The Voyages of the Princess Matilda

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What to expect

‘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.

Critics Review

  • 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
  • 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
  • [The Spalls at Sea] ‘brilliantly watchable seafaring series’

    Guardian
  • 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

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