Dinner was taken in the original old kitchen, which was part of a suite of sculleries, pantries and store rooms on the west side of the castle, whose windows looked out onto the road to the West Island.
Mrs Mary Brunt and her daughters Vida Leigh and Hilda Brunt (Tiggy) sat at the sides of the table, as did any guests (Mr Hermon often stayed at Belle Isle: he had his own room, the blue dressing room, and he had been married to Mr Porter’s sister.
On one occasion my sister Audrey, who was about four, and myself, aged nine, were sitting near the Aga watching. Seen, but not heard!
Miss McDougal was the most wonderful cook: she could produce anything.
Our mother had to remove us speedily!
This was one of my father Esmond’s favourite stories.
He was an excellent mimic, and Mr Hermon’s predicament was recounted many times.
Miss Lavinia Baird moved the kitchens to what had been the Servants Hall in the 1970s (now Hamilton wing?); and I understand that the kitchen has been moved again, into what was the old Housekeeper's Room in the main body of the castle.
The photograph shows Mrs Brunt; her daughter, Mrs Vida Leigh; and Julian as an infant on the steps of the French window into the Drawing Room at Belle Isle Castle in 1949.