excerpt  from The Star Online- Thursday July 29, 20103.

The correct answer is “It was five years since he had died.”

We use the past perfect tense for the earlier event (“had died”) and the simple past tense for the later ones (“was”, “had”).

Here’s a similar structure from the online edition of The Independent, a respected British newspaper:

“It was five years since they had graduated from the University of Humberside.”

3. “Plenty of” and “a lot of” can be used with both countable and uncountable nouns. You can say “There are plenty of/a lot of apples in the fridge.” (“apple” is a countable noun) And you can say “I feelplenty/a lot of phlegm in my throat.”