Tuesday, 31 October 2017

IT'S OVER, I'M DONE!


 Now you may think the opening headline of the blog is very serious but as Corporal Jones would say "Don't Panic, Don't Panic!" everything is tickety boo but aren't some people strange, if I start the blog off with a positive heading I get less readers than if I post with a negative heading. So thought to increase the couple of thousand readers I would start off with a negative sounding heading.

Well that's it for another season. 17 seasons under my belt and 11 seasons with Oceanic.
It is quite amazing how long the business and I myself have survived.
I have never advertised anywhere with posters, flyer's, radio or tour companies, I have never given out free drinks or shots to drag people in, I've never had a P.R., never done happy hours, never advertised my prices outside, never self promoted on the Internet only through my own site and blog, never done deals with hotels or other businesses with you scratch my back I'll scratch yours, never had cabaret singers or any entertainment, never had T.V.'s and never had WIFI.
I've never said my bar is the best or that I make the best cocktails or ever bragged about my bar to customers or anyone in anyway
I've always been realistic about my bar and always tell people who come in "its nothing special, its just a bar being a bar again, just music and drinks, plain and simple", but I think the drinks help allot. Its never been about fancy stylish looking cocktails in Oceanic as all that dressing up just gets thrown in the bin once drink is finished and just cause a drinks d├ęcor looks impressive doesn't mean it will taste great, a cocktail is all about the content of the drink with minimal decoration and from day 1 I have only ever used named brands and made sure you taste the alcohol not all ice, juice or milk. If your paying for an alcoholic drink then its alcohol you need to taste.
Nothing more to say accept...............
"I'M STILL HERE FOLKS AND WILL BE AGAIN IN 2018"

So we finish 2017 with my best season ever. I know I say that every season (apart from 2015 of course) but what can I say it was.
Out of 171 days of my season I was full to capacity 155 nights, that's only 16 nights I wasn't full so you could say the first and last week of season, that's incredible I think. This fact isn't down to me though, this is down to you, the holidaymaker, customers who wanted to sit in a chilled out atmosphere and socialise. That's nearly all the feedback from every customer I speak to and I do speak to all no matter how busy, they liked the fact the bar had no trappings of modern society and they could talk and listen to good proper music by real artists.
I would also say if my customer base was to be likened to a pie, 3 slices were from word of mouth around the pools. hotel bar or just out and about in the resort, 1 slice was repeat customers and 1 slice was from the Internet (Oceanic blog/website, zante websites and Tripadvisor). So just goes to show the old way is still the best way, customers talking.
So its same concept again for 2018 but with another change in decor which I have planned out already, yes I know it had a new decor this year but why shouldn't I put your hard spent money back in to the business, you deserve it.

And so Oceanic goes in to hibernation for another winter.


I was storing my files to a back up hard drive when I come across some old pictures of Oceanic from my first two seasons and of regulars from those seasons, so I thought I would share some of them with you:-

The up to date pics from this year are from Lee & Emma when they helped me lock down the bar for the night. Think they could be my Padawans (Star Wars Ref.)

Now


Then


Now


Then


Those original chairs were awful but I ran with them just for first season so I had the least amount of outlay. Even with new padding and new vinyl they were like chairs from a torture chamber but people still came in, luckily for me.
 
Now then, I now have to give this next section a public warning, this part of the blog may cause embarrassment, awkwardness, laughter and sadness.

HERE WE GO!

 Lets start with these three, the two young ladies were Kevlar's original little Angels from the Tropicana Amy and Eleanor along with Harrison. All 3 have grown so much, Harrison is now 14 I think (sorry if that's wrong) and is a huge 7' 8", well he looks that tall to me anyway and the girls have become even more cheeky towards their "Unncy Kev". Aww how cute girls "Unncy Kev", I will never let you live it down. Please feel free to spread this pic around on facebook, I give you my whole hearted permission.


 Clair and Emma, to be honest they don't look much different today. God don't you just hate that.


The carefree, not bothered, man of the bar Nigel. Yellow suits you sir.


