Posts Tagged ‘school dinners’

NeverSeconds: Argyll and Bute Council yet to apologise

December 31, 2012
Sally Loudon, the Chief Executive of Argyll and Bute Council not in talkative mood in Oban Times

Sally Loudon, the Chief Executive of Argyll and Bute Council not in talkative mood in Oban Times

Argyll and Bute Council tried to bully a nine-year-old schoolgirl. Luckily she was made of sterner stuff and stood her ground.

Sally Loudon, Chief Executive of Argyll and Bute Council, should resign for coordinating abuse of Martha and her family.

Questions Sally Loudon, Chief Executive of Argyll and Bute Council, has yet to answer:

Not only a bunch of liars, cowards too.

A Freedom of Information served on Argyll and Bute Council would be quite revealing.

There needs to be an in-depth independent investigation of Argyll and Bute Council, heads should roll.

It must be their idea of a sick joke, on the front of their website: Realising our potential together.

Martha and her family had high media profile, powerful backers, Martha was prepared to stand firm against the bully-boys and liars at Argyll and Bute Council. Pause and reflect how others less able to defend themselves are treated by this dishonest and rotten council.

NeverSeconds, co-authored by Martha and David Payne, provides a detailed account of how they were treated by Argyll and Bute Council. Thanks to the generosity of Cargo Publishing, it is currently available for download from Amazon at 99p. Each copy downloaded, 25 meals for schoolchildren in Africa, via Mary’s Meals.

You may wish to tell Argyll and Bute Council what you think of their appalling behavaviour, why they think it is ok to behave in this manner, pose a few questions …

You may also wish to contact Roddy McCuish, leader of Argyll and Bute Council, and ask him was it OK the behaviour of his council officials, blatantly lying, bullying a nine-year-old schoolgirl, smearing a decent family …

NeverSeconds only found in one bookshop!

December 1, 2012
 Martha reading NeverSeconds

Martha reading NeverSeconds

Martha with her book NeverSeconds

Martha with her book NeverSeconds

After three weeks of trying I have finally found NeverSeconds in one bookshop!

I found it on Tuesday in Waterstone’s in Guildford. They had one copy! I displayed it on the shelf. It was still there on Friday.

Does this mean NeverSeconds is now readily available, not that one copy in one bookshop counts as readily available?

I thought I would inquire today in Farnham on a cold winter afternoon.

WHSmith not a clue NeverSeconds, cannot even find on their system.

Waterstone’s no idea NeverSeconds. The system says we have one. No idea where it is. We only stock one. If we sell it, we will order another one.

Waterstone’s did at least have a special anniversary edition of The Pilgrimage on display on the shelf.

Why buy from Amazon?

November 17, 2012
 Martha reading NeverSeconds

Martha reading NeverSeconds

Martha with her book NeverSeconds

Martha with her book NeverSeconds

Neverseconds book launch, what every Waterstone's should look like

Neverseconds book launch, what every Waterstone’s should look like

Price is the usual reason cited to buy from Amazon, but another reason is service.

Order a book from Amazon and you will receive your book the next day, or at least that is what Amazon claim, and it will often be post free.

OK, not as good as walking into a bookshop and laying your hands on what you want there and then, although that does assume they have it in stock, if not it may be a long wait whilst they order it for you.

NeverSeconds was published two days ago. I would love to lay my hands on a copy but so far this has proved impossible.

Not a single Waterstone’s I have tried has even been aware of NeverSeconds, let alone had a copy on the shelf or on display.

I tried again today. The assistant looked at me blankly when I asked for NeverSeconds. I explained it was a book, authors Martha and David Payne.

She looked it up. No we do not have it, but we do have it on order.

That it is on order is probably only because I and maybe others have asked for it.

When will it be in? No idea.

How many have you ordered? One.

One! At this point I had had enough. A book that has been serilaised by the Sunday Times, mentioned on Breakfast, on STV, Martha has been on Woman’s Hour, the One Show and Waterstone’s orders one copy!

I know Waterstone’s is a pathetic joke as a bookshop, but this is beyond a sick joke.

A book in which there has been lots of media interest by a writer who has generated even more media interest, a potential best-seller, and a bookshop does not have it on display, does not have it in the window, the staff know nothing about the book!

The irony, Waterstone’s Glasgow on Thursday hosted the book’s launch.

