Monday, 22 July 2013

I'm branching out, The Oceanic Tribute Act Agency.

Good day folks, how you all doing? Phew, isn't it hot? I hear its hot in the UK also, yeah but don't forget, YOU GOT WORK, LOL!

OK, so, the UK can't cope with the cold, the UK can't cope with snow and now the UK can't cope with heat. Is the UK good with any weather apart from rain, the UK loves rain just no other climate, I've seen on Sky News there are weather warnings as its 31deg, WOW, how will you cope eh! The information given is, Use Sun Screen - that's not really information that's common sense, Drink lots of fluids - Again you don't have to be a brain surgeon to figure that out, Use water sparingly - Here we go I can feel a hose pipe ban coming on and one reporter said "some roads are melting", GOOD, it may fill in the pot holes left from the freezing winter we had.
Come on, really, people don't know what to do when that big yellow thing in the sky comes out? I know you don't see it much in the UK but most have been on holiday abroad at some point in temps much higher than what the UK is getting at the moment. When does the UK not have weather warnings?
Bloody hell, here we've not dipped below 24deg since 26th April, had in total only 30 mins of rain since April and people are watering the roads to stop dust from getting in their businesses.
So my question is, on a small island, with mostly sun and hot weather for 8 months of the year, how come I've never known a water shortage on Zakynthos but in the UK it pours down for 10 months and after 3 weeks of sun there is a panic about water?

It seems the bars over here are looking for new ways to get people in to them and tribute acts seem to be the way (Well its newish here but years and years old everywhere else). Out here this season we have Michael Jackson, Elvis, Showaddywaddy and Michael Bubble (yes I know I've spelt it wrong). So going along these lines for next season I'm starting "The Oceanic Tribute Act Agency". I think I'm on to a winner here. I came up with the idea after seeing that Ricky Gervais was appearing here live again this season only this time its a musical tribute concert with Jason Statham, its called "Chas n' Dave - The Rabbit Tour" its their tribute act to that world famous duo.

I may have to close the bar for this one, posters are all around Zakynthos town.

So I've done some phoning around and already got 5 acts lined up for hire next season. If you remember a few years ago I went down the west country and saw some tribute acts down there, well you'll be pleased to know they're all on board and excited for the 2014 season. I can't wait myself, its about time this island had some real talent doing the circuits, so let me introduce to you with delight and joy my first 5 signings and many more to follow.

Pour some sugar on me with the sweet sound of Geoff Leopard.

Jake That, if you missed Take That on tour this is the next best thing

If you like the songs of Iron Maiden but want to listen to them a bit more laid back then Brian Maiden's your man

 Deservedly voted the 5th best Pet Shop Boys Tribute act in Bristol, classic Pet Shop Boys but without the huge electric bill.

If you like to gamble baby he's your man.

So if there are any bar owners on the island reading this looking for some real class acts, show stoppers, bar fillers, just drop me a line.

Well in 2007 the cocktail of the season was the Paradise City cocktail, in 2008 it was my Snickers cocktail (no longer available, only on very special 24 hour request), in 2009 it was the Lemon Cheescake cocktail, 2010 it was the year of the Turkish Delight cocktail, 2011 was a Mojito year, 2012 was The devastating Oceanic Rock Legend Cocktail and this year its the year of the Cosmopolitan, I am making so many of these this season that some nights I run of shakers and martini glasses to serve them in, Never fear, I will invest in some more this week.
Also I have another new cocktail to add to the menu its called "Smells like teen Spirit" its a little bit lethal but been told it tastes great.

So I forgot to say, well done to the Wales for beating  the Australians in the rugby union test series, oh and the Irish, Scottish and English helped a little LOL. Just look at the stats, I say no more.

So Wills and Kate have had a baby boy, another mouth to feed off our taxes, another child wanting a free holiday space as they travel around the world. I suppose it has created another job vacancy, Nanny Wanted LOL.

Not much more to post this week, bar is ticking over quite nicely so its all good, Going to try to take a trip out and about on Sunday so hopefully will have some nice pics of the island for you.

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

P.S, Major crisis. Stop. Out of black pudding and crumpets. Stop. White pudding also needed if possible. Stop. LOL

Monday, 15 July 2013

Charlie the 3 legged Dog, Gone but never forgotten.

Update time is here at last!
I start this update with very sad news, Charlie the 3 legged Dog of Old Kalamaki has gone to that great big comfortable dog kennel in the sky, awwww! Ever since I first opened Oceanic in 2007 I only knew Charlie with having 3 legs but he was a lovely happy little dog who would hop up and down the old road with his little ears flapping as he did so. He would always pop in to the bar for a rest, a little water and the odd dog chew. I remember when he got attacked by a horrible nasty dog who had Charlie by the throat, I went out and whacked the dog across its back with a wooden broom handle that was attacking him, the dog ran off screaming but it didn't seem to have faze Charlie, he just got up and continued on his way where as most dogs go in to a state of shock after a attack. He really was a cutey and I saw him once or twice at the beginning of this season but he was very tired when he got as far as my bar. Charlie, all of my customers and old Kalamaki will miss you, sleep well little buddy.
Charlie Dog.

