Tuesday, 25 June 2013

What do you mean Crumpets, Black Pudding and Spaghetti Bolognese?

Well, well, well another week gone and so its update time. Its been a strange old season so far for customers, I don't mean the customers are strange, I mean that most have been new and also many have returned after many years of being away. Some hadn't been since 2007 when I first opened and couldn't believe the transformation of the bar. So I've been thinking back to that first season. Also its nice for all the new blog followers to know how Oceanic has grown to what it is today.
When i first saw the property in Oct 2006 it had been closed since Aug 2005 and was hidden away behind huge rubber plants, a couple of trees and weeds that had all overgrown and covered the front of the of it so much so you couldn't see the building behind.
The bar used to be a greasy spoon café called Isis and to be honest with you if you saw the state of the kitchen you wouldn't have wanted to eat there, YUK!
I agreed to take on the property and Oceanic Was born on Oct 2006. Now you never set up a new business using the old name as they will just compare you to the old owners and to the old business, so I set up a competition on a Zakynthos website for the members to name the bar and the best name would get the winner a free night of drinks when they were on holiday.
The chairs were old and didn't sit even, the vinyl and padding all worn and broken and just all round horrible chairs. The tables were a disgusting grey mosaic cheque typical greasy spoon café type and everything inside was that bad I just threw it in the skip. I got to work refurbishing the building in Feb 2007 while I was also getting my bar papers sorted.
I knew it was a matter of spending as little as possible the first season so that hopefully I could break even, even though they say your first year in business should be a slight loss after all the set up costs.
Isis Café before I set to work on it.
I painted the chairs and re-covered them myself, I bought cheap coffee tables from Argos and had them sent over from UK, fitted 2 doors where they had put a serving hatch and that was it apart from a lick of paint, the least amount I could spend so I could open. I got open in May but not officially, I didn't actually get my full licence till June 6th 2007 but I had people in Kalamaki wanting to drink in the bar, so I opened and since that day I've never missed a nightly target that I've set.
The horrible chairs with Argos coffee tables, and my little wonky roof, Oceanic MK I.
From day one I knew I would run it alone without any staff , with low rent and running costs and no entertainment at all as this is just all extra money Sky TV, karaoke comperes, singers etc etc, to have all those things along with staff  my targets would have to be double or even treble what I had set myself just to break even so why should I stress myself out giving myself unreal targets to hit with a bar with no repeat trade as yet.
Also with working the bar alone I could give my customers the service they deserve and could see every experience my customers were having, so if they didn't like a cocktail, no problem, I'll change it. If they thought the beer tasted funny, no problem, I'd change it. If they had any problem at all, no problem, I'd sort it. That way no unhappy customers (apart from one Hen night) and if ever a review is left anywhere about the bar I can tell if its false or not.
Nope, a chill out bar only using branded spirits is what I stuck to, plain, simple and cost effective. Also if it was going to be a chill out bar you wouldn't have all those things in it anyway.
My Greek friends said it would never work, one business owner called the bar "Stupid" and also a business owner who didn't even know anything about me or had talked to me told one of customers who he didn't know was one of my customer that a "Gay Boy owns it" LOL, don't think Helen would agree.
I had no idea how the bar was going to go, all I knew was that the resort was busy, exchange rate was 1.45€ to the pound and with only 40 seats to fill I had a good chance. 
The 2007 season came and went and at the end of the first season I broke even which was a big surprise to me as that was better than I thought. Over that first season I would never have imagined that I would still be here 7 years on and going from strength to strength each year. I've had really great nights over the 7 years in Oceanic with my customers who I can honestly say have all been so great and lovely people, well almost all apart from one tourist this season, an elderly gent, very bad person indeed.
Every season I have added little touches and more lights, little by little so that the bar changes every year and doesn't get stuck in a rut until it gets to the point that where you have to fork out for a major re-vamp and you've lost all your customers.
Before I even opened in 2007 I had threats via e-mail not to open or bad things would happen, I've had threats over the years while I've been open, also minor and major damage done to my bar on purpose but I'm still here, still busier than ever and still a short ass balding Welshman LOL
Oceanic MK VII.

I have to give a big big thank you to Jeanette and Nigel for bringing me my food parcel of Crumpets and black pudding, oh my god. Love it.

