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Sarah Britten

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

The Wonders of Berocca Calcium

This morning a colleague, the analytics director of the marketing services agency where I work, very kindly let me have his last Berocca Calcium. It was a genuinely merciful gesture, because I have developed something of a pschologically dependent relationship with Berocca. It tastes foul, it doesn’t always dissolve properly if you drop the tablet into too little water, but it works.

Ah, Berocca. A product I grew up loathing because my mother used to force me to drink the odd glass. At high school, I used BioPlus syrup – once decanting almost an entire bottle into my plastic juice bottle in order to survive my final Std 9 practical art exam – but eventually had to give it up because all that caffeine gave me heart palpitations.

While I was writing The Art of the South African Insult, in many cases starting at 9pm and working through until 2.30 or 3am, and then doing a full day of work the next day, I relied very heavily on Berocca. A fizzy tablet at the start of the session was enough to keep me going for the next four to five hours of concentrated stabbing at the keys on my laptop.

I listed Berocca in the acknowledgements of the book, and was always rather disappointed that some sharp-eyed PR or marketing person didn’t see that and offer me a year’s supply, free. Hint, hint.