Preface: The Saluki

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Preface: The Saluki ‘Why do you want a Saluki if you have never had one before?’ I asked this question of an enquirer when we were considering homes for our first litter of precious Salukis. The caller was in every way an eminently suitable prospective companion owner and few breeders would have hesitated, but these were not just ordinary puppies. The Saluki—supreme hunter from ancient and noble lineage, lithe and swift and lovely, whose sharp sighted ancestors had once travelled the Silk Road and traversed the Sahara in pursuit of their quarry. Food providers for nomads and sport for kings: their beauty and skill revered by all. ‘Because they are ineffably beautiful,’ the enquirer had replied. …show more content…
He goes away but others come by, talking loudly, on their way to the lavatory directly in my view where they pee openly and even more loudly and exit doing up their zips as they pass by me. I wonder if my fastidious mother would have retained her poise in such a situation but just then an officious woman calls me to come to a desk at the same time as my mobile ‘phone rings.
I hear gasping sounds and then Michael in great distress through a lot of background noise telling me that the landlord and his father are beating him, killing him, all the dogs have gone, all our stuff is being smashed or taken, he needs help! I don’t know what to do. Is he drunk or mad or really in trouble? I tell him firmly to call the local police and have to end the call as the female looks as though she might confiscate my ‘phone. She talks very quickly in Hebrew, then in English. I speak both but understand not a word; my head is full of Michael, a sick man, and my darling Salukis tossed out for the third time with all my belongings. The female shoves something in front of me and points at my hand but I have no idea what she wants. She pushes my thumb towards a block of some kind and I see she wants me to press down for an image. As I hesitate she says
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She clearly thinks I am some sort of regular criminal and I flush a bit. How on earth could things have come to this?
I think back. I have lost friends over the years in my reasoned defence of this country, have spent all my savings and earnings here for years, tried to be generous and kind to everyone and live quietly as a good witness to my beliefs and background. I remind myself that I come from a good and upright family, have not infringed laws by working without permission in this country or tried to convert juveniles, or been involved in racial or political disputes; yet now I am treated as an enemy and feel as vilified as the Jewish inhabitants of this land are in the foreign press. My only ‘crime’ is to want to stay long enough to finish writing my book on the Holy Land and then leave with my ailing friend and all my dogs to a safe place. Another voice in my head reminds me of my own mistakes and how others may interpret things very differently, but I know I have never meant to hurt or harm anyone, so what went

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