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The Voyages of the Princess Matilda [Paperback]

Shane Spall
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (125 customer reviews)
RRP: 11.99
Price: 10.73 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

23 Feb 2012

'Tim and I both understood we had done something really stupid. We had underestimated the danger involved in going out to sea. We had no radio, compass, life raft or flares. In other words, we were a couple of idiots.'

This is the story of Shane and Timothy Spall and their Dutch barge The Princess Matilda. After a summer on the Thames they head out to sea with only a road atlas and a vast amount of ignorance - and it is absolutely terrifying!

On their travels, memories are triggered of childhood trips to the seaside, but also of more recent times. A decade before, Tim had been diagnosed with acute leukaemia and was given only days to live.

Shocked at how life can pass you by they decided that when, and if, Tim got better, they would buy a boat.

As Tim and Shane explore the coast from the Medway to Cornwall, eventually they start to wonder, could they make it out of England altogether? Could Matilda make it to ... Wales?!

Taking over five years, The Voyages of The Princess Matilda is a minor epic,charting a very personal, moving and uplifting story of an everyday couple's adventure around their much loved homeland.

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The Voyages of the Princess Matilda + Timothy Spall - Somewhere at Sea [DVD]
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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Ebury Press (23 Feb 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0091941806
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091941802
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (125 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 195,542 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


A beautifully crafted, moving and funny book, stuffed with adventure and massive, palpable love. I want to belong to the Spall family NOW, please (Dawn French)

Shane and Tim Spall stand shoulder to shoulder in a sea adventure that's funny, delightful, scary - and given their minimal knowledge of seafaring at the outset, occasionally beggars belief. It's a laugh and cry book - I really loved it (Jo Brand)

[The Spalls at Sea] 'brilliantly watchable seafaring series' (Guardian)

Tender, warm and wise: like all the best adventures, Shane Spall's wonderful travel memoir stays in the memory long after the trip itself is over... (Michael Simkins)

'the Spalls are delightful' (Sam Wollaston)

Book Description

The adventure of a lifetime with Timothy Spall, his wife Shane, and a boat called Matilda.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to make a grown man cry 12 Mar 2012
First of all I must point out that I don't normally buy books as I use my local library but after watching the BBC4 programme of Mr and Mrs Spall going around via the sea of Great Britain in their Dutch barge The Princess Matilda I had to have my own copy.

Things to remember when reading this book are things you will need,a box of tissue's and a partner who will not keep telling you to shut up when your laughing out loud or crying into the tisseue's.

I'm a 69 year old ex Army Sergeant and railway ganger and tough as old boots but when reading about Tim's illness I found I was filling up like a teenage girl after the pop star got married but not to her!

This was a roller coaster of a ride with Shane and Tim at sea and on land, this book could also be used as a travellers guide of english seaside towns.

Shane shows what a strong partner can do to help her man in times of illness with her love and strength and Tim's for her,they are an example to us all.

I not going into the voyage as you will want to share the adventure for the first time yourself in this delightful book about the two exceptional english people that went to sea with just a road map.

It's said that Tim is a National Treasure, I disagree. they both are! if this is not the plot for a film about the english at play I don't know what is.

I will close this by saying NO! you can't borrow mine as I will be reading it time and time again. When the DVD of their adventures is on sale I will be the first in the queue.

You must buy this for your holiday reading abroad to remind you why this is the best country in the world.

My marks out of ten? eleven!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Princess Matilda 7 Mar 2012
By Martin
I'am not a person who write's reviews in the norm, but after reading The Voyages of the princess Matilda by Shane Spall, i feel i must tell everybody this is a must read, [a book you can not put down].

This is the kind of book you can but in your holiday suitcase,then sit on the beach or by the pool, and let the time slip by with a large drink and a great read.

It will have you in tears as Shane lets you in on how she and the family cope with Tim's illness from a few years ago and then have you in tears again with Shane's and Tim's adventures aboard there barge, sailing from the start of there journey, Brentford, where they see the new build for the first time, finishing in Cardiff. I feel i have been with them the whole journey,and on finishing the book i opened a bottle of Champagne and raised my glass in salute.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, raw and uplifting 23 Feb 2012
It made me laugh out loud one moment and the next i was in tears. Wonderfully structured tale of living life to the full and staring death in the face. And a heart warming trip round Britain's ports and towns. Fabulous.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth the read 3 Mar 2012
By Sheila Camp VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Generally when a celebrity does something "outside their comfort zone" the end results are good. Although the majority of us know Timothy Spall we are not familiar with his wife Shane (an unusual female name - she was named after Alan Ladd's character in the film Shane).

In the acknowledgements, Shane thanks her agent who kept saying "paint a picture". This is what she does and is good at. Just let your imagination take over and you will really enjoy this book. Imagine them lowering all their IKEA bags onto the boat and then not being able to find their keys. You can't help but smile.

This is the story of Shane and Timothy Spall and their Dutch barge The Princess Matilda (named after their granddaughter) as they travel out of England - to Wales! In Shane's words "we had underestimated the danger involved in going out to sea. We had no radio, compass, life raft or flares. In other words, we were a couple of idiots".

All this came about because years ago Timothy Spall had been diagnosed with leukaemia with only a few days to live. They both then decided that if he got better they would buy a boat and do what they love doing; being in each other's company and sailing around their favourite coastline.

This was a lovely read, both funny and sad, written about childhood trips, more recent times when Tim was ill and their boat journeys `into the unknown'. There were some nice photos too.

I suppose if there has to be a moral to the story it is don't put off doing something just because you think it's silly. If you want to do it, do it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book full of love 13 Mar 2012
This is an account of a journey told from the heart.The Princess Matilda is a beautiful flat-bottomed barge that the Spalls made there home and on which they traveled around the Uk. Shane's stories of the people and places they encounter are honest and often very funny. Her descriptions of the conditions they sometimes faced at sea and whilst trying to climb on and off the Princess Matilda are pretty hair-raising! You can also sense very much the respect and admiration they have for the people who work at sea and particularly the brave crews of the RNLI.

It's also partly about another journey (and the reason why they have a boat), the one Tim and Shane made to hell and back when Timothy was diagnosed and became gravely ill with leukaemia. Although we don't get to hear about the illness in great detail,(nor do we need to)there is enough to know what that it was a time of deepest worry and anguish for them. But the overwhelming thing that shines through that distressing time so very brightly is the love and strength they have for each other.

A wonderful book, uplifting, moving and funny. Very, very hard to put down!The Voyages of the Princess Matilda
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars an interesting and on occasions moving tale.
Tim and Shane share many a glass of wine aboard their much loved boat Matilda .An odessy watioith toughness and endurance,humor and great observation.
Published 1 month ago by kate A.
5.0 out of 5 stars A book apart
A very enjoyable story of Shane and Tim Spall and their journey around the UK on their barge after Tim's recovery from an illness . Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mrs. V. Betts
1.0 out of 5 stars didn't download
I dont know what this book is like because it wouldn't download and I cant seem to tslk to anyone at amazon to sort out the problem
Published 3 months ago by John Telfer
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!
I first watched the TV series (twice!!) and when I saw Shane had written a book I couldn't wait to read it. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Ann Mason
5.0 out of 5 stars Very revealing
This book was written by Timothy Spall's wife and shifts between her diaries during his life-threatening illness and their travels about in a narrow boat following his... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Anna KV
5.0 out of 5 stars I shared the journey!
This book was so well written. I not only shared the trepidation and elation of some of the boat' s voyages but also felt the fears of Shane during Tim's illness. Read more
Published 4 months ago by D. Symcox
5.0 out of 5 stars Timothy spall's wife's book.
Brilliant, Great, informative, and very funny. Could not put the book down. A great must read, especially if you own a boat, then you will certainly know what is happening.
Published 4 months ago by Paul
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny but lucky
A great read, from an adventures couple who rode their luck a bit with very limited knowledge of boats and sailing.
Published 5 months ago by ldsman
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
Great book, purchased following the TV series and absolutely loved it, well written and very entertaining. could just picture Shane writing on board Matilda.
Published 6 months ago by Jan Blackman
5.0 out of 5 stars What a story
I have just finished this wonderful book.
Having seen the series and loved it, this filled in an awful lot of the missing subtext that obviously had no time during the TV... Read more
Published 6 months ago by G. Currell
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