Daniel Benneworth-Gray’s broken dreams

Before the arrival of the coronavirus, our design correspondent Daniel Benneworth-Gray found himself grappling with a broken hand, which sets off a chain of prescient thoughts

So I decided to start the year by breaking myself. At the end of a rare week off, I thought the family could do with one last hurrah of festive merriment together – ice skating! What could possibly go wrong with a few gentle laps of the rink? I could teach the boy a thing or two with my amazing pirouetting skills.

Cut to one hour later and I’m sat in A&E, cradling a broken wrist and bruised ego, feeling thoroughly sorry for myself. Ten minutes in the waiting area – just enough time to flick through a battered 2014 issue of Horse & Hound – and I go straight in to see the doctor.

Following a quick dose of gamma radiation, he shows me my x-ray, pointing out an embarrassingly small chip of bone floating about in the grey mass of hand; insignificant enough that he has to draw a circle around it in case I can’t see it (I can’t see it). As I explain my graceless escapade, he chuckles along – oh what japes! – and then launches into the small talk, asking about my day job. I’m not great at explaining how/where/why I work at the best of times, so just I mutter some vague self-deprecations and say Penguin a lot.

The welfare of your family depends entirely upon you being able to push a little arrow around on your computer for money

I feel a bit silly talking about my relatively insignificant profession – he mends lives while I drag words and pictures around a rectangle – but he laps it up, apparently fascinated by the ins and outs of book design.