Bouncing Around Between Gloucester and Turkey
Hello, my name’s Mike Vickers and I lived and worked for most of my life in Gloucester, as betrayed by my distinctive West Country accent, but I’ve also recently lived Fethiye, a lovely coastal town in south-western Turkey. These two locations are on separate continents, so what path led me from one to the other?
To answer that, let’s start by dwelling for a brief moment on my life in the UK. Upon leaving school last century, I moved into mechanical engineering and became, because nobody else wanted the job, a self-taught technical author, writing operating and maintenance manuals for industrial compressors. You know the sort of thing: DO NOT press the START button while PURGE VALVE 667/DA is OPEN. Failure to observe this warning may lead to a traumatic loss of 1) trousers, followed by 2) dignity.
My later eclectic career diversification included working as an editorial assistant for a small publishing company, an author of fiction, on the tills at my favourite Co-Op store (brilliant fun) and for five years as by far the least productive Customer Sales Representative (Shop Assistant) ever employed by a national tile retail company, and as if all that isn’t varied enough for you, I also squeezed in a stint as Santa Claus at a local garden centre, where it was not clear whether my generous waistline was the result of a pillow stuffed up my shiny red jacket or whether it was actually all me!
So much for a seemingly settled life in the UK but unknown to me at the time, a single event was about to change all that.
I first visited Turkey in 1996 accompanied by Jan, my good friend and travelling partner, and we stayed at the Yakamoz Hotel in Ovacik, a village located in the hills above Fethiye. That week’s holiday in early May had a profound effect on my life because I instantly fell in love with the country, and that infatuation continues to this day.
To cut a long and very convoluted story short, Jan and I ended up running the Yakamoz between 2003 and 2009, helped along the way by my sister who also found herself beguiled by Turkey, so you can now add hotel owner to the above list of previous occupations.
After selling up and returning to the UK, Jan and I married and continued to visit Turkey virtually every year. However, time waits for no man, of course, and the diminishing luxuriance and greying of my hair was a gentle reminder that retirement now beckoned, so we returned to live there in early 2019, firstly in the picturesque village of Kayaköy and then in nearby Fethiye itself.
To say you know Turkey well would take an entire lifetime of exploration – it’s a really big country absolutely crammed with fascinating and beautiful sights – but we are very familiar our local area well and, over the years, have struck off in various directions; several times to Capaddocia, to Ankara, the capital, and to Kars in the extreme east. We would have travelled more, but the arrival of coronavirus disrupted our plans, as it did for everyone.
That said, we’ve already visited many really lovely locations and I’d like to share some of our experiences with you, to show you the physical beauty of Turkey as well as some of it’s more charming sights. It’s an engagingly quirky place where you sometimes have to rub your eyes to check if what you’re seeing is actually taking place. I can assure you, it is!
Not only does each photo capture a completely unique moment in time, it also, for me and I’m sure for many others as well, acts as a powerful memory trigger, something I’ve begun to appreciate more and more as I’ve got older. I’ve recently started to notice that almost everyone I meet nowadays is younger than me, but I can put hand on heart and say I’m genuinely OK with that. I worked for over four decades and now it’s enjoyment time, so we spent a wonderful extended stay in Turkey, the most amazingly bright, colourful, friendly and fascinating place I’ve ever seen, before returning home to sunny Gloucester in 2022.
So, here we go – welcome to Turkey, to all the other places we’ve visited over the years, to glorious Gloucestershire, and to my chatty website, where every photo has a story attached to it, where I can’t wait to introduce you to some of the most extraordinary sights I’ve ever witnessed, and where a slightly perplexed and often puzzled bloke from Gloucester collides head-on with modern technology.
Come on, what could possibly go wrong!