Signing off from Radio Ulster on what she dubbed "Lynexit Day" back on October 31 last year, Lynette Fay had no clue what lay ahead.
Well, she knew the early days of motherhood were just around the corner - but as for the rest of the mayhem, all that was still anyone's guess.
"It's been absolutely bonkers, hasn't it?" says Lynette (42), whose baby daughter Neansai was born in November.
"I suppose it's not exactly like we thought, everything was calm back then with all that was happening with Brexit, but it's all just been so much. What do you do, though? I guess we've just got to take it a day at a time at the minute."
Sadly, for Lynette and her family, the presenter's grandmother Nora McKeown passed away aged 91 just days before lockdown was announced.
"It was strange because I had a fair feeling in the weeks before it happened that lockdown was coming towards us," says Lynette.
"I'm sort of a news fiend anyway, and I'd been watching what was happening around the world and just saw the inevitability of it all.
"Granny passed away on March 16, a week before the lockdown. She had been living with my parents who cared for her, and she died peacefully in her sleep at home.
"I was Granny's first grandchild and we were very close. I was her shadow and I went everywhere with her.
"The week she died was really strange, because it was as if we were between two worlds, between normal and heading into the unknown.
"People didn't know whether to shake hands at the funeral, or how to console one another. The guidelines still hadn't been set out, so it was an unsure place to be. But we were able to have the funeral mass which would have been very important to my Granny. I'm glad she had that. Everyone went home after the funeral, though, and that's the last time I saw anyone in the family."
But now, after seven months of maternity leave, with the added impact of the Covid-19 outbreak thrown in, the radio host is preparing to get back to work.
Hitting the airwaves on Monday with the return of The Lynette Fay Show on BBC Radio Ulster in the afternoons, Lynette is looking forward to connecting once again with her listeners.
I think radio has really proven itself over the last while. It's so important to people, especially in difficult times, because it has that real connection with the audience
"It's been a bit of a running joke, but I was only in the afternoon slot for a fortnight before I started on maternity leave," says Lynette, who lives in north Belfast with baby Neansai and partner Gavin Cumiskey.
"You see, I was working to two schedules, the BBC schedule and Mother Nature's. And, let's face it, you can't really fight Mother Nature.
"But I thought the whole move was a wonderful endorsement from the BBC because they gave me that slot even though they knew I was pregnant and that I'd be going off fairly quickly.
"They knew I'd be absent from the airwaves for a number of months very soon after the show began, so I started then the way I mean to continue.
"I think it's a really positive message for women, a really empowering one, that pregnancy and having babies is part of life and this process happens all the time. It's only a few months and things get back to a regular way in the blink of an eye."
Although, of course, heading back to the studio in Belfast this week will be a different experience for Lynette, who has already been working on her Folk Club music show from home.
With fewer staff in the building, and most of the prep done from home, the bustling days in the city she was used to won't be quite as they were.
"I'm really looking forward to getting back at it, but I know going to work will be very strange," she says. "I think radio has really proven itself over the last while. It's so important to people, especially in difficult times, because it has that real connection with the audience.
"That's why I love it. I know a lot of what I'm used to won't be the same. There's a real skeleton staff but I'll see a few of them. In Radio Ulster, there's a good gang with lovely people and I've really missed the craic while I've been home.
"It's been strange already even with the Folk Club. I've been recording it at home and sending it to my colleagues in the studio, but they're so incredibly busy at the minute because so much is going through their hands and ears, they barely have time to speak. Hopefully all that will come back, though."
And, of course, a huge consideration for any working mum is leaving their baby for the first time to head back to the day job.
But with lockdown in full swing, and Neansai's dad Gavin (44) working from home, Lynette hopes there won't be too much disruption.
"I was in Holywood during the week for an hour for work," she says. "It felt so strange to be away and to be going to work, so getting back to it properly will be a novelty in itself.
"It will be hard to leave Neansai, but I'll just be gone for a couple of hours. At the minute she goes for a nap around 2pm and if she continues to do that, I won't feel so guilty.
The most overwhelming thing was looking at this little person and realising that she depends on you completely, all the time
"And so the juggle begins! But I guess we're all doing it, aren't we? Everyone is juggling everything at the minute. It'll be fine."
Taking everything in her stride, including becoming a mum for the first time, Lynette recalls how she was pretty relaxed when her due date came and went last November.
"Well, she didn't arrive on time," says the presenter. "But there wasn't too much waiting, she came two days late. I had myself basically prepared for that and I'd worked out she'd probably be late because she was the first and people told me that usually happened.
"Then someone said I should ask my mother what kind of labour she'd had with me, because that would give an indication of what this birth would be like.
"Well, I did that. I asked her, 'When did you go into labour with me?' And she told me it was a Sunday evening. I said to her, 'Was I not born on a Thursday?' And she said, 'Yes, you were.'
"Well, that was it. I went into labour on the Monday and Neansai arrived at midday on Wednesday. It was long enough," she laughs.
And now, more than six months into motherhood, Lynette says the experience has been a huge learning curve.
"The whole thing can feel very surreal," says the Dungannon native.
"At different points it's almost as if you can't quite believe it's all happening, all those moments like walking out of the hospital and getting her home for the first time.
"I think now at all the size of her in the car seat right at the start, and at this stage it won't be long until she'll need a new one. Everyone says it, that things fly by so fast at the start, and they say to take a note or it will have passed before you've noticed.
