Le Salon Prive

Bottle of Krug 1995 illustration

Why DO opposites attract, because it’s very hard keeping it going for decades and decades, when you both like such different things. Mr Murray likes people, noise, different music in every different room, magic tricks, jokes, dancing, going out every night and generally being thrilled 24/7.

I don’t like any of that, apart from certain people some of the time, (ideally via text message), music (but only in a minor key) and dancing when I’m a bit tipsy and have begun to stop caring. Honestly, it’s sometimes hopeless.

There is one saving grace. We both like food.

Which is good, as we first met properly over breakfast.*

So it was that recently we decided that with some urgency, we needed to go out for dinner for the first time since the beginning of Christendom.

Le Salon Prive is quite nearby but we went in a taxi, as we were carrying a bottle of 1995 Krug** and we didn’t want to drop it.

Is this going to be a restaurant review? Not really. It’s more of an ode to love (hard work as it is), as the whole evening was so deeply pleasing, I didn’t take notes. Suffice to say that Le Salon Prive is the sort of little place that’s so wonderfully stylish that it has no need of showing off, and wears its charm casually, like a battered leather satchel. You know the one, it used to belong to Great Grandfather, the famous engineer, and now your son has taken it to University.***

So, I can’t even tell you what I ate, though I think it was a cloud of cheese souffle, with some sort of salad, and then lamb, with pumpkin, and we definitely had chips and green beans too, and Alex had hare. We devoured it all, talking with our eyes as our mouths were too full. Then I ordered coffee instead of pudding. The coffee came in a vintage teacup, and I fell in love with everyone and everything all over again.

The Krug was so delicious it made Alex’s eyes roll back in his head. We sent some down to the chef, who is apparently a fan (of Krug, not my work, though I hope one day to reverse this sorry trend).

Far too much fun on a week night! It was gorgeous. Where are we going next?


Mr Murray looking rather foxy.

*But I’m not telling you that story. 🙂
**Alex won it in a raffle. He paid £3.50. What stupendous luck! Net saving = £296.50.
***This hasn’t happened yet. We bought such a satchel for Felix when he turned 18, in the whimsical hope that he could pass it down. So far so good, he hasn’t lost it in Central London yet.


For a wonderful feast, find Le Salon Prive here




Text from Berlin

old german telephone with painting by trudi Murray

(For Alex)

You sent me a text from Berlin:
I’m in a flea market
on my day off
there’s an old telephone
I’m going to buy it, OK?

I texted back:
where will we put it
another thing to gather dust

You bought it anyway
and hauled it back
a relic, black and heavy with secrets
it sits
connected only to itself
on a chair
in the corner of the kitchen
guests wonder about it

I didn’t want it,
I tell them.
I said: no
I said: another thing to gather dust.

But then I say
the thing is,
dust is part of the story of life.
It’s proof that people live here.

You sent me a text from Berlin.
I said no.

But I was wrong.

Apocalypse at bedtime


– In bed already, Trudi?
-Yep! I thought we could snuggle up & chat.

-Wow, great! Anytime, babe.
-I did actually just mean… chat?
-Oh. OK, my love, that’s cool. (Damn.) So, what shall we chat about?


-WELL! I’m so glad the boiler is fixed, aren’t you?

-Hot water on tap! It’s such a luxury. I’m very relieved it works again. And the boys have done so well in their exams. I’m just so glad they can move on and follow their dreams. It’s so good! And you know what, I will miss my eldest child when he goes, but there’s no room in this house for all that brooding teenage sexuality. I’m exhausted by the electric hormonal charge in the air. I can’t breathe any more. My own self needs more space.


-Er wow, OK, I mean, that train of thought escalated quickly, Trude.

-Yes, and there’s also Trump. I feel he’s such an oppressive blot on the current political landscape. I wish he wouldn’t ramp up the rhetoric so unwisely. I wish I could have a chat with him and tell him how to behave properly.


-Wow, well, (chuckles), I’d like to see that.

-I wish we had more people like Macron, and before you say it, it’s not just ’cause I fancy Macron.* He seems like a proper statesman AND he’s supportive of the EU – oh! I’ve just remembered – BREXIT.

-No – no – don’t think about that, Trude. Please don’t.


-Oh no! Wah! Brexit!

-At least the boiler is fixed?

-Oh no! Trump & Brexit, it’s like a nightmare.

-What about sleep? Maybe that will help?


-No Alex, it probably won’t. We’re almost certainly going to die alone, in a country shunned by the rest of the world, humiliated and friendless, frazzled up in a radioactive war of words that could have been avoided if people were just more kind one to another.

-Well, it might not come to that.


-Are our passports all valid? Where can I buy some radioactive suits?

-Oh Trudi, I really do think it’s time to get some sleep.


-I can’t go on! I mean, I just don’t know who I am any more.


Is it because I’m nearly 43? Is this just the start of a slippery slope into a sort of harangued middle age? Am I going to be grey and boring, trapped in a lost world of demented hassles for the rest of my life?

Is this normal? I feel so invisible. Does anyone even know I’m here? Or care?

Wah! I used to feel so gorgeous.

*whispers* What do you think, Alex? Tell me I’m wrong. Do you still find me attractive?



*Although I do.


Moral: get to the real point quicker.

La vie est belle

Illustration of la vie est belle by Trudi Murray

Gentlemen, I offer you a lesson in romance.

Read on.

Although we’ve had to have a few months off because of my hospital episode, Mr M and I are usually in the habit of going to a bootcamp fitness class two or three times a week, early in the morning, before work. It’s running, jumping, cardio, weights, squats, lunges… it’s hard work. Intense, sweaty, brilliant. The trainers are tough (but kind). It’s challenging. It’s motivating and healthy, and we enjoy going together. In fact, I don’t like to go without Alex, as he keeps me smiling and cheers me on when I think I’m about to actually die if I do any more lunge jumps.

We’ve been going for a couple of years now. About a year ago, on the walk home to a shower, we always used to pass a young woman on her way to catch the train. We were usually sweaty, hot, red-faced. She was usually clean, neat, pretty – and she smelled gorgeous. Every time we got past her, I’d wonder out loud what it was she wore to smell so good.

One morning, I didn’t want to go to bootcamp, so Alex went by himself. On his way back, in his shorts, and with a sweaty towel round his neck, he stopped the young woman and had a brief chat… finding out the name of her perfume.

A few days later, a parcel arrived for me. No note. Puzzled, I opened it. A bottle of perfume? What does this mean? Who is this from? I opened it, and sniffed the top of the bottle.

Oh, Alex.

La vie est belle.



*The other extra sweet thing about this story is that when we passed the young woman every day after that, she’d smile secretly at Alex, who’d smile back, and I’d pretend to be oblivious to the whole thing. He’s smooth.

*So now you know: all my work smells of orange blossom, jasmine, patchouli and vanilla, and so do I 🙂

404 Not Found

You’re home
and I know
you need to sleep
nothing like your own bed
after a long week away
and another trip
on Monday
I know you need to
do your laundry
reorganise your suitcase
count the Euros
and check in to your next flight
to Holland
or Germany
or wherever it is you go
doing business
in a different language
but did you know
this morning
I woke up early
and padded down
to feed the cats
I made some tea
while they twined
affectionate and purring
round my bare legs
I ate Greek yoghurt and honey and strawberries
looking at the garden
and they jumped up
and touched noses
and rubbed heads
with me
sweet babies
I brought the tea back to bed
and drank it
next to you
and then I had a shower
in the clean bathroom
I washed my hair
and put on
some brand new knickers
fresh from the box
at the end of the day
i took them off
and put them in the laundry basket
they were nice to wear
so p-r-e-t-t-y
and even though
at one point
i invented a phantom
pain in the butt
and hoiked up my dress
to show you
you still didn’t
notice them
for goodness’ sake man
i’m never ironing your shirts again
*The 404 Not Found error message is a Hypertext Transfer Protocol standard response code, in computer network communications, to indicate that the client was able to communicate with a given server, but the server could not find what was requested.

Hold your treasures tightly

black and white doodle

I don’t mean possessions, I’m not at all materialistic. I find money and things get in the way of the real stuff.

What I mean is the people you love, the habits you’ve formed together. The smiles you share and the games you play.

The odds and ends of life always turn out to be the best bits.

Alex and me have a thing for curling up on the sofa to watch some TV at the end of a long day – and busy evenings with the kids and their friends and everything else going on after work – we don’t usually get there until 10pm. If we’re not watching something together (and at the moment it’s The Handmaid’s Tale – which is another blog post entirely), Alex is so patient and will watch any sort of thing I choose, though he draws the line at hospital emergencies, and so I have to watch them from behind a cushion. Or sometimes I’ll draw and doodle while some film is going on. I’m very annoying – I ask too many questions about the plot, so that’s why I doodle instead.

I usually just draw whatever I can see; all the tiny, familiar but worthless objects that make a world cosy.

It’s nice. It’s boring. It’s love. It’s home.

Hold onto it tightly, and let all the rubbish fall away.


Doodle with me

Doodle with me
my love,
pick up your pen
and draw.
Don’t get out of bed just yet.
Open your heart
with the curve
of your smile,
breathing soft
and breathing slow.
It doesn’t matter
what you want to say.
You don’t have to know.
Let your story
tell itself.
Doodle with me,
my love.

To find out more about the utter genius of Jose Gonzalez – hop over here.


PS: I had this post all lined up for tomorrow. But on a day like today, when our hearts are heavy and our souls sad and weary, we need love poems and pretty clothes and wonky little homemade films, I think.

pretty skirt and belt

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