A few weeks ago, my wife and her two friends decided they needed a bit of retail/alcohol induced therapy and made a short list of locations for their trip - Cardiff, Oxford, and Birmingham.
Each place fitted their criteria of a nice place to walk around with good shops & great bars and restaurants, and my wife was left to do the research re times, tickets, and cost.
Or more accurately, I was left to do the research re times, tickets and cost.
All three were about an hour's journey from their starting point of Gloucester. Super saver returns to Oxford and Birmingham each coming in at approx £30 per person, Cardiff a bit cheaper at £20.
Cutting to the chase, my wife came home at the end of the day showing clear evidence she'd enjoyed herself, and it seems a good time was had by all.
The next day we had a chat about her experience of train travel. Apart from the outward journey being full of beer swilling, foul mouthed football fans (Swindon were playing away at Walsall) her experience was an overwhelmingly positive one.
Both stations were in the city centre, both trains were on time (no changes), tickets were easy to sort (especially when you get someone else to do the sorting...) staff were friendly and the fact they could all drink their body weight in over-priced cocktails and get home safely was seen as a major benefit.
Then came the but.
"But it's just so expensive" she said. "Why is it so expensive? I'd do it more often if it wasn't so expensive. Charley's always asking when we can go somewhere by train but...".
You can probably work out the last bit.
So, despite a great experience, her one negative outweighed the five positives.
Somehow, I doubt my wife is alone by ending their train experience with a 'but'.