Friday, 29 December 2017

"It's the most wonderful time of the year", Christmas is over WOOHOO!

Now i know my headline is negative about Christmas but it was very enjoyable but 24 hours is enough, it doesn't have to last 2 months. As i said in a previous update i heard my first Christmas song 27th Oct, that's just ridiculous.

So my lovely lovely blog followers how was your Christmas Day? I hope you got lots of lovely gifts to re-gift next Christmas. What was my Christmas like? Great, no unwanted gifts, lots of aftershave and smellies (hope its not a hidden message) which is always good with all the travelling i do and my best present of all a Mike MacWilliam ice hockey shirt, AWESOME! and a Depeche Mode colouring book (only use grey or black colours).

So what do i have to tell you, so so much to tell you and to rant about i don't know where to start, OK, i know where to start.

"Its rant time, everybody loves a rant time, its time for us to have a rant tiiiiiiiiiiiiime, its rant time!"
I know you love my rants so this update i have a couple.

1/ When Harry met Megan. So what! He's fifth in line to the thrown, shes a not so major actress and on the breaking news of their engagement the Daily Mail had 27 pages dedicated to them, REALLY? Why? Its 6 months till they are going to get married and its just an engagement after all. Now its 6 months of "Look at her coat", "Look how in love they are", "They're holding hands" , "The Americans now have a princess", "they were seen smiling" , "Both look amazing stood like humans with clothes on"  I don't care, its not going to change my life not one single bit apart from making me angry so its not changing my life for the better.

2/ A Child only friendly Facebook. This is brilliant, just one more thing for your child to become a social outcast by sitting in their room, not seeing the light of day and never have real friends to go out and play with.

3/ Paying for bus fair or showing your ticket. Now call me Mr. Boring but when I'm about to get on a bus or train i have my ticket out ready, WHY, because i know i need to show the bus driver my ticket or i need my train ticket to get through a gate. So this is the question...........WHY OH WHY OH WHY are people so stupid that they wait until on the bus before getting money out or rummaging through their bag to find a ticket that being as its so small and thin it will slip down to the bottom of the bag under all their crap or with ticket passes on phones they start swiping through pages of apps while stood in front of driver to find their ticket. GET YOUR FREAKING TICKET READY BEFORE THE BUS ARRIVES! You know you got to show it so why the hell wait till stood on bus delaying people stood in the rain and letting all the warm air out of bus, IDIOTS!

4/ In this modern technology social media society we live in today people are seriously ridiculous. I was going to check my e-mail when i saw this headline on MSN,  "Eastenders viewers outraged as Stacey makes cup of tea the wrong way"??????????????? Your kidding me right? Are Eastenders viewers lives that dull that the only thing they can do is moan about a cup of tea on a fictional, miserable, depressing soap. I mean the price of a call or text or time taken to write an email to complain about this catastrophic disaster is of course much more important than complaining about the treatment of a disabled person who was told that she couldn't get on a train as there was no room for her type or an elderly person having their heating turned off over Christmas or A & E's being filled with self inflicted drunken injuries when real emergencies have to wait in ambulances for hours.
Come on, its a cup of tea, get a life.

Just 4 rants to get on with for now, i got a few more but don't want to spoil you

And off to Birmingham we go. As you know i missed out on Depeche Mode in Athens due to ferry strike so we made up for it by going to sunny Birmingham, which it actually was, sunny.
It had been a lone long time since i had been to Birmingham and WOW, what a great city.

They have a lovely canal area.


They have a Brummie walk of fame.




And the Birmingham Arena (Not the NEC) is a great venue for gigs.




Now i bet your wondering why i only took one picture of Depeche Mode during the concert. Well, call me Mr. Normal but when i go to a concert i go to watch the band through what i like to call "my own eyes". Why did i buy seated tickets? Well you see, we like to see the concert first hand not through the person in front of me smart phone. What is the point in that? Stood for 2 hours with arms in air watching a concert on a tiny screen zooming in and out. When you buy standing tickets this is what you get and I'm not the tallest of people, I'm not tall at all if I'm being honest so being in tiered seating even if a person stands up in front i still see all the concert clearly. Just to add, best concert that i have ever seen and enjoyed. I've seen loads and some of the biggest artists ever.

On to Toys R Us. So you all know by now Geoffrey the giraffe is not getting put down, well not in Swansea anyway but i could tell something was up before it even all come out weeks later.

As you can see this is the racking in the warehouse which was jam packed full from floor to ceiling which is the norm for Christmas time but...........


when the loading bay is also overloaded with stock with nowhere for it to go, this isn't normal.  Myself and the one and only other night worker i think did an amazing job considering. When i first started at Toys in 2001 there were 6 night staff, now only two of us and just as much stock is having to be sorted if not more what with shipping from store and click and collect. We kept the company afloat, we are saviours, we are gods, we are.............THE NIGHTSHIFT!


Call me Mr. Sensible but when i was a kid we wanted bikes, action figures, good old family board games and lumps of coal for presents. What is up with the games of today.

Firstly, this is a animated pet dog you can walk that poops. Now i guess it teaches your child to pick up after a dog does its business but a real dogs business isn't solid plastic and smells. They'll get a surprise the Christmas after when they get that real puppy.


On to board games.

This one deals with a large nose and snot.


A monkey that farts.


A ogre that craps.


A cow that farts.


A dog that poops.


A dog that wees.


There are more along that line but as you can see all to do with body functions that in reality we would prefer not to see or smell and would steer clear of if we had to clean it up from a person or pet.
Whatever next, Grumpy Grannies bed pan? Incontinence pants poodle? Constipation Frustration?

Now this, this is a cool vehicle. Luke Skywalkers land speeder. It has 6 different sounds (3 sounds sounded the same) runs on electric and cost the same as a second hand small car £499.99 but by the time it was Christmas eve it was £249.99. If i was a kid i would ask for 5 Christmases presents in one to get it.


Now do you remember Only Fools and Horses where they had dolls that didn't speak in English and a porcelain cat that played "how much is that doggy in the window" well we had a Troll that spoke just in French LOL.

So Christmas is over and New Year is on its way.
What will the New Year bring? Well for me every year just gets better and better. Another season in the sun, more adventures and travelling, less and less hair, more and more aches and not forgetting my half century which i think is amazing, 50. I really don't feel it although my balding wasteland gives my time line away.

So its time to get myself ready for New Years and need to get my bag packed but for now i will say "Should auld acquaintance be forgot".

2018 is going to be even better, oh yes, i shall make it so, you know I'm true to my word.

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

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Merry Christmas to one and all.


Now as you all know boys and girls i'm not a lover of Christmas but after finding out Santa's greatest secret i may just end up enjoying it.

Kids, Santa is real but watch the video and find out why.




The update i said would be next will be after this one, I've just been way to busy but will explain all in that update.

Ho, Ho, Ho everybody and hope all your presents are ones you can pass on to someone else next year.

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!
WE WANT HEAT, WE WANT HEAT, DOWN WITH COLD, DOWN WITH COLD!
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

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!