House with statue of Michealango' DavidView of Mas Cabardes from the calvaryLong distance view of Mas CabardesMas Cabardes octagonal church tower  
Mas Cabardes - Aude

In addition to his poety in the section above Mike Timms is also fulfilling a lifeflong ambition to be an actor.
Here are some photos of work he has done on various film sets and his words on realising an ambition.  Here  is a link to some video clips.

When I retired in 2009, the only thing that was clear in my mind was that I did not want to keep doing what I had been doing all my working life. There was a lot of encouragement from my former employers to do so but – in whatever time was left to me in this life: I wanted to do something different.

I needed time to think and also time to look at the world I was living in from a different point of view. And I did this quite literally. I set out on a pilgrimage from Mas Cabardes on Palm Sunday, April 10th 2011 to walk to Santiago de Compostella in Spain. It took me 8 weeks and, when I came home to Mas, walking up the valley from Carcassonne and refusing the kind offer of a neighbour to give me a lift the rest of the way from Les Illes (I wanted to complete it under my own steam, you see), I had changed.

Back in Ireland I returned to my hobbies: I went to my creative writing classes as usual, but now I wasn’t writing comic prose – it was poetry, something I had never done before. Within a year, I was performing in public, reciting what I had written in pubs and music venues around Dublin. In this environment I was meeting other people – mostly aspiring writers, musicians and actors – we were all doing the same sort of thing, and we became friends. They came to watch my performances and I went to watch theirs: we followed each other. I don’t know if I ever gave them inspiration, but they gave it to me. As I watched the various activities they took on in order to make a creative life for themselves, I started to follow what they did: seeking out new venues in which to perform, taking on film extra work and then becoming a “featured extra” which meant I had lines to say and would be picked out by the camera. My new friends talked of taking acting workshops and courses: I followed them and (having been a university professor) became a student again. This was, and continues to be, an invigorating experience.

I don’t know what the future will hold, but I continue to perform my poetry at venues in Dublin. I offer to take people on pilgrimages – not ones to religious shrines but ones that follow the paths taken by spiritual people in pre-Christian times. I am still a student of acting, but on the horizon there is talk of a small speaking part in a feature film and the setting up of a new theatre company in Dublin of which I will be invited to be a part. Even if these things that are talked about do not become reality, it will have been an adventure to journey toward them.

Sometimes, it doesn’t matter if a dream doesn’t come true. Sometimes it is enough to have been able to have the dream.