A long time ago, when orkney and I were working at the University of Maryland,
we got a notice that Azalea Lane would be closed for the installation of bollards. This
rather mystified us, as we didn't know what bollards were. I asked my dad, who explained
that they're specially tapered poles for boats to tether to in locks, the taper allowing the
rope to slide up and down as needed. Informative, but unlikely. The dictionary wasn't a
huge help either, but we were left with the impression that it was a post of some kind.
Sure enough, a row of creosoted posts appeared along Azalea Lane over the next couple
But we were quite taken with the term. Bollard. Bollard. Sort of reminds one of the
famous Commander Bullard, of science fiction fame. I eventually wrote a video game
called Bollards, which involved navigating an increasingly long ship through an
increasingly crowded harbour, sucking up oil drums. Bollards eventually became part
of our family lore, prompting blueeowyn to refer to the raised circular
bumps sometimes used for pavement marking as "bollard eggs".
Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago, when I found a group of bollards in jail.
Here they are, crowded up against the bars.
Here's another shot, showing a few dejected ones in back lying down.
Then, with bollards again on my mind, I noticed the term in use on an episode
of Butterflies (Yes! A decent pressing of Butterflies episodes 1-6 is available!),
except apparently the British pronunciation has the accent on the 2nd syllable: