If the world were a simple place you would get a fishing license by going somewhere where these things are sold and saying “can I have a fishing license please?” And then having handed over the necessary fees you might expect to be able to walk out with the thing in your hand.

But things are not so simple here. This is Spain and, of course, Spain has elevated bureaucracy into an art form.

The other day I went into Banco Sabadell with four printed pages in my hand. I said “can I have a fishing licence for Extremadura please? I have four pages here with data I have filled in online and printed out”

The lady looked at me as if I had two heads. Nobody had ever asked for a fishing licence for Extremadura there before. I might just as easily have been a visitor from another planet.

She looked at the paperwork and seemed to agree that Sabadell was, indeed, one of the banks which could carry out this remarkable feat of paper shuffling. But soon we ran into obstacles and she had to get on the phone to head office to find out about codes for the computer system and other similar avenues for bewilderment.

Meanwhile the queue was growing and people were getting fidgety. Sabadell, in common with all banks here, has a policy of having one person attending to the public while everybody else is round the corner having a café con leche. There is always some bugger who embarks on some drawn out transaction and prevents everybody else from getting on with lives. On Monday it was my turn.

Happily I succeeded in my quest. The bank kept one signed and date stamped copy of the application. I kept another two: my own and a copy for “administration” whoever that turned out to be. I handed over the grand sum of 4 euros and 95 cents for a two year fishing licence – class A.

And you think that was an ordeal? Try getting a fishing licence to fish in Andalucía!