The Viewing Point

I have been nominated by Nowathome to participate in the 5 Day Black and White Challenge and by Lrod to participate in the 5 Photos – 5 Stories Challenge. This post is my day 3 response to both. I was determined to keep today’s story a little shorter and set myself a word limit of 500. It came in at 490!

Claife Viewing Station
Ruins of Claife Viewing Station, Lake Windemere, Cumbria, UK

The Viewing Point
Genre: historical – English Regency

Her world was cast in shades of grey.

The looming shadow of financial devastation leached all colour from Sophia’s existence, leaving a life of joyless desolation stretching interminably ahead. This trip was a final chance to claim a wealthy husband before news of her father’s foolish losses spread north of Town. Once it became common knowledge her suitors would quickly disperse.

The only other option was to enter ‘Employment’ and she knew her mother’s opinion of that!

She supposed she should be enjoying today. The weather was glorious, the Viewing Station over Lake Windermere was one of the most fashionable places to be and the company was… perfect. Sir Hugh Warrendon would be an ideal catch: a wealthy, middle-aged land owner who had always shown interest. He’d gallantly offered his arm as they stepped from the ferry. A proposal was imminent. The thought left her cold.

They were accompanied along the path by society ladies and gentlemen of varying ages, all dressed in their finest outfits. She tried to smile and laugh with the debutantes as they flirted with the young bucks. Her mother, along with several other matrons, walked at the rear of the group, her domineering gaze putting a further dampener on Sophia’s mood. An older man, his young wife on his arm, walked just ahead with two children trailing desultorily behind. Their conversation carried clearly to her ears.

“I’m not their mother, Leonard.”

“They’re my grandchildren, Eliza. My heirs. Haven’t they lost enough without being shipped off to school?”

“Then we need to hire a governess. You can’t expect me to look after them!”

She could do that – be a governess. She’d always liked children…

She didn’t know why she even considered the idea, though. Her Mother wouldn’t accept it unless no other option remained. Even then it would be a battle.

Finally they reached the entry to the Viewing Station and stepped into a place of exquisite wonder.

“It’s like looking through a rainbow!” The girl stood beside her, holding tightly to her brother’s hand as she peered, wide eyed, at the many coloured windows and the tinted views beyond.

“It is, isn’t it?” Sophia replied. The girl turned a toothy smile her way and she felt her heart melt. “Each window shows a different season, time of day or weather,” she continued. “Look – the light blue glass shows a wintery scene.”

“It looks like there’s snow! In the summer!”

“The orange glass gives us Autumn.”

Gazing through the windows with the sound of children’s laughter in her ears, colour returned to her life. By the time they left the Viewing Station Sophia had made her decision. Her mother could complain all she liked – she would not be marrying Sir Hugh or anyone. Her father could find some other way to repair his finances. From now on she would support herself.

Those children needed a governess and she was the perfect candidate for the job.

Today’s picture was taken from on board a ferry crossing Lake Windermere last summer. The rather ruined building is Claithe Station, constructed in the 1790s as a place to view the most picturesque scenery over the lake. It had six windows, each a different colour to give the views the appearance of different times of year, day and type of weather  – yellow for summer, orange for autumn, pale blue for winter, light green for spring, dark blue for night and lilac for stormy weather. It was a great tourist attraction during the 1800s.

For more information about Claithe Station you can go here or here. I had to do a fair bit of research before writing this piece as I actually had no idea what the ruin in the picture was! This is my favourite link as it has period descriptions of the place.

The rules of the 5 day black and white challenge are:

1) post a black & white photo daily for 5 days.
2) Invite someone different to participate each day.

The rules of the 5 Photos-5 Stories challenge are:
1) To post a photo every day for 5 days.
2) To write a story to accompany your photo for 5 days (this can be fiction or non-fiction, a page, a paragraph or a poem).
3) To nominate a different person each day.

My nomination for day 2 is Sabina Ayne from Through My Aquamarine Eyes and Orange Marmalade Press. This lovely lady was one of my first followers when I joined WordPress and made me feel so welcome as I began exploring the blogosphere. I love her posts about nursery rhymes!

There is no obligation to accept the challenge but if you wish to do so you can choose to do the 5 Day Black and White Challenge, the 5 Photos – 5 Stories Challenge or a combination of the two as I have done. Enjoy. 🙂

19 thoughts on “The Viewing Point

  1. Very interesting story! The best part is knowing the historical background of the ruin. It must be a beauty to see as you described the windows to be different colors. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. One of the articles I read said that they’re currently working on some sort of restoration project. I’d love for them to put the coloured glass back in place. 🙂 Thanks for visiting.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh dear, entering “The Employment”. The very idea 🙂
    I’m glad she decided to defy her family and not marry some dowdy old rich bloke. It sounds like she’ll be much happier.

    Nice photo and a good bit of history, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s such a horrifying thought isn’t it! I think she’ll be much happier as well. I’d originally intended to write a romance story today – but they just don’t come naturally to me. 🙂


  3. The Lake District is a stunning pace to go.
    I really enjoyed this story. Your prose is great, and I like how the writing seems to bring out the personality and inner turmoil of Sophia. It reminded me of when I was reading Jane Eyre.
    The history is also interesting!
    I am looking forward to what you write next.

    Liked by 1 person

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