Accommodation Wanted: Can You Help Colin & Catherine?

Colin with Ben our Labrador Beardie crossKia ora, as we say in New Zealand.

My artist husband, Colin Gibbs, and I live in New Zealand.  We are seeking a place to stay in Orkney, for around three weeks in August this year, to help and to paint. Colin is very keen to paint in Orkney because the light is very different to that in New Zealand.

We are hoping to find someone who would offer accommodation at a reduced rate or even free of charge, in exchange for work for them or for their community group. Another possibility is looking after someone’s house, garden, animals and ‘odd jobs’ while they are away on holiday, or in hospital. We would be happy with a caravan or somewhere simple where we can sleep, cook our food and wash, and a room somewhere to paint that is dry, relatively free of dust, and has electric lighting and a table.

We are fit, active retirees in our sixties, with lots of practical skills, and we are seeking a way to have an art adventure as well as be part of, and helpful to a community.

I am a direct descendant of William Eunson Drever of Hall of Brecks, Deerness, who left from Kirkwall in 1859 to emigrate to New Zealand, I am a member of the Orkney Family History Society, and Colin and I have already visited Orkney once in 2002. Our visit made us feel connected and ‘at home’, and Colin has held a hankering to paint in Orkney since then.

Catherine feeding the Dorper lambs

Catherine feeding the Dorper lambs

We live on a small holding near Hamilton in the North Island of New Zealand, and have various animals, a vegetable garden and orchard, and a wood lot. We try to grow as much of our own food as possible and do this without artificial fertilisers or chemical sprays.

Between us, as well as Colin’s art skills and our animal care and gardening skills, we can cook, clean, repair fences, sheds, chicken houses etc., paint buildings, hang wallpaper, sew, do simple upholstery, knit, slaughter poultry, make jams, pickles and fruit wines, arrange flowers, manage accounts, sort out and tidy up, declutter, arrange furniture, and more.  Colin is a registered Ortho-Bionomy and massage practitioner who can help people with injuries, aches and pains. I have experience as a waitress and dish washer at a theatre restaurant and a café, and as an administrator and event organiser for community volunteer groups.

We run an art gallery at our place: GibbsLang Contemporary Art Gallery & Studio and you can find out about Ortho-Bionomy at : In Touch Body Harmony

We also have accommodation for a visiting artist or a like-minded couple who would like to be hosted in New Zealand.

If you can help please email:  or

Thank you, Catherine Lang

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