Thursday, 17 October 2013

Last Bar Standing - Is there anybody out there!

Blog date 17/10 in the year of our lord 2013, As I stand here alone in the bar typing this, its strange, its isolated, the old road is no more for the season apart from one lone light in the darkness, one ray of hope, an iconic beacon in the distance,
HEY - HEY , IT'S ME! TURNED OUT NICE AGAIN AIN'T IT! Sorry, that's George Formby isn't it, not me, oh well.

So the weather here is starting to turn now, high winds, monsoon rain, thunder, lightning, frogs, plagues of locusts. Sorry that's bible isn't it, not Zakynthos, oh well.

You can tell the winter is moving in quite quickly this season, never known an Oct in 13 years to have the weather change so quickly from day to day, hour to hour. One minute I'm actually getting some sun time then within half an hour the clouds are over and raining.
The bar is now in bad weather lock down mode, the inside is now a comfortable cosy lounge and outside is also lovely and cosy with my outdoor heater burning away keeping the last of the tourists warm and happy.

My lovely little bar, I quite like it like this.

The old road last night at 7.30pm, well its not completely true that I'm the only one open but I am the only bar open, you have Hera, Angelina and Nikos at the supermarket, Dennis next door to me open till 5pm and Yo Yo's and just around the corner Zepos is still going.

The new strip, its just as empty, pity anyone coming out for the last 2 weeks, poor sods LOL.

I have already made my new menu for next season and added some new creations including this one "Elegantly Wasted", Archers, Kiwi liqueur, pineapple and milk. The trial runs have been very popular so its on there ready for next season.

Over the season I have been asked about my crumpet creations, everyone has said they look lovely but a few of the creations have been a bit weird, so I'm told. But as you've seen I can actually cook real good food. Now being as I've run out of crumpets there will be no more crumpet creations this season. I know, I know your all gutted, so I have been doing a bit of cooking. So Kevlars School of Cooking excellence brings you 3 meals ideal for a cold mornings at 4am after you close a bar.

First we have a standard classic, minced beef with onion and gravy over butter & cream mashed potatoes, mmmmmm, just look at that steam coming off it, now that's proper food,

Next a chicken and mushroom pie with cream, now this wasn't a complete success, I greased the pie dish with butter so I could turn it out to take a pic for you all but the pastry slid down the sides of the greased dish and just created a thick base instead, DOH!

Again this wasn't a complete success as the pastry shrank on the top, it was looking really good when I popped it in the oven, this is a steak and onion pie. This was my favourite even though it looks like a car crash in a pot it tasted wonderful, as I've said before, just because something looks fancy doesn't mean it will taste good.

As you know the weather is pretty changeable these days so on my travels around the town and resort I have taking a few snap shots that have caught my eye.

This was a rainbow that I saw on my way down from my house, shame its out at sea as I would have chased it, I'll find that leprechaun one day and when I do that pot of gold is mine and if he won't give it to me I'll beat the living snot out of him for it LOL.

This is one of the rare days that I got to a pool, I went to the Sirocco Hotel, lovely there. 30 Min's after taking this pic I was laid by the pool and it started to rain, bloody typical, thought that the cloud was stuck on Mount Skopos as it wasn't moving anywhere, bloody stupid cloud.

This is a rare glimpse of blue sky from our house yesterday. I thought it was going to stay bad all day but at 6.45pm it broke just for 15mins, enough time for me to get to bar then the heavens opened again, god must be on my side, well after all, I do work for him ha ha.

As you know I can't drive a car so its motorbikes all the way come hell and high water. But with everything when biking you must check that all lights are working before you head out, headlight, indicators, back light, brake light and not forgetting the reflective strips on my waterproof suit. Check, they work.

And this is me auditioning for a lead role in the next Power Rangers Movie. I may look stupid but not as stupid as the wet locals on their bikes in hoodies and puffer jackets who are soaked through and freezing.

Before I go home I decided to take in a Zakynthos Town football match, unfortunately instead of going to the pitch I had been to watch them at before I went to the one by the hospital, guess what, they were playing at the other pitch. So here I am sat alone watching an empty pitch.

