Monday, 13 November 2017

This will be my last ever post.

Hello to one and all, how we all doing today my lovely readers, are you all well? What you been up to? Anything interesting? Isn't it cold, BBBBBBBBBBBBBRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!
In saying that in good old Swansea its been sunny more often than grey since I been back but it freaking freezing and leaving the house late at night and returning home early in morning doesn't help, yes its back to good old Toys R Us, I love the night shifts, quiet, peaceful, busy, no stressed out parents and no screaming, whining kids, Ahhhhhhh Bliss!

What's that you say? Oh, what's the headline all about? AH, I've done it again haven't I, you think its something negative, no, no, no, not at all. What I meant to say is this will be my last ever post from this laptop, yes, that's what I meant to say, I'm getting a new one Woohoo!, well a refurbished managers special from Argos but its quicker than this thing but that doesn't mean I will be quicker with my updates after all I'm 50 next year.
Yes 50, what's that? I don't look it, I look more like 36, oh your to kind, your still not getting a free cocktail. But yes someone last season didn't think I looked 49 they thought I was about 36, its having a stress free life and never using soap on my face just hot water, that's true you know, soap dries out your skin. You know like the rings on a tree shows you how old it really is, that's the same for a bald patch, or in my case now a wasteland, the bigger the patch the older you are but hey its just hair, it would be worse if as you got older body parts started dropping off instead right?
Note to anyone out on the rock on my birthday, if I pull up to the bar and I see one single evidence of a streamer, banner or balloon I will turn round and go straight back in to main Zakynthos town and get drunk alone, your 21st birthday should be the last time you celebrate it so that was 29 years ago, yes I'm good at maths as well as average looking LOL.

So its on with the update.

Where did I leave you last time...............ah yes, I was drinking champagne on my flight back home.

Every homecoming is started with a stay in London. Now I've been to London so many times and also worked in Selfridges and Harrods in 1991 for a year crawling through their air conditioning, a sort of modern day chimney sweep but without the dodgy cockney accent, "Chim chiminey, chim chiminey, chim chim cher-ee".
So because of this there's hardly any part of London I haven't seen, I can walk all day around London and know exactly where I'm going so its not really a tourist trip anymore, its just a nice little break after a long hard season and before playing with toys for 2 months, I mean working.

So its express train to Paddington from Gatwick as always have to fly back to Gatwick and then on to hotel for 3 nights.

Now across the road from Charlotte Street Hotel we found a lovely old bar still with all the little wood and glass panelled partitions inside, like private little drinking rooms called "The Fitzroy Tavern". Now as we all know London is expensive, especially central London. We paid £12.50 for two pints that were served in Plastic cups in the Punch & Judy Covent Garden which used to be my local when I worked in London, The Fitzroy for two pints guess how much............£6.30. I was amazed, I had to question if they had charged for both and they had and this pub is in the city centre, I now have a new local.

Upstairs was a bit more modern but in an old way if you know what I mean, modern furnishings but in an old manner. They even had a reading room due that Bohemians used to come here to socialise and discuss art and literature, just up my ally for such an intellectual as myself.

The reading room

Being a culture vulture I loved the fact that the whole of the first floor was dedicated to the worlds greatest poet and fellow Welshman, Dylan Thomas.

In the alcoves they had many many books for you to read as you sipped your pint and most were to do with Dylan Thomas. Among those great authors and novels was a true great, a king amongst literal geniuses, see if you can spot the true great.

All over the walls on the way to the most spotless toilets I've ever been in in London there are loads of pictures of famous people from times gone by who are in The Fitzroy along with paper clippings and this great flier.

 Now then I'm not in to UFO or anything like that but on our first night I spotted this strange light in the sky from the bedroom out over London's banking district, its most probably Lord Sugar opening his wallet.

Continuing my visit to rock stars places of interest I've visited most, 100 Club where the Sex Pistols first played, Marquee (no longer there) where most of the big bands first played, Kings Road where Malcolm McLaren had his shop "Sex", Electric Ballroom in Camden, The Intrepid Fox where bands such as Motley Crue, The Clash, Guns n Rose and The Rolling Stones have drank, I could go on but won't bore you.
So this visit it was time for Bowie and Freddie.
Get the tube to Brixton and as you walk up the stairs and out you just step across the street and the David Bowie memorial painting is right there. Its a wonderful thing to see with all the fans messages written around it and what I thought was good was that the local council had put a sheet of Perspex  over it to save it being written on but also keep the messages that had been written around it safe for years to come.

On to the next landmark, Freddie Mercury's house, Garden Lodge. Here it was a little bit sad. Now I don't know who owns it now as it was Freddies long time best friend Mary Austin but all the messages that had been written and stuck to the wall as a London Memorial have all been jet washed off, there is not one evidence of a message left and I would say that's been done only within the last month or two as it has that clean new jet wash look, so all that's left is the door and that's not the original door either, shame, very sad.

On to one of my favourite things, SQUIZZELS, AGGGGHHHHHHHH!
For years now I have wanted to buy a bag of monkey nuts and feed the Squizzels in St. James's Park but always forget to buy the nuts so this time I was on a mission.
one large bag of nuts, CHECK! LETS GO!

It was mad, I was like the Squizzel Whisperer. I held out a nut, they came to me. They'd gently pull my hand lower then take it from me and then without any panic or rush they would just hop off. WOW!
I then watched what they did with the nut. They would dig a small hole, bury it, then fluff the grass up that was over it so you couldn't see if anything was buried there. Wonder if Squizzels have ever murdered anyone?

