Finding a phone number in Kent

We had an official letter arrive here the other day from, but not addressed to us. The name, an English one, was circled by the post lady with a question mark as there was no road or number, only our LD. As there are only 12 foyers in our LD and I know of no English living here I assumed, quite correctly as it turned out, that it was a maison secondaire at the bottom of the hill in the garden of which I briefly saw a UK reg van a few weeks ago.

Confirmed that address at the local post office (the post lady could have done that :roll_eyes:) and then, at the Mairie today, an English address. But how the hell do you find UK phone numbers in these post directory days? Plenty of sites online say they can, but then only pass you on to yet more sites, been referred to half a dozen already without being any nearer an answer.

Anybody know how?

Why not just send the envelope to the UK address and let it go from there. I am sure once the french side dosn’t hear anything, they will step up their tracking these people down. BT used to publish numbers etc online but don’t think they do it anymore.


Well I could do but I would have to buy a larger envelope to send it in and I thought if they weren’t bothered I could save myself the trouble. For all I know they are on the road to come back here so it would be all for nothing. If it was as easy as it used to be in England, ringing directory enquiries, I could easily get a friend or family member there to do it for me.

If I were inyour shoes David, I would just put it in the post box, crossing off the address of the recipients and write "not known, return to sender. They won’t know who did that. Just put the local impôts address on it, it will find its way somewhere. You have enough on your plate already.



If the house (maison secondaire) has a letterbox… the letter can be popped therein…
It might well be that the Owner arranges for someone to check their Post from time to time… it’s their responsibility…

If they don’t have a letterbox, then simply give it back to the Postlady at your Postoffice… and tell 'em “it’s not me!” they can then move it on through the system (back to Sender/wherever)…

EDIT: one must be careful what one does with other folk’s mail… it’s best to err on the side of caution.


If you have the name, try zabasearch (free) or BT Phone Book

I’m with Stella on this one - if you can find a phone number, ring them and ask what they want done. otherwise - I strongly recommend returning it to the French post office marked “pas à cette adresse” - it’s not your job to be handling this at all.

I’ll try @GraemeL 's idea first although I have tried many like that and got nowhere, the trouble with putting it in the postbox is that it is only a small one and full already.
Saying wrong address or return to sender is not an option as it is the right address, albeit out of date because of the, relatively, new system.

The first one is for the USA only and the second one says thay can’t find him, even with a postcode, town name and road name.

So, stuffing it in the postbox seems the best thing and if he misses a deadline he should have organised himself better.

Frankly, “interfering” with the Mail is a big no-no… unless one has specific permission from the Addressee…

If there is a Letterbox, then use it… if not, give the letter back to the Postperson… or hand the letter to the Mairie and let them deal with it…
It’s not yours… give it back to the officials…

(I do know how easily a good-turn can become a horror-story)


It’s been offered already to both the local post office and the Mairie, in a way, I did explain that it had been posted in my box and the circling of the name and question mark made it very plain that the postlady knew full well it wasn’t me and decided to let the detective work be done by a fellow Anglo. None of the 3 offered or required it to be handed back.

The post lady should have done what I did, that is get the lady in the office to look up the correct address on her screen, as she did for me, but obviously couldn’t be arsed, so it will be stuffed in the postbox by hook or by crook tomorrow.

They are fulfilling their responsibility… “doing their best” to deliver the letter …
It’s your responsibility to refuse it… unless you are authorised to accept it.

stuff it in the letterbox or hand it in…
Sadly, if/when things go wrong… someone must be at fault/be blamed… and you don’t want to be involved (trust me…)

Just to add that the old BT phonebook didn’t have ex-directory people in it either and BT’s on-line version is the same, but excludes numbers provided by other services I think. Also, if they are “modern” people, they may not have a landline at all!

When I’m trying to track people down, I tend to go to social media - Facebook if they are “of a certain age”.

Yes, reading and thinking back on my response, you will be doing the right thing getting rid of it. Sometimes innocent acts of kindness can turn very nasty and you have witnesses as to your involvement. Maybe, sounds silly I know, but perhaps take a photo of said envelope going into their postbox (you could do it with a bit hanging out showing a close up of the address etc) and this would be your alibi. I take photos of anything now that could come back and haunt me in the future like meter readings and property issues.

@AngelaR Yes, I had a quick look at Facebook but the name is fairly common and there were dozens of ‘hits’, none of which seemed likely for this person.

@Shiba & @Stella , The mailbox is the very small type and is full, there is a magazine already jammed across the top but I will, as I said, force it in there and forget the matter. There are 2 people at fault here, the person who underestimated the build up of mail in such a small box knowing of their long absences and the postlady who did not fulfil her duty to deliver or return and instead passed the buck to someone else, me.

As to photos, no, bad enough to be spotted ramming a letter in a tight box, so much worse to be spotted lurking near an empty house with a camera. :roll_eyes:

As to evidence and witnesses, the excellent lady in the post office, always friendly and helpful, and the equally always helpful lady in the Mairie, who found the Kent addresse for me, will both bear witness to my involvement should it ever be needed.


I’m sure you can sleep easy… :wink: :wink:

Trying to be helpful can backfire…
Nowadays, I do not accept any letters on behalf of Others if I don’t have the authorization to do so from the Addressee.

I have a strict agreement with La Poste… they ask me where “so and so lives” and if I can’t tell them immediately, I note the name of the person they are seeking and inform them of my findings (or not… ) the same day or the next day…
If I can’t locate the address and La Poste can’t deliver it, they do whatever they have to do…

The JW’s seem very good at sniffing out english victims! They have even followed me down here so sent them packing with a few choice words I am afraid.

I love them! Such a good way to practise my French and she spoke some English so she could practise too. We’d chat for a good half hour and then her husband would just hand over their booklet and they’d go on their way. They haven’t been since Covid started and I quite miss them! :slight_smile:

Friends of ours used to get them helping in the garden. :slight_smile:

Edit: as I age my spelling gets worse practice/practise!


Haha… brilliant! I should try that next time they visit us :smiley:

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Thanks @SuePJ , couldn’t think what JWs were till your post. :roll_eyes:
Many years since I have seen them but yes, a very satisfying conversation listening to and debunking all their theories. When someone else answered the door in England and sent them away with a flea in their ears I was always most disgruntled. :rofl:

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We had this last year with a tax letter coming for the previous owner of the house. I was told to just send it back to the tax office, marked “not at this address”. This year theyve triedto contact him again but we won’t sign to accept the letter.

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