Ashley Morrison's Blog

August 10, 2018

Lane 5.

Each year on the University of Houston swimming & diving team there would have been around 40 of us in total – approximately 10 would have been divers – so in the pool that would have meant there would have been about 5 of us in each of the 6 lanes during training.
Lane 5 was the lane I remember swimming in – along with Billy, who I recently talked about meeting here: Billy, it’s Ashley and Ashley – and Andrew Gray, who was a very good long-distance swimmer from South Africa, who can be seen here…
Christina Anderson (Christina Ica Hörbäck) and Andrew Gray playing on one of the mats in the diving pool at the Universtiy of Houston.
.. with Christina from Sweden – who I remember we called the “Strawberry Girl” – but don’t ask me why, as my memory isn’t that good

Anyway, since signing up to Facebook back in 2009 and saying “Hi” once again to many of those who were on that team, Christina was obviously someone who I became “Friends” with and have followed ever since – especially since she was clearly still swimming, which in turn (unknown to her) inspired me to get back into the pool as well.
So naturally when she wrote to say that she (along with her husband, Bjorn Hörbäck, sister, Annis, and her husband, Philip Josefson) would be coming to Ireland for a few days, the answer was: “Yes, I would love to meet up” even before she asked

And where better to meet than at McDonald’s…
With Christina outside McDonald's at Sprucefield Shopping Centre, which is where we meet before I drove them all into Belfast and around the north of Ireland over the next few days.
.. because besides occasionally looking at all the pictures I took of everyone back then – many of which I have posted here on Facebook: University of Houston swim team 1979 to 1983 – nothing reminds me more of all the wonderful times we had together, than seeing those Golden Arches.

Anyway, after booking them into the Europa Hotel – which this book that my work can be seen in…
The book called 'In the Headlines' - the story of the Belfast Europa Hotel - by Clive Scoular.
.. tells the story about how it was once known as the “most bombed hotel in the world” – they all piled into the Land Rover and I drove them along the scenic Antrim Coast Road towards the Giant’s Causeway – where I enjoyed taking lots of pictures of them…
Christina Ica Hörbäck with her sister, Annis Andersson Josefson, and Annis' husband, Philip Josefson, at the Giant's Causeway.
.. taking pictures of themselves…
Christina at the Giant's Causeway.
.. as well as of the Causeway itself …
Christina Ica Hörbäck with her sister, Annis Andersson Josefson, at the Giant's Causeway.
.. before heading to the Dark Hedges
Christina with her husband, Bjorn Hörbäck, her sister, Annis Andersson Josefson, and her husband, Philip Josefson, at the Dark Hedges which has been used as a location in HBO's popular television series Game of Thrones.
.. which has been used as a location in HBO’s popular television series Game of Thrones
Christina with her husband, Bjorn Hörbäck, her sister, Annis Andersson Josefson, and her husband, Philip Josefson, at the Dark Hedges which has been used as a location in HBO's popular television series Game of Thrones.
.. as that was on the road back to Belfast. Were we enjoyed a lovely meal in the Europa, before heading across the road to the Crown Bar, as a few pints of Hop House 13 awaited

Next day I first drove Christina and her sister, Annis, to see the Peace Wall
Christina Ica Hörbäck with her sister, Annis Andersson Josefson, at the Peace Wall which separates the nationalist Falls Road and unionist Shankill Road areas of West Belfast.
.. which separates the nationalist Falls Road and unionist Shankill Road areas of West Belfast…
Christina Ica Hörbäck with her sister, Annis Andersson Josefson, at the 'Peace Wall' .
.. which I hadn’t actually seen myself before – even though it’s now a major tourist attraction – before taking them to Titanic Belfast – which is a monument to Belfast’s maritime heritage on the site of the former Harland & Wolff shipyard in the city’s Titanic Quarter where the RMS Titanic was built…
Christina Ica Hörbäck at Titanic Belfast.
.. where one can hear the many stories about the ill-fated Titanic, which (as you probably already know) hit an iceberg and sank during her maiden voyage in 1912.

Anyway, something which I had completely forgotten (and/or couldn’t have told you), was who else swam in ‘Lane 5’ besides Billy, Andrew and myself.
Well now I know, as it was none other than the unforgettable Christina…
Christina Anderson (Christina Ica Hörbäck) on the mats in the pool at the Universtiy of Houston.
.. a.k.a. the ‘Strawberry Girl’ or ‘Wonder Woman’ – which she was also sometimes known as.

Anyway, just wanted to post this to thank her here for the past few days, as it was not only lovely to see her again…
Christina Ica Hörbäck at the Dark Hedges.
.. but it was also lovely to be able to show her this wee part of the world where it’s believed giants once used to play…
Christina Ica Hörbäck and myself at the Giant's Causeway.
.. which I call my home

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