Meet the people who have spent lockdown in a Cardiff car park

Husband and wife are spending £110 a month on pay-and-display tickets for their caravan

A COUPLE have chosen to call a Cardiff city centre car park home during the third lockdown after travelling around Europe for seven years in a motorhome.

Frank and Ruth Rozelaar have made travelling their lifestyle and claim that the pandemic suits their lives.

“I’m so much healthier and so much happier when I have the van, it’s a slower pace of life,” said Ruth, 54.

“You get up, you open the door and you’re outside. Maybe you go swimming somewhere, and then you make fire and you cook your breakfast on the stove.”

The car park where they have chosen to stay costs £110 per month. 

“We’re kind of informal guardians of the car park,” said Ruth.

The couple rent out two houses, one in Cardiff and one in Devon, so they have an income which enables them to live the travelling lives they desire.

The van has solar panels and a compost toilet, which is sustainable, and they use a wood fire to stay warm. 

After getting married at Coed Hills, in the Vale of Glamorgan, in 2014, the free-spirited pair decided to pack up their lives into the 7.5 ton motorhome they call Emma.

They first headed for Spain and planned to travel for a year but it fast became more of a lifestyle than a holiday.

Since their August wedding, they have honeymooned in Spain, Portugal, Germany, Austria, Italy, France and Morocco.

The pair, who first met in 1996, speak nine languages so submerging themselves in each culture was easy.

“As soon as you stop, there’d be people there wanting to talk to you. It was such an amazing experience, we completely fell in love with the people,” said Ruth.

Frank added: “We very often leave the door open and people can’t help but say hello, who are you, and you engage with people.”

Frank, 74, who is half Italian, a quarter English and a quarter Dutch, is now retired. Previously, he worked as an actor, clown, masseur, dance and language teacher.

Ruth is German and teaches the tango. She is also a musician and language teacher but they call themselves “life artists”.

The couple also use 4G mobile hotspots to write a blog called tangoindevon.

Both Ruth and Frank are trained tango dancers. Here, they dance for their wedding guests.

A typical day for the honeymooners starts at 6.30am, when they make breakfast, do some yoga and while Frank cooks, Ruth busks in Cardiff parks using her bandoneon.

“It’s not a hobby, it’s an obsession,” she said.

“I’m a sort of eternal learner, you know? I love just creating my own sort of study program.”

Ruth entertained many people with her music during the first national lockdown, which they spent in Paris.

In France, they would clap for the carers every night at 8pm and she would then go outside to play music for them.

Ruth Rozelaar played the bandoneon for locked down Parisians last year.

The couple, who met in 1996, have no plans to change their lifestyle any time soon.

So will they ever return to a house? The quick answer from Ruth was no.

“We might try and buy a piece of land somewhere,” she said. “Maybe with a little shack on it. I don’t want to live in a house. Some kind of wooden cabin or a tipi, maybe.”