Map of the area to the south of Taunton, West Somerset, England. Corfe to Taunton is roughly 2 miles. The 3-word references (which are also found throughout this document in Bold) mark locations identified using the app What3Words. This app divides the planet into 3m square grids and assigns a different set of 3 words to each square. Somewhere on Earth there’s probably a square called Never Get Lost. I wonder where it is? Oh hang on a minute let’s check…. Looks like there isn’t one. But there is a Never Deft Lost. It’s in Southland, New Zealand just to the east of Rae’s Junction, between Roxburgh and Lawrence (there’s also a Never Debt Lost in the heel of Italy).
The Blackdowns are kinda weird for a range of hills, I’ve decided. Not like the other Hills of West Somerset: the clearly defined elongated island of the Quantocks, and the Brendons (which are, anyway, to me, just an extension of Exmoor, with its beacons and barrows and wooded combes). I think what it is is that from the Vale of Taunton the Blackdowns look reasonably impressive, a steepish scarp, an obvious horizon. Walking uphill their slopes are enough to cause me to stop and catch my breath more than a few times. But then the top: farmers’ fields, sheep, cows, roads and houses. To the south there’s no noticeable descent to the Devon coast at Lyme Regis. The Blackdowns just kind of slope out on you. The lanes are nice though. Some are so unfrequented that they bear a central reservation of grass. And, invariably in the summer months, there are sky larks high above twittering away like speed-crazed free jazz saxophonists.
Then to the left (Tummy Skater Parsnips) standing so still on the other side of the hedge I almost don’t notice her, a cow. The cow (‘Daisy’ naturally) is really giving me the hard stare. Through the leaves, her two black ears, sticking out, look like they could be part of the structure of the hedge. One unblinking eye, large and black as a liquorice gobstopper, regards me.
Me: Hey Daise so yeah I’ve been thinking about the sitch vis a vis NZ n UK and yeah I know it’s tricky to make international comparisons for all sorts of geographical reasons there’s probs lots of geographers working on this as we speak trying to figure it all out who’s been doin well and why etc etc so that we can all learn from one another and get on top of this virus and I guess you can think of it like a wave right? I mean there they are in NZ and oh boy here comes the wave n they’re out there on their surfboards and gotta catch it and not get smashed and it’s I dunno maybe a few metres high and they time it just about right – not perfect aye I mean every death is tragic – but they still manage to catch it and ride it in and now they’re out there waiting for the next one and they’re looking across the water at Taiwan and their wave and yeah they caught it even better than the Kiwis and rode it in boy were those Taiwan guys on top of that wave and then there’s poor old UK and oh boy they started off OK yeah had a few cases had the old track n trace up and running and then when they’d just about caught the wave I dunno what happened exactly and the government won’t admit they did anything wrong but it looks like their SAGE guys weren’t that sage after all or maybe they were but they couldn’t agree and ended up giving the wrong advice or maybe they gave the right advice but the head honcho overruled them who knows cos they’ll never tell us the details but it’s like the toffs-n-boffins tacked and gosh before they knew it the wave was a tsunami and we all know you can’t surf a tsunami right Daise? You can’t surf it. Only way to survive is run like hell for the high ground. Trouble was it was too late they couldn’t get out of the water so they got smashed big time and it’s so so so so goddamn sad... Daise? Sorry I’m rambling on... Daise?
UK-born in 1962, Treefrog ‘David’ Sanders is a musician and artist with a peculiar interest in the piano and creative investigations into the world of fluid dynamics. Since 2009, David has exhibited works at venues including the NZ Academy of Arts, Thistle Hall and Ron Barber Gallery. David has also been a member of the Bayview Shelley Bay Arts Collective and the music theatre group, Amalgam. Solo painting shows include Demolition Series (2009), Surface Tension (2013) and Strange Attractors (2017). David lives and works in Wellington, NZ.