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

Deep Silence/Lost

painting by picassoI was lost
in Picasso
deeply immersed
and you went off
with my camera.
It was interesting
to see
your eye
but at the time
I felt bereft
searing artwork
onto my eyeballs
as photographic memories,
then cross,
and then,
growing ever more
at your being
I can’t speak French
I hate the thought
of my ineptitude
but I was going to have to
find the words
husband/short/glasses/takes your breath away a little
and then there you were
calmly cataloguing
Picasso’s wife.

I have never been so relieved. I leant into you and breathed you in.

We were lost
in Paris
deep silence
between us
no words
and we knew none
and couldn’t be bothered
to speak
save for
cafe au lait
of course
the universal
sign language
let’s go back to the hotel

Trudi Murray 25.4.16

Controlled Burning


I’ve been hanging out with my husband for almost 24 years, after we met at a party. I thought him the most outrageous, irritatingly extrovert but magnetic man on Earth. I can’t get enough of him. He’s going away for months and months. I shall miss him.


Controlled Burning

[for Alex]

It’s the shed
that’s been worrying me
going out at night
to lock the door
with all the things
that lurk
in the veg patch
and the tools
so handy for murder
propped up
against the walls.
With big eyes and teeth?
Don’t mention them,
rats neither.
Tails as long as their bodies.
Stop it.
I’m serious
stop it.
Any living thing arrived upon unexpectedly:
I am not one for surprises
of a squeaking nature.
I could send a child
out there
but I did not set out
to have children
for protection
and it is hard enough
at 42
sleeping with the landing light on
in case one cries out
and I have to shuffle to their aid
at 3am.
Forget the shed.
I ought to be more mindful
of the controlled burning
laying waste to perfectly good scrubland
in order to save
the hot desire
of four weeks’ worth
of dry forest.
Trudi Murray 29.3.16

Cutlery Drawer

We used to sleep
like teenagers
legs & arms
and my hair
like a dark curtain
all night
feet & hands & hearts
sharing the same air
passing back and forth
a warm portion
a shared identity,
jointly surviving
a snow drift
stranded together
after tumbling in an avalanche.
That was just
the sleeping.
Two plastic
toddler spoons
crammed together
in the drawer,
carefree & bright,
with tooth marks.

I am a
polite fork
long and calm
nicely balanced in the hand
excitingly elegant
the tooth marks remain

and you are
one of those knives,
do you know the sort I mean?

you always know
it’s going to be good
when the waiter
comes over
with a hot plate
a knife
with a wooden handle


Trudi Murray



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