It is half a century and seems like half a world away since I first fell in love with the Ribble Valley.
I well remember those Bank Holidays, when I left the mean, terraced streets of Accrington, to hike over the Nab and for me the sight of Whalley nestling below looked like some other Eden.
You can keep Sydney and Cape Town and the Grand Canyon, even the south island of New Zealand, just as Verdi said give me Italy and you can have the rest of the world, well; I will take the Ribble Valley. One day, I promised myself, I would live here and one day, by the sweat of my brow, I did.
It is for this reason, as readers of your letters column will know, I have been a regular critic of the planners, the local Conservative Council and our MP who have failed miserably in their duty to protect this area of outstanding natural beauty for future generations.
I was thrilled this week to see the groundswell of opinion, in your bulging postbag. rejecting out-of-hand the platitudes and posturing that seems the only response we get from those in charge.
I feel the time is right to propose a surefire solution that will finally get the attention of the politicians, but the local electorate will need the will to remedy things, before it is too late.
There is a General Election looming and if you want to get a message through to the occupants of numbers 10 and 11 Downing Street, a message even they will be unable to ignore, a message that will resonate through the corridors of power, then the only way is to overturn a 14,000 Conservative Party majority and return a Labour MP at the next General Election. Can you imagine the media scrum that will result? The TV and national newspapers would descend like locusts upon the Ribble Valley asking for an explanation, and we would give it.
We would tell them we are not to be sacrificed to the carpetbaggers and developers and our heritage to future generations would be the unspoilt Ribble Valley. We would explain that when they frack on Wimbledon Common, Hampstead Heath and Windsor Great Park then, and only then, can they frack here!
Of course some will ask why Labour, why not one of the fringe parties? The answer is quite simple, it has to be maximum hurt for those in office and no room for the obfuscation of the central party spin-doctors, wittering about a minor local protest supporting some fringe party.
The problem with my plan is that the disenchanted, the habitual voters whose parents always etc, the tanner millionaires and the aspirational middle classes, let alone the forelock tugging working class voters, who think the toffs are born to rule, will all have to mobilise to pull it off. Can those who care about the Ribble Valley make it happen or will we roll over for our masters in the south who care not a jot for anything north of Watford?
I will do my bit will you?