They say you should never meet your heroes – a thought at the back of my mind at Alumasc’s recent water debate, held while chugging up the Thames towards the Thames Barrier – which represents for me the best of British engineering, joined-up thinking by the London boroughs and good old Dunkirk spirit in the face of disaster. There was plenty of liquid onboard as Alumasc Water Management Solutions MD Steve Durdant-Hollamby told the audience the barrier was completed in 1982 to deal with five-times a year predicted surges. Last year, he informed us, it was raised 50 times. Future-proof? Maybe not – but what a magnificently flawed beast it is close up!