August 3rd 2018
Zero day in Rutland 

I had resigned myself to taking no more zeros, only neros until I finished but I was actually really looking forward to this one. First we went down to the Yellow Deli and had a group breakfast. This egg scramble thing and rice. Odd combo for breakfast, although not in Asia, but we’ll come to that later. And we had watermelon and mate (tea). 


Then we went back to our bunks and caught up on life admin for a couple of hours. It’s so hard to keep on top of everything so it was nice to get up to date. We made a quick trip back to the Yello Deli to get some lunch, I went with a cup of chilli again, before heading over to the cinema. 

The Incredibles 2. I have wanted to see this for ages and I was super excited to get to see it at the cinema. We got big drinks and popcorn and settled in. The movie was…incredible. So good. The experience was strange. There was some weird noise over the audio and something like that would normally drive me crazy but weirdly it didn’t bother me at all. There was a child who was talking and shouting the whole way through the movie but more annoying was the woman, presumably his mother, who was shushing him every time he made a noise, which was basically all the time. But that’s what you get when you go to see a kids movie in the school holidays. 

The weirdest part was when the lights went up before the movie had finished and people started leaving!! Before the movie had finished!!


Jukebox and I went back to the hostel and I got involved in some more chores. Folding and putting away the clean laundry, the towels, bed sheets and clothes. Then I heard form Shred and Peaches – they had found a tattoo parlour and were about to get tattoos. WTF? 

I couldn’t find Jukebox, it turned out she was trying to dye her hair purple, and I went to the tattoo place to find the others. Jukebox arrived with very much not purple hair. It hadn’t worked at all which was a relief because they were trying to make me do mine too! 

We waited while they got their tattoos done, they have both had tattoos before so it wasn’t too much of a big deal for them. 


We had been invited to the big gathering the Twelve Tribes were having which started at 6pm and we didn’t leave the tattoo place until 5:50pm. We power walked across the other side of town and made it just after 6 and before the fun began. 

We began with a welcome and dancing and singing. They sang songs and did what seemed to be a very repetitive dance to each of them. I couldn’t understand what they were saying most of the time but the gist was probably about loving each other and praising god. I had a tambourine. 

Then we held our hands to the sky and prayed. After that, dinner time. We were given chopsticks to eat with, although you could have a fork if you wanted. It was an odd choice of implement given what we were eating– Fresh bread and salad to start. Then pesto rice, grilled courgette (zucchini) and mackerel. It was a delicious meal although I felt sorry for anyone that didn’t eat fish. Mackerel is like the fishiest of the fish. And a parfait kinda thing for dessert (we had spoons for that). We asked about the significance of the chopstick. It is to, I quote, ‘encourage the orientals to join them’. I couldn’t finish my parfait thing, I was so full. 

I spoke a lot to one of the women who had been a member of the tribe (cult) for 39 years and for her previous 11 years of life was part of the Amish community. I found her story fascinating. She has 5 kids, 2 are still in the tribe, 3 have left it and it sounds like she doesn’t really have much contact with them any more other than through letters. Her mother is still in the tribe and her father, who brought them all into the tribe has now shunned all religion and believes in nothing. 

After dinner the tables were cleared away and the dance floor opened up once more and they taught us dances. I missed the first couple because I was upstairs in the queue for the bathroom. I was chatting to one of the girls who hiked the AT last year, she was searching for something in her life. When she got here she found it and never left. Some people are just looking to belong to something. 

At dinner we were all sat on round tables, but the hall was so large the noise of all those people in it made it very difficult to hear anyone but the person next to you. Opposite me on our table was a lady who was not a member of the tribe, but there as a guest I believe, and she was hard for me to handle. She asked me where I was from and then asked if that was near New Zealand. No, I explained that England and New Zealand are on opposite sides of the world. She then asked if I knew the Queen? Had I met the Queen? Had I been to The Wedding? Do I know anyone who knows the Queen? Lady. Chill out with the Queen questions!! I saw the bathroom had an open door and I quickly made my escape. I ran downstairs and joined in with the dancing.


After dancing we all held hands in a giant circle and some people said prayers and said what they were grateful for, mainly for being able to share their meal and their passions with us, the hikers. And there must have been around 20 hikers there, if not more. One guy who was new to the tribe stood up and said how much he appreciated being shown love and care because he has adhd and bipolar and often feels like he wants to stab people…I was pleased to have this experience and now I will be pleased to get out. 

Realistically, this is a cult. But I never once felt pressured or felt like anyone was trying to convert me. They only ever showed us love and kindness and generosity. Yeah I think they are all bat-shit-crazy for believing in the second coming and the righteous and the lake of fire and all of that, but really who are they harming? No one. 

Overall I’ve had a great day and a great experience. I’m so full that I’m finding it hard to go to sleep because I am so uncomfortable! Oh also, I have had terrible flatulence today, and I am sure it must be from all this mate (aka tea) we have been drinking. I once had an intolerance test done and tea was on there as an irritant so it must be that. Unless it was the chilli. Kidney beans were on my list too. And beans in general just make you fart a lot…hmm. 

Watch the video!

For this trip I made a daily video diary which you can watch here: DAY 87