I am here, never fear! I do venture out from the Trafford forum occasionally when the silence gets particularly deafening.
I think the reason the Trafford forum isn't as happening a place as Bucks, for example, is that Trafford isn't super-competitive with about 30% grammar school places and a lot of excellent secondary schools as well. It always does very well overall in the league tables when you take all results into account and so generally I'd say people are happy with the choice on offer. There are always kids who don't pass the relevant entrance exams (each of the 7 grammar schools has a separate exam) but the schools appear to have a very reasonable appeal process and allow a fair number of appeals each year.
I have a daughter at Altrincham Girls Grammar and am delighted with it. No 2 daughter has just passed the exam to go there next year and can't wait to buy her uniform.
Wait a minute, though. Maybe the reason my experience is so positive is that I really am the only person in Trafford???