Friday, 23 May 2014

OCEANIC, SEASON 8, EPISODE 3, "It was the best of May's, it was the worst of May's"

See how i used the start of Charles Dickens "A Tale of two cities" for my episode name, clever don't you think? Please yourselves i thought it is very very clever of me LOL.

Well how are we this update my fine fettle friends?
Now if i had mis-typed that and said "How are we this update my fine fetlocked friends?" that would cause some confusion as i would only be typing to the horses, donkeys, mules, ponies, minotaurs, centaurs and Mr. Tumnus from The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (Hello Mr. Tumnus) who read my blog so its a good job i spelt fettle right which includes everybody no matter how many legs you have.
Now people may say "How stupid, horses don't use the Internet", well yes they do. I have built a dating website for horses called "Mane Attraction" and at this very moment there are 1,999,999.5 members, the .5 is a Shetland pony called "Horace" hence its not a full member.

Well what a horrible Beginning to May as the title of this update suggests. Cold, grey, a little bit of rain. Usually within a season i will use only one outdoor heater and go through just 2 bottles of gas in 6 months. This May I've been using 2 heaters and already gone through 10 bottles, yes 10, in just 3 weeks. We've just started to get the sun and warmth that is usually the way in May. Its the worst May I've known in my 14 years here. So that's the worst of May's part. On a positive note its been the best of May's I've ever had also breaking my record night for May four nights ago. I couldn't have made it up. I was honestly expecting a average to quiet start to the season but at some point during the night since the 4th of May I've had to get a few emergency chairs out but then again i am down 3 sofas that i gave to friends as i have bought new which don't arrive till June. Wish they were here now though as i could do with them. So, not one complaint about the start to season, also I'm seeing allot of AI tourists visiting the bar which is really encouraging. They then explain that it was only £50 more to go AI as to go self catering but they will only use the AI on the odd occasion as they like to eat and drink out. Of course there will be the majority who have the "I paid for it so I'm going to abuse it" mentality but thank you to those AI customers who visit the restaurants and bars in the resort, much appreciated.

Now you've seen the bar during daylight and here it is in all its lit up glory with my new "Dead Wall". You can see in the 3rd pic the emergency chairs which were given to me by Elli, Demitri, Maria and Tom from Puzzle restaurant next door to me, thank you so much guys.

The new Dead Wall with some new artists added.

At this point I'd like to thank all my customers who have visited Oceanic so far for making this season my best start to a season, as i always say, without you Oceanic wouldn't be what it is, its you the customers that make the bar by enjoying conversation, listening to music and just chilling out. Many thanks.

Now on the subject of Puzzle restaurant, my favourite dish of theirs is the Puzzle Salad. Salmon, Chicken, fried cheese with a mixed salad and a honey and balsamic vinegar dressing mmmmmm. Just the ticket after a busy night in the bar and what a huge portion. Anyone reading this please give Puzzle Restaurant a try just the once i'm sure you'll enjoy it.

At this point in the blog i have some sad news that was upsetting to hear. One of my friendliest nicest customers Jim Challenger had a stroke while laying next to the pool over a week ago. He was taken to Zakynthos Hospital where he stayed until Wednesday when he was flown back via Medi flight to the UK. I went to visit him at the hospital and got very annoyed and frustrated with the lack of English speaking nursing staff. I went to the ward which i was told he was on and he wasn't there. I asked 3 nurses "I'm looking for Jim, James Challenger, room 008" a blank look and no reply came back "Jim, James, Man, 008" again nothing just looked at me gone off. Then one nurse took me to room 007 and showed me to an elderly Greek lady sat on a bed alone. I then had to point at myself and explain "Man, Man, Me, like me, Man, Jim" she just shrugged her shoulders and walked off. AGGGGGGGHHHHHH! This had taken 30 Min's and by that time i had to get to the bar. I so wanted to see Jim and after that i had food poisoning from a very late night fast food take away shop in Zakynthos Town so didn't want to go in to hospital in case Jim caught a virus so i didn't get to see him before he flew back. Jim i know you read this blog and it was only down to terrible lack of communication i didn't get to see you but i know you will come back fighting fit and i will drink a bottle of Alpha to your health sir and will keep a few chilled for you for when your back on your feet and here again. By the way Jim, my profits are down now so you better get your ass back here you hear me LOL. God speed and get well soon buddy.

