At the moment it goes dark in London at about 4:30pm, and for the last two weeks or so the mercury has stuck at about 5 degrees centigrade. My regular partner has been in the West Indies for a couple of weeks, and between that, the weather, the darkness and my two small children there hasn't been much time to play. So when I set off for my club this morning I hadn't played for about four weeks. When I got to the club the courts (Rebound Ace) were sitting under a reasonable layer of water. It had rained quite hard in the night. Though there was quite a strong wind -- the streets we had driven down had been dry -- my club is tucked away behind a series of mansion blocks and the wind doesn't get down to court level to dry them out. We rolled the courts for about 20 minutes and got most of the standing water up. By this time it had warmed up to about 7C, but the breeze made it feel colder. The courts were slick and slippery. We hit in the service lines for about 20 minutes trying to get some feel. But the slipperiness of the court made us careful in our movements. Because we hadn't played much our timing was off. Slowly we moved further back. We changed balls pretty often and for 5 minutes or so each time they still had some lightness and bounce in them. But then each time we changed them they gradually got wetter and heavier. We put some under the hood of the car to try to dry them out. After an hour and a half we only had sodden balls left. Even the South Africans on the next court -- 3 oldish guys who play with a coach for big money -- seemd subdued. You can usually hear their bets -- 100 pounds on the next game, a thousand pounds on the next set. Today they were just cursing the weather. My partner fell over twice trying to get to balls that were bouncing no more than a foot off the ground. Each time he slipped on one of the lines. The wind got up. We gave up. I hope it's better next week.