Spiffing Bits!

A determined dabble into all things delightful ...and otherwise

spiffing / ˈspɪfɪŋ / adj archaic sl.

1. excellent 

2. smart, handsome [19th c. British]

Hello there. I am 'The Major' and I'd like to welcome you to the internet outburst that is 'Spiffing Bits'. I suppose you'd like to know what this website has to offer? Well that makes two of us. Or quite possibly just me if nobody else bothers to visit.

I like to see it as a sort of 'lucky dip'. A veritable  'Jamboree Bag' of the internet age where you dive in expecting very little and are more than likely to have those expectations met. It will contain written absurdity, photographic folly and the occasional moving picture.

I hope you like it. My sincere apologies if you don't...

or 720/1080p HD video if I can find the correct settings on my camera




Apples aren't malevolent. They harbour no grudges and only the occasional worm. According to my mother they successfully kept doctors away for days on end. Their effect on dentists was probably similar. Unless of course we are talking toffee apples.

In my youth there was nothing quite as enthralling as a toffee apple. However as the years have rolled by and my molars have rolled out, I am now much more of a 'stewed apple and custard' sort of chap. However, a few years back I came across a Victorian device that aspired to peel but could best be described as an apple torturer. Sadly the little apple featured below - the so-called 'Golden Delicious' - had failed to come up to scratch, so in the interests of science I decided to punish it there and then.

Please note that no apples were harmed in the making of this short film.*

* ...'er, assuming you don't count the four that I practiced on off camera. 


                           H is for...


I don't wish to alarm you gentle readers but I have a terrible confession to make. Pray unlace your corsets to provide ample breathing space. Are you ready? Brace yourselves!

I collect hair.

Not other peoples you understand. I don't leap unannounced into barbers shops, scoop up the residue and dash out. No. I collect photographs of hair. Old odd ones. Mainly Victorian, nineteenth century snaps but all with a certain 'quirky' quality that would surprise the average onlooker.

I think it's fair to say that many of us have in our minds a shared template for Victorian times. It would probably feature a) Queen Victoria not being amused,  b) a flurry of fan-bearing (and possibly swooning) maidens,  c) a ton of top hats with moustache wearing gentlemen underneath them,  d) Charles Dickens,  e) urchins,  f) great riches and  g) abject poverty. If musical theatre is involved then people will inevitably be 'poor but honest' or 'rich and unhappy'. But there will be order and efficiency from the factory floor to the grandest social gathering. There will be rules governing eating,  modes of dress, doffing of hats and touching of forelocks.  BBC costume dramas are very good at re-creating this. Best of all there will be orderly hair whether it be fulsomely heroic, beautifully braided or magnificently macassared. People down on their luck are allowed to be temporarily wayward with their hair but this will be combed as soon as is conveniently possible.

But - and we are talking hair here - is this true? Was Victorian hair truly orderly and well behaved or have we all been fed an ignominious myth? Were some Victorians actually as rebellious and unruly as the rest of us? Ladies and gentlemen, my research will prove that they were. Furthermore I would argue that my evidence proves that all future Nineteenth Century dramas should feature at least one person with 'mad hair'.

 Allow me to offer up a few examples...



I'm not altogether sure that is is a Presidential homage although it would probably make more than a few people reach for their axes. It is certainly heavy on the old macassar oil but our featured fellow seems jolly happy with it. He has a cheerful glint in his eye that suggests he is both pleased with his lot and delighted with his quiff.




There is something vaguely biblical about this chap's parting. It has a dramatic force that would suggest a supernatural force far more powerful than comb and oil alone. Woe betide the barber that delves into the depths of the parting lest he be swallowed up and consumed within!



When it comes to curling this chap obviously knows his stuff. This is precision curling of the highest order combined with a dash of the 'Moses' for good measure. I'm not sure how long it would have taken him to prepare such a coiffured construction but one might suspect that he was a man of property who didn't have to start work until gone midday -  if indeed at all. Well played sir!



Now this brave soldier has a haircut to die for...'er, but let's hope he didn't. This shows bravado of the highest order. A stylish skirmish which will save the Empire and win the hearts of any passing young ladies. Give that man the Military Cross! And perhaps a decent mirror...

Righty-ho! That's sufficient evidence for now but there's much more where that came from. But please be aware that I own ALL of the images and video foolishness on this website and ALL rights are reserved unless either attributed to others or stated otherwise. In fact, I've reserved so many rights that I've also included a few lefts. So don't pinch them without express permission you blighters! Now shall we continue?