The Legend of Maggoty Johnson!


Maggoty Johnson,

Maggoty Johnson,

Maggoty Johnson,

Maggoty Johnson,

Maggoty Johnson,

Maggoty Johnson,

Maggoty Johnson,

Maggoty Johnson,

Maggoty Johnson,

Maggoty Johnson,

Maggoty Johnson,

Maggoty Johnson,

Would you go one further? and say it a 13th time to see if Maggoty Johnson will rise from the grave and perform a dance for you? Or would you run around his grave 12 times backwards, at midnight to see if he rises, then pulls you back into his grave? These are a few of the local legends that belong to the small Cheshire village of Gawsworth and their mysterious Maggoty Johnson.


I was around 7 years old when I first came across Maggoty Johnson’s grave. My Aunty and Uncle lived just down from the grave site, which is on Maggoty Lane in Gawsworth, Cheshire. I can just about remember been with my nieces as they dared me to say his name… I must admit I was scared, but with hesitation I did it; (nothing happened) but it was day light and we did  run off as soon as we said the 13th Maggoty Johnson…! We didn’t look back (well I didn’t anyway) So here I am 30 so years later and for some unknown reason, Maggoty Johnson popped back into my head, it got me thinking… Who was he? What did he do and what is the grave doing there and why? What is the legend about? So, with all these questions unanswered, I set about finding out more about him.


Firstly, Maggoty Johnson was born Samuel Johnson in 1691 and he was an entertainer with lots of strings to his bow, including a musician, dance master, play writer and more notably the last Jester in England, based at Gawsworth Hall in Cheshire. He was a wild eccentric man and liked to be known as Lord Flame! After he played himself in his quite successful play called “Hurlothrumbo” or “The Supernatural” His play, played over 30 consecutive nights at the Little Haymarket Theatre in London. He also had numerous other works published including “The Blazing Comet” and “A Vision of Heaven”  

It is said that after coming home to Gawsworth, he fired an arrow up into the air from a rooftop and where ever it dropped, that is where he was to be buried. His wishes were granted in 1773 aged 82. But originally, they made a mistake and buried him in the grounds of Gawsworth church. But, upon reading a letter stating that he wanted to be buried in the woods where the arrow fell, they had to remove the body and reburied him in the now Maggoty woods. Could this of upset Maggoty? There have been a few ghostly sightings of him, notably from a twentieth-century sexton, he reported meeting him one moonlight evening riding a white horse, and as he followed him through the woods towards the grave; he was just in time to hear the bump of the gravestone thudding back into place, once Maggoty was back inside.

On reflection, I suppose we will never know, are imaginations can conjure up all scenarios for him and his legend, now and for generations to come.


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The Statues of Pocahontas

Pocahontas was the daughter of the paramount chief Powhaten. Powhaten was the chief of several tribal nations in Virginia on the east coast of America. On the 400th anniversary of Pocahontas death a life-size monument has been relisted in St George’s church in Gravesend, Kent. The bronze statue was erected in 1958 on the site of her grave, which was lost in an 18th century fire.

Princess Pocahontas, the first North American Indian Christian, who had been received at the court of King James I, died as she began her return journey to Virginia and was buried in chancel of the church on 21st March 1617. That church built circa 1485 was destroyed by fire in 1727 and was rebuilt in 1732 with revenues obtained after an Act of Parliament signed by King George II.

These Royal links have been extended, strengthened through the gracious gift by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of a chalice and paten presented to her by the people of Jamestown, Virginia to commemorate their tricentennial in 1957. These were delivered to the church by the Bishop of Norwich on the 2nd August 1958.

The statue of Princess Pocahontas, a replica of that in Jamestown, was unveiled by the Governor of Virginia on the 5th October 1958.

Useful stuff…

Address; St George’s Church, Church Street, Gravesend, DA11 0DJ

Email address;



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Bunratty Castle and the Folk Park

“Just like going back in time to the 15th Century”


Maybe I am being a bit naïve? But I had never heard of the town of Bunratty before I visited Shannon! Now though, with its imposing castle, centuries of history and of course the beautifully laid out folk park, will make it a visit that I will remember for a long time.

As soon as you enter Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, you feel as if you have been picked up and placed back into the 15th century. Wondering around the village entering each building, with the thatched roof, the old styled furniture and the smell of the burning peat on the fire place, it takes you right back to the medieval times! It is such an interesting place, a very educational experience.

When planning your visit, please give a good 3 to 4 hours to walk around. This will enable you to make the most of your visit, the castle alone has 14 rooms to visit.


Useful Stuff…

 Fee to enter is €15.75 for Adults

€9.00 for Students (with valid ID)

€9.00 for children (aged 6-12)

FREE for children (aged 0-5)

(*Go on-line at and pre-book your tickets and you

will save a few Euros. But pleased be advised, all online booking must be

made 24 hours in advance and are valid from 9am on the day of


Open from 9am till 5.30pm (4pm last castle admission)  for more information on special events.



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City Break Ideas – Day 5 – Limerick

Limerick is Ireland’s fourth most populous city and is a part of the province of Munster. Located just 15 minutes away from Shannon Airport, the city has easy access routes to and from by car and bus. Limerick is also situated alongside the River Shannon, which makes for some amazing photo opportunities, with King John’s Castle overlooking the river.

With this been my first visit to Ireland, I didn’t know what to expect?? But after meeting my superb hosts at the Airport Manor B&B, I soon realized how friendly everyone is here, how they will do anything they can to maximize and make your visit the best trip ever! Everybody has time for you here, it’s so laid back, no stress! It is fair to say I bloody loved it! I can’t wait to go back.

King John’s Castle

Dates to 1212 and is an excellent example of an Anglo-Norman fortress. It was besieged in 1642 and played an important role in the sieges of the city in 1651,1690 and again in 1691.

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St Mary’s Cathedral

Dates to 1168. The Cathedral is the oldest building still in use today for its intended purpose and is viewed as the most important medieval building in the country. A Viking parliament once stood on this site and it later became the Royal Palace of the King of Munster.

Useful stuff…

I went to Limerick on a day trip from Shannon, which is where I flew into with Ryanair from Manchester. The flight was very cheap, just £30 return.

Check Flights at:


I stayed in a superb little B and B in Shannon called Airport Manor. It was fantastic, the hosts Sean and Catherine made me feel right at home from the first to last minute, nothing was any trouble. I found the B and B on, I paid €150 for 3 nights stay.


Check Hotels in Shannon or Limerick at:


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City Break Ideas – Day 4 – Carcassonne

“Carcassonne a 12th century fortress in the south of France.

I find it so funny when people ask what I do for a living, then they automatically think it’s a glamorous job! Well… If you saw me arriving at Carcassonne airport on which turned out to be a VERY wet, windy and cold day! Waiting in the pouring rain for a taxi, with 50 other people for an hour, moaning!! You will be running for the hills! Anyway, moaning aside, having finally got into my taxi, then been driven through the streets of this old city, I soon forgot all my troubles.

Where to stay?

Arriving at my hotel “Le Terminus” which dated back to 1914 (and was originally a shoe factory) it was so French, I loved it. They have kept the character so well, mixing modern and old French styles together. As you walk in, your met with a stunning lobby, with its decorative chandelier drooping down and a 1920’s styled balcony on the second floor overlooking the seating area on the first. The piano in the corner and the old telephone exchange in another, it’s cool.

What to do?

After a good night’s sleep I headed to explore this old and unique city and I mean unique! I arrived at the old bridge leading to the medieval city and WOW, it was incredible! What a lovely view, I can now see Carcassonne attraction in full. As you enter through the gates your drawn to its history. Let your imagination run wild…

The old city and castle is Carcassonne’s trump card and really makes it stand out from other European cities that I have visited. Apart from the airport…! I really enjoyed my time here. You will find interesting little boutique French shops and lots of café bars to relax in and watch the world pass you by.


Love food? I do, the local dish is called “Cassoulet” Now you will either love it or hate it, I liked it, (No surprise there a…!) It’s a fine blend of Beans, sausage and duck with a crispy topping of breadcrumbs. Now, I’m a big lover of quiche, and I thought as it’s French (I think) I’ve got to try some whilst been in France! Hmmm… It’s not quite what you get in little old England, a bit weird in fact, plain and watery, like onions and egg cooked together and that’s its! No cheese! A, but at least I did try it.

Useful Stuff…

I booked my flight through Cheap, think I paid around £50 return from Manchester airport and that was flying in the month of May.

I booked my hotel through I got a two-night deal at “Le Terminus” with breakfast and of course the important Internet for £145.


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City Break Ideas – Day 3 – Milan

The metropolis of Milan is the capital of Lombardy in the northern part of Italy, which is also the global capital of fashion and design. But the Lombardy capital has a lot more to offer, as I found out on a 4 day city break.

Where to stay?

 With Milan been just a two hour flight from Manchester airport, I landed to start my adventure with excitement and energy. I found a fantastic deal on-line to stay at the Double Tree by Hilton, just a 10 minutes tram ride from the city Centre. I couldn’t fault the very stylish and reasonably priced hotel at all. All staff were exceptionally helpful and just couldn’t do enough for me. As with most of my trips I do, I don’t have a plan. I just let the day sort itself.

What to do?

 As a massive football fan, the first stop for me was of course the San Siro stadium. The home of the Rossonerri and Nerazzurri didn’t disappoint. A must is a stadium tour, for 14 euros you can see all the history of both clubs. The trophy room is stunning as you can imagine with both teams been giants of the game. After a good look around the San Siro I was in need of some refreshments and headed to the local café for a cappuccino. The walk down San Siro way was full of interesting graffiti footballing morals and it was good to see some famous English players too. Milan city center is an array of interesting local shops as well as the top designer ones to leisurely wonder around. The magnificent Duomo di Milano dates back to 1386 when the first stone was put into place. It’s a must see with its architect and breath taking beauty overlooking the big square. It makes an envying selfie! Another must see is Sforza Castle which is located in the city and easily found as the tram drops you right outside the gates. I had a lovely stroll through the gardens, which leads to many interesting museums within the castle walls. As my last day fell, I thought I’d take advantage of my location. I made the hour long train journey to the city of Como, the home of beautiful Lake Como. The journey cost just 10 euros for a return ticket which I paid at the station. As with most train journeys you get the chance to see small towns that you would most likely miss. Feeling adventurous? Why not jump off at one of the stops for a little look around and get a true feeling of what small town Italy is really all about.


As we all know Italy is famous for its beautifully prepared food. Milan has a vast variety of restaurants to suit all budget types. Trust me! You won’t go hungry and you won’t be disappointed. A slice of pizza is just a few euros. Or if you prefer to sit down and let the world go by there are lots of little street cafes to pick from. For the travelers that like abit more of a fancy meal, the city has many fine restaurants to choose from. But I highly recommend “L’Immagine Ristorante Bistort” it’s simply FANTASTIC! As soon as you arrive you’re made to feel like one of the family. Candy on the table as you examine your way through the very reasonably priced menu is different, but a why not? It’s original and I like that.


Useful stuff…

I got my flight with Swiss airlines into Malpensa airport, now I must admit it was cheaper, but it is quite a way out and it may the worth paying a bit more to fly into the city airport and main airport called Linate. There is also a 3rd airport called Bergamo, which Ryanair fly into, but again it is quite a way out from the city.

Check Flights at: – http://www.ryanair.comhttp://www.easyjet.com

If you fancy staying at the excellent Double Tree in Milan check – or I use for alternative accommodation.

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City Break Ideas – Day 2 – Bilbao

Hmmmm, wouldn’t it be great if you could control the weather? But unfortunately, we can’t…! But, even with the mountain rain pouring, I still had a fantastic day seeing the sights of this Basque city in northern Spain”

Bilbao in my opinion is quite a unique city in the sense of the contrast between old and modern. One minute you are taking in the 14th century buildings, then the next thing you know you’re looking at a 20-foot metal spider. It’s fascinating to see really, and for me a refreshing change, as I do like modern art.

Where to stay?

There are lots and lots of hotels to choose from in Bilbao. I chose to stay at the 4 star Ercilla Lopez de Haro in the centre of the city. I found the hotel on and paid £221 for two nights. With this deal, I got breakfast and evening canapes with fresh coffee and soft drinks served free all day. Oh and of course the important use of their internet. The was very spacious and had All the mod-cons that I needed. I would highly recommend this hotel.


What to do?

The Ria de Bilbao which flows through the centre of Bilbao makes for some amazing photo opportunities, with the old and new buildings in the background. I found that modern art is especially interesting here, with the Guggenheim Museum being at the centre of it all and is a must for your list.

The old parts of town are intriguing with fascinating architect.