But on the night they brought it in I had made that day a Spaghetti Bolognese with Farfalle pasta - Action Man Bow Ties (God bless Alan Partridge) for my tea when I got in from work. OOOOooh, what do I do, Pasta or Crumpets/black pudding, Pasta or Crumpets/black pudding.

Why not have both. Eat you heart Gordon, Heston suck on your snail porridge, Jamie kiss my lilly white ass.
This is the future of eating, Crumpets toasted till crispy, smothered with Lurpark (other butters are available), covered with grilled black pudding and topped off with my homemade Spaghetti Bolognese.
Eating at 5am in the morning after a busy night in the bar doesn't get much better than this LOL.

Oceanic Kev's Quick Fix Meal Time cook book will be available from major book stores and outlets for Christmas 2013.

I call it Cracketti.

 Helen has been going on about wanting to buy a car out here but for some reason the sellers of cars either stupid or think the buyers are idiots as the prices for some of the pieces of junk I've seen up for sale have been laughable. But I think I may have found just what she wants.

One careful elderly gent owner, Hand painted by brush, fully air conditioned (Windows won't wind up), for day use only (no back lights), Comes with 2 spare tyres (already fitted), ideal on flat terrain, no tax or insurance needed (should be on scrap heap) with the added optional extra of a roof rack (maximum carriage weight 1lb). Perfect for shopping, stock car racing or driving off a cliff.

Seriously this car is still being driven around, if you see it hide in the nearest building to be safe LOL.

There is a big new supermarket in Kalamaki called Bazaar Discount, its not bad, some things are a bit cheaper than the other places in resort and they've got a good selection. While I was in there having a little nose around I fancied something sweet to have with my cup of tea. I came across these, they are cakes with a vanilla cream inside, they are called "Krapfen". Very tasty indeed. So I now enjoy a nice sweet cup of tea while I bite in to Krap ha ha.

I know this is a bit of old news I'm going to show you now but a few of you may not of seen or heard about it. Its to do with false disability claims on the island, its quite funny. No wonder Greece is in trouble.
A Zakynthian friend of mine in one of the town offices told me that when they were catching out the false claims they called one gent in to the office. He came in with his wife guiding him. They sat down at the opposite side of a desk to the government official. the official asked a few questions then pushed a piece of paper along the desk in front of the blind man who was wearing dark glasses. The official asked "Is that your signature?", at this point the gent looked down, lifted his glasses and said "No". BUSTED! LOL
This season been getting a hell of a lot of customers asking me about riots in Greece and didn't know whether to come here or not. All they see on UK news is the riots. Now those riots are in Athens, Athens is huge, the riots were in a tiny area compared to the size of Athens near the government buildings and in a few streets. So Crete has come up with a very clever advert that shows you what is being shown in the news and what is really happening over here. Take a look:-
Well my beloved blog followers I haven't got much more to write as the bar is still being relentless and most of my days are being taken up getting stuff for the bar from the night before. I have now moved the furniture around so I can fit 10 extra customers in but these seats are also being taken up so I have now made space for 4 more seats and a table if needed but that is right at the back, so if it looks full and you want to come in those seats can be made available to you no problem.
So the next update will be the 14th July as my Helen arrives on Thurs and as you know while she's here any spare time I have is spent with Helen, so until then I bid you farewell.
P.S. Going to see Depeche Mode with my world watched actor nephew Leighton Kyle in Birmingham, Jan 2014, lets hope we don't have to sleep rough there, now that would be scarey LOL
Serve All, Love All, Peace All, Kevlar Out!

