Never Seconds

Petty bureaucrats roundly defeated by 9-year-old girl and her blog

Britain has reputation for terrible food. Maybe something has improved since I was at school. Maybe… but I have almost nightmarish memories of the gunge that was served up at school. Ask any true Brit and she’ll tell you that the worst part of bad English cooking is incontestably the school meals.

NeverSeconds first pic

NeverSeconds first pic

Martha Payne a.k.a. VEG is 9-year-old schoolgirl who’s been documenting her school meals on her blogNeverSeconds. She’s built up a big following and consequently she’s succeeded in improving the quality of the meals in her school, and also in raising a lot of cash for a kitchen in Africa.

On Thursday Argyll and Bute Council, the local authority responsible for Martha’s school meals, told her through her school that she couldn’t take photos of her lunch any more. Only later, under pressure, did they publish their reasons.

Perhaps predictably, the story of this shortsighted and ridiculous censorship went viral in both blogs and traditional media. There was outrage on Twitter and derision on the BBC. NeverSeconds had more than 4 million views and Martha’s goodbye post got over 2000 declarations of support. She raised enough money for 20 kitchens in Africa.

Yesterday Argyll and Bute capitulated and VEG can once again document how many hairs she finds in the stuff that’s served up to her.

I love stories like this. Powerful companies or politicians being defeated by ordinary people wielding social media to improve the world. Go and read Martha’s blog. The directness and candour with which she writes makes it easy to understand how she built up such a following and why Argyll and Bute Council should have thought twice before picking a fight with her. Power to you VEG.

see also

links summary




request a course

Fully booked
— next courses available in January
(request early to avoid disappointment)

More courses and solutions available on request: contact me for more info

Get some English
Peter Brook at the Teatro Valle Occupato

A great British director in Rome


Peter Brook is one the great theatre directors of the twentieth century. His 1970 production of A Midsummer Night's Dream made theatre history.

On Friday April 12 at 8pm the Teatro Valle Occupato is screening 'The Tightrope', a documentary about Brook by his son, Simon Brook. The film will be followed by a public debate with Peter Brook.

You can book tickets by sending an email to

Did you enjoy this article?
Then visit get some more English

tools & terms

irregular verbs:
basic | intermediate | dictionary
phonetic symbols:
basic | extended | notes | SAMPA