Would I Recommend Bilbao?

Yes, I would highly recommend a visit. It is off the beaten track and makes a nice alternative to the likes of Madrid and Barcelona.

Useful Stuff…

The Ria de Bilbao which flows through the centre of Bilbao makes for some amazing photo opportunities, with the old and new buildings in the background. There are lots and lots of hotels to choose from and you will never go hungry. The people of Bilbao do eat quite late at night though, with some restaurants not opening until 9pm after lunch, which finishes around 3pm. I also found Bilbao to be quite cheap, a coffee in the old town cost me just €1.40 and lunch €10. My flight to Bilbao was with easy jet from Manchester for £70 return. Taxis are reasonable to, from the airport I paid €25 to my hotel.

For flights try:

Tourist Magazine:

Where I found my hotel:

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Need Some City Break Ideas?


Hi Folks! We are promoting are new city break season by posting passed city articles all this week, before I head to Brussels on Saturday to start an epic tour of Europe, which will last well into the new year.


FIRST UP – Helsinki

This Scandinavian gem has it all from old architectural style buildings, bustling designer shops to multi-million pound yachts that you can only dream of, when gazing out of a harbour side café as you let the world go by.

Where to stay?

Helsinki airport is quite away out, so be prepared to pay around 50 euros to get to the center of town. So with this in mind, I opted for a city center hotel and you can’t get any better than The Strand by Hilton. Very stylish, comfortable and right by the sea, what else can you hope for? Now, flexibility is the key here, lucky I was and I got a good deal with 3 nights costing 250 euros. How did I do that? Well its easy folks, go to the Hilton web-site ( and click your dates in the relative boxes, then underneath you will see a flexible button? Just click the box and see what ties in with your flights. Easy and it will save you money.

What to do?

My first stop on my adventure was the magnificent Helsinki Cathedral (Helsinki Tuomiokirkko, Suurkirkko) This stunning cathedral was completed in 1852 and can seat an impressive 1300 people! It was a tribute to the Grand Duke of Finland, Tsar Nicholas 1 of Russia. (And what a fine tribute is was)  The cathedral was built on an old church site called Ulrika Eleonora church which was dedicated to the Queen of Sweden Ulrika Eleonora. A staggering 35.000 people visit the cathedral each year, which makes it one of Helsinki’s top tourist attractions. Interestingly a copy of the church was made in the senate square made totally from snow in the early 2000’s.

Next, was the peaceful and scenic park of Espanade set in the centre of Helsinki. It’s a great place to sit and take in the surroundings around you. Opened in 1812, the magnificent statue is of the Finnish national poet and author Johan Ludwig Runeberg and is the centrepiece of the park and is surrounded by beautiful flowerbeds. As you pass through the park and cross the road, you enter the Market square which leads to the harbour and the brilliant Helsinki Eye wheel (like the London eye)

The harbour is quite unique, with lots of things to see and do all within a nice walkable distance.

Tommi Toija Bad Bad Boy Statue


Helsinki Eye Wheel


The harbor side market


Tall Ships



Useful stuff…

Check flights @ or

Hilton web-site –

Boat trips – Royal Line oy – IHA Lines oy Helsinki Cruises – Stromma Finland

As of the 6th March 2017 the euro is €1.11 to the pound


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Abraham Lincoln’s “Giant Head”

As you drive along I-80 between Laramie and Cheyenne, you may have seen Abraham Lincoln’s Giant Head? Well to be fair you can’t really miss it…! 


Have you ever driven along I-80 between Laramie and Cheyenne? and seen the “Giant Head” of the 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln? Well if you have, you must have seen it? because you sure can’t miss it…!

It was sculpted by Robert Russin (A professor of art at the Wyoming university) in 1959 and was placed on the highest part of the old highway 30 (Lincoln highway) which ran from New York City to San Francisco. But in 1969 after interstate 80 was built, state officials moved the monument to the Summit rest area, they added a visitor’s center and now the monument is visited by over 200.000 visitors per year.

The giant bronze head it’s self weighs over two tons and stands at 13.5 feet tall and sits very nicely on a 30-foot granite pedestal, allowing the president to be seen from a far distance.

Useful stuff…

The monument is off I-80 at the 323 exit, there is also a large parking area, enabling you to comfortably stretch your legs during a long drive.


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