Three things. I was fed up working on the rigs. I had money. And then there was the house.
I had earned a lot of money working as a geologist on rigs in the Great Bay. At the end of my contract I took the chopper with the other guys to the base camp. They called it Gold Rush City. It had what the rigs didn't have – women and alcohol.
I took an over-night train and a flight to the other side of the planet and another over-night train – a long time, but I needed time to think.
The lawyer gave me the keys to the house, “It took a long time to find you, it's over five years since your aunt and uncle died. I've registered you in Bigtown.” He handed me an ID card. “I've had the electricity and water reconnected; you will have to sort out the heating yourself, but it is summertime.”
He drove me to the house, it looked like it always did, just a bit run-down. “It's all yours! Oh, and I cancelled the hotel licence a long time ago; it was never a success as a hotel.”
I went down the drive that led to the car park and entered via the back door direct into the kitchen. It was so familiar, though smaller than I remembered. I had spent the best days of my childhood here.
I never saw much of parents as a child, they were always travelling, I went to schools all over the world, but summer was always here with my aunt and uncle. Were they my aunt and uncle? I don't know, it's not important any more.
I wandered around the house, both inside and outside, the reception, the bar, the beer garden, the breakfast room, the car park and thought. Should I renovate? Should I stay? Should I sell?
I decided to clean the place up and renovate the kitchen and the best bedroom for me and think again. I took the path through the woods to the centre of the village.
Funny place is Brasslans, no church, but the pub was still there. And opposite was a new building. I drank a few beers, ate something and chatted to the locals. “Oh that, it's the town hall. Every village has to have a town hall.”
The next morning I found myself in one of the bedrooms. I walked down the lane to the main road and caught a bus to Bigtown. I got cash, food, tools, a ladder and a battered orange-coloured pickup truck and drove back.
I used the ladder to unscrew the two big hotel signs on the front wall. I loaded the signs, the rusty beer garden furniture, the beer-named lamps, some ruined furniture and anything hotel-wise into the truck and drove to the dump.
I made several trips to the “recycling centre” as it is now named. As I drove home for the last time I noticed the bare patches on the front wall where the hotel signs had been – more work for the next day.
I drove to the big out-of-town store and bought paint, padlocks, bed linen and more food and stuff. I painted the front wall of the house – it did look good – not a hotel any more – I was pleased with that idea.
I decided to close the front of the house where the hotel entrance had been. I padlocked the front door, removed the door handle and post box. I placed big potted plants in front of the door and padlocked the front gate and the gate to the car park shut.
So, that was the end of the hotel. It had never been very successful, my aunt and uncle ran it just for fun, Brasslans had nothing for tourists. No, it was never a success, maybe the bar, but there was a good pub in the middle of the village.
I walked down the lane, I wanted to take the long route to the pub. I looked back, the house looked good. Copper House with the green roof at the end of Copper Lane looked good.
I rounded the corner and reached the main road. There on the street lamp was a sign pointing up the lane. It read “Copper House Hotel”. The sign was new.