Ahhh, Jeanette and Liz, a rose between 2 thorns, that's a joke by the way ladies, i'm more of a thistle.


Away the lads, the Geordie Mafia as you can see from their t-shirts.

 
Now then, if you see this family in Doncaster do not approach them, they are armed with a lethal tongue, quick wit and hysterical laughter. Proceed with caution. Ian & Lisa keep up the "Where in the World?" puzzles.
 


Simon being presented with the lifetime achievement of supporting Mythos sales, don't tell my supplier where his beer tap display went.
 
Lee and Jordan feeling tits.
 
 
Colin and Joe, disgraceful behaviour from two young men.
 


Awww, look at this couple, we all remember and love them dearly, happy go lucky party animal Derek and the wonderful shy like wallflower Veronica. All Hail the King and Queen of Kalamaki.

 
Now I know Emma is in this one again but I have put it on as it also has Sandra in the picture. I think this is all who knew Sandra would like to remember her, fun loving and enjoying her new life on Zakynthos.
 

 
 
And last but not least Les with my old security guard and friend John on his shoulder along with Joe. Les was and still is to this day my eldest customer, if I'm as badly behaved, happy and alive to his age then I would have had a great life.
 


And to all who have appeared in these photos you all look even better as you've matured.
That's the memory lane gallery over for this update but I will look through the rest and do another one some day. Thank you all, great memories.

Now as you all know I love my food, mmm, mmm, mmm. So here we have the bad and good of food.

Firstly we have a ready packed sub roll purchased from a resort supermarket. What sorry state of a roll is that? No butter or marg, no mayo, a long life roll which was like dry wall, one slice of cheese cut in half and one and a half slices of pink matter, what it is I don't know. Oh dear.


Now to the good part. After meeting my good friends Chris and Sandra one lunchtime and seeing them scoff through a breakfast with eggy bread while I sipped on my highly un-eventful frappe I decided to go home and make my own eggy bread.
So here we have 2 original slices, 2 slices with hot chili flakes mixed through the egg and 2 with melted olive/sun dried tomato cheese on top, so gooooooooood but I could feel a seizure creeping up on me as I ate all 6 slices but worth it I think you'd agree.


And who doesn't like a egg and bacon fresh roll, now that's what I call a roll, you beauty.


Note:- Eating this many eggs in one day will either cause major parping or bung you up for a week, you eat the food, you make your choice.

Now sporting TV has come on leaps and bounds over the years throughout Europe especially when it comes to football. You now have presenters just at the touch of a screen being able to show you tactics and plays in football games.

Example, Sky Sports with its present day high technology.


Cut to Zakynthos and Sportzone on Greek TV on the 22/10/2017, yes 2017, not 1917.
Here is the sports presenter showing a play between Olympiakos and PAOK.
Subbuteo, why hasn't Sky thought of this? Jamie and Gary showing plays while playing Subbuteo, sounds like a Alan Partridge show. It would save Sky thousands.

This is a true picture I took on the date shown, I kid you not.


Now every year there is something that bothers me about the traffic and people driving the cars on the roads on Zakynthos, this years rant, PARKING.

This car was parked by a Greek gent in his 60's but so he didn't have to walk all around his obviously huge car to the steps to the supermarket he parked it to ensure the shortest walk to the steps, just a walk past his left front wing, SERIOUSLY!


This lady in her 30's and completely able was either 1/ a blind driver, 2/ terrible at parking between 2 white lines, 3/ didn't want to bump another car or 4/ just plain lazy. Yes you guessed it, its number 4 as that is as close to the supermarket door as she could get without blocking the through road. AAAAGGGGGHHHHHHHH! Look how many empty places there are. Even I could park properly in such an empty car park and I can't drive a car.