Sunday, 16 June 2013

"I canny take it anymore captain, i'm gonny blow" LOL

Howdy Doody folks, and how are we this fine weekend? Well its now getting hotter each day and the night times are humid but its still better than the typical UK summertime, rain, rain and oh yeah rain. Now what have they been saying for the past 4 years in the UK, ah yes, that's it, this year is going to be a heatwave. Same old , same old eh?
Now just before I came out I saw the Britain's got Talent Audition of a group who did silhouette theatre which I thought was amazing. I was told that they actually went on to win it. Just one problem with that, the show is called Britain's Got Talent, Simon Cowell is quoted as saying "Its to showcase the best of British talent", Where are the winners from? Hungary. What a joke. When will these rubbish programmes get axed and shown for what they are, an absolute farce.
June is up until last night my best June since I opened in 2007, just wish I had that bigger bar now. Running out of space and seats every night at some point and have to apologies at this point to anyone who has been trying to get in but haven't been able to. I would also like to thank the ones who have been persistent enough to come back night after night till they could get in. One couple were in last night and had tried 5 times to get in but couldn't so decided to come early yesterday as it was their last night, it was very kind of you to keep trying, many thanks.
As you know every season I study how my bar is working, last year I measured how much ground I cover a night and it was 8 miles and I lose 1.5kg in weight per night. This season I've been making notes of how many drinks and how often I serve them during my 2 hour main busy period and it has worked out at on average over that 2 hours I am serving a drink every 45 seconds which in turn is 160 drinks in 2 hours. No wonder I'm knackered already, heads going to explode LOL.
Well since my last update I've been out and about. You know when you visit someones house and they've just got back off holidays and they say "would you like to see my holiday snaps?" and you politely say "yeah, great" when really you don't want to. Well, here's my holiday snaps if you like it or not LOL.
Here's me at the Pelouzo Hotel pool.

Here's me at the Hospital, nothing serious just a flying visit.

Here's me at the amphitheatre in Zakynthos town, whens The Tweenies coming on?

Here's me next to my new dingy I've bought.

Here's me doing a bit of plane spotting.

Here's me at St. Dionysios Church.

Here's me at Remezzos pool waiting for Big Pete.

Here's me at Bochali Fortress.

Here's me having a caramel freddocino at Latas café bar in Bochali.

Here's me after an afternoon at Drunk Corner watching the Lions, I can't handle afternoon drinking.
And who's No. 30 top is that on the ceiling?

Hope you enjoyed my holiday snaps. I will post more to bore you with as the season goes on LOL

Now the airport is a lot better than the old shed ever was and now they have a food and drink kiosk outside the airport which is a great idea. Well, a great idea if it ever gets open that is.

Dog is still a regular visitor every night but she seems to be getting more attached as the season goes on. She is in now nearly every half hour and she now even sleeps on my door mat.
Dog isn't much of guard dog though.

Talking of pets, I'm starting to feel like Dr. Dolittle. The other night as I was pulling on to my patio I quickly had to turn my front wheel as I saw something moving, it was only a baby hedgehog. Aww isn't it cute. I've named it "Spike" yes I know, another original name.

Now then folks, I have got my hands on the Zakynthos Car theory driving test so I thought I would test your knowledge of road safety and signs via the Zakynthos test, so here we go:-

1/ You are on a busy road but can see there is nowhere to park, do you:-

A/ Keep going until you find a space
B/ Find a car park to park your car safely
C/ Park anywhere even triple park and don't worry about moving traffic or ready parked cars

The answer is C

2/ You approach a set of traffic lights that are on red, Do you:-

A/ Stop and wait till the lights turn to green
B/ Crawl slowly towards the lights so not having to change gear
C/ Ignore the red light and go straight through maybe creating a crash or running someone over

The answer is C

3/ The sign above means what?
A/ Roads maximum speed limit is 40 KM per hour
B/ Roads minimum speed limit is 40 KM per hour so go as fast as you can
C/ Its just a sign for shooting practice.

The answer is B and C

3/ Indicators on a car are used for:-

A/ Disco lights when at an outdoor rave
B/ They aren't used for anything, just to look pretty
C/ To make other drivers aware of what direction you are going to take.

The answer is B
 5/ What does this sign mean:-

A/ Doesn't mean anything if your an elderly Greek person they can do as they please
B/ No entry
C/ Letterbox ahead

The answer is A
6/ What does this sign mean:-

A/ One way
B/ Look up
C/ Doesn't mean anything if your an elderly Greek person they can do as they please

The answer is C

So folks, how many did you get right LOL.

Well people its time to have a cup of tea and maybe an hours sleep as last night was super manic crazy. I know it sounds silly but a quiet night would be quite good just to get my energy back but I'm not complaining as its been a great 6 weeks so far.

