When I think of Denmark, I think of Lego" I said to my friend as we walked towards St Katherine's Dock fondly remembering hours, no days, even weeks, as a child crawling about the floor sticking those little coloured bricks into slots to make fire stations, aircrafts and bridges. "I think of naked blonds" he then replied with all the smooth charm of a pile of compost.
As this is an article intended for all ages, I think we'll focus on Lego,some of which I still have at home (yeah, I know it is a bit sad at my age). Situated in roughly the centre of the dock,s we were heading towards the Danish "house" which was one of nineteen such houses across London, where at various venues the competitor countries could show all that is great and good about their homelands. To my instant delight on arriving there was a model of the Olympic Park made in (yes, you've guessed it) Lego, which took a man with the very Danish name of "Warren" 300 hours and 250 thousand bricks to construct. (What a chore ah, getting paid to play with Lego!. I'm sure even now they wouldn't have to pay me).
It was Sunday the 29th July, a day where the monsoon weather the folk of Britain hoped had left them returned with a mighty vengeance. Danny Boyle's spectacular was momentarily cast from our minds as we took shelter from the deluge in what seemed to be a creation of a Danish style living from where Danish food and beverage was being sold. Meanwhile (and until transmission was seemingly cut off by the rain) people could watch the Women's Road Race on a large screen that had a commentary in Danish.
It wasn't yet midday but my friend had not wasted any opportunity to hunt out the one and only alcoholic beverage that Denmark seems to serve: Heineken that was being sold in a small kiosk that was well designed to cope with such an English summer. Personally I'm not sure what it is about Heineken. Granted it's quite a nice beer but I recall once visiting a friend in Denmark and that's all they served me. After a few days "Do you have any tea please" just came flowing desperately from my mouth.
Overall the Danish house wasn't anything special, a rather lack lustre display of unexciting Danish fashion along with Danish food that itself was never going to compete with French or Italian cuisine. But it would be cruel and unfair to simply dismiss this House of Denmark or indeed, Denmark generally. By entering the House of Denmark, you get a little taste of a small country that unlike so many in the world is a country at ease with itself. Where life isn't perfect but they are at least heading that way. What's more they only have a population of 5.5 million yet are fielding 113 competitors in 17 sports at the Olympics (in comparison India has a population of 1.21 billion and was only fielding 81 competitors!)
My friend had only seen two Danish blonds so wanted to move with me to Italia House to see some Italian brunettes, while I was curious about visiting a moored Viking longboat that people were seemingly being showed around. Then it rained again and neither of us had any waterproofs. The Danes though were obviously keeping more of an eye on the weather than we were and gave us throw-away ponchos. I wonder if you could make a poncho out of Lego bricks - it would be very heavy and very rigid but certainly waterproof.
The House of Denmark is open until the 12th of August and situated in St Katherine's Dock.