So on with the update. I have got so much to tell you all I can't even remember half of it.
So lets start with the season first. My dreaded July and August are here. As you know from this blog over the years I hate these months.
The Wonder Months starring Fred Savage as Kevin (play Joe Cockers - With a little help from my friends as you read on).
I remember these months well, looking back over the past 6 years they are months of wonder and surprise, I wonder if anyone is going to come in and surprised when they do. As I sit in the bar reading my autobiographies, watching the eastern Europeans walking by in their Speedos, bum bags and flip flops at 8.30pm I try to figure out what country they are from by the accents but being as I have never had a Romanian, Russian, Polish or Czech tourist in my bar I've never known what the accents sound like for these countries, so trying to match a accent to a country is pointless, so I give up and just stare in wonder and some of the fashion statements they make as I read "I'm Alan Partridge" or "Bear Grylls - Mud, sweat and tears". Those crazy eastern Europeans and their wacky clothing, don't you just love them. As you all know from my previous blog entries these 2 months are usually my quietest months but again this July isn't looking to bad up until today but still quieter than May and June. But I'm not complaining at all, at least I get 4 busy months instead of just the 2 high season months. Over the past seasons I've sat there alone some nights till 10.30pm but so far this July I've had quite a few in early every night so that's a bonus. I've also got some fantastic news for you all about next season but I'm going to leave you all in suspense till October to tell you, your all going to be so happy, well most of you will be LOL.

I was asked during the winter by Lee and Emma if I would perform a renewal of vows ceremony in the bar for them, I was delighted and honoured that they asked me and of course I said NO! Only joking I said yes. So I dusted of my bible, sorted out my sermon and set up the bar ready for the ceremony. At this point for those of you who didn't already know, I have been ordained as a Reverend, Rock Rev Kev at your service for renewal of vows, christenings and exorcisms.
Little did I know but on the night of the ceremony the bar was heaving, I had a group of 11 come in at 8pm and that's without my regulars who were here and all the new regulars from this season, so the ceremony was meant to be around 9.30-10pm but couldn't actually start until 10.30pm due to drinks orders that kept coming and coming. I won't lie to you, I was a little nervous as I hadn't done a renewal of vows for 2 years, the last act I had performed was an exorcism on Derek Acorah.

Derek Acorah during the exorcism

And after I'd worked my magic

Think I preferred him when he was possessed LOL

I told Lee and Emma I wouldn't be wearing my reverend dog collar as my customers know me for being a happy, jokey guy and if I had gone in to the back and come out wearing the dog collar they would have laughed their heads off. So I decided against it for this ceremony. I had visions of me being like the stuttering vicar played by Rowan Atkinson in "Four weddings and a funeral" (lets be truthful here, it was a absolute crap film). I got the bars attention and proceeded with the sermon and to my amazement it all went smoothly, my local Greek friends around me couldn't believe what they were seeing, me, little old balding, welsh, short ass as a reverend, when all they've known me as is the crazy welsh bar owner who sprints across the road 20 times a night LOL. The night was so good and Lee and Emma looked lovely together and everyone enjoyed it till the early hours, it really was one of the best nights I've had in the bar.

During the sermon, Lee and Emma just sat chillin while i'm having a squeaky bum time ha ha

Lee and Emma taking their renewed vows, good pic this, doesn't show my bald patch, well its more of a wasteland now than a patch LOL

A few days later it was Helen and my turn to have our wedding blessing at my good friends Georges Taverna or as its called "Kanalos Taverna". I won't lie to you up until the actually day it was a lot of rushing around and pain in the ass but the day itself was amazing. We had 54 guests who were made up of friends who had come over from the UK and local Greek friends. Frangiska our wedding planner was the most helpful person you could meet and really is a great planner, she listens and does as you want without trying to force things on you or push extras on you just to make money like a few of the others I've heard about. If anyone is reading this and is thinking of getting married out here Frangiska is the person to use. I have been to quite a few weddings out here over my 13 years on the island organised by other planners and to be honest found a few of them to be a bit over the top or tacky looking. Myself and Helen just wanted a low key traditional style wedding blessing without all the show and plastic flowers and that is exactly what Frangiska gave us and the setting at Georges over looking Marathonisi Island (Turtle island) was perfect. The good thing about having it at Georges was we could have the ceremony and the wedding reception at the same venue unlike other places on the island where its ceremony in one location then having to ship everybody off to a second location for food.
Here is Frangiskas website, if you contact her just say "Kevin from Oceanic recommended you"