Our dear friend Jim.

Now then, Don't get me started on my new Sky dish. I think i told you i was having problems with my dish and the hours i had  spent up and down ladders with my signal finder adjusting the dish. I only get a few free channels as i would never pay for sky itself, not worth it. But it is good to have the odd free music and radio channel just to have on in the house while I'm sat on patio. Well, after i had no joy with my signal finder i got a professional in to check it out. He arrived, looked at the dish which is half way up the side of the house and got out his signal meter. It was at this point i noticed he had come in a Fiat Panda without a ladder. Now I'm no brain surgeon but even i know that satellite dishes are more often than not high up on the side of the house, so, in saying that, how the hell was he going to get to dish without ladders? Grappling hooks over the roof? Spiderman like super grip? Trained monkeys to form a pyramid for him to climb up? Come on, really, no ladder for a satellite installer. That's like having cocktail bar but not knowing how to make a cocktail. Good job i had a ladder. He did all the tests and said i needed a new dish, that's fine at least i knew. I bought a new dish. He came back 5 days later again in the Panda without ladders and the dish crammed in the back seat. He installed it and still no joy but after leaving the sky box turned on for 4 days it eventually found the signal. All that hassle and money just for 10 free channels, oh the joy of sky LOL.

Now all my regular readers know I'm not a great fan of golf, in fact apart from cricket its the most dull boring sport to ever be classed as a sport but just to show i won't knock it till i try it i decided to give it a go and i was amazed how easily i took to it, it was so easy i entered the fedexcup and after 6 events I'm beating Tiger Woods. So if an idiot like me can be beating the pants off Mr. Woods it shows how easy a sport it is, and yes in my opinion still is the dullest sport on the planet LOL

Tiger who? Eat my dust Woodsey. Oh, didn't i mention it, this is on the xbox lol

As mentioned earlier on this page i was very very ill. Now i don't get ill ever, maybe just the odd sniffle but nothing major. I don't take any type of tablet at all as my immune system is very good but on Sunday i was shaking and feeling cold when i went out for lunch with Helen and our friends Janice and Phil as Helen had come out for the weekend. Opened the bar that night and just got worse and worse. I was freezing and shaking constantly, body ached all over, skin was sore to touch and felt the worst i ever had, this lasted for 3 days and only started to feel a little better yesterday and much better today. I went to the doctors Wednesday before work and he said from the symptoms i had it seemed almost definitely chronic food poisoning. I have only just eaten today for the first time in 5 days and have lost nearly 10lb in 4 days but I'm so glad its over now and i kept the bar open. That's the only problem when working alone, if your seriously ill you got no cover. so i sucked it up and battled through it. how could i close when I've been so busy, can't let my faithful customers down. The only way Oceanic would close is if I'd collapsed, not a pretty sight i can assure you me laid out dribbling with my tongue hanging out LOL.

Memory re-wind. At Easter we all went to Buon Amici on its opening night 17th April and i had one of the best pasta sauces I've ever tasted. If you visit there try the Buon Amici Sauce. mmmmmmmmmm so good, just a shame that i work every night and don't like to eat to close to opening time otherwise i would try a few of the others but yes muchos tastey.

Haven't really done much else apart from be ill and work but now the bar is starting to settle in to a routine i can start to get out and about and give you some more of my high brow updates and comments about the island and what I've done.

A message to all the customers who are now home and waiting to see their pics on my website, they will be on there i promise, once i remember how to put them on there, well it has been 6 months LOL. I will put them on there tomorrow and start the 2014 gallery.

Sorry update this time is short but due to illness i was confined to the 4 walls of my house, RELEASE THE ZAKYNTHOS 1 LOL

Until next week folks,

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

Sunday, 11 May 2014

OCEANIC, SEASON 8, EPISODE 2, "The people have landed"

OK, so I'm a couple of days late but that's due to getting bar up and running and sorting out teething problems, well, not so much teething problems more like full blown tooth ache lol. What could go wrong has gone wrong but hopefully that's it all sorted for now but will go in to detail after I've unveiled to you, my dear friends and guests the all new Oceanic.

