Nick's new "home" is 239 miles away - a Hell of a round-trip and my visit might not mean anything to him. That's the way it is with Alzheimer's.
I was warned he had deteriorated but I have only one stratagem anyway: to offer him comical memories of our brotherly lives. A faint smile and perhaps something's happening.
This time I was joined by Nick's daughter Katie, with her one-year-old son Arthur. Katie lives nearer and has for years borne the direct horrors of her father's decline. She brings me up-to-date in her matter-of-fact way. Can saints be matter-of-fact? Surely it's the essence of sainthood.
Nick doesn't recognise any of us.
As Katie, for the hundredth time, tells Nick who Arthur is and how old, I listen. Nick's responses bear no relation to what he's heard. Also, while he can use verbs his vocabulary of nouns is almost non-existent. Thus his replies fade away.
So I copy Katie: I use yeses and nods as if Nick were making sense then remind him of our mother's dog Kim, Nick's dreadful days at public school and sailing in Takista - all with joky twists. It takes an hour for him to get used to me but occasionally there's a slow ghost of smile.
When I leave I ask if he knows who I am. "You're Rod," he says. Katie says afterwards it was a good moment.
The following day I visit a friend who worked on the same newspaper and with whom I share many interests. I arrive at 11.30 am and we get up for dinner at 6.45 pm, having talked solidly in between. Alzheimer’s is not only wretched, it can be ironic.