I took my good friends Jan and Phil for lunch to a restaurant I hadn't eating in before on the port road. Now I will say over the years I have eaten in most of the port road restaurants and to be honest was never overly impressed with them, the smaller tavernas on the back streets are much better.
This restaurant sells mainly fish and I've never been a fish food lover but over the years I've been trying more and more fish so thought now was the time to try this restaurant. Its called Thymalos, and wow was I impressed, so impressed I went back by myself for sunday dinner.
I had the usual bread and water, 1/2 Ltr white wine, Fried battered feta cheese with honey and sesame seeds, octopuss in vinegar, cheese croquets, stuffed vine leaves and white bait (38 of them). Guess how much all that cost, go on guess, I bet you can't guess (why do people say that about guessing).
18.50€, that's amazing, 18.50€ for all that. I usually pay 5-6€ just for octopuss in vinegar.

My meal fit for a king.

Man V Food got nothing on me, and here is the end result, bugger all left. Stuffed.

Talking of meals I come in to the bar one night and thought to myself "Whats that smell, I know it but can't remember what it is" as I made my way in behind the bar I looked down and there on the floor was a carrier bag with the remains of a Sunday roast. Only the veg was left. Someone (and I know who it was, people tell me everything) had come in to my bar, through the closed sign chain and placed the bag behind the bar for the cats that are around. WHAT THE .............! Now don't get me wrong, cats are OK, I'm not a big fan of them but I wouldn't harm one but when you feed a cat somewhere they keep coming back. So now I've got to keep a super soaker water rifle behind the bar to chase them off the little buggers, its like bloody animal kingdom in the bar now what with dogs, cats,  lizards, frogs and beetles visiting at some point.

The evidence. how silly some grown ups are LOL.

After seeing that bag of left over Sunday roast I thought to myself, well even the cats get fed better than me.
I went home that night to my fridge freezer and decided to make myself some lovely food. I forgot you actually have to have food to make a meal, My freezer contained just freezer packs for picnics. Why have I got these? I have never used them in 13 years and always freeze them every year, never gone on a picnic to actually use them. My fridge wasn't much better, 1 small can of Mythos, 1 half used tub of butter, 1 packet of tortellini pasta, 1 haggis and 1 bottle of Bollinger, Not exactly a Ready steady Cook carrier bag is it LOL.

Once used as a hideaway by Saddam Hussain

Now what can I make out of this lot, I know, I got it!

As the season slows down I start to run down the stock for when I close and I've been drinking the John Smiths as its no good by next season. After numerous pints, I did it, all gone. Thank god as I was getting sick of drinking them. Then one day when I came in to open I could see a John Smiths can on the bar, "strange" I thought, I never had a Can last night, how is there an empty on the bar. It wasn't an empty, one of my lovely customers decided to make my nightmare continue by leaving me a full can and a note, all I can say very sarcastically is "THANK YOU SOOOOOO MUCH" LOL.

And to finish off this weeks blog I saw this poster by our house, is this the cheesiest advertising poster you've ever seen, the Greek singer looks like hybrid of Lionel Blair and Liberache (that's if you know who I'm talking about of course), could have done his lipstick properly though.

I've got a cat that sits outside the door of the house every day, I've never let it in, I've never fed it, I've never encouraged it but its got a meow like its smoked 100 cigs a day.

It looks like I got a final date of when I'm leaving the rock, 29th Oct to Gatwick. Still nothing booked yet but got a bit of work to do on the bar after I close ready for the work that's being done on it during the winter so that date looks the most likely.

Oh yes almost forgot, the great news about the bar. No, I'll leave that for my last update from the island. And no Lee and Emma its not a Bucks Fizz theme bar although there is a Depeche Mode Theme bar in Estonia, I feel a road trip coming on, Leighton, get the tent LOL.

Just been down (10.30pm) to supermarket opposite Drunk Corner as its the only one open late and you won't believe it but Oceanic has the most people in and I've only got 10 in, its so sad to see the resort so quiet and the season is still going, bloody tour operators.

So until my final blog entry from the island next week

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

Saturday, 5 October 2013

"Homeward Bound",,,,,,,,,,,, Well almost!

