Robert Jepson was born in 1961 in a sleepy little village, Great Paxton, in Huntingdonshire, England, his life has taken on many twists and turns and well, we’ll let him tell his own story.
Welcome to you for stopping by to visit my blog, I hope you find something here to stimulate thought or to inspire you. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than to connect with like minded people through my blog or yours, no boundaries of distance or nationality; wonderful!
From an early age I knew I wanted to go to sea, something about the sea and ships infiltrated my blood once we moved to the fishing town of Fleetwood, Lancashire when I was 7 years old. As my education progressed I decided to leave school at the age of 16 to pursue a career in the Royal Navy. Embarking on a further five years of studies I became an electrical engineering technician and began to sail the high seas.
My father was a marine artist, predominantly painting scenes of 17th to 19th century sailing ships; clipper ships, sea battles etc. He owned an old converted life boat and made a promise to me that if I gave up my desire to join the Royal Navy, then one day the boat would be mine and he would teach me everything he knew about art and painting; together we would become of the few great father/son artist partnerships.
I was too young, set on my ‘safe’ career path at the time, but I am sometimes given to wondering ‘what if?’
I crossed the Atlantic Ocean to America and South to the Falkland Islands and South Georgia where I paid respects at the Grave of Earnest Shackleton in that desolate, distant, wind swept location. I witnessing balmy days in the tropics and sailed through wild, winter, north Atlantic storms.
I ventured to northern Europe, to Holland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and my heart soared at the majesty of the Norwegian Fjords.
Regularly heading to southern Europe lead to several stops in Lisbon, Portugal and the rock of Gibraltar was passed many times, the gateway to the Mediterranean where I visited most of the countries on it’s northern shore; all tourists spots covered, St Peters Square, the leaning tower of Pisa, the Colosseum et al.
Venturing further east on patrol in the Persian Gulf I became familiar with Dubai, Bahrain, the UAE and Sharjah; with a visit to Karachi, Pakistan thrown in, where I discovered the true taste of Asian cookery. Passing through the Red Sea I took the opportunity to see Cairo, taking delight in the museum and standing in awe at the entrance to the Great Pyramid with the same unfathomable appreciation of the infinite one feels when looking at the vastness of the Milky Way on a clear night. A brief period of ‘Relaxation and Recreation’ was spent in Mombasa, Kenya, where yet another culture was observed, though with similarities to every other; the rich and the poor, their two different worlds.
Somewhere towards the end of this period I took on another persona in my spare time, that of a ‘lifestyle biker’, owning a stable of three machines, two of which were custom motorcycles, mixing with bikers, drinking with bikers, and spending most weekends in the summer camping at bike shows and rallies.
The Navy career continued for 16 years during which time I rose to the rank of Chief Petty Officer. But throughout this period I was aware of a deep yearning, a feeling that set me apart from my colleagues, a desire to create.
When the time came for change I embarked on a path to follow in my fathers footsteps as an artist, a painter and moved to the Isle of Man where I still live. My love of ships told me to paint them and the sea, just as he did. Life changed, my daughter was born and, needing a decent regular income…..I quit. I didn’t fail, a word not in my dictionary, but quit. These are the only two choices in life, to succeed or quit. If you pursue with determination, acquisition of the relevant knowledge and a rigorous plan you will succeed. I simply gave up, wrong time and place.
A brief spell was spent as a postal worker and then two years as a police officer, at the culmination of which divorce loomed just as my ex-wife and I were planning set sail across the Atlantic on our own yacht.
A new job took hold at that time, back to my original career in engineering as a maintenance technician at a power plant, after a few years taking I took a sideways promotion to the operations department and taking the role of Shift Manager, now not only an electrical engineer but a steam plant engineer!
That is still my day job after 10 years, enjoyable and rewarding but the desire to create has never left. For years I struggled to renew my painting career, highs and lows with failed relationships breaking momentum. Then a realisation dawned on me, with the fixation on painting as my vision of creativity I had missed another avenue that had interested me many years ago, writing! The epiphany that I could do this anywhere, anytime with minimal equipment and no requirement for a dedicated studio; a revelation! Painting is awesome, to fill a canvas with colour, to make an image which moves and brings joy. But writing…….in writing one can create a whole new world, characters, situations, there are no limits, only the imagination. It is the closet thing to playing God,
pure creation with words. You can write a story which causes people to laugh one moment and cry the next or you can tackle the deepest questions of our existence.
And so, a year ago I became a writer. Note, I AM A WRITER. I am not published, yet, but as of October 2014 I am working on my second novel. I mention that for any ‘aspiring writers’ who may read this. If you are writing regularly, you are a writer, right now. Not ‘aspiring’, ‘want to be’, ‘hope to be’, ‘fledgling’, but a writer!
I may paint again, one day, but for now my goals are orientated around novel writing, and, of course, this blog 🙂
So what is the deeper part of me, the person behind these labels of ‘writer’, ‘engineer’, ‘sailor’ etc?
1. I am vegan, for several reasons;
a) I believe it is a healthier diet
b) I love animals – there is no such thing as compassionate farming, there cannot be when the bottom line is money, when the ultimate goal is to use an animal or kill it for profit. And if we do not need to eat animal flesh to survive, then why kill? Don’t tell me you’re willing to kill because it tastes good! The food I eat tastes fantastic 🙂
c) the environment – fact; increasing world consumption of meat is unsustainable. Many, many, more people can be fed a vegetable diet from a given acreage of land that a meat based diet. Beyond that, the water, fuel and chemicals required cause increased pollution.
2. I have deep spiritual beliefs and a strong feeling of where we come from and where our race is going. I do not believe in ‘God’ in the traditional sense, but a creative spirit that permeates all of creation, everything is connected, it has an intelligence but not in our limited understanding of the word. I am not religious but I believe Buddhism is the closet belief system to the truth and something I am very interested in.
3. I love nature and dislike cities. A short break in a city to admire historic buildings, visit museums or theatre I can deal with. But I prefer peace and natural surroundings, hills, mountains, trees, lakes, rivers, streams and the sea.
4. I love animals, especially cute furry ones 🙂
5. I love music, many genres from heavy rock, to folk through easy listening to heavy classical. I try to play guitar, occasionally. Not particularly well, but I haven’t quit:) The same with singing. I my early days in the Navy I learnt to play the trombone in a marching band and in childhood learnt the piano, though both I have been unable to pursue.
6. I love Indian food! Most of my home cooking and eating is Indian. A far cry from the normal restaurant food which is altered to suit western tastes, the real McCoy is healthy, colourful and an easy style to produce vegetarian or vegan food, so much of traditional Indian cookery is vegetarian.
7. Sailing is my greatest out door pleasure, I have a large yacht which I take up to the Western Isles of Scotland, usually twice a year, where I live in the sliver of space where I truly am! In beautiful scenery, exploring, adventuring and, of course, eating Indian food 🙂
And that’s me! Of course there is so much more, maybe I’ll write my memoirs one day 🙂 But enough for now to give you a better feel for who I am. It has taken months to get around to updating this page but it has been worth it. The previous was…. well, pitiful really 🙂 But there’s so much to get one’s head around when starting a blog and better late than never!
Thanks for taking the time to read, all feedback is welcome (good or bad!) here or on my posts, comments are what keeps the blogosphere alive and vibrant!
Peace and blessings
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