated until 1976." (posted by someone on 11/08/2018 and discovered by me while searching.) </p> <p>I had consciously considered the possibility of finding a brick with "Auchinlea" written in it, had consulted a web-site of a brick collector, and had wondered if I would ever see such a brick, "in the flesh". I'd thought about visiting the location and rooting around for bricks. (A later visit with my sister and brother did indeed lead to a family brick in exactly the sort of location you'd predict.) </p> <p>What mattered here was that a brick from the west of Scotland showed up under my nose, where I'd stood so often before, and would have recognised the name, just as I was idly looking at bricks (not even picking them up to examine them, or anything). The "easiness" of the discovery was startling in the moment, and really creepy for some time afterwards, as well as the timeliness and the unexpected location.<br /> I documented it online, here: <a href=""></a>
Total votes: 318
Date submitted:Mon, 28 Oct 2019 08:18:13 +0000Coincidence ID:10363

Christmas incident

One year my horrid in- laws were going to visit for Christmas dinner. I had really tried hard and pulled out all the stops. Bought a little picnic table that could fold up into a carry case. I’d put the table up which folded out into two benches and a table with an umbrella. I was in South Africa then so it was warm at Christmas. Well that table looked great in the garden and my small daughter was so excited with the decorations from the middle umbrella to the house roof. And I had put the lamb leg roast and ham out with the vegetables on the table. Rachael was watching the whole scene and the door bell rang as they were here. Excitement high I ran to the door. Greeting and telling them to run to the back to see what we had done. These were people who could not be easily entertained. I arrived at the garden to disaster. My daughter had bounced on the edge of one of the foldout seats, destabilizing the table and the whole thing folded out and the vegetables and meat had flown to the ground with the velocity and my bulldog greeted them and me at the dog with lamb in his mouth. My mother in law made sandwiches with the bread!!!!! She has brought to share. That was Christmas dinner 1993. What are the odds of me actually pleasing people who don’t see my worth or my ability as all I try seems to go wrong when they are around :)
Total votes: 327
Date submitted:Fri, 18 Oct 2019 20:56:42 +0000Coincidence ID:10361

Scoot on as scooters do

When I was 11 years old I was over a friends house playing. I rode my razor scooter over to his house that day which was one of my favorite toys. At some point his dad came home and yelled up the stairs that he’s sorry for whoever’s scooter was out front because he had ran it over. I was so upset and hoped he was joking with us but I went out front and there it was mangled....they never offered to replace or even compensate at all which stuck with forward 16 years...still young at heart and enjoying the thrill of being on wheels me and a friend approached a bike shop on our bikes because he needed to replace his tire I waited outside where two kids on scooters were talking about their scooters and their new gear ...then I thought back to all my memories from the days Of scootering and that day when I was 11 and my friends dad had crushed my favorite and that friend grew apart at around 14 and I haven’t talked to him since 18 years old or seen his father...I am now 28 ..after my flashback to the days of scootering my ex friends father walked right out of the bike shop ! Gave me a look of resemblance and uncertainty but kept quiet and proceeded to get in his truck here I am 17 years later just another random day with random choices and no intentional path i encounter kids on scooters indulge in the nostalgia of them and have a flashback to only have the man in my thoughts walk out of this random bike shop with nothing in hand “what are the odds” this coincidence was strong and really had me contemplating the laws of life
Total votes: 307
Date submitted:Tue, 15 Oct 2019 19:57:04 +0000Coincidence ID:10360

Angie Arcila

2019 has been a rough year for our family ever since my dad’s passing Memorial Day 2016 life has gotten very complicated financially and emotionally so this month October/2019 has been hard I’ve Been out of work due to our disabled child being sick so am out on ny pfl “payed family leave” and my husband has been out of work for almost a year so money has been tight and am just going back to work in three days so unfortunately my gas was shut off and we are bathing with water I heat up in a microwave so then my microwave went dead and about two days go by then on Columbus Day we went out for a walk and then our neighbor who is never a friend or even talks to me said do you need a microwave am throwing mine out cause I bought a new one so I accepted with a smiling on my face I told her I was needing a microwave since mine died but I don’t think she even believed me but I know in my heart it was more than coincidence and someone is watching over our family!
Total votes: 314
Date submitted:Tue, 15 Oct 2019 06:15:27 +0000Coincidence ID:10359

Gut feelings

Met this person for the very first time at a social event just as I was about to leave, they left quite an impression on me and I ended up staying longer, running late to some other place I had to go to. Then, as I left, I had this very strong feeling that they might come to the same place as I was going (there was an event scheduled there too, but it was a very niche kind of event). Two hours later they showed up to event 2 and we crossed paths just as they entered the main room. I was very surprised and almost said "I knew you were coming". For reference, I knew nothing about this person except for name and where they used to live until recently, so I had no way nor any leads to assume that this would happen...
Total votes: 322
Date submitted:Fri, 11 Oct 2019 22:43:04 +0000Coincidence ID:10358

Lost friend's location on front page

In the early 1980s I was in Stockholm and was soon going to go to Paris where an old friend from high school used to live. It had been a few years and I didn't know if she still lived there. I thought I would need to call my parents in Chicago to ask them to call her parents (also in Chicago). That day I missed a train and had to wait an hour for the next one so I bought a Wall St Journal. On the first page (column one I think) the first sentence was "Ellen S... just moved into a new apartment in Paris..." - the article was about the French telephone company and it started with a personal interest story about how hard it was to get a new phone line in those days. But I found out when I saw her that the coincidence wasn't as great as it appeared. A mutual friend from high school was the European editor of the Wall St Journal and knew Ellen well and suggested a reporter contact her for this story.
Total votes: 303
Date submitted:Fri, 11 Oct 2019 15:27:50 +0000Coincidence ID:10357

In Memory of Bruce "Crazy Horse" Hardy

For the last month or so I've been watching "High Way Thru Hell" series on Netflix. The last three days been watching S3 Ep 10 and just didn't watch it right through like I would usually. But today on the 10th of October I did and at the end of the Episode saw that it was dedicated to Bruce Hardy. So curious me goes and Google's his name to find out a bit more regarding when he passed away. I came across a Facebook Group "In Memory of Bruce Crazy Horse" Hardy where someone just posted 2hrs ago that he died on this day 10th of October 2014. What's the chances of that happening. I suppose it does happen. It just seems to happen to me alot.
Total votes: 271
Date submitted:Thu, 10 Oct 2019 10:36:10 +0000Coincidence ID:10356