“I was like, ‘did anyone hear that?’. And, of course, they did.”
As far as Morning Ireland’s Audrey Carville is concerned, her five-year-old labrador Pal is more likely to interrupt her while she presents the country’s most popular radio programme than her 11-year-old daughter Lucy.
Carville and her husband, fellow Morning Ireland presenter, Gavin Jennings, have been broadcasting from the couple’s spare room since early March. But Lucy has been used to her mother working from home almost her entire life because Carville also presents programmes for the BBC.
“When she came of an age where she might have been able to wander in, she always knew not to,” says Carville. “I was always explaining to her that I was working and couldn’t be interrupted. She’s 11 now, so she perfectly understands what’s happening and she realises the extraordinary situation we’re living in.
“She brings me in a cup of tea every now and again, so that’s really nice.”
The family refer to their spare room as ‘the studio’ and Lucy made a sign for the door that reads: ‘Studio: Keep out between the times of 7 and 9. Parents working’.
“It’s better than any red light,” says Carville.
However, Pal is not quite as considerate as Lucy. “Even though there’s been a long-standing rule that the sitting room door remains closed, it invariably is left open and Pal will take her chance at freedom and wander up the stairs and come in for a nuzzle and a look around to see what’s going on.”
She’s been in the middle of an interview a couple of times when she’s felt a nudge on her knee, as Pal comes in for a cuddle. “I have a momentary panic but then I return to what I’m doing and once it’s over, I just shoo her out the door and down the stairs.”
Although working from home has been a revelation, Carville adds that “like everybody else, it took us a long time to get to grips with the new situation we were all living and working in, but I always said that we’re very, very grateful that we are able to continue working. We’re so mindful that so many hundreds of thousands of people just couldn’t and still can’t.”
Parents shouldn’t be concerned if their children interrupt a work call, she says. “I would say, ‘own it’, make a virtue, say here’s my child.”
She believes that most people will react like Christian Fraser, the BBC broadcaster who has been widely praised for chatting to four-year-old Scarlett when she interrupted her mother’s TV interview.
Fraser, who is a friend of hers, handled the situation perfectly, she says. “He’s a dad himself so he got it right away. He completely normalised it and it was all just very naturally done.”
Such interruptions are a very human thing to happen in this new reality we’re living in, says Carville.