The ceremony and priest were excellent, in fact they were both better than our UK wedding but the heat was a bit unbearable in a suit, shirt and tie.
George had set up the tavern lovely to seat all 54 of us with place settings and water.
The meal started with drinks, bread and Tatziki with bowls of salad and plates of feta cheese, then I ordered wine for every guest. Out came loads and loads of Souvlaki, mountains of them and home made fresh chips with oregano sprinkled on top. For afters George brought out plates of sliced apple drenched in honey and cinnamon mmmmmm, nice.
I didn't actually eat anything as I never eat so close to starting work as I can't rush around if full but George sent 20 souvlaki home for me. In fact never sat down all the time I was there, think that's the bar owner part of me kicking in LOL.
There was more than enough food for 54 and everybody enjoyed it with many saying they were the best souvlaki they had had in Kalamaki, so well done George. Nearly all our guests didn't even know the tavern existed and everyone said they would go back next season when here.
It really was a great day and now for the thank you.
I would like to thank George first for setting up such a lovely spread for so many people as its only a little taverna and he did brilliant, next Frangiska for listening and delivering exactly what we asked for and not forgetting all the 54 guest some of who had booked especially to come out just for our blessing which we both really appreciate, finally thank you for all the gifts and cards, it will be a day that will stay in our hearts and minds forever and all our friends made that day perfect for us, thank you so much.

So now the boring part, pics LOL.

Weddings don't always have to be serious and boring. I think at this point we were laughing as I was meant to say "Yes, I do" but didn't click in my pea sized brain so frangiska had to prompt me by nodding at me.

As you can see from this pic I think the setting is better than any other wedding I've been to on the island just because of the view out over Marathonisi Island.

Now you didn't think I'd go without having a pic on my bike did you, James Bond Skyfall looking LOL

The mountain of Souvlaki served to us, that's not even half of them.

The hero of the day, George.

Feeding the 5000, well 54 LOL

All empty plates, nice to see.

Now here comes the amazing part, with food and drink for 54 people and Frangiskas fee for the wedding it only came to..........wait for it.............650€. I had put 1500€ aside for everything so I was amazed at the final cost. Now that is good value for an amazing day.

The after blessing bash at the bar, as you can see back to normal self, well, I can't make cocktails in a suit can I.

Now some people say i'm short, don't be fooled by this pic, I am in fact 6'5" but these guys 7'5" and 8' so that's why I look so short. Valley of the giants LOL.

When I went back to pay George 2 days later he asked me to bring back on the Sunday my friends for a meal and drinks on him as a thank you. Where else would you get that hospitality. Most had gone home by this time so we invited 9 of our friends to join us and the food was lovely once again. We started with Greek salad, then beef stifado with pasta and the beef was as tender as could be and loads of it, I had 8 pieces, big pieces and Sam cleared up any that was left as George had cooked so much, for afters we had apples, honey and cinnamon and after all that we were asked if we wanted ice cream or yogurt plus all the drinks were free. After the meal we were all stuffed and agreed to all put 5€ each in for George. Now George would have been offended if I had tried to pay for the food as he had offered it as a thank you so I had to put it to him it wasn't for the food, the money was for his time and effort. In the end he reluctantly accepted the money but there was no way I was walking away from there without him taking something as he didn't have to go out of his way for us by making all that food.

The Last Supper, sorry I mean The Last Sunday Lunch LOL

No as you know I'm not one for eating in the tourist restaurants, don't get me wrong they do nice food but the little local places are better in my opinion. Last week I took Helen to a hotel I visited in Kipseli at the end of last season called Tsamis Hotel and we saw a little sign for a fish tavern. I like to try new places to eat so after a few hours by the hotel pool we headed off to find it, which in fact wasn't that far away from the hotel. It was an old beaten up looking place but usually I've found these types of places do the best food as its all fresh. The menu only had 2 pages, one was salads and sides the other fish and meat, that was it.
We ordered Greek salad, Saganaki, Sardines and Squid. They were all soooooo good. If the squid and sardines had been any fresher they would have been flapping around on our plate.
The only thing that concerned me was the light in the taverna was hooked up to a gas bottle as it was the old Tilley gas lamp like you used to get poisoned by in caravans many years ago. This is why I love the island so much, its not the resorts or the beaches, its the little hidden treasures that I come across when I'm out and about, if you don't explore and aren't adventurous in eating out then you miss out on so many lovely places.

Can't remember its name but will definitely go back at some point but its near Tsamis Hotel, Kipseli.

Love the old fashioned d├ęcor, Kalamaki needs somewhere rustic like this.

So what else has gone on, loads and loads I know but my memory is getting worse as each month passes but then again the past 3 weeks has been a tornado going at 100mph so no wonder I've forgotten so much.
Well I've been sat here now for 15mins and still can't remember what I wanted to write so it will have to wait till the next update, that's if I've remembered by then which I doubt it.

So until next week my lovely lovely readers,

Serve All, Love All, Peace All, Kevlar out!