Well the season is almost over and it seems to have shot by this year. Up until today this year has now become my best season but we still have Oct to get through and with the tour companies basically killing off Oct for the island with only 3 airports flying to here after this weekend that will only bring all together 560 tourist a week from the UK for the whole of the island for the last 3 weeks, so it could be slim pickings but we'll see, at the moment Oct is going well. Many places are closing after this weekend and few have already closed with the odd business have done a runner.
Why don't people just quit as soon as they can see they are struggling to keep up and just hold their hands up, be honest with landlord saying its not working, give them what they can afford and leave on good terms being able to return to the island for holidays instead of staying open and building up more debts then when they got a bit money in their pockets leave before anyone gets paid, landlord, staff, suppliers, electric, tax and accountant. Everyone else has to pick up those debts and its worse for the landlords as they have to clear those debts left on the building before anyone else can open the business and the landlord doesn't get his rent so its a double kick in the teeth. All I can say to those people is shame on you that you have done this and can never return to this beautiful island.
So What have I got to tell you, loads and loads as its been over 2 weeks since my last confession, sorry blog update, that was my Reverend side coming out.
Been out and about eating lovely food with Helen while she was here. We always like to try and find new places to eat in little villages or in Zakynthos town but we are starting to run out of villages to visit now as we have gone through most and especially me after being here for 13 years now. So lets start our tour of a few tavernas we visited.
This tavern we have visited before but enjoyed the seafood so much that we went back there. Its just part Tragaki and Kipseli and its on the sea front, now the name was in Greek so sorry I can't give you the English version of it but I took a pic of the entrance.

This is the indoor seating area which they use through the winter, looks like it would have a nice cosy feel to it sat next to that fireplace.

But we sat outside in gale force winds but the sun was shining so it was OK. We had a fisherman's platter for 2.

Now its not the best presented looking dish but who cares, after all you don't order food just to look at it, they say you eat with your you don't and I've had pretty looking food before and its tasted awful so why go through all the bother to have a pretty looking plate of food, as soon as its in front of me it's fork in and stuff my gob LOL There were prawns, calamari, octopus, large mussels and cod pieces, lovely.

Here is another little gem that only opened this year or did I go last year, maybe last year or was it? Anyway great food here. If you go to Base café in town you will see it opposite down a little side street, now I did know the English name for here but have lost the business card, DOH!

I had the mixed grill that was really good value at 8€, unfortunately I had already started stuffing my face before I remembered to take a pic so some of the meat and chips has already been eaten.

Helen had a fish platter, now this was really good value, a big whole fish (species unknown) large tiger prawns, octopus, cod, sardine and smaller fish (again species unknown) all that for 10€, BARGAIN!

And instead of the usual bread we were given mini pitas with paprika and salt on, lovely when dipped in olive oil, mmmmmmmmmmmm.

To continue the food theme, one night I fancied a pizza but with the bike its difficult to carry one home, so I got Helen to collect a large pizza for me from my fave take away place Big Boys, unfortunately Helen doesn't like cheese so I had to eat it all myself, aww shame LOL. Now when I got home the box was huge, not lying now but it was the size of one my ikea tables in the bar and the only way I could show you the size was by putting a Warburton Crumpet (other well known brand crumpets are available) next to it. I was eating pizza for 3 days ha ha.

And finally on the food front my blog wouldn't be complete without a crumpet creation. This time its topped with black pudding and a hybrid mixture, not a Bolognese and not a chili its a sort of combination of both that Helen had made for me before she left. I can see my Crumpet Creation shops now rolling out around the world, watch out Mcdonalds (other burger stores are available).

I like to ride around the island with the spare time I have and now I really am running out of places to visit, so I decided to look for historical sites. Historical sites are brown signs that you see dotted around the island such as churches, monasteries, wells etc etc.
The only problem is they don't say why they are historical. Take for instance this first sign "Old Village", Why is this sign here? What importance has this village? How old is the village? even when you got to the village it didn't say anything. You can't just put a sign saying old village, tell us why and how old. Wales would have bloody hundreds of these signs around the place.

Next sign, "Old School" again this isn't in relation to the music reference, it just says "old School" again why, what and where? I followed the direction of the sign and never saw the school as there wasn't another brown sign anywhere to be seen.

This sign was high up in the middle of the island near forests, scattered around the forest and on the road were shotgun shells and bullet shells, I guess you could say that the area where I was would be known to American Rednecks as "Squeal Piggy" country.
"What shall we do today Bo?", "Lets go shoot some sign Jessy", "Yeehaa, bring the moonshine"

Now this sign I have never seen before but I was excited at the fact of finding the WW2 forts, so I made my way down the direction in which the sign was pointing.

And there just around the corner was this stunning view and a perfectly laid road, unusual for Zakynthos LOL.

This then led to a isolated cove which the perfect road stopped at, I was the only one there, it was bliss.

If you swam just around the rock you can see there was a beach there but I think I would be a bit scared of any falling rocks.

You can see the cliff faces did go up very high but the sea was so clear it was a perfect place for me.

