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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July 21, 2018

Billy, it’s Ashley and Ashley.

Look, it’s Ashley & Ashley…
“Billy McGoldrick with his daughter Ashley Hayes and me in the garden of his and Kerry Johnston's place in Dundee.
.. together for the first time.

Because yes, to follow on from Making a wish come true, I felt it time to not only meet Ashley, but it was also time to meet my once ‘best friend’, roommate and training partner, Billy McGoldrick…
“Billy
.. who can be seen here standing in front of our Motel’s front door, after having shaved his head for the 1983 South West Conference (SWC) swim meet, which was held in Austin that year.

And so it was, some 35 years on, outside in the garden of his fabulous gate lodge…
“Ashley
.. in his Scottish hometown of Dundee. As his daughter, Ashley, was over from Houston for a few days, to let him see her beautiful daughter – who’s name is Roisin…
“Ashley
.. Ashley, it seems

So “I’ll be back”, is how it was left, because the next time I want to meet his son, Billy – so then naturally the title will be “Billy, it’s Billy and Ashley”

June 2, 2018

Making a wish come true.

Back in the early 80’s, I took this picture of the men’s swimming & diving team in the changing rooms at the University of Houston…
Members of the 1982 men's University of Houston swimming and diving team in the changing rooms.
Glen Evans, T.K. Ponder, Ang Peng Siong, Kevin Lee, Hassa Bergqvist, Mike Turner, Wayne Welborne, Nicky Gray, Andrew Back, Kevin Richards, Richard Cahalan, Chip Martoccia, Philip Osborn, Garth Parsons, John Linklater, Ed Pierce, BIlly McGoldrick, Per Matsson, Jeff Farmer, Tom Cook, Iain Campbell, Sven Schultz, Andrew Chandler, Ulf Peters, Kevin Evans, Simon Draver and Andrew Gray at University of Houston.
.. which includes many of the guys that I have stayed in touch with over the years – thanks mainly to Mike Collins (who was on the Track & Field team) as he suggested a number of years ago that we all become “Friends” on Facebook.

Which in turn then naturally lead me to open ‘The Box’ which contains all the prints and negative I had taken back then – as well as newspaper cutting, scrapbooks and lots of other stuff from around that time in my life too… which I would refer to as “My swimming years”.

Anyway, after years of saying I would love to meet up with all of these guys again, this year I finally made a start at making that wish come true.

Tom Cook, who can be seen here on the pool deck at the Universtiy of Houston…
Tom Cook at the Universtiy of Houston swimming pool.
.. is definitely one of the guys on that list – and so when he contacted me to say that his wife, Lisa, and son, GreySun, were coming over to Ireland for a few days, the answer was “Yes, I would love to meet them” even before he had to ask

And so it was, as you can see at the Old Bushmills Distillery
On the 18th of May 2018 Lisa Tanner Cook posted this picture of me with her and her son GreySun Stattin at the Old Bushmills Distillery in County Antrim.
.. in County Antrim.

“Bushmills Irish Whiskey is made at Ireland’s oldest working distillery in County Antrim, Northern Ireland on the beautiful North Coast. Our original grant to distil was signed in 1608 by King James 1st and there has been distillation on this site since then, using the unique water from our own stream and Irish barley.”

Plus, at the Giant’s Causeway
On the 18th of May 2018 Lisa Tanner Cook posted this picture of me with her and her son GreySun Stattin at the Giant's Causeway in County Antrim.
.. “Shaka Brah!” Tom.

“Flanked by the wild North Atlantic Ocean and a landscape of dramatic cliffs, for centuries the Giant’s Causeway has inspired artists, stirred scientific debate and captured the imagination of all who see it. Is it the handiwork of legendary giant Finn McCool or the result of volcanic fury millions of years ago?”

Ashley Morrison: It was an honor and a pleasure, Tom – just wish you could have been with them.
So time to work on Plan H… which I will keep you all posted on
🙂

Lisa Tanner Cook: … And maybe Plan C 😎🌊🏄‍♂️

Tom Cook: Plan C – California Cook’s

Time to make another wish come true

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