The property known as Gee’s, Hereford Street : Picturing Canterbury

Photograph of property known as Gee’s, Hereford St. Christchurch City Libraries, CCC-AFStacey-034

Coincidences happen, don’t they???

When Mister Bishi, aka Dave, was a stripling, he and a friend left Sydney and travelled overland to the U.K. They were at a bookstall in Connaught Circus in the middle of New Delhi (along with goodness knows how many other thousands) when he overheard some English travellers with very distinctive Birmingham accents (Brummies to fellow Brits).

Being a Brummie himself, he soon found out they were heading to Sydney and offered to give them some names and addresses in Sydney where they could get a bed. Turns out they already had a few, and lo and behold, they were the same people whosw details Dave was about to pass on.  Much head shaking and “Would you read about it” and then… “Oh, and we have the names of a couple of brothers also. Do you know Dave and Trevor Bishi?”

Cover of The Coincidence AuthorityNow I call that a coincidence, but Dr Thomas Post, The Coincidence Authority, would disagree. Using mathematics he would have me believing the odds were quite high for this to happen. Regularly referred to as the Coincidence Man, Tom, a lecturer in Applied Philosophy at a large London University, is quite confident of his ability to explain logically why events others see as coincidences, just plain aren’t.

It could be said he is a tad arrogant. Until the “unlikely” event of a human pile up at the bottom of a long escalator in the depths of Euston Station. He breaks an arm and is entwined with a lovely young woman while they both wait to be rescued from under the mess of suitcases and bodies.

Tom would very much like to meet the lovely young woman again, but has no idea of her name or anything else. But of course this is a book about coincidences and Azalea Lewis comes to him for help as a coincidence expert. Her life from a Manx village to Uganda and to the present has been a series of extreme coincidences. She has tracked down the history of her birth mother and now knows that there are three men who might be her biological father. Azalea and Thomas’s lives become entwined as they try to make sense of what has happened and what she believes will happen.

The story moves at a good pace and frequently I was reluctant to put it down and finish my lunchtime reading. The coincidences are out of the ordinary, but I wanted to solve the mysteries of Azalea’s life as much as she did.

I picked up this book simply because of the cover.  Never heard of the author before and wasn’t really sure I wanted to be bothered reading it when I got it home. However, once started I was hooked. Hence this blog: I like ’em, you hear about ’em!

Cover of Coincidences, Chaos, and All That Math JazzTo really get to the bottom of the odds or chances of something happening there is Coincidences, chaos and all that math jazz with the mathematical theories in a readable fashion. Helping to understand simple things deeply.

With chapter headings such as “Origami for the Origamically Challenged” (me) and “A Synergy Between Nature and Number” it covers all the title promises. And it’s readable for the scientifically challenged.

Where do you sit on the coincidence fence? How remarkable do you think Mr Bishi’s experience was?