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Jodie Kidd takes time out from her Strictly training to tell me about the woman who gave her a competitive spirit

Friday, November 07, 2008
Category: Guardian
    My Grandmother was Lord Beaverbrook’s daughter and Rachel Carpenter was her right hand woman and has since been the right hand woman, mentor, friend and more to four generations of the Kidd family. When I was growing up my parents had to go to America and Rachel was left to look after us. She had a big hand in bringing me up and now at 75, she still lives with me.
    She is the most amazing woman; she has never married or had children of her own but has just devoted her life to our family. She   runs the house and the horses and she took charge of my whole equestrian life when I was young; teaching me to ride as she’d taught my Father before me. I went on to jump at a high level as a junior and she looked after my three ponies took  me to every competition and stood cheering  me on. Oh, and she also drove the horse lorry
    I’ve never met a more capable woman. She has every cure for any horse ailment and she’ll probably find it under your kitchen sink. If a slate blows off the roof in a wind Rachel, can fix it, if a stable door has broken rachel attends to it  She grows her own vegetables in her vegetable patch and is out the door every morning  at 7 am being incredibly busy tearing  around the garden and looking after the horses. She is busy all day long and then somehow, miraculously, has a roast dinner on the table at seven in the evening. When I cook a roast it takes me the whole afternoon to prepare it; she makes everything look effortless.
    She still has the most amazing blonde hair and is incredibly healthy.  Physically she is very strong from throwing all these bales of hay around and carrying huge bags of horse feed, you would never know her real age which must be attributable either to the glass of whisky she has every evening or simply her approach to life which is that nothing is ever a problem. she has coped with everything and anything life has thrown at her and doesn’t want to slow down at all,  she just loves her life.
    My life has been so jet set that to come back home to such a wonderfully grounded person has been so good for me. Working with my family she has mixed with everyone from Royalty to Argentinean groomsmen and speaks to them all in the same way and I hope I’ve learned that from her. She has great stories to tell from her experiences too and is great company, but she’s no pushover, no –one would mess her around.
    I would hate to think what my life would be like if Rachel hadn’t been in it She has instilled great confidence in me, ‘Come on Jodie, you can do it.’ she would say and then make me do something over and over again until I got it right. As a result I am every bit as determined and competitive as she is. She can see a lot of herself in me and that’s why she’s so proud of me. She knows that my determination and will to win comes from her and that I give 110% to everything. She loves Strictly Come Dancing and comes every week- I’m worried about what she would do if she ever found herself face to face with any of the judges because she gets so angry with them when they’re not nice to me. That sums her up; she’s always been there for me.

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