Alan & Kay Santillo

Kay and Alan met in Plymouth in 1965, when Kay was 12 and Alan 14. This was obviously a shock to the system and they went their separate ways until 1967, when Kay was studying for O-levels and Alan was attending Plymouth Polytechnic, training to be a Radio & Electronics Officer in the Merchant Navy. Life together became a bit tricky when Alan was later employed by the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) and went away to sea. After hundreds of letters and much soul searching during many tortuous months apart, Alan left the RFA in January 1971. They were married 5 months later and lived in a Sprite Alpine caravan in Bristol, which frankly is no mean feat. In 1972, they moved back to Plymouth, where they earned a living during the day and worked on the ramshackle house they had bought during evenings and weekends.

In 1974, they cut loose and went to sea for 3.5 months on a fridge cargo vessel, where Alan was the Radio & Electronics Officer. They managed to visit Long Beach in California, Corinto in Nicaragua and various ports in Japan (after surviving a hideous typhoon that went off the scale in the Pacific Ocean) before deciding it was time to seek terra firma again and go home.

This time home was Dover, where Alan worked on the cross channel ferries and Kay became very lonely, homesick and pregnant. In January 1976 they moved to Saltash in Cornwall and in May 1976, moved into the home in which they still live. Their son Daniel was born in June 1976 and in July 1981, their daughter Rachel was born. Their joy was complete - truly! Unfortunately, other areas needed a bit of attention, not to mention blood, sweat and tears. What more can be said? Life happened, sometimes with a capital L. Sometimes with profane asterisks in front of the capital L. However, over the years they developed a shared love of gardening, plus an abiding quest to find out what life with a capital L is all about. The quest continues - so do the weeds - shalom!

Kay Santillo

I was born in Plymouth in 1952, during a thunderstorm (no known relevance). As an only child, I felt I had a happy childhood, although looking back I can see I was sometimes rather lonely. Perhaps this led to expressing myself in writing - it certainly led to writing OXO (no culinary relevance) on the wallpaper not long after I could hold a pen.

School was bearable until 1968, when I dropped out of A-levels to work in the Children Department, Social Services, which was the only job I ever felt had any meaning. I was just on the clerical staff, but I did a lot of writing (no proven relevance). In 1971, however, it was either keep the job in Plymouth or marry Alan and live in Bristol - and bearing in mind he'd left the RFA so we could be together, I thought I'd better choose the latter!

Several unsatisfying jobs followed as we eventually returned to Plymouth, but they brought in some necessary money. In the 1980s, with the completed family additions of our two amazing children, we sought the meaning of life via religion. I guess we learned a lot, but I began to feel completely suffocated (no respiratory relevance). I wrote a lot of poetry, most of it tortuous and psychologically disturbing.

Perhaps this led me in 1991 to develop an abiding interest in psychology, whereupon I spent five years studying for a GCSE, an A-level and finally a BSc (Hons) in that vast, parameter shifting subject. I also had to write a lot of course work (no fictional relevance). Actually, the fiction took the form of a novel with a title I now find embarrassing but is too late to change. It is reproduced on this website along with some poetry that took a strange, psychological turn...

Having survived this far, it began to dawn on me that the meaning of life cannot be found in any one arena of life. How could it, when life is everywhere, in every form of existence? I had left religion behind and decided not to progress any further with psychology - which is when by the dawn of the 21st century the word 'spirituality' began to beckon, with its freedom of thought, meaning and experience. At last I could be myself and make sense of life as I know it with my own mind and my own words (hopefully of some small but perfectly formed relevance!)

Alan Santillo

I spent most of my early childhood in Singapore, returning to the UK in 1960 where I completed my secondary education. My first full time employment was with the RFA, during which time I visited many countries, returning to the UK in 1971. After working for a variety of Communication Engineering companies I eventually settled down in Saltash, Cornwall, and for the last 33 years worked for The University of Plymouth in the Communication Engineering Department. In 1985 I completed my degree, became a member of the IEE (now called the IET) and obtained Chartered Engineer status in 1995.

During the mid 1980s I became interested in theology, philosophy, sociology and counselling, following a number of different courses in these areas. In my spare time I briefly worked as a listener, then as a counsellor for an organisation called Crossline, as well as working as a part time youth worker for Cornwall County Council. From this, I developed an active interest in spirituality, especially the possible connections between spiritual/natural healing, meditation, quantum physics, energetic fields and cell biology.

As part of my personal philosophy of life, I believe that we all need to take an active interest in our own healing. I feel that as a society we have given away the responsibility for our own health to the medical profession, in the belief that they hold the answers to all our illnesses. I believe there is a part of us that knows how to make ourselves well and that by learning how to connect with this innate knowledge, we can learn to activate our own natural healing. I always try to keep an open mind and attempt to make no judgements about others, as it is my belief that enlightenment, insight and wisdom can come from any source.

I retired in 2009, which has enabled me to pursue a life long interest in photography, mainly in Devon and Cornwall. I enjoy spending time with my son Daniel (on photographic expeditions) and my daughter Rachel, as well as walking and visiting gardens.

Life is a mystery revealed in the moments of our experience. Many of us are so busy that we miss the wonders encompassed in each of these moments. My hope is to learn how to live a rich and full life without missing a single moment.