So I took it a stage further and wondered if they would climb up to collect the nut, and yes they would. I wanted to place one on my shoulder for it to climb up to but then I remember seeing a video of a squizzel climbing inside someones t-shirt, I decided to forget that idea.

Hang on phone is ringing...........................................David Attenborough was on the line wanting to know if I'd take over when he retires.

Didn't really do much else just drank and ate lots of nice food while strolling round a dry sunny London. Never had a rainy day when I stay there, can't fault it and a wonderful time was had by all.

Remember earlier I was saying I'm an intellectual, well to prove this point Wednesday I went to see Stephen Fry reading from his book "Mythos". Its all about Greek Mythology which as you know I studied in high school. What a great evening. He started off with a few funny facts about Wales and then told the story of how the Gods and Titans were born. The way he uses words and speaks is spellbinding I could have sat there for hours and hours listening to him but we only got 2 hours. Then he read a part of his book and broke it down then to finish off he read the story of how the spider was created. Brilliant. Along with seeing the man himself read from his own book we were also given a hardback copy of it, that's my bar reading material for next season sorted.

So another update over but the next update is the one you all been waiting for, The Toys R Us update, along with Depeche Mode in Birmingham and Greg Davies live stand up in Cardiff, yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!

So until the next fun packed update.................

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

Tuesday, 31 October 2017


 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...............

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.)





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.


 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.

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

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

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.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Isn't it October yet! I need a body transplant.

Hello, hello and hello. So i thought i would fill you in on the why i haven't updated for so long.

Well firstly I've just been manic busy all season long so 4 to 5 hours of the morning is taken up running around getting stuff for the bar. Secondly due to stupid security with this blog it was saying that the device i was trying to connect from was not known even though I've used it all season to update so i couldn't log in to my blog account although today it has allowed me, good grief. Thirdly i think the updates would have been boring and same old same old as all i've done is work, work, work and no adventures. So this update was my duty to let you know what was going on.

Everybody sing along "It's rant time, everybody loves a rant time, everybody needs a rant tiiiiiime, it's RANT TIME!"
Well again i don't really have anything major to rant about but a few things have made me think "IDIOTS!".
For instance, in the UK if some random guy you never knew came up to you and said "Sir here is a vehicle that is meant for off road use mainly for farming for you to use with the added bonus of letting your 2 year old child cling for dear life to the petrol tank as you take off at high speed" would you accept it? NO. Cause in the UK you know its wrong. Here on Zakynthos it seems to be fine to put your youngest born in danger without any thought at all, Marvelous.

I think that's it, see told you not much to rant about these days.

Many customers are asking me about the All Inclusive killing the resort, i have to say i disagree.
Lets look at this logically. 
If you own a hotel that's AI your best interest is to get your customers out of your hotel in to the resort to eat and drink and this is why. If your hotel holds say 60 people and all of them stayed in all day and night eating and drinking for the full serving duration of the day your profit margins get less and less but if you can get them out of the hotel and you halve the consumption of the customers then your profit margins are higher. 
I can honestly say that this season about a third of my customer base has been from AI hotels, that's more than ever before and why.........because the drinks in the AI hotel are cheap local brands. I've had more customers from Cavo Doro and Kelelia Hotels since they went AI than when they were self catering and half board. 

Well the season is almost coming to an end but don't worry i'm already booked my flight to come back for 2018 and season number 12. Still even now people think someone else is having the bar. This is false. I have been here all season this year even though customers had told me this person and that person were having the bar for 2017, HELLO! Its still me serving drinks and name on the licence. Told you many times before never listen to rumours, always go to the source if you want the facts.
Talking of rumours, last season (2016) there was a rumour being spread that Veronica from The Lighthouse Restaurant had died. When i was told this i instantly said unless its come direct from a family member then i wouldn't take much notice of it and guess what............i was right. She was alive and well in December 2016 as one of my customers who came in this season had spoken to her on the phone. She told Veronica that she was dead and in her typical dry wit Veronica way she said "That's nice to know i'm dead thank you for telling me". And the moral of this tale is "Never tell anyone something unless you have proof or the full facts".

My eldest sister Fran and brother in-law Colin came for a surprise visit and what a surprise it was. I was talking to customers early evening and looked across the road and thought "I know that couple" so i waved and shouted "Hi" then realized it was them and said "Oh shit it's my family". Great to see them both on the island, only taken them 17 years but they made it and loved it and think we may have 2 new converts to Kalamaki.

So the bar is still very very busy so late on in season which is amazing and now i have to leave you to do my bar chores for the day.

I will sign off with a few pictures for those of you who don't like reading.

This sign was in Argassi, brilliant!

The sunrise as i leave my house for my morning coffee.

Bollards, do not park here.

Banoffee Biscuits, mmmmmmmmmmm

A great stocking filler for Christmas, the Oceanic 2018 calendar, sorry, SOLD OUT!

And for next years beer lovers i have spoken with the Levante Beer company rep Niko this week and will be stocking four of their micro brewery beers next season, they are so so good. I drink them when i have my early finish Saturdays and go in to Zakynthos town. You are in for a real treat. I will be stocking a Unfiltered Pale Lager, .Unfiltered Dark Lager, Bavarian Wheat Beer (My fav) and a Strong Bok Beer.
Here is their website

So time to head off now, not long left, the finish post is in sight, until the next update.......

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