And just to prove to you that all the pics I post on my blog are real places I've visited myself and not copied off websites like some other people do, here is me at the cove with Virago taken on a timer. The cove is called Porto Sellinas.

But there was a down side, like all the other places that had signs, the first sign was there for the forts but then no sign after that to say where the forts were and it couldn't be that difficult as there was only that one road, not even a dirt track led off it and I still couldn't find the forts.

On the way back up the road from the cove I stopped at this cemetery. All the cemeteries over here are kept immaculate, well the ones I've seen are. Look at the ones in the UK, food wrappers, empty cans of booze, head stones pushed over, condoms and some spray painted. That's what I've seen in the cemetery that I used to live by in Cardiff. The one in this picture didn't even have a stray leaf on the floor.

Now we took a ride along the east side of the mountain range on the west coast and went through a few little villages, in a village called Pigadakia I saw this huge building. Now at first glance you may think its a hotel, WRONG, it is in fact a family home. I think that all the generations of family must live in this one building, it was stunning, I may put in an offer as 2 bedrooms just aren't enough  LOL.

I have posted this before but next door to our house, and I do mean next door is where Solomos wrote the national anthem of Greece, this is the monument to him at the place where he sat.

And this was his view. While he was writing the anthem he was watching the civil war take place down below with gun fire and cannons going off. I would like to ask a question at this point, Why didn't he have a gun in his hand helping the troops down below instead of pen and note pad? ha ha

On my travels I came across a sign (yes another one) that I had never seen before and it was to "Myceane Tombs" at Kampi, OOOooooo now that sounds good, After seeing the "Tombs of the Kings" in Cyprus I was thinking it would be along those lines.
Nope, it was 5 square holes in a rock and to be honest they didn't look like tombs to me.

I mean if someone had been buried in this tomb they would have had to have been very short (please, no jokes about it was made for me) or they were hacked up in to pieces before going in it or the were folded up like human origami to fit in it. Very disappointed indeed.

So as I continued on my travels I visited a church at the highest point in Kipseli, there is also a tavern next to the church but I didn't go in it as there was only the couple that own it in there and they seemed to be having a domestic, shame really as I was so thirsty and needed a drink.

There were stunning views from all around the church.

On we go and next was a little village called Macheirado, this was such a lovely little place. Helen had been twice before at night with friends to the little tavern that fed the village.

The tavern is called "Dennis's", original I know but that's what the sign said so that's what it is. I was told that they do the best freshly cooked grilled food, shame it was daytime so I just had a frappe.
If you have a hire car at some point during your hols give it a go.

Helen left the day before my birthday which was on Sat 28th but I didn't celebrate it then so I waited till the next day when I celebrated it alone. I don't mind that, I was a lone rider for years previous to meeting Helen so I took myself off around all the places I have just shown you. But here is a pic of me on my birthday at one of my fave hotels on the island.

Look how happy I am and how much I'm enjoying myself, can you see my feet smiling? or should that be smelling?

Well its almost time to pack up our house for this season but Helen I think has gone mad, bowls of salt left everywhere in the cupboards, in fact so many I now haven't got a Bowl for cereal. Also she said she had brought those silicon saches that you find in shoe boxes to stop any damp, good idea I thought for the drawers, nope I was wrong. These were huge versions compared to those ones. When I saw them the first thing I thought of was "Bodyform" (other sanitary towels also available). If you walked in the house you would think there had been an explosion in a panty pad factory, they are bloody everywhere.

On the back of the sofa.

On the welsh dresser.

On the bread bin.

By the TV.

And that's not the half and no I haven't just moved one from place to place, they are on the beds, on shelves, in wardrobes and even in the corners of the room on the floor. good job I never invite anyone to the house LOL.

Its starting to get a bit changeable the weather and here is a pic from my garden last Mon just as a storm was brewing that hit that night and we are due another this week.

Well folks the bar is now in rain mode with inside turned in to a nice cosy lounge, outdoor heaters under the roof and all furniture also in under roof to keep everyone dry and warm. This season I am staying to the bitter end and will be travelling back via Athens around the 31st. It actually works out cheaper to go via ferry/coach to Athens, flight from Athens to London with free luggage, free inflight meal and free bar and then a train to south wales than just the direct flight to Gatwick without luggage or food and drink. How crazy is that. Nothing booked yet though as it will be all last minute. Will be home soon beautiful girl, not long now.

I've got some great news about the bar for all my lovely readers, loyal customers and friends but I will tell you all about that on my last update from the island.

So until next week.

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