In a severe winter the insurance companies pay out large sums to polyholders claiming for water damage – claims mainly arising from the freezing of pipes and tanks in roof spaces and the consequent damage when bursts take place. The insurers may well pause to wonder whether the traditional British plumbing system is the most suitable that can be devised for our climate – and for modern living – in the 21st century. Men have walked on the moon. This is the age of miracle and wonder. Is it really necessary to have a coldwater cistern in the loft and a copper cylinder in the airing cupboard with all those pipes?