On 25th August 2014, MM Bennetts passed away at her home in Hampshire, England. We can tell you all that it was painless and she was very peaceful.
Although she had been fighting her illness for some time, MM Bennetts was determined not to be known or remembered as the victim of a disease. She wanted people to know her as a writer, historian, keen horse-rider, great friend, mother and general smarty-pants.
Many people have asked or wondered if MM was every inch the person that she seemed to be on this blog. The simple answer is yes. She was exactly as witty and knowledgeable in person as she was in writing, and talking to her was delightful. She had a quirky sense of humour that appreciated both sophisticated word-play and plastic slug pranks. And what she wrote was based on experience or extensive research.
When it came to her work and her research, she was passionate about both. She would try anything to get a better understanding. In previous blogs she talked about shooting with the guns from Waterloo, about her riding, tying a cravat, taking snuff, and a great many other things. I can safely tell you that I personally witnessed the big green bruise on her arm from the kick of that gun (the same bruise of which she was very proud, parading it around like an old battle wound). I heard her complain of saddle sores, and she showed me how to take snuff for myself.
The woman herself was something of a walking paradox. MM was both the simplest and most complicated person. Her love of horses and ‘cakey’ was clear to anyone, and it was impressive how she managed to consume as much tea as she did. The horses she knew and loved were more like members of the family than anything else. Riding was one of her favourite things, particularly riding dressage and hacking out in the countryside. She loved art, and beautiful gardens – she was particularly fond of roses. She was also a fine pianist. She could be reduced to tears by certain pieces of classical music, and it was a pleasure to hear her play. However, when you spoke to her, especially on history, you knew that you were talking to the brightest and sharpest of minds.
That sharp mind never stopped working. It has been working brilliantly for decades. Whilst we may not be able to enjoy what was to come in the next book ‘Or Fear of Peace’, this does not mean that she has nothing left to give. We have yet to go through her notes and computer, and if there is anything we can tell you regarding the later books we will publish it here at a later date.
Should you miss her, and we know that many of you will, we invite you to stick the kettle on and open one of her books, or return to this blog. In all honesty, she is not truly gone. She left behind her words and plenty of cake-related references for us to enjoy again and again. She inspired so many people and I know that I, among many, are so happy to have had her in my life.
Now, to finish, I would like to rely on someone whom she felt, in this song, summed her up perfectly. Al Stewart, and his wonderful number Red Toupee. (And yes, many of the things he mentions were things she either did, or wanted to do. I kid you not, she was possibly quite mad.)
With love, the Bennetts clan.