I was waiting outside a shop, and a masked man with a rather loud voice was talking to an acquaintance, also masked. Maybe because of the masks or the age of the two, their conversation was very audible. One said “And she was wearing a hat,a mask and glasses and said don’t you recognize me? And I said how can I recognize you when you’re wearing a hat,a mask and glasses, and she said she was insulted. But, I mean, how could I see her face when she was wearing a hat,a mask and glasses?” They said cheerio to each other, one had to go because he had bits and bobs to do. I stood, still waiting and wondered about the origin of bits and bobs and whether it was the same origin as that of bits and bats.
Bits and bobs, according to Wikipedia comes from carpenters’ tool kits which would have parts for a drill, with ‘bits‘ used for making holes and ‘bobs’ which are routing or screwdriving drill attachments. So what about bits and bats? I can find a definition, but not an origin, so I’m guessing it’s derived from bits and bobs and is a a play on bit/bat the same as pit/pat. While I was looking up these phrases I remembered the character Bitsy Bob who was in the children’s programme, Playdays., played by the actress Michele Durler. I also found there was an Australian group called Bit by Bats – not quite the same of course! The band was an Australian three-piece rock band originally from Adelaide, and sound most intriguing – electric guitar, theremin, bass guitar and drums. They formed in 2003 and disbanded amicably in 2007.
So not bits and bobs or bits and bats, but Bit by Bats: