“Because you can’t draw to save your life” is how PocketComms are billed.   These pocket-sized global communicators consist of page after page of illustrations that might be useful to those with a limited vocabulary of a foreign language.   They have been devised by James Wyatt, a traveller, illustrator and psychological operations specialist, who has travelled the world over.   Excluding the cover, there’s 20 colour-coded pages with pictures on the front and back, covering everything from food to medical diagrams to world flags – all material that might be of use to a traveller who is stuck for the right word.

Whilst I haven’t been able to give this the ‘acid test’ yet, I do recall a family holiday in France many years ago where we needed to buy an eyepatch to protect an infected eye from the sun.   Our French didn’t stretch to knowing the word for eyepatch but we later discovered that it was more obvious than we realised: couvert d’oeil (cover of the eye).   With this in mind, I scoured PocketComms to see if it would have helped us and I couldn’t find a picture of an eyepatch.   To be honest, that’s hardly surprising.   It’s not really an item you’d expect to need and, to give  credit where credit’s due, this handy universal language system did have things like contact lenses, eyedrops and sleep masks among its huge array of diagrams.

With over 1,000 illustrations, the likelihood is that you’ll find a picture for post of your needs.   If you don’t, the back cover includes a blank page where you can draw something yourself and then wipe it clean afterwards.   PocketComms are available online, priced at £7.99,  or can be purchased on the UK High Street from Waterstone’s and other bookstores.

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