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The Voyages of the Princess Matilda [Paperback]

Shane Spall
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (151 customer reviews)
RRP: £11.99
Price: £9.86 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. 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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Frequently Bought Together

The Voyages of the Princess Matilda + Timothy Spall - Somewhere at Sea [DVD] + The Princess Matilda Comes Home
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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 (151 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 246,810 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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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
35 of 35 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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11 of 11 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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23 of 24 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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Staying afloat 27 Mar 2012
By Deep Reader VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Shane Spall's account of her actor husband, Timothy, and her own ill prepared journey on their barge, the Princess Matilda, after their summer on the Thames, eventually to Wales, will not only amuse her readers but keep their feet on the ground, should there be any such need. After the diagnosis of Tim's leukaemia and its subsequent treatment they decided to live life still more fully. It seems they managed very well, as the show on BBC 4 demonstrates. It's a sure winner, but that is all the more reason to buy with confidence. This book will almost certainly entertain, and probably veers just to the right side of sentimentality. Ninepins Tell Me Where You Are (Fiction) My Name Is E
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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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gem of a book! 29 Feb 2012
I LOVED this book!

Shane is wonderfully descriptive & magically paints pictures with words. She is also very funny! Shane gathers you up & takes you on the journey with her & Tim. Her diary about Tims frightening illness and how she felt at the time is interspersed quietly through this excellent book. It's a very happy adventure that will make you wish you were on board with them!! You'll really be missing something special if you don't read this.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very good read
Published 7 days ago by richard allen
1.0 out of 5 stars Travelling around the south coast this book was no more of an...
The start of their voyage leaving London and out through the Medway was ok , but by the time they got to Kent the story went very flat. Read more
Published 16 days ago by Gill
5.0 out of 5 stars They are having the time of their lives, and their love shines...
Having read the 2 books and am watching the d.v.ds, I feel that I know them as friends. Shanes midnight writings of such a harrowing time during Tims illness helps me to... Read more
Published 1 month ago by barbara vaccari
5.0 out of 5 stars great adventure
Very interesting story,well written. inspired me to look up the TV series on YouTube,will be getting the next volume in paperback when available. Highly recommended.
Published 1 month ago by A G Hamilton
5.0 out of 5 stars Sharing the journey.
You cannot help but be sucked into sharing the joys and fears of a wonderfully described boat trip, while being gripped by the snapshots of a fight against a terrible illness.
Published 1 month ago by Mrs J E O'Connell
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A great read
Published 1 month ago by MR T HILL
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
loved this book so much, funny , sad and very good story
Published 2 months ago by Barbara Harvey
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Interesting and funny - interspersed with tears
Published 2 months ago by Andrea, Exeter, Devon
5.0 out of 5 stars Laughs Ahoy!
Chaotic, funny but sadness too. Very enjoyable read, will most likely buy the Return of the Princess Matilda.
Published 2 months ago by wallyron
3.0 out of 5 stars I'm finding this book hard going as I don't think ...
I'm finding this book hard going as I don't think it is very well written and is a bit 'samey' all the way through. I shan't give up on it but still can't wait to finish it! Read more
Published 2 months ago by Gilly
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