Three years ago Simon Hutson was in the depths of despair. Returning to work after a month’s recuperation from back surgery, the Wolverhampton designer discovered he was about to be made redundant. Simon tried to cheer himself with the thought that things couldn’t get worse. Two weeks later his girlfriend of eight years decided the couple should call it a day.
“The day [my ex girlfriend] moved out I felt like the unluckiest man on the planet,” says the 40-year-old. “I felt like crawling into a hole and not coming back out.”
In despair, he took some friends up on an offer to travel to Fethiye for a "rebound break". “I had nothing else to do,” he said. “I thought I would just drink steadily for a week and sit on the beach and lick my wounds.” Instead, Hutson found himself falling in love with the area – facilitated by Ceren, a Turkish woman he encountered on the beach on his second day.
|Simon's unexpected encounter on the beach led to the romance of a lifetime.|
“I was walking across the sand with two drinks and obviously wasn’t watching where I was going,” Simon recounts. “Suddenly a very, very pissed off – but very attractive - woman appeared in front of me and started shouting that I’d kicked sand in her face. She was so angry, I actually feared for my life!” Eventually Simon managed to explain that he didn’t make a habit of deliberately kicking sand into women’s faces and even convinced her to go for a drink with him – an impressive feat for someone who describes himself as “more neurotic than Woody Allen”.
Hairdresser Ceren took Simon on a tour of the area, showing him a side that most beach-centric tourists rarely see. His favourite place, he says, was Kayakoy. “The abandoned houses were really creepy but on a sunny day it’s a really spectacular spot.”
On the final day of his holiday, Simon proposed to Ceren. “My friends and family thought I was mad and desperately tried to talk me out of it,” he says. “But I’m a stubborn person and I just knew it was right.”
The couple married three months later – on the beach where Simon kicked sand into his bride’s eyes. The fairytale ending took a little while to materialise, as Simon had to tie up loose ends back home. However, as of April this year, the couple are happily living in Fethiye Town, with Simon freelancing for companies back in the UK. The former couch potato has taken up windsurfing and sailing, and would one day like to open a sailing school.
“I have never been happier – I cannot believe how much my life has changed in three years,” he says. “I can’t imagine moving back to the UK – I was there last week to meet with a client and couldn’t wait to get back to sunny Fethiye again!”