*Instituted as Cam's first official act following his murder of Jonathan Davies and internecine ascension to the Editor's Throne,* the AP Afternoon Tea was a diplomatic device whereby we'd invite other mags to afternoon tea and thus spread happiness and gentility through the company.
(Or possibly form strategic alliances shrewdly to split AP-endangering power-bases in foreign buildings, or poison everybody who attended and then annex their offices; Cam did not reveal his deeper plans.)
AP's hosting duties consisted of buying some best-quality hand-rolled tea-leaves and a plate of cream cakes, sweeping everything on Cam's desk into a bin and laying it with a crisp white tablecloth (we toyed briefly with picnic blankets and a hamper on the floor, but considered the risk too great of someone stepping in the trifle if interrupted to answer the phone; also the hamper was repeatedly carried off by cartoon ants) and inviting guests by means of an internal e-mail it was helpful to imagine as a hand-cut card decorated with award-winning calligraphy and almost no spelling mistakes.
The intention was for the AP Afternoon Tea to become a monthly gathering, inviting a different magazine each time, but in the event we hosted only two afternoon teas; for The Corpse Of Jonathan Davies and his new mag, PC Gamer, and our neighbours, Amiga Format. This is because Cam himself left almost immediately and we didn't know anybody else to ask.
The cessation of light afternoon refreshment and sophisticated, polite conversation might also have had something to do with the time J Nash was charged with purchasing a plate of cream cakes. Neglecting his inability to recognise quantities of any description, the AP folk were dismayed when he returned with about £20 worth of cakes and eclairs which, even with the staunch power of the Memorial Fridge would have all to be scoffed within the next two days to avoid wasteful spoilage.
Repeatedly offering yet another dessert comestible to the increasingly bloated and unsteady Amiga Format guests may possibly have undone the healing diplomacy of that afternoon's tea, and nobody in the office could face opening the fridge for the rest of the week in case another jam sponge rolled out.
In retrospect, perhaps those mumbling chuckles and double-takes in Sainsbury's ought to have alerted me to my inexpert shopping. At the time though, I thought nothing amiss as I struggled back to the office with the complete contents of their cream cake counter in three heaping bags. Bit of a shame really that we've already done a receipt saga.