Sunday morning is exactly the time to do that - Petticoat Lane, Brick Lane, & Colombia Road Flower Markets - just wonderful.
George got to see where I was as a youngster. Also where my father, my grandfather, my great-grandfather, and so many others may have spent their Sunday mornings.
He also got to experience, for the first time, a Salt Beef Beigel in Brick Lane. Being somewhat fond of his food, he rather liked this. Jewish cuisine could never be described as 'subtle', but this is something really special. About half a pound of tender beef, pickles and mustard in a Beigel that just came out of the oven - mmmm.
I showed him where Jack the Ripper disemboweled his victims, and where Flanagan & Allen were inspired to write 'Underneath the Arches'.
We strolled up Vallance Road, hung out in Vallance Garden (just yards from where the Kray Twins were born, and were to go on to run the most vicious criminal empire in the history of London), and I saw ghosts of some old pals. The demographics have now changed, and Bethnal Green is now a Muslim district. Ronnie & Reggie would not recognise it now. Actually, neither do I.
Of course, much else has changed.
Brick Lane is now full of 'street food' stalls. The traditional Costermongers are largely gone. Instead of Cockneys doing the weekly shop, there are students with dreadlocks trying to look cool whilst drinking 'double skinny de-caffe lattes to go'.
They don't look cool to me.
There are not so many stalls there now, and there is very little that is there could be called traditional. Petticoat Lane is now just an outlet for cheap stuff knocked out in eastern sweatshops.
Half of Romania is in Brick Lane selling counterfeit Marlboro Lights, as it seems to me. The Sclater Street bird market is long gone, which might not be such a bad thing, but it was something to see at the time.
Things change. But I do miss the Cockney traditions, and I just wonder where, whilst everybody else brings their culture to the East End, I might go to find my own culture....