Out and About

By Puffin

Clearing out the Juncus

I was helping today and at a family half term holiday orienteering activity today in Rothay Park in Ambleside during a morning of continuous Cumbrian mizzle.  Lots of opportunities for Blips but I was so busy I forgot. As I locked up the rooms in the parish hall that we'd hired for registration and refreshments, I saw the door to the church open and a sign saying "Come in and have a look round".

 I'm interested in the history of the local churches- how many have been here for yonks and how many were put up by the Victorians when they arrived in the Lake District in droves with the arrival of the railways and the rich Northern industrialists came to build their mansions. 

St Mary's church in Ambleside is one of the Victorian ones . Of notable interest was this 1944 mural depicting the Rushbearing procession. An ancient tradition dating back to when the earthen floors of churches were covered in rushes for warmth. In the summer the rushes, the common reed,  Juncus effusus, were renewed.    The clearing out of the old juncus has (probably) become our modern phrase for clearing out junk. 
Although there are no longer reeds on the floor,  continuing the tradition once a year symbolises  the clearing out of the old junk from your life and looking forwards. Not a bad idea at all. 

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