I'm lucky because Gavin is very level-headed. He's been very assured and steady about things and he's definitely helped me a lot right through the pregnancy and all along with Neansai
"There's an awful lot to get used to. One of the ways I think about it is that she was in my belly for nine months before she made her entrance. Right from the beginning, she's just been getting to know us and we've been getting to know her.
"We're figuring out what she needs, her routine, how we all work it out together. That's the way we look at it, like this early time is this getting-to-know-you phase.
"The most overwhelming thing was looking at this little person and realising that she depends on you completely, all the time. You very rarely get a chance to have time to yourself, and that's a big change."
But, says the presenter, adapting just takes time. "You adjust," she says. "At this point I wonder what I actually did with all the time I had before Neansai arrived.
"I was always busy and doing things, and I rarely had a lazy day doing nothing. But thankfully I'm able to adapt pretty quickly when things change. You get there."
And settling into parenthood alongside partner Gavin, who also has three older children, the couple are being selective in what advice they take on board.
"Right the way through it all I've tried not to overthink or read too much or do too much research," says Lynette.
"There's just so much information out there, and so many opinions.
"Even with the birth, I didn't give it too much thought.
"I have been very careful who I listened to, and what advice to take. I see some other mothers and the way they are with the children, and how they react to things, and I know the kind of person they are. I know the kind of person I am, too, so I know who I should and shouldn't listen to because I try to be quite relaxed.
"Of course you worry, it's natural, especially when you're going into the unknown with a new baby. But I'm lucky because Gavin is very level-headed. I don't want to give him a big head, but he's been very assured and steady about things and he's definitely helped me a lot right through the pregnancy and all along with Neansai.
Lockdown has been hard. I’ve been in constant contact with my parents and we talk every day but it’s not been easy
“I feel like in the last couple of months I’ve really found my feet much more, and I’ve had that space to build my confidence. At the start I was a bit more unsure about things, but I’m much more certain now and we work very much as a team.
“If the baby is up in the middle of the night we take it in turns, and we make sure to give each other a lie-in so we’re not walking around like zombies. That’s no good for anyone.”
And on the subject of sleep, Lynette doesn’t hold back on the challenges it presents.
“The sleep deprivation is terrible,” she says. “There’s no sugar-coating it because it is just awful. You get used to it to a degree, but it’s definitely hard-going.
“There’s no point moaning about it, because look how many parents there are, and we’ve obviously all been through it, and there are people in a lot tougher situations that we’re in.
“But I was a person who loved a good nine or 10 hours a night, and that’s completely gone, obviously. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been warned or if anyone has really tried to explain to you just how gruelling it is, I honestly think you can’t understand it — and you don’t know how you’ll handle it — until you’re in it.
“It’s the same with your birthing plan. Everyone’s saying, have you got your birthing plan sorted?
“Well, I have to say that’s the most nonsensical sentence I’ve ever heard. Your baby and your body will do what they want. Get me in the bubble bath? Forget it!”
As we head into our 10th week since lockdown was announced on March 23, Lynette is looking forward to reconnecting with her family.
“Before all of this happened, my parents couldn’t come to us much because Granny wasn’t well, and Mummy was looking after her,” says Lynette. “So, most of the time when they saw the baby, it was us taking a drive up to see them.
“But of course, since everything went to the wall we haven’t seen them anyway. Lockdown has been hard. I’ve been in constant contact with my parents and we talk every day but it’s not been easy.
“We’ve had these big leaps in her development and I’ve been saying to Mummy, she’s starting to roll around and she’s trying to hold herself up with her arms and things. It breaks my heart that my parents haven’t seen her in action for so long.
“They see her on FaceTime, and I send lots of photos and videos, but it’s not the same. Even when the restrictions all ease and lift, I wonder how little children, not just Neansai, will respond.
“They’ll be so used to just having their parents lift and carry them, will it be strange for them to go to anyone else?
“Whatever happens, though, it won’t last forever so we can’t worry about these things.”
And with her return to work imminent, Lynette is ready to embrace all the changes coming her way.
“Before the schedule shake-up which saw me get the slot in the afternoon, I was working at weekends continuously for 15 years,” she says.
“A lot of the time there was a feeling that I was missing out on a lot of life. I did miss out on things, family events and things where I couldn’t get to Dungannon on time.
“For the most part, when I was in the building and on the mic, it didn’t bother me because I had that great rapport with the audience. They’d tell me I was there to bookend their weekends, which was lovely.
“But sometimes you have to remind yourself that you have a life as well, and this new show will bring a new sort of structure for me, which is great. I know it will bring new challenges, but I think there will be a lot of excitement and some more energy, reacting to things going on in a more immediate way.
“I’m looking forward to it, and it’s exciting to be part of the new schedule for Radio Ulster. By this point it’s well rolled out.
“I just headed off there and let everybody else get to grips with what they’re doing, so I can sail back in and it’s all sorted.
“I know some people don’t like change initially, but we all settle and adapt quickly and hopefully everyone will stay with it and enjoy it. There’ll be loads of brilliant music. I can’t wait.”
The Lynette Fay Show is on Monday to Thursday from 3-4pm on BBC Radio Ulster and also on BBC Sounds. Lynette also presents Folk Club with Lynette Fay, Fridays on BBC Radio Ulster at 10.30pm.