This is why bookshops are going under, not because of price, but because they are pathetic about what should be their main business, selling books.

It would appear the only way to get my hands on NeverSeconds is to order from Amazon.

This is not a one off for Waterstone’s. This is a repeat of what happened with Aleph last autumn. A book by an international writer Paulo Coelho, a book that was a best seller all across Europe, and yet in Waterstone’s staff knew nothing about the book, often did not know the author, not on display.

At the e-book debate a couple of weeks ago at the Guildford Book Festival, the panel were asked did they expect to see Waterstone’s in business in two years time? They did not hesitate, the reply was an emphatic no.

Martha Payne is one of the biggest news stories of the year, she has been awarded an Observer Food Award for her writing, The Herald has named her Campaigner of the Year, NeverSeconds, the story of her and her blog NeverSeconds, now exceeding over eight and half million hits. Walk into Waterstones, NeverSeconds is not on display, not on the shelves, not on order, and the staff have never heard of it!

There are many reasons not to buy from Amazon: Screwing writers, publishers and readers, Kindle uses a propriety format not an Open Source format for e-books, Amazon can wipe books of a Kindle at any time for no rhyme nor reason, Amazon dodge tax.

School lunch matters

September 16, 2012


Infographic on why school lunch matters.

Diário de Classe a verdade …

September 4, 2012
Diário de Classe a verdade ...

Diário de Classe a verdade …

Isadora Faber y Martha Payne

Isadora Faber y Martha Payne

Martha Payne aka Veg with her NeverSeconds food blog has inspired a Brazilian schoolgirl to launch a similar blog, which in turn has led to improvement at the school.

Brazilian teenager Isadora Faber was inspired to start a blog after hearing about Martha Payne aka Veg.

Martha talked about school dinners, Isadora Faber took it further and talked about more than school dinner, highlighting problems with her school.

She created her own Facebook page Diário de Classe: A Verdade (School Diary: The Truth).

The photos published on her page showed broken water fountains and fans, a basketball court with no ceiling and she even called for a teacher who had issues with some students to be replaced.

What she was writing got picked up by newspapers and TV channels and has led directly to a school refurbishment programme and the teacher with who the students were having problems being replaced.

There were attempts by bullyboys at the local council to silence Martha, but she showed courage in the face of the bullies and stood firm.

Isadora faced bullying by the school to try and silence her, but like Martha she stood firm.

Both girls have exchanged videos with each other.

As well as writing of her school dinners, Martha has raised funds for a school kitchen in Malawi called Friends of NeverSeconds. Later this month Martha and her family will be travelling to Malawi for the inauguartion of Friends of NeverSeconds.

Martha has been nominated for a Great Scot Award and for a BBC Food and Farming Award.

Today, on my way from Guildford farmers market and on my way to a lovely coffee shop Café Mila, on visiting Cook (a lovely food shop in Godalming), I nominated Martha for a Cook Great Briton Award. As I told in the shop, I could not think of a more deserving recipient who has done more to raise awareness and understanding of good food.

Whilst at Café Mila a little girl came and chatted to me and told me she was enjoying her ice cream. I asked did she like the coffee shop? A very definite yes. Would she not rather be at Costa? A very definite no!


June 15, 2012
School Dinner Blogger - 9 yr old Martha Payne from Argyll

School Dinner Blogger – 9 yr old Martha Payne from Argyll

Mary's Meals

Martha's school dinner

Martha’s school dinner

 The pizza was alright but I'd have enjoyed more than 1 croquet. I'm a growing kid and I need to concentrate all afternoon and I cant do it on 1 croquette. Do any of you think you could?

The pizza was alright but I’d have enjoyed more than 1 croquet. I’m a growing kid and I need to concentrate all afternoon and I cant do it on 1 croquette. Do any of you think you could? — Martha

My dad says I should call myself Veritas Ex Gustu, truth from tasting in Latin but who knows Latin? You can call me Veg. — Martha Payne

Shocking but inspirational blog. Keep going. Big love from Jamie x. — Jamie Oliver

Stay strong Martha. — Jamie Oliver

When children show initiative, you encourage them. You do not discourage. What you never do is punish.

When my young friend Alice asked me to show her how to set up a blog, I was only too happy to help her. She went home, and I was pleased to see within a couple of hours she had a blog alicemck up and running.

The food the British shovel into the mouths of children is a national disgrace. Taking children to the local McVomit is not a treat, it is child abuse.

