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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to make a grown man cry
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...
Published on 12 Mar. 2012 by Sid Saunders

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Staying afloat
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...
Published on 27 Mar. 2012 by Deep Reader


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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
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
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book that reads like a conversation between friends., 6 Mar. 2012
By 
Jim Browning "rj" (British Columbia Canada) - See all my reviews
Straight off the top..I live in Canada. One day while exploring the offerings of the internet I accidentally stumbled upon a UK television program called, "Timothy Spall: Somewhere At Sea". Being a fan of Mr. Spall, and all things nautical, I found myself captivated by the adventures of the actor, his lovely wife Shane, and their Dutch barge, the Princess Matilda. Their adventures afloat, their dynamic relationship, and the beauty of the United Kingdom have kept me entranced and entertained from episode to episode.

That being said, I was overjoyed to be able to order "The Voyages Of The Princess Matilda", and read the background story that lead to this epic adventure. I devoured the book in a 24 hour period of time. I could not put it down. The lovely Mrs. Spall skillfully weaves together the stories of their boating life and the heart wrenching tale of their fight against Tim's leukemia diagnosis. I was halfway through the book when I realized that I was indeed reading the story and not, as it truly felt, hearing all this information being told to me by a close friend. As many times as I laughed out loud I equally felt myself close to tears.

If Mrs. Spall takes it upon herself to write another book I would not hesitate in the least to purchase it sight unseen.
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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 - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly brilliant, not a simple tie in book, 9 May 2012
By 
Jo Bennie (UK) - See all my reviews
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Shane Spall has in effect written three books in one. On the simplest level this is a tie in to the BBC 4 TV series, a narrative of Shane and Timothy Spall's attempt to sail from London to Wales in their sea barge The Princess Matilda. They are hilariously hapless, on their first journey they don't make it beyond the Thames Barrier and Timothy takes a thorough crash course in navigation before they set out to sea. They encounter beautiful moorings and full on prejudice and snobbery in equal measure.

This narrative itself would have made for a good book, Shane Spall's mercurial nature in contrast to Timothy's laid back nature and penchant for pink crocs is hilarious but Spall intersperses this story with the heartbreaking one of Timothy's battle with leukaemia and her diaries from nights sat by his bed when he hovered between life and death. Shane had already lost her father and best friend to cancer and her words are honest and searing.

Thirdly there are snippets of Shane's own life, again written with unflinching honesty. Of her previous life as a flower child, of her drug addiction, of the Welsh husband she lost and her experience of giving birth to their daughter Pascale.

These elements turn a very good book into a firm favourite, and one that I read into the night. I knew Timothy Spall from tv and film, a respected and beloved actor, and this book deepened that respect.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Voyages of the Princess Matilda, 3 Mar. 2012
This is a must for everyone, not just those who have been following the trials and tribulations on the screen. It is very well written, witty, moving, gripping in places urging you to turn the next page faster than you can read the words (like all good books should do) and from the heart and I truly did not want to put it down once I had started. The motivation for Princess Matilda's travels gives you a personal insight into how fragile life can be and this almost parallels with the power of the sea. She holds no prisoners and the journeys triumphs give us almost an unspoken hope with great strengths of character that come good in the end. So,seafarer's,land lubbers and even those who have no inclination to ever experience anything like what Shane & Timothy have so far.....pick the book up and read it, you will not be disappointed.
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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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Spall'sat Sea., 18 May 2012
By 
Martin Swift (Scotland. U. K.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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Having seen all the programmes about the voyage that Shane & Timothy Spall undertook in their Dutch Barge and with the programmes beginning with them being in the West Country and then going around Land'sEnd; then onwards to : Wales, Lancashire, Cumbria, Isle of Man, Northern Ireland, Western Scotland and into the Caledonian Canal and then out into the North Sea and down the Eastern side of Scotland and the Eastern side of England and back into the Thames and the Greater Lodon Area...great voyage, but on screen the first part from london to Cornwall is not there as there was no filming, but the book by Shane Spall fills in that gap and what a gap it fills.
The other factor is the long process that Timothy Spall endures with his various treatment of chemo and other things, coiple that with Shane placing on record her thoughts of how she felt at her husbands situation and the book is a fantastic read, humourous throughout and sad when Timothy's hospital stays are included in a very clever bit of writing...the book incidently takes you only part way round and thus i hope for a further edition.
Well done Shane on your book and well done to the both of your on your couragous approach to live and sailing a Dutch Barge around Britain...hope the series also comes out on DVD...Recommend the book.
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The Voyages of the Princess Matilda
The Voyages of the Princess Matilda by Shane Spall (Hardcover - 3 Jun. 2013)
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