I’ve been quite surprised by Shepparton in the past two weeks.
The paths along the river have been dotted with people in the early afternoon — walking, jogging and riding bikes.
Every now and again there are people who have stopped on the grass on opposite sides of the track to have a chat with someone they know.
Never have the paths been so busy.
It has been brilliant to see young families taking to the trails as a way of being active together and becoming familiar with the river environment of Shepparton and Mooroopna.
Children zoomed around the street on scooters and other things with wheels and pedals while I was pottering with family in the garden last week, dealing with the results of a long period of neglect — spurred on by the recent rain.
Weeds removed, dead limbs trimmed, self-seeded trees removed and replanted — accompanied by the more exciting task of stomping on branches to make more room in the green bin — all a welcome break from study and online classes.
However, overzealousness has been an issue in the garden.
And too little space in the green bin.
As a result, there ended up being a small heap of acacia branches that is filled by wrens dancing about during the evenings.
Our work wasn't all about pruning. The vegetables, which have been carefully watched since they began poking sprouts out of the soil, were nearly drowned by excessive watering.
And we have enjoyed keeping track of how far the autumn shades had spread on trees and which sides go auburn or yellow.
All of which would not normally have been seen or done when taking a break at work or school.
On the topic of things that cannot be done at work: the carrots, peas and beans growing in the backyard will work wonderfully in a future dish.
Michael von Guttner is a journalist at the News.