The UK is suffering a national epidemic of childhood obesity. Kids are suffering from Type II diabetes, a disease of late middle age.

Jamie Oliver highlighted that school dinners are a national disgrace. When he visited a township in South Africa the women were shocked by what was served in England for school dinners.

School dinners are important. If children are not getting quality food their education suffers. What children eat, learning how to cook, a basic life skill, should form part of their education. For many children from poor families, school dinner is the only opportunity they have to eat a decent meal during the day.

A couple of years ago I was in an Italian tea shop in Alton. A couple of families were there with their children. The children were clearly enjoying their food.

I spoke with the children, and yes, they were enjoying their food. Their parents said they loved going there for a meal.

Nine-year-old Martha Payne writes a blog NeverSeconds about her school meals, she takes photos of her dinner and rates it.

An activity one would think she would be praised for, encouraged, thanks from a grateful local authority for providing useful feedback.

But oh no. The pathetic local jobsworth at Argyll and Bute council acting like the local Stasi banned her from taking photos of her school dinner. They issued a statement which was a vicious attack on a nine-year-old girl, had her called in to see her head teacher. If this is not school bullying I do not know what is. If nothing else it demonstrates the mindset of the local jobsworth.

This is what she wrote yesterday:


This morning in maths I got taken out of class by my head teacher and taken to her office. I was told that I could not take any more photos of my school dinners because of a headline in a newspaper today.

I only write my blog not newspapers and I am sad I am no longer allowed to take photos. I will miss sharing and rating my school dinners and I’ll miss seeing the dinners you send me too. I don’t think I will be able to finish raising enough money for a kitchen for Mary’s Meals either.


plus an addition from her father:

Veg’s Dad, Dave, here. I felt it’s important to add a few bits of info to the blog tonight. Martha’s school have been brilliant and supportive from the beginning and I’d like to thank them all. I contacted Argyll and Bute Council when Martha told me what happened at school today and they told me it was their decision to ban Martha’s photography.

It is a shame that a blog that today went through 2 million hits, which has inspired debates at home and abroad and raised nearly £2000 for charity is forced to end.

Dave Payne

Children only get one chance at an education. What they say matters!

Nick Nairn, the celebrity chef, led criticism of the ban, saying it was “incredibly short-sighted” to punish someone who was a force for good and the decision reminded him of something that would happen in Communist China.

Martha has done a fantastic job. All the way through this she has been incredibly fair and now she’s been punished for something that she had no hand in whatsoever and that makes me cross.

I have no idea what process the council went through, but it just seems to me incredibly short-sighted to penalise a girl who’s actually been a force for good and a force for change by slapping her down and silencing her. If that had happened in China, we would be up in arms about it.

Ian Rankin, the best-selling crime author, tweeted to Argyll and Bute Council: I spent yesterday trying to enthuse school pupils about creativity and the written word. So thanks a lot.

Such has been the public outcry at the bullying of Martha Payne by the local jobsworth at Argyll and Bute council, that the leader of the council has had to intervene and live on BBC Radio 4 World at One lunchtime news say yes, she can continue to photograph her school dinners.

I have read her blog, and it is brilliant! She is articulate, she has a clever way of rating her meals, her photography is good (and when she forgets her camera she draws her dinner).

Martha does not only write about her dinner and rate it, she asks questions of the contents, rates it on health grounds, asks where it is sourced.

Martha was not only writing about her school dinners, she was posting pictures that other kids had taken at other schools, and she was using her blog to raise money for a charity in Africa, Mary’s Meals.

Last year my friends and I started a club, which the school let us run, called Charity Children. We raised money for Mary’s Meals. In our first sale we raised £70 in three hours which is enough to feed 7 children school lunches for a WHOLE YEAR! A lot of kids go to school everyday just for the food. Each lunch costs 6p to make.

The school dinners look singularly unappetising. Would you pay £2 for one of these dinners? I know I would not. Note the contrast between her school dinners and those kids around the world have sent to her.

I wonder what the jobsworth at the local council has for dinner? I do not know what the dinners are like in Lincolnshire schools, but I do know what they are like in the County Restaurant, the staff canteen at County Council HQ. They are excellent and very good value for money. But then they have to be as the chief executive and senior councillors eat there. Maybe the jobsworth at Argyll and Bute should try eating what Martha and her school friends are served.

Her parents must be very proud of her.

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