Music. Every season I have a few tracks that get me pumped up if i'm starting to flag on a manic busy night so I play these songs for myself to give me a quick boost.
These are this seasons songs:-

Nickleback - "Burn it to the ground" (also Cardiff Devils intro music)
At 0.45 sec the fight with No.58 for Colorado Avalanche is Patrick Bordeleau from NHL season 2013 who was a Cardiff Devils Player last season.
Sub note:- I've just bought new Ice Hockey skates, watch out Hockey fans I'm making a comeback LOL.

 
 Next...........
Queen - "Gimme the Prize"
I think Freddie's most powerful vocals on a song, right at the top of his range.
 
  

Next..................
Linkin Park - "New Divide"
Really good powerful song by a great band but tragically Chester Bennington died this year, what a waste of talent and a great frontman. "In every loss in every lie, in every truth that you'd deny" my favourite line.


And finally..........
David Brent - "Slough"
I know its not very upbeat and its a funny song but its quite uplifting to hear it someone sing praises and being so positive for somewhere they love. Its a funny feel good song.

 

And so to the finale. After a long manic, busy, crazy, exhausting season I treated ourselves to a night in a suite at the Phoenix Hotel in Zakynthos town. A what a lovely suite it was. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

 
 
 
Lounge view 1

 
Lounge view 2





 My last sunrise of the season.


 Not bad for 65€ don't you think with two balconies with that great view.

Well I gave you quite allot to read this time that's becomes I have got time to actually sit and compose a proper update just a shame its in Costa Coffee Swansea not Costa's coffee shop Zakynthos Town.

Here's to an amazing 2017 season and look forward to seeing you all in 2018. As Arnie may say if he owned a bar on Zakynthos "Yes, I will definitely be back", you heard it from me folks, no need to listen to anyone else. Cheers!



My usual end of season champagne on the flight home.

Until the next update in a fortnights time..........

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

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Andrew Sykes - a man i'm proud to of called a friend

On Sunday i received a text telling me of the sad news that Andrew had passed away.

This came as a real shock to me as i had only seen him with Lesley a few weeks previous and had been in contact with him via e-mail 4 weeks ago.

If there were to be a picture for the definition of the word "Carefree" then a picture of Andrew could be next to it.

I've known Andrew and Lesley since 2004-05 from when they had come over to the Tropicana in Argassi from Kalamaki which used to be their holiday destination until they settled down to life on Kefalonia.

Never once in all the years i knew Andrew did i ever see him fed up, complain, moan or gossip. He always had a laugh and a joke which was very often followed by the words "Who Care's, Sod it" or words very similar to that, ha, but that was Andrew. Nothing seemed to faze him, didn't really care what other people thought and just enjoyed life. This is what i admired about Andrew and always took time out to talk to them both as they would always visit every night when they were holiday makers in Kalamaki and would also call in every night on their short visits from Kefalonia.

I also have a confession, i used to be Andrews dealer.................agggghhhhhh, no its not what your thinking, i used to get Andrew his stash of John Smiths, a few cases, to take back over to Kefalonia with him for their house. A man after my own heart.
In my 17 years on Zakynthos i can honestly say that I've not met to many people as good natured as Andrew with a wicked sense of humour.
Our last meeting and contact showed Andrews wicked sense of humour, this is part of the last email i had from him:-

"Hi Kev,

Hope everything OK. On the rock legend T-shirt I ordered, can you put on lyrics from Black Dog by Led Zeppelin.

Hey hey mama, said the way you move, gonna make you sweat, gonna make you groove.

Cheers and enjoy the rest of the season
Andy

P.S. The Lemon Song was too risque haha"

Andrew initially wanted to have the lyrics from the lemon song which were:-

"Squeeze me baby, 'till the juice runs down my leg
The way you squeeze my lemon
I'm gonna fall right out of bed"

As you can see from the e-mail Andrew was very considerate and conscious of others around him

Andrew and Lesley went from customers, to regulars, to friends and Andrew shall be missed very much by all who had met him and will never be forgotten.

My thoughts and prayers go out to Lesley and their Son.

I shall raise a pint of John Smiths in your honour sir and enjoy it while listening to "The Lemon Song".

Our loss is John Bonham's gain, he's a lucky guy.