"Ladies & Gentlemen, Boys & Girls, for the thousands that visit the bar and millions who read my blog around the world, LETS GET READY TO CHILL OOOOUUUUUUUTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT!"

Here is your first look (apart from those already visited) at the refurbished Oceanic. As you will see from the photos I've stuck with the blue and white but tried to make it look brighter and more clean cut than before and used cooling colours for when its hot nights in July and August. There will be 4 new sofas being added to the furniture but as explained they won't arrive till around June 6th which if I'm being honest is already causing a problem as could have really done with them. I've been open now 9 nights and needed my plastic emergency chairs for 5 of those nights as I've run out of seating. fingers crossed they do get delivered on time. So here are a pics taken from all angles so you can see the changes I've made.

As you can see from this pic we have lettering on the front of roof now and the all new Oceanic Sign that runs along the logo for my t-shirt range. People have questioned "How does rock music fit in with a chill out bar" as the sign says "Oceanic chill out bar, Rock n Roll", i don't just play rock music there as you know. Have you ever listened to Pink Floyd? "Riders on the storm" - The Doors? Jimi Hendrix's "Hey Joe"? "Atmosphere" by Joy Division? Guns N Roses "Patience"? Metallica with the San Francisco symphony Orchestra playing "Nothing else matters"? Limp Bizkit "Behind Blue Eyes"? Happy Mondays "hallelujah"? Stone Roses with "Waterfall"? I mean i could go on and on. There are most probably more chill out songs from rock bands than anything else, after all, half of them were stoned out of their heads in the 60's and 70's and some didn't do to bad in the 80's and 90's either, just ask Shaun Ryder from Happy Mondays LOL.

Here we have the new entrance. No more steps in the middle just the ramp at the side now.

To the seating area in under roof and we have cotton drapes from the ceiling with paper lanterns with my mood lighting bulbs inside. Yes, you can see 2 outdoor heaters and both are being used every night its that cold.

On the walls on both sides we have art work on the top and cotton stretched across the bottom with again mood lighting tubes behind the cotton and lights behind the art work canvas.

As explained above.

At the front now and in under the roof i have more floor space, this will give me room for an extra 10 seats at least  which have been added to my licence as had to have it changed now area is larger.

Inside the bar we have new rock memorabilia on 2 walls, i haven't finished the other wall yet but should get it done this week. Have to have my rock roots around me somewhere so the inside is where it stayed.

And bar now is no longer outside as i have set up a full proper bar inside which is allot easier to manage now as everything is to hand and it has worked really well with it already being busy in the bar, so its had a good trial and does the job.

So that's it, the new look Oceanic. Hope it all meets with your approval and that my assistant manager Mr. Philip will be able to work properly in the new environment, I'm sure Janice will keep him in line LOL. I had bought so much stuff for the refurb and got so much left over i think i could refurb it all new again next year but i don't think i will, this took long enough and all my own work, just little old me.

Its was my first anniversary yesterday of my epic adventure to Athens to watch Depeche Mode. Doesn't seem like a year. I can see it all now as plain as day, well what do you expect, I'm most probably traumatised from most of it LOL. For those new readers who didn't see that update here is the link to that page. Great, cold, sleepless memories.

Folks, i think my end is nigh. The mad axeman cometh to get me. I arrived home from the bar one night to find my bin bag had been torn apart and spread all over my patio. This is a warning sign to me from the mad axe man. This sign means "Your just rubbish to me" hence him throwing my rubbish all over my patio and all the left over food items were gone which is a message saying "I'm going to eat you". I've seen enough Hannibal Lecture movies to know a mad man when one has been at my rubbish or it could be the wild cats, NO, its definitely the the crazy guy from my last update, i still haven't been back there yet. Wonder what size that converse is? My trainers are losing their grip.


