Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

Drinks Party

Still recovering from the fact that our respective mother-in-laws had at the age of ten shared a cabin on a banana boat as they were evacuated to the West Indies, we just had to go to Barbados for our honeymoon. A friend of mine, Bill, heard about this and told me he had a house on Barbados and we must come and see him and gave me his phone number. I forget the exact number but let's say it was 26075.

Open by Christmas

I had been driving past a scrap of land for weeks in the city centre that had been flattened ready for some sort of development. I had always wondered what One day I found myself walking past and saw two isolated workmen - motionless, leaning on their spades. As I walked the remaining 100 yards or so along the path to the point closest to them, I became frustrated by the lack effort going into the project. It bothered me that I didn't know what the land was to be used for or when the building work would be completed and vowed to find out some how.

Mr

I met one of my 3 brothers on a walk in Macclesfield forest. My brothers live on the Chesterfield side of the Pennines , I live on the Manchester side of the Pennines. We both hd not walked in this area and do not communicate on where we are going to walk. he walks about 20 times a year we walk about 20 times a year but mostly in Wales. It was a nice warm day so decided to go for a walk at short notice, he had planned the walk with friends in advance. What are the chances of us meeting on the same day?

Encounter with a star

Visited the National Portrait Gallery and there was an exhibition of photos of English actors and actresses from the 1950s and 1960s. My wife and I for some reason stopped at the picture of Rita Tushingham and both reflected that we never seem to hear of her these days or see her. Next day we went to Euston Station and, having treated ourselves to first class tickets, were waiting in the first class lounge. Standing in a corner and talking on her mobile phone was . . . Rita Tushingham.

Chance meetings

I live in Durham, was staying in Edinburgh with wife, crowded restaraunt, asked to share table with two women - mother and daughter from NW Scotland mother was cousin of my ex's wife, daughter went to school with ex's children. On another occasion I parked my bike in an office doorway in Kinlochbervie to shelter from rain and sort out a problem withbike, it was a Sunday so didn't think it was a problem, it turned out to office of same ex-girlfriend's husband. Ended up having dinner at their house.

meeting neighbour

This happened three years ago. (sorry I can not be more specific with dates) I was visiting the Treck Cliff Cavern, Blue Jon mine in Hope Valley, Derbyshire on business. After the business was concluded I was taken down the mine and cavern by one of the guids. We (the guide and I) were in a bit of the mine not normally open to the public when a party of tourists passed on its way out from the cavern. In that party were a neighbour and his wife. I was so surprised I could not even speak and they passed by oblivious to my presence. To put this in context.

The Coindcidental Call

I started a job in a call centre. The very first day that I worked there, in fact within the first hour, a call came through from someone who lived in the town where my Granfather lives and where I had my Christening...I mentioned in passing that my Grandfather lived near him and he asked who my Grandfather was Low and behold he had been a friend and colleague of my Grandad & he had been at my Christening - 25 years previously

Have you listened to the radiolab story about the balloon?

The radiolab podcast (www.radiolab.org) had an episode called Stochasticity (I may have spelt that wrong) Had a story about a girl called Laura Buxton, who lived in Staffordshire, who let a balloon go with a note asking whoever found it to send it back to her. It was found by a girl the same age who was also called Laura Buxton. It's a great coincidence story - give it a listen if you're interested http://www.radiolab.org/2009/jun/15/ The main guy behind radiolab is on twitter: @jadabumrad if you want to get in touch with him

Seats at Twickenham

We met some old friends in Leicester at a party and were very envious to hear they had tickets to a concert there when we hadn't managed to secure any. Anyway as part of our 40th birthday treats my husband promised to go on ebay and see if he could find any tickets being resold for the same day as their tickets. They gave him the number of the stand/block they were going to be in but not the actual seat details. We eventually found some tickets on ebay in the same stand and on the day, when we met up together, we realised we were actually sitting right next to them.

I once met a professor of the public understanding of risk

A few years ago I went to a meeting in Cambridge. On the last evening I was dragged (willingly) to a talk about how J.S. Bach tuned his harpsichord. By some amazing coincidence I bumped into Prof. Spiegelhalter, who is now asking about coincidences. (in context this is more remarkable than it sounds, although not really much more)

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