A Good Read

Marie Browne


Narrow Margins is the true story of one family’s journey from the financial crash of the Rover car company to an alternative and better lifestyle. Faced with the loss of everything, the house, the cars and more importantly their rather lazy and indolent lifestyle, Marie Browne and her family took on the challenge of a whole new way of life. Strapped for cash, the family buy a decrepit 70ft barge called Happy Go lucky which had been run as a floating hotel. Outdated and in need of a complete refurbishment, Happy becomes their floating home. First they need to learn the ropes and many pitfalls beset their adventures. As they come to terms with living on a narrow boat, readers gain a fascinating insight into life in the slow lane.



Shane Spall

Front Cover


In 1996 Timothy Spall was diagnosed with acute leukaemia and given only days to live. Shocked at how life can pass you by, he told his wife, Shane, that when and if he recovered he would like to get a boat. Almost a decade later, they had a sea-going barge – the good ship Princess Matilda. And with her they would have the adventure of a lifetime. Throughout their travels, memories are triggered for them both as they relive the horror of Tim’s illness and the strength they needed to find to get through it. Surely after that, you could do anything couldn’t you? And so, after exploring the Thames, at last they summon up the courage to leave the river, and with nothing but a road atlas and a vast amount of ignorance they hit the sea – and it is absolutely terrifying! Without much of a plan, but with an unquenchable thirst for life, wherever they go Tim and Shane find warmth, fun and friendship. From Chatham to Ramsgate, along the south-east shores of England and through the Solent towards the Jurassic Coast, bit by bit they learn essential seafaring skills. After an almost dream-like summer on the Helford River their progress is slow, but sure. Eventually they start to wonder, could they make it to out of England altogether? Could Matilda make it to…Wales? Taking over five years, The Voyages of 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. With the British coast on your doorstep, why would you want to go anywhere else?

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