Now lets look at the nightmares I've been having apart from the zombie flesh eater from the shack in the woods. My bikes, oh my god, breaking down, electrics failing and due to my own stupidity running out of petrol on my way home bar 3am in morning, 5km away from house with 2 bags, crash helmet and black bag full of seat covers to wash ready for opening night. Its not like i could leave them with bike and nowhere open for petrol either so it was a long slog up that bloody Bochali hill, AGAIN! Jesus, why didn't i stay in Kalamaki LOL. So the next day it was a more calm and happy walk down to petrol station to buy some petrol. I went in and asked for some petrol to take away and was expecting to buy a proper red plastic petrol container, OH NO, not here, this is Zakynthos. The guy just got an empty water bottle, shook out the last drops of water and filled it up, 2.50€ please. Easy as that. an arsonists dream come true haha.

This bottle brings back memories of the medical research i do, now what does it remind me of?

What else has gone wrong lets see, well, my bar computer crashed while i was open and took 4 hours to sort it, my gents toilet flooded and took me 3 days to fix the problem, my draught Mythos has only just been put on yesterday, Spent 9 hours over 4 days trying to sort out satellite dish at the house without any joy so called out satellite engineer with him also spending 1 hour trying to re-align it without joy as its not the signal its the dish so need a whole new dish, left my bike on twice and couldn't get home the end of night as battery dead, watched all my Columbo collection and Laurel & Hardy collection so nothing to watch to unwind at end of night, i have carpal tunnel syndrome in both hands so trying not to use cocktail shakers at the moment as hands hurt so everything is stirred which actually makes the cocktails come out better but time consuming and can't play my xbox, spiders from mars have taken over our house but nothing a broom can't solve, glass wash machine broke down while open but solved that lose wire inside machine, clipped a cat on my bike but stayed on and cat was OK and I'm sure there was more but head a bit mashed as not sleeping well due to hands. Think instead of tea or hot chocolate before bed I'm going to try village wine to knock me out lol.

There weather hasn't been that great the first 7 days of season but it did give me one lovely view from "Gods Window" it was a grey cloudy horrible day but the sun just broke through and out came this rainbow, awwwww ain't they prruuuuuurrrtttyyyyyy!

I now have to prove something to you all. People seem to have this idea that all i wear is black tops, NOT TRUE! I do have many different coloured tops. OK, 3 different coloured tops and they're all grey but to prove i do have those grey tops here is my wardrobe in all its glory.

My huge collection of clothing, puts GAP to shame lol.

We end this update on very very sad news, DOG has gone to that great comfortable kennel in the sky. Her real name was Dia but we all knew her as DOG in Oceanic as i had named her after Columbo's dog. I have to say i had got quite close to her last season & this season while setting up as she would lay in the bar as i worked. It was really upsetting to hear she had eaten poison we think. Now people have commented and speculated but we will never know. she may have eaten poison left out for rats, she may have eaten poison that was just left hanging around or it may have been poison that was left out for the strays which has happened in the past but in Kalamaki i haven't seen any strays, all the dogs I've seen on the old road are owned by people who live along there. she was a beautiful loving little dog and was friendly to everyone who came in to there bar and no trouble at all, i will miss you little DOG, sleep well.

DOG with her chew as i will always remember her.

A quick apology to a few of my customers who went home today for not taking your picture to go on the Oceanic website but as you could see it was rather packed and manic last night and just didn't have time to scratch my bum let along take pictures lol.

So until my next explosive update next week, now everything is sorted (I hope).

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

Thursday, 1 May 2014

OCEANIC, SEASON 8, EPISODE 1, "The calm before the storm"

I like the heading, i think I'll start all my updates like that as if its like one of those TV programme like 24, Game of Thrones, Lost, Prison Break, Breaking Bad and George & Mildred.

Well, have I got allot to tell you. Blimey where do i begin. OK, I'm going to get my plug of the week out of the way. The Strada Marina Cafe Bar, it is now my favourite bar in Zakynthos town. Firstly for large bottles of beer it has the best prices, secondly you get free crisps, snacks etc with every drink you order, thirdly which is the most important for me as I'm not really a beer drinker or a crisp eater is the surroundings, i just love it. Music is good (indie most nights), the atmosphere is relaxed and they show the premiership football. Oh and if you like sitting tapping and swiping at your phone or tablet they have free WIFI also. Its just so nice to be in a bar that just feels real comfortable and you can just enjoy a drink without any hassle or noisy people in. Just locals meeting up and having a chat. They have a seating area also upstairs, both downstairs and upstairs show sport when its on. If you head in to town you have to pop in here for a drink. Panagiotis or Panos as he has now asked me to call him and his wife have a great bar here. He always takes time out to come over and chat with me, lovely guy.

So here are some piccies of The Strada Marina Cafe Bar.

The main seating area

The comfy corner where i sit and relax

The bar area

The upstairs seating area where many come to watch the sport.

Upstairs seating area from another angle

So lets see if i can get my brain in gear. OK just looked at my last update. When i last typed for you i was waiting on a new floor, well its done, its level, no more slabs that rock, no more wobbly tables and the rain now runs out of the building instead of in under the roof. Sorry folks, no more laughing at me getting soaked trying to be King Canute stopping waves of water. Also i have done away with steps and had a legal requirement ramp put in instead at the side of the bar, well, so many people were falling out down the steps at the end of the night you can now roll LOL.

The lovely new floor.

Now at this point i would also show you a before and after shot of the bar but i have a few finishing touches to make tomorrow then i will post those pictures on the next update as it is my opening night tomorrow, didn't bother tonight as most are opening tomorrow due to it being a bank holiday here today. I have spent 12-15 hours a day in the bar for the past 4 days getting it ready and i am proud to say i did it all by myself, every little thing without any outside help. apart from a spot of painting with great thanks to Helen, i hate painting, YUK! That's not to say people didn't offer, Tassos, Steve, Leigh and David all offered but me being me I'm very independent and will only ever ask for or accept help if its in the very last ditch attempt and desperate. I always say "If a job is worth doing badly, do it yourself" LOL.

Helen came over for a week for Easter but i am always so caught up in paperwork and running around my head was all over the place but what time we had together we went out to tavernas or watched my columbo collection. I'll explain, we had quite a few cold, rainy days while Helen was here so we were stuck indoors. No digital TV, no analogue TV, no sky TV, i had thrown all the DVD sellers films out that i had bought last season so all we had was Columbo. That's fine by me but i think Helen got a bit bored of "Just one more thing". We went down to town for the Easter pot smashing (no its not a drugs raid) celebration at 5.30am and guess what, it was freezing and started to rain but its still nice to go down. I have to say, there was hardly any pots smashed compared to what i had seen in previous years, Helen smashed one in the square which she enjoyed. I enjoyed it when i first went and smashed one but i think this was my 4th time of seeing it maybe my 5th so i stayed warm in a cafe under a outdoor heater. It was nice for Helen to have a break anyway, she deserved it.

The Easter parade making its way from Bochali in to town.

Now what else. Ah yes, there is a new sushi/Asian restaurant in town, WooHoo! No thats me me getting excited as usual when i talk about food that is its actual name WooHoo. I went there with Tassos, Demi and Anastasia first then went again with them and Helen when she was over. I loved it. I like Sushi anyway, that is my second favourite food after Greek. I started off with a Singtao beer,. followed by Shrimp noodles with Salmon sushi and banana fritters, one portion with chocolate over the other with honey. No i wasn't expecting as many salmon rolls as i got but i still ate them all. It was a pile of shrimp noodles and 8 salmon sushi rolls and i ate nearly all the fritters as Tas, Demi and Anastasia didn't like them,mmmmmmmmmmm, i don't mind if i do. All at a very fair price i thought. The highlight of both trips to WooHoo was on the first visit, me teaching Tassos how to use chopsticks, i have to say he did really well but half way through he got cramp in his fingers and decided to use the chop sticks to stab his food. When he first started trying to use the chop sticks without me tutoring i was creased up and my eyes had tears rolling from them in laughter but he stuck with it. Good man Tas.

I think Homer Simpson may sue if he finds out

My shrimp noodles after Tas had eaten half by mistake and Salmon sushi that i had eaten half of on purpose

mmmmmmmmmmmmm, deep fried banana fritter ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-na-na

 I have been eating quite healthily up until i started on the bar then i just forget to eat. At the bottom of Bochali hill the is a fish monger that of course sells fresh fish so i treated myself to 2 cuts of salmon, well i think it was salmon, it looked like the salmon i see on tins of salmon so i guess it was salmon. Anywhoooo, I got them home and by golly gosh, weren't they enormous don't you know. Just to show the exact size I'm not going to say like all fisherman do (steve) "it was this big but didn't have my camera". Yes i have my camera and yes they were this big. They were only the size of my flip flop, i kid you not, here look.

My flip flop size fish. Its OK, there was no cross contamination from the salmon lol.

But i also have my weakness in food, Greek Souvlaki and Gyros. I had not had one for the first 2 weeks. That's a record for me as by the second day I've usually had 3 or 4. But i could resist no longer so i had both. My stomach was much satisfied.

I'll let the picture speak for itself.

Now here in our lovely Greek home we have a wood log burner, no central heating luxury here I'm afraid. I love making the fire, I'm like Tom Hanks in Castaway (one of my fav films). "Me make fire, me man" as i beat my chest. Now Helen also likes to make fire which is fine but I'm the one that has to get the wood. Over here you can buy a ton of wood for €150 which is great if you got somewhere to store it and keep it dry, i haven't. So every day i would go out looking for wood, anywhere and everywhere but i was running out of ideas. I did try the old Bear Grylls bit by taking an axe out with me and chopping wherever i  could. Where else could you get away with walking down a road with an axe out, isn't Greece great. The whole chopping wood business to be honest was a pain in the ass but just behind where we live i found an old run down house which i have now visited a few times for wood. I used to joke to Helen that its where an axe murderer may live. It looks like one of those places you see in the horror films like "Texas Chainsaw massacre", "The hills have eyes", "Friday the 13th", "Jeepers Creepers", "The last house on the left" and "Pee Wees Big Adventure". OK the last one wasn't a horror film but it was shocking. So I'm now going to tell you a story (not like Max Bygraves). Turn the lights down or off, sit in a silent room and read on:-

Here is the log burner that needs the wood.

Here is the bike that to collect the wood on.

Here is the over grown track that leads to the house that has the wood.

Here is the house that has the wood.

Here behind the house is the pile of wood. Oh, whats that circled at the bottom of the pic. (yes i know its not a circle its a Oval but you wouldn't say "Oh, whats that ovaled at the bottom of the pic" would you, it doesn't sound right)

ITS A TRAINER! A GOD DAMN TRAINER! A GOD DAMN NEW TRAINER! AAGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH! JESUS H CHRIST, HELLLLLLLLLLLPPPPPPP! Now I've watched enough columbo and horror movies to know that:- 1/ You don't bury a new converse trainer upside down in the dirt , B/ Mad crazy killers do live in houses like these, 3/ Its close to a nicely stacked pile of wood where the rest of the body could be covered and Z/ No I'm not digging any deeper than the part i did as i know there will be a foot inside that trainer. Look at the heal of the sole, its hardly worn down.
So we either have a crazy killer living here or a crazy new trainer burier living here, you choose. There is no way I'm going back there for wood and thank god i open tomorrow as won't need the log burner anyway.
And being a reverend myself, as god is my witness i did not plant that shoe there just for this blog. I had never seen it there on the 4 visits previous so how did i notice it only on the 5th? Man I'm locking myself in every night and keeping MY axe next to my bed. I put that bit in just in case he or it maybe a she you never know, it was a she in Friday the 13th which scared the life out of me at the end, that's the original film of course not the re-make that was awful, look I'm getting side tracked, i put that bit in about keeping my axe by the bed just in case he's reading this blog as i know many strange people do. Oh no, i don't mean you my lovely followers i mean other people.

 Well thats about it for now but as usual it will now be back to a weekly update, thats unless the mad crazy axe murder gets me. I just heard a noise outside as its 9.15pm and dark. Now where's my axe.

So hopefully until next my lovely lovely followers.

Serve All, Love All, Peace All (Safe All) Kevlar Out!