So until next week my lovely wonderful blog readers.

Serve All, Love All, Peace All, Kevlar Out!

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Get ready, bigger, better, tastier, BISCUIT CLUB 2!

Well my lovely, wonderful blog followers its update time.
May has come and gone in a flash, it has gone by so quickly but it does help that i'm busy so time flies. Its been a great fantastic May and I've been getting out quite early which is even better. The main customer base seems to be in between 9.30 and 11.30pm, 2 hours of  running around like a mad man then closed by 1.30 -2.30am, if this could continue all the season I would be a very happy man but i know come July the nights will get later as customers can stay at the pool and beach later also people eat later but its good at the moment as i'm getting some quality rest time after a manic busy night.
Talking of quality rest time, I've found that during the days i'm highly enjoying my tea and biscuit afternoons on my patio just kicking back looking out at my view of the island. On the subject of biscuits, Biscuit Club is due to re-open again. For those of you that don't know about Biscuit Club here are the rules:-
Rules of Biscuit Club

1st RULE: You do not talk about BISCUIT CLUB
2nd RULE: You DO NOT talk about BISCUIT CLUB.
3rd RULE: If someone says "stop dunking" or the biscuit goes limp, biscuit drops off, biscuits over.
4th RULE: Only 7 people dunk and discuss.
5th RULE: One biscuit at a time.
6th RULE: No Orios, no cakes.
7th RULE: Dunking will go on as long as it has to.
8th RULE: If this is your first night at BISCUIT CLUB, you HAVE to dunk.
Are those rules clear?
Me during my tea and biscuit afternoon. Someone once said I have feet like a Hobbit.
Come to think of it my good friend Tasos said my home is for a Hobbit
Just call me "Bilbo Kevlar" LOL

Just 2 doors away from Oceanic there is a lady who has 4 dogs and about 10 cats. I'm not a cat person myself and some times when I get annoyed in work I wish I owned a cat just to kick it but she has a new little dog who is such a cutey. She comes in every night a few times a night and I give her a dog chew. We've become a bit of double act, she comes in, I walk to her, I hold up my hands palms facing up and say "What do you want?", she roles over to show her belly then I give her a chew.
So I am now a foster parent to her, I have called her "Dog" after my hero Columbo's dog, his dog never had a name he just called it "Dog".

Here she is during our double act.

Here she is with her chew.

I was amazed the last Wednesday morning when I went in to town to collect some t-shirts at 10am and this was the sight that greeted me on Alexander Roma, NO ONE! I have never seen it this quiet, no bikes, no cars, no tourists. If only it could stay pedestrianized for all the day but even when they put barriers out and red and white tape to stop cars and bikes they still take no notice and use the street to pass through.

Last week I was sat at Lobby café bar just relaxing drinking my latte when I looked across the road and saw an awful mess of a boat. All along the port were beautiful yachts and motor boats then right at the end was this horrible looking booze cruise boat, Wet & Wild. The sight of the boat itself made me feel a bit sick that's without booze and motion of the sea.

One use for free sample pots of paint.

T-shirt sales are still going very well and have added an new artist to the rock legend original collection. The first night I wore this design I was asked by 3 people for the same t-shirt.

Now then, I am going to make a public apology to a Hen Night that turned up 2 nights ago. It was about 11pm, the bar was packed, I had 2 extra tables out and 10 extra chairs of which only 2 were left empty. All 14 of the Hen Night walked in and started to use the toilets. I had 3 orders on waiting to be made and I was very abrupt and said "Sorry ladies I can't fit you in", they replied "We'll stand" I repeated "Sorry ladies I can't fit you in" then they continued to use my toilet facilities and left. There was now way I could have fitted them in without disrupting the bar and how efficiently I could serve the customers who had all been there for at least 90 mins by that time, also it would have been difficult for my customers to get to the toilets. But in saying all that you would have thought that on seeing that the bar was packed out that they would have just moved on. So once again ladies if you read this I am very sorry for my abrupt response as I was a bit stressed by seeing you all walk in when I was already full but I won't apologies for being full.

Well my kettles boiled so I guess you know what time it is "Its tea and biscuit time"

So until next week you lovely, lovely people,

Serve All, Love All, Peace All, Kevlar Out!