‘One of the plane’s propellers was still ... we’d lost an engine’
My first choice would have to be James Taylor so he could sing to me the whole way through the trip. To talk to though, I would like to sit next to the chef Dan Barber, so I could ask him about his book The Third Plate. It’s changed my whole way of thinking about food as he talks about everything from farming to cooking and how it’s affected the food we eat. It’s a most inspiring book and I would love to have the chance to discuss it with him more.
I fly all the time these days and I’m fine with it but for a long time I was petrified with the idea of being in the air. I was flying into Manchester about 20 years ago on a snowy day. It was a prop plane — you could see the propellers. All of a sudden the plane got very quiet and I looked out the window to see that one of the propellers was still. The next thing the cabin crew came around and said the worst possible thing — don’t panic. We had lost one of our engines.
We were on our final descent anyway but as we landed we could see the fire engines and emergency crew already assembled.
It was all fine in the end but afterwards any time I flew I was terrified. I got over my fear of flying after a trip to London with Food NI when they offered to book my flights. I told them I would just get the ferry to Stranraer and then a train down to London — but I was told not to be so stupid.
The flight was booked for me and it was probably one of the best things to do because it was fine. Every time I fly it gets easier but the best thing to do is fall asleep and just wake up when you get there.
Because I do some work for a couple of Italian companies, I’m over in London all the time as well as the United States.
Checking in early for my flight means I don’t get into a flap if I get stuck in traffic en route to the airport. I usually try to take carry-on luggage but if I’m going to cook somewhere I bring my own knives and I have to check those in.”
Paula McIntyre (50), who lives in Portstewart, is a chef and cookery writer. She says: