Life Lessons: Henry Blofeld
The legendary cricket commentator Henry Blofeld is president of the Emirates Palace Gentlemen’s Cricket Club. He was here last week to cover a match between local England and Australia sides competing in their own Ashes at the Emirates Palace cricket ground.
Never feel sorry for yourself. I’ve had many terrible things happen to me, but I never felt sorry for myself. There is no future in feeling sorry for yourself at all. I have always just got on with my life, there is no point in carrying a great chip on your shoulder.
Never miss the chance to see a world champion in action. It doesn’t matter if it’s the world champion axeman, or the world champion ballroom dancer, anything where skill is at its peak is worth seeing. If you’re intelligent you will go and see it. You’re going to learn something from it. Always take the opportunity to see excellence in action.
As a writer, never despise a good cliché in a moment of need. Awfully important that. When you’re in desperate straits for an intro and you’ve got three and a half minutes to write it, never ignore a good cliché. Write it down and if you really want to, work around it later.
A sense of humour is desperately important. If you don’t laugh at yourself, you handicap yourself in life. I firmly believe people who take themselves too seriously don’t fulfil themselves. An enormous number of people take themselves terrifyingly seriously, and it’s so counterproductive.
Never look back. You can deal with today and you can deal with tomorrow – there is nothing you can do about yesterday. Learn from your mistakes, but don’t dwell on them.
As told to Helena Frith Powell
Helena Frith Powell was born in Sweden to a Swedish mother and Italian father, but grew up mainly in England. She is the author of eleven books, translated into several languages including Chinese and Russian. She wrote the French Mistress column The Sunday Times about life in France for several years. She is a regular contributor to the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, The Times, Daily Telegraph, Tatler Magazine and Harper’s Bazaar.
Helena has been the editor of four magazines, including M Magazine, a supplement for the Abu Dhabi-based National Newspaper and FIVE, a high-end fashion glossy, also published in Abu Dhabi. Helena was also editor-in-chief of 360 Life, a quarterly glossy magazine published with the Sports 360 Newspaper in Dubai, part of the Chalhoub Group.
Helena contributes regularly to UK-based newspapers and magazines and holds a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Cambridge. She is working on a thriller set in Sweden as well as a novel about the relationship between Virginia Woolf and Katherine Mansfield called Sense of an Echo.
In 2022 her short story The Japanese Gardener came second in the Fish Publishing Short Story Prize. One of her stories was also shortlisted for the Bridport Short Story Prize. When she’s not writing, she works as a headhunter for the media and entertainment industry for the Sucherman Group.
Helena, who was educated at Durham University, lives in the Languedoc region of France with her husband Rupert and their three children.
More France Please, we’re British; Gibson Square 2004
Two Lipsticks and a Lover 2005; Gibson Square (hardback)
All You Need to be Impossibly French; (US version of above) Penguin 2006
Two Lipsticks and a Lover; Arrow Books (paperback) 2007
Ciao Bella Gibson Square; (hardback) 2006
Ciao Bella Gibson Square; (paperback) 2007
So Chic! (French version of Two Lipsticks) Leduc Editions 2008 (also translated into Chinese, Russian and Thai)
More, More France; Gibson Square 2009
To Hell in High Heels; Arrow Books 2009 (also translated into Polish)
The Viva Mayr Diet; Harper Collins 2009
Love in a Warm Climate; Gibson Square 2011
The Ex-Factor; Gibson Square 2013
Smart Women Don’t Get Wrinkles; Gibson Square 2016
The Arnolfini Marriage; Amazon Kindle December 2016
Smart Women Don’t Get Wrinkles (paperback); Gibson Square spring 2018
The Longest Night; Gibson Square spring 2019